Massachusetts would prod high school students to take a set of rigorous classes to graduate, under a new proposal that is less aggressive than in other states that mandate college preparatory courses.
The proposed statewide curriculum, called MassCore, recommends four years of English; four years of math, including Algebra II; three years of lab science; three years of history; two years of the same foreign language; and electives.
The changes would be voluntary for now - and at first I thought it was a great idea. After all, most graduates who go to college are already taking 4 years of math and english and at least 3 years of a foreign language, why not strengthen requirements to bridge educational gaps? However, none of this proposed reform is truly earth-shattering. Should college-bound students be taking these classes? Yes, but what about students going to technical, agricultural or other specialty schools? I'm sure their curriculum could be strengthened too, but advanced stoichiometry isn't exactly going to fix a car.
Most importantly, the proposed reform doesn't do anything to address the fact that not all students learn in the same way. Real education reform can never happen unless we address how people learn - differently. To some, people strive when writing papers. Other people prefer oral presentations. Still, others get the most out of in class examinations. No method of grading or learning is better or worse than another: they all involve intense preparation and research. They all teach skills that students will take with them to "the real world."
Every human has a different head on their shoulders and it's time society address that fact. It's great that the state wants to push for a stronger curriculum - at least for students attending traditional high schools. However, let's have real reform that addresses how students learn. Forcing them to go to more and more specific classes is anything but a cure and does little to solve the actual problems of the system. Massachusetts doesn't need another Ed Reform movement, we already have the best educational system in the country - what we need is an educational revolution, one that the rest of the country could follow and would best serve the proposed goals of MassCore.