As all of you who have children know, they will often live up to what you expect of them, as long as they believe the expectations are reasonable. My consistent belief is that we should expect all of our students to graduate from high school ready to succeed in whatever it is they want to do, as long as that something isn’t lying around playing video games. Our children should be able to either be prepared to go to college, go to some kind of technical school, or otherwise be prepared for a career that pays them a living wage.
More and more this requires education after high school. The superintendent of public instruction (SPI) Randy Dorn just came out with a proposal in this area I find to be a significant step backwards. For example, he thinks we should require kids to only have two years of mathematics to graduate. http://k12.wa.us/Communications/PressReleases2009/WSSDAConference.aspx
I disagree, and will work hard to implement what the state board of education has been working on – “Core 24,” a significant increase in the level of rigor we require as a state. (http://www.sbe.wa.gov/mhsd.htm) I do not believe that lowering our requirements is a good strategy for improving outcomes for our children. Furthermore, I believe it will do significant harm to the most vulnerable kids – those without strong parental pressure at home, strong community supports, and all the other elements that more well-to-do families often have and that less well off families struggle to provide. Lowing standards does a serious disservice to our most at-risk children, and will make the achievement gap worse.