The Boston Herald, not a conservative or limited government bastion by any stretch of the imagination, railed against the common core state standards for science. These are the same standards that Jason Glass and the Iowa Department of Education want to align the Iowa Core Curriculum to. The Herald’s Editorial Board writes:
An influential body has proposed new science curriculum standards (“frameworks” in education jargon). The state board plans to align the Massachusetts standards with whatever national ones emerge. Both the board and the national organizations sponsoring the “Common Core” project should reject this bewildering effort from the National Academy of Sciences.
We were alerted to this by Ze’ev Wurman, a software expert who helped develop California’s standards and who commented critically on the new Massachusetts standards. In his blog comment on the Academy’s proposal he said: “The framework does not expect students to use any kind of analytical mathematics while studying science.”
The document only expects students by grade 12 to be competent in recognizing this and expressing that, and in using “simple mathematical expressions’” to see if something “makes sense,” Wurman wrote.
Wurman could find only one equation in all 280 pages of the proposal. A careful reading of the 29 pages of the physical sciences section, where equations would be most important, found none at all.
This is baffling. Mathematics, to which the authors devoted much praise, is the language of science. Wurman’s conclusion, which we share: The document “simply teaches our students science appreciation.”
So the science standards stink as well, no surprise there. I’m sure the Iowa Department of Education will march forward in lockstep regardless.