Which is easier: Reading or math?

first_imgStates design tests for their students in both subjects in grades three through eight and once in high school. By 2014, all students are supposed to reach the proficiency mark on those tests, which generally means they are working at their grade level. What kids have to show they can do to be labeled proficient in math is typically harder in most states than what they have to do to in reading, according to a study released today by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a Washington-based education think tank. The findings come a little more than a week after the federal government reported students have been making much more progress in math than in reading in recent years. Michael Petrilli, the think tank’s vice president for policy, said it makes sense that students’ math skills are improving if there are high expectations of them in that subject. “If the bar is higher, you’ve got to work a lot harder,” he said. The Fordham study also found many states are making it easy to score well on the tests given in elementary school but harder to pass the middle-school tests. That could be “giving parents, educators, and the public the false impression that younger students are on track for future success – and perhaps setting them up for unhappy surprises in the future,” the report states. The study only looked at tests in about half the states – places where students take the state exams plus tests by the Northwest Evaluation Association, a nonprofit testing group. The report’s authors compared the state tests to the association’s exams to check for rigor. Specifically, the report found: In reading, Colorado, Wisconsin and Michigan generally had the lowest proficiency standards. The highest standards in reading were found in South Carolina, California, Maine and Massachusetts. In math, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin were cited as having the lowest proficiency standards. The highest math standards were found in South Carolina, Massachusetts, California and New Mexico. The Fordham institute supports creating uniform educational standards and tests across state lines. The No Child Left Behind law is up for renewal this year in Congress, and many lawmakers support putting new incentives in the law to encourage states to raise their standards.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! STUDY: The No Child Left Behind tests aren’t of equal difficulty, think tank finds. By Nancy Zuckerbrod THE ASSOCIATED PRESS WASHINGTON – The math tests students take under the No Child Left Behind law are harder than the reading exams, a study finds. last_img read more

Valley councilman addresses national issue on local level

first_imgAs the politics of immigration play out on the streets of Los Angeles this week with boisterous rallies, West San Fernando Valley Councilman Dennis Zine has provided a quiet link to the national debate in Washington. Zine has helped shape immigration policy for the National League of Cities since December, when he was appointed to lead the influential local government group’s task force on the hot-button issue. “While the bureaucrats in Washington have their issues, their agendas, we’re looking at what’s gonna work for the cities,” Zine said. Conservative by Los Angeles standards, Zine has opposed the appointment of an American Civil Liberties Union leader to a homelessness panel and voted against a raise for a Department of Water and Power union, but backed job protections for grocery workers and pressed for affordable housing requirements in Warner Center. “I think any skeptics out there, he’s certainly proved them wrong because he brought together a very diverse group of individuals,” Hunt said. Community leaders feel strongly about immigration policy because they feel they have been put in a difficult position, Hunt said. “Local law enforcement, local social services and local infrastructure are stretched every day that we move forward with very little support funding-wise from the federal government,” he said. There is widespread opposition within the league to the immigration bill passed by the House of Representatives, which makes illegal immigration a felony and criminalizes activity that assists migrants. The progeny of Lebanese immigrants, Zine said working on the issue has been particularly gratifying. While Southern California has seen some strong anti-immigration sentiment, Zine said he has received mostly positive feedback. “There are those that are going to say, ‘Just deport them,’ there are those that are going to say, ‘Fortify the border and don’t give them hospitalization or education,’ ” he said. “But they forget about the Irish and the Chinese and all the other immigrants who helped build this country.” Dan Laidman, (213) 978-0390 dan.laidman@dailynews.com 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREOregon Ducks football players get stuck on Disney ride during Rose Bowl event On national issues, Zine voted against council resolutions opposing the Iraq war and the Patriot Act, but supported another endorsing gay marriage. Under Zine’s leadership, the immigration task force has taken a similarly moderate approach, recommending a package of reforms similar to what the Senate Judiciary Committee approved this week but opposing a stricter House bill. The task force wants stepped-up border enforcement as well as a path to citizenship for undocumented migrants. The panel’s 22 members from across the country oppose having local cops enforce immigration laws but want employers to verify workers’ citizenship status. The League of Cities will decide in the coming weeks whether to endorse the recommendations, but in the meantime league President Jim Hunt said Zine has created consensus around a notoriously polarizing issue. Hunt, a councilman in Clarksburg, W.Va., said he tapped Zine because of his compassion and his law enforcement background, which at first had some league members concerned. last_img read more