My sons brought their report cards home.
I was not impressed.
No, I wasn't upset with their performance; rather, I was concerned that the highest mark a student can now receive is "meets grade level standards." There used to be an "exceeds grade-level standards" designation, but this has gone by the wayside. In other words, the highest a student can be is average.
My older son was particularly angry: "How WEAK!" he exclaimed, "I would have gotten all 'exceeds' but instead I just got 'meets!' That makes me so sad!" He explained how his posse of high-achieving friends were upset, too. "If the best we can be is average, then why even bother!" he shook his head.
Earlier this year when we met with his teacher for the traditional start-of-the-year parent-teacher conference, he expressed concern that our son wouldn't be challenged in math. At the start of the year he tested completely out of the math that would be taught the remainder of the year. Then the teacher dropped a bomb: apparently the junior high he'll attend next year has thrown away the advanced math classes in preference to spending their money and efforts on the "remedial" math so that everyone will at least meet the minimum standards by the time they enter high school.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?
I hate to be a braggart, but my son has outperformed his peers in mathematics for years. I've been eager for him to get to junior high because I anticipated he'd be allowed to study the more advanced math subjects. In my day (when we trudged through the snow, uphill, both ways, naturally,) sixth-graders who had math aptitude could take an advanced math class traditionally populated by eighth-graders, for example. And there were some kids who took high-school or college level math, usually through independent studies that excused them from attending a class that would bore them otherwise.
But apparently all sixth-graders will take a general "6th Grade Math" and so on. Everyone will be the same. Everyone will learn what is expected for the 'average' student.
At this point, my son's teacher is giving him extra "challenge" problems to play with when the rest of the class is being taught the traditional "5th Grade Math." But of course, according to his report card, he "meets grade level standards" and that is that. Just Average.