This little tidbit was shared by Dave LaMorte, on Google Reader. The Center on Education Policy has published a new report (February 2008) about instructional time devoted to English language arts (ELA) and math after NCLB, and instructional time given up (sacrificed) by the other subject areas. The publication’s web page describes the report as examining…
…the magnitude of changes in instructional time in elementary schools in the years since NCLB took effect in 2002, and is a follow up report to Choices, Changes, and Challenges: Curriculum and Instruction in the NCLB Era that was issued by CEP in July 2007.
In the full report (PDF download), Jennifer McMurrer, its author, describes in her key findings the significant shifts in instructional time toward ELA and Math (averaging 43% increase) and away from other subjects (averaging 32% decrease). Eight of ten districts increased ELA time by at least 75 minutes per week and 54% by at least 150. The shift toward math was less, with six of 10 reporting increases of 75 minutes and 19% of more than 150.
OK, kids have got to learn how to read and do arithmetic. But isn’t it also important to learn about the world they are reading about, measuring, and living in. According to Table 3 of the report, elementary schools reporting an increase in time for ELA and/or math and a decrease for one or more other subjects reported an average weekly decrease of 76 minutes (32% dcrs) for social studies, 75 minutes (33% dcrs) for science, 57 minutes (35% dcrs) in art and music, 40 minutes for physical education (35% dcrs). They also reported 50 fewer minutes of recess (28% dcrs).
Improve reading and math skills is not the problem. The problem is how we’re paying for it.
M, Chris. “Math Homework.” Hunkdujour’s Photostream. 14 Apr 2005. 21 Feb 2008 <http://flickr.com/photos/hunkdujour/9362020/>.