“Students can handle algebra, so how about physics?” – Today’s op-ed on Florida’s testing program in the Tallahassee Democrat

From today’s piece in the Democrat:

The statewide passing rate for the 13,000 seventh-graders who took the Algebra 1 end-of-course exam was 94 percent. An impressive 42 percent of seventh-grade test-takers earned the maximum score of “5.” It’s clear that there is a large population of seventh-graders who are perfectly capable of succeeding in Algebra 1, and they should be provided with that opportunity.

A science education researcher from Harvard recently reported that avoiding biology in high school actually makes a student more likely to earn a science or engineering degree. Yet several local high schools whose populations include large percentages of students from disadvantaged backgrounds have dropped physics from their course offerings. Instead, they advise interested students to take a virtual course on physics, even though the effectiveness of such a course has never been demonstrated.

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