Courtesy www.cbc.ca

BY GARRETT TOGUCHI – Hawaii State Board of Education Chairman Garrett Toguchi issued the following statement today regarding the results of the 2010 Metlife Teacher Survey.

“The Metlife survey underscores the importance of preparing all students for college and careers. But more importantly, it reveals that teachers, students, parents, and Fortune 1000 executives nationwide believe the definition of college- and career-ready may have become too narrowly focused on advanced science and math courses, while neglecting critical thinking, persuasive writing, and problem solving skills they view as essential for graduates to succeed.

“To ensure all students graduate ready for college and careers, public school systems must offer multiple career and postsecondary pathways that fit the unique needs and aspirations of each student. To accomplish this, Hawaii has prepared students for college with one of the nation’s most rigorous academic standards (as rated by Harvard University’s Education Next study), while also offering them opportunities to train for jobs through various Career and Technical Education programs.

“As Hawaii moves forward in implementing internationally-benchmarked common core standards, it will be key for our schools to continue challenging, inspiring, and motivating all students to succeed by focusing on the obvious, building their critical thinking and communication skills.”

Among the 2010 Metlife Teacher Survey highlights:

· Nearly all English (99 percent) and math (92 percent) teachers rate the ability to write clearly and persuasively as absolutely essential or very important. But far fewer English (45 percent) and math (50 percent) teachers view knowledge and ability in higher-level mathematics, such as trigonometry and calculus, as absolutely essential or very important.

· Despite a national emphasis by many corporations to improve America’s math and science teaching, just three in 10 executives surveyed (31 percent) say advanced science courses are absolutely essential or very important for college- and career-readiness. Only 40 percent say advanced math knowledge and skills are this critical. In contrast, executives rate critical thinking (99 percent), problem solving (99 percent), and strong writing skills (97 percent) as absolutely essential or very important.

· Teachers (57 percent) are most likely to believe that strengthening programs and resources to help diverse learners with the highest needs meet college-and career-ready standards should be one of the highest priorities in education, and a significant proportion of parents (59 percent) also rate this as one of the highest priorities.

The full survey can be accessed at http://www.metlife.com/assets/cao/contributions/foundation/american-teacher/MetLife_Teacher_Survey_2010.pdf

Alex Da Silva is the Public Affairs Officer for the Hawaii Board of Education

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