Wednesday, November 18, 2015

"Education Disaster : Government Schools Are a Catastrophe"

This is from Patriot Rising.

The 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress report, also known as The Nation’s Report Card, shows that U.S. educational achievement, to put it nicely, leaves much to be desired.

When it comes to reading and math skills, just 34 percent and 33 percent, respectively, of U.S. eighth-grade students tested proficient or above — that is, performed at grade level or above. Recent test scores show poor achievement levels in other academic areas. Only 18 percent of eighth-graders are proficient in U.S. history. It’s 27 percent in geography and 23 percent in civics.

The story is not much better when it comes to high schoolers. According to 2010 and 2013 NAEP test scores, only 38 percent of 12th-graders were proficient in reading. It was 26 percent in math, 12 percent in history, 20 percent in geography and 24 percent in civics (

Many of these poorly performing youngsters gain college admission. The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education reports, “Every year in the United States, nearly 60 percent of first-year college students discover that, despite being fully eligible to attend college, they are not ready for postsecondary studies.” That means colleges spend billions of dollars on remedial education. Many of the students who enroll in those classes never graduate from college. The fact that many students are not college-ready takes on even greater significance when we consider that many college courses have been dumbed down.

Richard Vedder, emeritus professor of economics at Ohio University, argues that there has been a shocking decline in college academic standards. Grade inflation is rampant. A seminal study, “Academically Adrift,” by Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa, argues that very little improvement in critical reasoning skills occurs in college. Adult literacy is falling among college graduates. Large proportions of college graduates do not know simple facts, such as the half-century in which the Civil War occurred.

Vedder says that at the college level, ideological conformity is increasingly valued over free expression and empirical inquiry.

While educational achievement among whites is nothing to write home about, that for blacks is no less than a disaster. Only 13 percent of black eighth-graders score proficient or above in math, and only 16 percent do in reading. In 2013, only 7 percent of black 12th-graders scored proficient in math, and only 16 percent did in reading. The full magnitude of the black education tragedy is seen by the statistics on the other end of the achievement continuum. “Below basic” is the score given when a student is unable to demonstrate even partial mastery of knowledge and skills fundamental for proficient work at his grade level. In 2013, 62 percent of black 12th-graders scored below basic in math, and 44 percent scored below basic in reading.

Dr. Thomas Sowell has written volumes on black education. The magnitude of today’s black education tragedy is entirely new. He demonstrates this in “Education: Assumptions Versus History,” a 1985 collection of papers. Paul Laurence Dunbar High School is a black public school in Washington, D.C. As early as 1899, its students scored higher on citywide tests than any of the city’s white schools. From its founding in 1870 to 1955, most of its graduates went off to college. Dunbar’s distinguished alumni included U.S. Sen. Ed Brooke, physician Charles Drew and, during World War II, nearly a score of majors, nine colonels and lieutenant colonels, and a brigadier general.

Baltimore’s Frederick Douglass High School also produced distinguished alumni, such as Thurgood Marshall and Cab Calloway, as well as several judges, congressmen and civil rights leaders. Douglass High was second in the nation in black Ph.D.s among its alumni.

The stories of the excellent predominantly black schools of yesteryear found in Sowell’s study refute the notion of “experts” that more money is needed to improve black education. Today’s Paul Laurence Dunbar and Frederick Douglass high schools have resources that would have been unimaginable to their predecessors. Those resources have meant absolutely nothing in terms of academic achievement.


Rusty Shackleford said...

It's a liberal/libertarian shell game. They both focus on the schools for different reasons but the truth is that the students have changed a lot more than the schools. Since 2014 the majority of US students are no longer white. A lot of them aren't even from English speaking homes. So of course the scores are dropping. White American kids particularly those from the plains and New England score well above the international average on the PISA test. Blacks have socially imploded in the past 50 years to the point that their culture and social arrangements are radioactive. It's a lot easier to blame the schools than it is to fix a broken culture. Further, I suspect that in the early 20th century only the talented tenth of blacks ever got much of a chance at education.

Rusty Shackleford said...

US public schools, though, are still a bad combination of daycare, indoctrination and social vetting mixed with basic education, even if they probably aren't doing any worse than the schools of other countries. I personally found them to be a pathological social environment. If women and corporations faced widespread Mormon style social censure for working outside of the home, you could potentially have the social flexibility to replace them with something better. Barring that I think there should at least be an option for smart kids who don't want to deal with the gross waste of time and all the rest of the nonsense that goes with getting a high school education. There's the GED, which 1/4 of high school graduates fail to pass, but that has a stigma attached to it that hurts those looking for jobs and applying for college. Maybe the college board should offer multiple tiers of high school equivalency tests, including a prestige version that is normed so that only 10% of high school graduates could pass it.

Anonymous said...

Why stop there? The Teacher Unions. Because they care about the children. Har har.

kurt9 said...

Yeah, the schools are definitely a disaster. I hear a story from my nick of the woods that some kindergarten teacher will not allow the boys to play with legos because she fears that they will develop their visual-spacial skills faster than the girls. This represents negative work to me. Imagine the equation for work but with a minus sign in front. Having no public school system at all would be superior for learning than the current system we have.