NOW they tell us: Education reform not working


Yesterday I wondered about the effect of next Tuesday’s elections on education and education reform.

Last night I discovered the Fordham Foundation published a new study showing that “half of states miss the bus on education reform.”

Say what? One week before the election?

Fordham Foundation’s President Chester E. Finn, Jr., was a high-ranking official in a Republican administration, true, but that was after working closely with Democrat Daniel Patrick Moynihan for years. I doubt the study was published with any intent to affect the election at all.

It’s well worth the reading, though.

A new report from the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation finds that just eight states can claim even moderate success over the past 15 years at boosting the percentage of their poor or minority students who are at or above proficient in reading, math or science.

The study also finds that most states making significant achievement gains-including California, Delaware, Florida, New York, Massachusetts, and Texas-are national leaders in education reform, indicating that solid standards, tough accountability, and greater school choice can yield better classroom results.

“Many state officials have claimed credit for gains in student achievement,” said Chester E. Finn, Jr., the Foundation’s president. “But this study casts doubt on many such claims. In reality, no state has made the kind of progress that’s required to close America’s vexing achievement gaps and help all children prepare for life in the 21st Century. Nor are most states making the bold reforms most likely to change this reality. Real leaders will study these data, then focus on what needs doing, not what’s been done.”

The Fordham Report 2006: How Well Are States Educating Our Neediest Children? appraises each state according to thirty indicators across three major categories: student achievement for low-income, African-American, and Hispanic students; achievement trends for these same groups over the last 10-15 years; and the state’s track record in implementing bold education reforms. (Click here for more information on the indicators and methodology http://www.edexcellence.net/doc/TFR06Methodology.pdf.) A table listing states’ performance in all three categories is at http://www.edexcellence.net/foundation/global/page.cfm?id=388#TFR06fullstategrades.

And, one week before this year’s election, it is not too early at all to start thinking about the next elections, and how to use the results of this report.

3 Responses to NOW they tell us: Education reform not working

  1. edarrell says:

    I think it’s becoming more apparent by the day that the No Child Left Behind Act pushes for mediocrity instead of stellar achievement. A principal of a high school can produce 100 National Merit Scholars out of a class of 200, but if he has 30 kids from a failing New Orleans high school enrolled for the year, and fewer than 28 of them pass the state test, his school is labeled “failing.” There are no rewards for high achievement, only penalties for failing to get the absolute bottom up to mediocre. Guess where the money is spent.

    Heck, if he gets 15 of the 30 kids into the National Merit Finalist pool, he’s still got a “not acceptable” rating.

    Like

  2. Daniel F. Swann says:

    One has to wonder if we are not spending too much time and resources in our effort to make all classifications of U.S students perform equally when we should be trying to make the aggregate U.S. student body compare more favorably with students of other nations. There is, after all, a finite reservoir of resources on which to draw. It will be the top of the top to whom we must turn for our future leaders. Why is it not of greater value that we prepare the strongest leadership possible rather than overly concerning ourselves with their ethnic or social make-up? Let us set the bar high and let natural ability and just plain dent of determination sort out the relative placements of individual students. There is no requirement that every child achieve at a high level, nor is it a disgrace to be an honest, hard working and well-rounded ‘C’ student. But, we should not put the stumbling blocks of in-attention or reduced resources in the way of would be high achievers in the interest of assuring that all students perform equally well — or more likely at levels of mediocrity.

    Thank You, Daniel F. Swann

    Like

  3. […] It’s well worth the reading, though. A new report from the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation finds that just eight states can claim even moderate success over the past 15 years at boosting the percentage of their poor or minority students who are at or above proficient in reading, math or sc … Cool article.Link to original article […]

    Like

Please play nice in the Bathtub -- splash no soap in anyone's eyes. While your e-mail will not show with comments, note that it is our policy not to allow false e-mail addresses. Comments with non-working e-mail addresses may be deleted.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: