Thursday, March 10, 2011

82 Percent Of US Schools Failing

Yet another reason to homeschool your children.
The system is broken.

AP News reports this:
An estimated 82 percent of U.S. schools could be labeled as "failing" under the nation's No Child Left Behind Act this year, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Wednesday.

The Department of Education estimates the number of schools not meeting targets will skyrocket from 37 to 82 percent in 2011 because states are toughening their standards to meet the requirements of the law. The schools will face sanctions ranging from offering tutoring to closing their doors.

"No Child Left Behind is broken and we need to fix it now," Duncan said in a statement. "This law has created a thousand ways for schools to fail and very few ways to help them succeed."

Translation: Now that standards are tougher, we have to change them so that more schools will pass muster. Let's just lower the bar. They want to reform this law? Personally, I'd dump the whole thing because the federal government has no business dealing in education matters; that's purely a state issue.

The reason why NCLB has been such a stellar failure is because it is yet another horrific bureaucratic federally intrusive unfunded mandate. It also has stupid rules and regulations that have nothing whatsoever to do with reforming education or really making the system work better. It's education cartel gobbly-de-gook designed to bloat administrative salaries and create more ineffective teachers (so they can join the teachers union) while putting legions of social workers in our schools to push worthless screening programs. Oh, and they do all that while milking the taxpayers dry.
The current law sets annual student achievement targets designed with the goal of having all students proficient in math and reading by 2014, a standard now viewed as wildly unrealistic.
It's unrealistic that educators should be able to have their students proficient in what they are supposed to be teaching them? How is that unrealistic? Isn't that what they are being paid to do?

Oh I know, it's because they aren't teaching them that stuff - they are too busy instructing them on diversity and how to wear a condom while also recycling and saving the whales. Forget having to memorize times tables or actually learning to think for ones self and understanding basic reading, writing and mathematics. The education lobby is too busy promoting GroupThink and Socialist doctrine to actually have time, or be able, to impart proficiency in math and science.

Funny thing though ... homeschoolers and private schools, and even certain Charter schools, seem to be doing quite well in developing proficiency in their students. Interestingly enough, children living in urban areas who are lucky enough to be schooled outside of government schools (and there are a number of examples) seem to do quite well with their learning. So much for the so-called achievement gap.
Duncan said the law has done well in shining a light on achievement gaps among minority and low-income students, as well as those who are still learning English or have disabilities. But he said the law is loose on goals and narrow on how schools get there when it should be the opposite.

"We should get out of the business of labeling schools as failures and create a new law that is fair and flexible, and focused on the schools and students most at risk," Duncan said.

The Department of Education said its estimate was based on four years of data and the assuming all schools would improve at the same rate as the top quartile.

"Even under these assumptions, 82 percent of America's schools could be labeled 'failing' and, over time, the required remedies for all of them are the same — which means we will really fail to serve the students in greatest need," Duncan said.
Yes, so the lesson today is that labeling is bad - because it actually lets everyone know what an utter failure this dumbed down American government school education system really is. I guess Duncan and his crew will just have to fix that. And of course it will require more money. That goes without saying.

Want to know why the system is broken?
For starters read the Underground History of American Education by John Taylor Gatto.


David X Johnson said...

You might consider that the figures are skewed as a scare tactic to take over more education. See:

The Last Frontier said...

It's all so intentional. Heaven forbid we actually allow or train children to use their brains and think. I'm thankful to be homeschooling, and pray for this continued right.
Jenny in Alaska

Anonymous said...

Any school could become a failing school. The reasons are that some groups, mostly black and hispanics, do not do well in school. The reasons are numerous but essentially it boils down to the children from these groups don't have parental support at home and are not only allowed to fail but their parents typically blame failure on the schools and reject any effort to bring them into the loop. It is kind of a sense of entitlement that somehow the schools will make their errant, disrespectful, arrogant children learn. The children themselves recognize that they can do whatever they want and their parents will side with them against the school. For the teachers is is a lose/lose situation. That is if they actually try to put in substantial extra effort with minority students the students will resent it and act out. Additionally the students will often play the race card, a technique learned at an early age that turns the table on the teacher and makes their extra effort appear more like racial harrassment. Given this reality where the parents don't take any responsibility, the students won't work and will make your life miserable if you try to make them work, the teachers opt to let the students get pushed to the next grade where eventually they are in over their heads and they drop out. It is not the teachers or "the school" that is failing. It is the parents of minority students, the students themselves and society which has been co-dependent in this problem by allowing minorities a "get away with it free card" by claiming discrimination. One last point: obviously non-minority students are disruptive and unresponsive in school and also can have parents who are clueless. But in general the numbers of these students are less and they can be dealt with in effective ways since they don't have the ability to claim racial discrimination.

For the most part even the schools with problems are capable of providing students with a decent education if the student and the parent are actively participating in the process. These school are not "failing" all students but when the percentage of failing students reaches a certain level the school itself is designated as failing. The designation is triggered by a specific condition but it does not mean every student fails. Most of these schools continue to prepare kids for college and for jobs.

Jennifer Abel said...

In all fairness, though, I can think of one reason so many schools are suddenly failing by NCLB standards without necessarily being bad schools: unless they've significantly changed the rules since my stint as a teacher, schools under NCLB are expected to "show improvement" every year, no matter what. So if you have a perfect school -- as in, 100 percent of students graduate, go on to college and have great careers -- the school will still get a bad NCLB score next year because it showed no "improvement."

Also, they seriously need to stop "mainstreaming" special-ed kids. When I taught high school, my class was above the hardcore special-ed room: kids so brain-damaged they still could not speak, who always had to wear helmets and padded gloves because they did not know how to avoid injuring themselves ... the fact that a 19-year-old born without a cerebellum cannot learn to read is not the fault of the school.