Record numbers fail to clear No Child bar

From the Washington Times:
The numbers keep getting worse for the nation’s education system.

In the 2010-11 academic year, 48 percent of public schools - a record high - failed to meet the “adequate yearly progress” benchmarks established by the No Child Left Behind act, according to a new study by the Center on Education Policy, a nonpartisan think tank.

D.C. Public Schools ranked near the bottom, with 87 percent failing to clear the bar, the report says. Only Missouri was worse, with 88 percent of its schools falling short.

Wisconsin schools performed the best, with 11 percent missing the mark. In Maryland and Virginia, 45 percent and 62 percent, respectively, didn’t make adequate yearly progress.
The solution is clearly to dump a few more trillion into the annual education budget. {/sarcasm off}

And hand raises to the teachers that are failing to teach. More money will give them the incentive to start doing their job.

+Using the . . . “No Child Left Behind Law” . . . as a criteria for such a judgement . . . is to use an . . . **incredibly flawed and impractical law **. . . which by its very construction was doomed to fail . . . this law is logistically and financially so unrealistic as to be . . . **completely unsound **. . . in application of same as a foundation for any kind of discovery of truth upon which a sound judgment could be based regarding the state of our educational system in this country . . .

I headed up the extensive transcription team for our huge five state conference . . .* which was held on our large state university campus in this city* . . . to introduce this law and the practice of same to the principles, teachers, educators on all levels, U.S. and State senators and representatives, etc. . . . all of whom would be involved in the support, implementation and practice of education within this law’s parameters . . . We divided up the exploration and discussion groups re this new law by state . . . and my team members took and transcribed computerized careful minutes of each state’s meetings discussions . . . and the . . . glaring and irresolvable errors . . . incorporated into the law immediately surfaced for all to see . . . the simplistic concept behind the law is very idealistic and a quite marvelous idea . . . in theory . . . but the **actual law **result in the trying to execute this concept simply was and is not grounded in reality . . . either financially or logistically . . . for the widely varied environments in which our countries schools are located . . . the law’s weaknesses were incredible and immediately apparent to one and all . . .

Certainly our country’s public education system needs vast improvements . . . but this unsound impractical weak law was doomed to failure from the beginning lacking as it does a sound realistic understanding of the wide variety of differences between types of environments where our schools are located . . . from the poorest of the poor intercity schools . . . to middle class middle America schools . . . to rural environment schools . . . it just isn’t workable as written . . . it is founded on a pie in the sky fantasy . . . which simply isn’t grounded in the real life existent realities in this great country of ours . . .

[RIGHT]. . . all for Jesus+[/RIGHT]

Of course one has to ask why education is in any way the business of the federal government.

Not such good news if one lives in Mo, as I do. I would have thought it would have been better, because schools in my part of the state are well funded and “teach to the test”. But I can also guess at least one thing that has brought the state down. Pretty much the whole suburban KC area is now in Kansas, leaving the Missouri side in pretty rough shape. I remember, several years ago when a federal judge ordered KCMo and the state itself to massively fund the KC Mo school system in order to make up for the assumed effects of past segregation. They received more money than they could even spend, and the gold-plating was astonishing. It also increased the flow of people to the Kansas side, to escape the increased taxation and busing. But after years of draining the state and the district of money, the attempt was abandoned because it did not improve educational results.

Money, it seems is neither the problem nor the solution.

Also, I suspect (without really knowing) that the very high percentage of high performing students in private schools in both KC and St. Louis had something to do with it. If you take those two metro areas together, it’s a very large portion of the state’s population.

Most economic studies I have seen have shown little relationship between school spending and school outcomes.

I don’t doubt that. The local parochial schools cost about half/pupil to educate than do the public schools, but have better results. The public schools are very well financed and have all the geegaws and gimcracks. They do “teach to the tests” for NCLB, so the schools do pretty well with that. But the actual achievement level is abysmal, though grades do not reflect it because of grade inflation.

The local high school no longer has Valedictorian, Salutatorian because, the year they quit doing it, fully 1/5 of the graduating class had “perfect” transcripts, so there was no way to distinguish among them; a growing trend that had finally reached the point of absurdity.

I have two grandchildren in the local public high school because the nearest Catholic school is beyond daily driving distance. The only real educations they are getting are in interscholastic Speech and Debate (where you basically teach yourself through research and thought organization, if you want to excel at it) and, for the boy, JROTC, in which the military instructors require a lot and accept no slacking and no excuses. JROTC, in that particular school, teaches some academics as well as rigorous physical training, military science, field drill, etc. It, like Speech and Debate is essentially a school within a school.

JROTC, of course, like Speech and Debate, is a voluntary activity, and not too many participate in either because they’re demanding. In both, competition is strong and achievement is difficult, but recognized very straightforwardly. There is no “everybody wins” in either of them.

In Speech and Debate, at least, my grandchildren are put up against the best private school students in three states, and still win. It isn’t as if there is no talent out there in the public schools. Except in narrow areas, it just isn’t challenged to achieve real excellence.

The average per pupil cost for parochial school education is actually higher than the average per pupil cost for public school education. Its also difficult, if not impossible, to compare the academic performance of students from the two environments because they don’t operate under the same requirements. Public schools have to accept any and all students regardless of academic ability and are saddled with the academic rejects from parochial schools. Its easy to say that parochial schools have better academic results when academic excellence is a requirement to be there in the first place and their poor performers are booted into the public school system. In fact, I believe there are studies demonstrating that when private schools are forced to accept students regardless of academic performance, via voucher programs, the academic performance of those students does not improve and therefore drags down the academic results of private schools.

If public school students are proportionately poorer academic performers than their parochial counterparts: I don’t believe it has anything to do with teaching to the tests. All teachers can do is try to make the learning material fun and interesting and its up to the students and their parents to make the most of it. I think the issue has more to do with parents who don’t take an interest in or get involved with their children’s education and students determined not to learn anything.

I suppose it may differ from place to place. Where I live, parochial education costs about half per pupil as does public education. I have seen the numbers for both. I am not sure what the cost per pupil in the Christian schools is. Since the ones in this area do not demand much in the way of buildings and since teachers in them are sometimes unpaid volunteers, I suspect their costs are also lower than those of the public schools. But I would have to inquire to be certain.

Nor, where I live, do the parochial (or Christian) schools reject poor academic performers. The work with them diligently, which is something the public schools don’t do, despite their protestations that they do.

I’m sure a lot of this depends on what schools one is comparing. I am also reasonably confident that parochial schools which admit, say, inner city students on voucher programs do have lower averages than those that don’t. When you admit people on the low “cultural literacy” level, your averages cannot do anything but decline. But that doesn’t say anything about the excellence of the schools themselves or the achievement of those who came from home environments more conducive to learning. Nor does it tell anything about the ultimate achievement levels of those whose environments were not ideal. My son taught for a time in an Opus Dei school for kids in the South Bronx. Many could barely speak English and even those for whom English was their first language could not speak it anywhere near properly. So, of course, in the early grades, the achievement level was not very good. But those who stayed with the school excelled eventually because the school was so good. And it wasn’t a matter of money. It was a matter of dedication to a mission. My son’s “pay” was room and board.

I’m not saying teachers should not be paid. But what I am saying is that money, itself, does not ensure academic achievement. Not in public schools or private schools, either one.

“Teaching to the tests” is a common practice and is, perhaps, a valid criticism of NCLB.

I do not believe it is the proper job of teachers to make the learning material “fun”. That’s exactly what they are doing now, and it’s abysmal. The children are not there to have fun. They are there to learn. And does anybody really think algebra is “interesting” to a child who is not particularly talented at math? When I was in school, I sure wasn’t, but I had to do it, and I did, by sheer hard work. I learned what I learned and sometimes do use algebra in business. But it was never interesting for a minute in school. For some, it was. I surprised myself by being interested in physics, but hated every second of the trig I had to learn to do some of it.

I was, on the other hand, very interested in (good) literature and history, because of the content itself, not because of the way the teacher presented it. Some of my fellow students never became the slightest bit interested in either thing, precisely because the subject matter did not appeal to them. And I don’t believe any teacher could have made them “fun” or “interesting” to those students unless they just ignored really trying to teach altogether and made a stupid and useless game of it. But they had to learn it anyway.

I do not agree with the tendency to expect parents to fill the gaps teachers leave. Sure, some parents will do that, particularly if they are disgusted with the low expectations in public schools. But it really is not right for schools to dump their responsibility onto parents, the latter being an uncertain and inconsistent resource. If the schools expect parents to educate children in their stead, they are doomed to failure and aren’t doing the job for which they receive our tax dollars.

But I will agree that if parents of children in many of the public schools want their children to learn, the parents will have to take it upon themselves to teach, (assuming they have the ability) because so many of the schools do not.


Interesting video from Salman Khan. I like the idea of lecture at home and homework in class. I’ve been going through his web site and really like it. You can watch a video and then start answering questions, you have to get 10 right in a row or it starts you back over. Once you have moved through the subjects it will start highlighting older subjects for you to go back and answer a question as a refresher.

In the video, he talks about teaching to a test. The problem is the excellent students may ace the test while the average students may miss a crucial part that they may need in a future lesson.

Simply false.

Public schools fudge their numbers and split their budgets to hide how much they actually spend per pupil. Most public schools spend at least $15k per pupil. Most parochial schools are less than half that.

You have to ignore what they say they spend, and look to their complete budget.

+*In all charity and peace . . . *

You appear to be confusing “private” schools with “parochial” schools . . . for those of us in our area teaching in church schools . . . in fulfilling the required state continuing education for teachers . . . I can remember how startled we were . . . and the public school teachers were . . . in college and university classes . . . **and how profound and deep the discussions were **. . . when it was brought out by teachers in the expensive private schools 'round about us in our extensive vast city environment . . . (most of which schools had no active church affiliations) . . . that they simply . . . did not accept or keep . . . “problem” . . . or . . . “underachieving” . . . children in their schools . . . first as dedicated teachers of children we were considerably troubled because the ethics and morality of such arbitrary activities were highly questionable . . . and second because these classmate teachers of ours in those college and university classrooms . . . having had little to no experience in problem solving and motivating such children with difficulties to overcome and succeed in the academic environment . . . had little helpful to contribute in the practical pursuit of educational excellence and shepherding care of every child . . . whatever their abilities . . . entrusted to us from our Dear Lord’s hand in **His **schools . . . as well as the maintenance of a healthy collective class environment for same . . .

[RIGHT]. . . all for Jesus+
. . . Precious Lord guide, direct and provide healthy sound
teachers and teaching for all children who in their precious
childhood years are so infinitely precious in Thy sight+
. . . Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow+

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