Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity


Posted at 5:00 AM ET, 12/20/2010

High remediation rates cast doubt on reforms

By Valerie Strauss

For a number of years now, we’ve heard how successful standardized testing dominated-reforms have been in places such as New York City and Florida.

New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein has been a leader of modern school reform over the past eight years, as is former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who began changing the state’s public education system in 1999 and who still has big influence there. In fact, Klein was influenced by Bush’s pro-choice, test-driven reform.

In both places standardized test scores were used to grade students, schools and now teachers. And in both places, officials pointed to a rise in those test scores as evidence of their success.

The bubble burst in New York City this year when it was discovered that the tests used to measure student progress had gotten increasingly easy to pass.

But now there’s another factor that raises questions about just what is going on New York City’s schools: the remediation rate in city community colleges.

Newly released figures show that nearly 75 percent of city high students entering City University community colleges could not pass placement exams in reading, math and writing this year, requiring remediation.

That’s up from 71 percent in 2009 but down from 2002, when 82 percent needed remediation, according to the New York Daily News.

So after eight years of Klein reforms, the remediation rate has gone from 82 percent to nearly 75 percent.

Not exactly a record to be proud of.

Down in Florida, the Florida Department of Education reports that 55% of all students entering Florida’s public post-secondary institutions require remediation in mathematics, reading, and/or writing. And that figure has remained steady for a number of years.

If the school reforms are as great as advertised, shouldn’t these remediation numbers be declining?

-0-

Follow my blog every day by bookmarking washingtonpost.com/answersheet. And for admissions advice, college news and links to campus papers, please check out our Higher Education page at washingtonpost.com/higher-ed Bookmark it!

By Valerie Strauss  | December 20, 2010; 5:00 AM ET
Categories:  Community Colleges, School turnarounds/reform  | Tags:  jeb bush, joel klein, new york city remediation rates, new york city schools, remediation rates, school reform  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: 'Burn and churn' among charter school principals
Next: Willingham: When teachers speak unwelcome truths about your child

Comments

Just more evidence that these test stats are all just a game. An elaborate shell game to convince the taxpayers that all that money funneled to friends in power actually results in a benefit to children.

Posted by: Nikki1231 | December 20, 2010 5:38 AM | Report abuse

I suspect that the tests are using standards that are below college requirements. If that is the case, then you would certainly see kids who had scored well on the K12 tests but still need remediation in college. BTW, I teach at a NY area college (not CUNY), so I definitely see the phenomenon.

Posted by: bkmny | December 20, 2010 5:57 AM | Report abuse

In California the number is a frightening 70% who require remediation! It's not just the reforms driving this number.
When I shared this statistic with one of my more astute students she responded with what I believe is part of the problem: "It's because you baby us." If you walked into a college lecture with no pencil and paper, you can't raise your hand and say, "I need pencil and paper." In too many schools you're expected to have these materials which only breeds a lack of responsibility in students. Please don't give me the, "But they're poor," argument, because these students spend enough on junk food and cell phones/iPods to have pencil and paper for their entire school career. Too many teachers today get the unwritten message that you can't 'fail' too many students, thus many end up passing students who haven't demonstrated competency in a subject. We deride 'drill and kill' and memorization yet fail to understand that Bloom's Taxonomy is a hierarchy; you cannot analyze and evaluate without first comprehending and using knowledge. Public school students don't know much, thus they can neither do much nor judge much.
Many teachers do wonderful things to 'differentiate instruction' and 'scaffold' the content to allow more students to access it, theoretically. When you get to college that differentiation and scaffolding disappear, and without it I suspect far too many students struggle initially.
One thing we must do at the secondary level is stop promoting socially. Yet to do this means school systems must agree upon a core of knowledge and skills at each grade all students must master, which would be challenging. No, you don't need 'standardized tests' to measure this knowledge, either; read Deborah Meir's book 'In Schools We Trust' to see how it can be done.
Let's not lay blame for this problem on the usual suspects; all of us must beat our chests and proclaim 'mea culpa.'

Posted by: pdexiii | December 20, 2010 7:01 AM | Report abuse

I have asked this before. When will high schools and both community colleges and standard four-year degree programs get together an iron out the wrinkles in this system? I know, I know...that makes sense so therefore...

The same with business. I worked for an organization that could not find qualified welders for government positions. I asked if the spoke to the local community college about specific curriculum and testing. No, was the response.

The other option is to "just say no." Don't pass the requirements, tell them to come back when there are better. Otherwise we will continue to pay to make them better.

Posted by: educ8er | December 20, 2010 7:23 AM | Report abuse

@educ8er: Exactly. That so little vertical communication occurs is unacceptable and hurts our students only.

Posted by: pdexiii | December 20, 2010 7:49 AM | Report abuse

Hold the phone. CUNY enrollment is way up - they are taking more kids than ever before. (See article cited below.)

Couldn't the "expanded pie" explain the slight uptick in kids needing remediation? The economy has played a role - more kids are choosing community college because they can't find jobs.

http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/bronx/2010/06/24/2010-06-24_cuny_gets_squeezed_by_record_admissions.html

Posted by: trace1 | December 20, 2010 8:07 AM | Report abuse

"If standardized test-driven school reform is so successful, why are college remediation rates still so high?" Because many of these "students' are NOT college material. In fact, many are lucky they passed their high school graduation exams (all written at an eighth or ninth grade level).

But all of a sudden there's a college out there for everyone. That's right, especially if the parents have an adequate to ample bank account that can afford the $30K-$50K per year for these so-called institutions of higher learning. Most of these "colleges" are, in fact, nothing more than glorified secondary schools bilking the public out of their life's savings.

Heck, if this were 1970 or 1980 a lot of these kids would never have even taken the SATs. But because it's 2010 everyone is being told they MUST have a college degree to make it in the twenty-first century global economy.

Never mind becoming an electrician, a plumber, a carpenter, beautician, auto mechanic, sheet metal worker, etc. They're all blue collar jobs and would you want your son or daughter seen in one of these occupations for life?

NONE of these jobs are in danger of being outsourced anytime soon and they're all well paid, most with union benefits.

Wake up America. Take a course in pragmatism instead of philosophy, art history, or psychology. Your child and your wallet will both be better off in the end.

Posted by: phoss1 | December 20, 2010 8:14 AM | Report abuse

Hopefully it is becoming increasingly obvious to the public that the testing culture is not improving educational achievement. The only improvement generated by these tests is the bottom line of testing companies, such as Pearson. In fact, all the money spent on testing is being taken away from other resources used to teach students--salaries for teachers/librarians/counselors, textbooks, etc.--private businesses are getting rich at the expense of our students. Once again, outside-generated reforms achieve the opposite of their stated goal, and make the situation worse, rather than better.

Posted by: pattipeg1 | December 20, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Look teachers are being kicked so hard right now, they don't know which way to turn. We need to fail these kids that don't want to do anything, but we can't. The parents, the administrators tell us no. If we do, we are out of a job in Texas, we do not have tenure, we teach year to year on contracts, and be fired for failing too many kids during the year. How do you inspire those who don't give a d#mn without some sort of punishment for their actions?
The state, the administrators only care right now if our kids pass the TAKS Tests. It is about 8th grade level to graduate and there are so many nit-wits put into the classes with the fairly good students that most of the time, we spend our 50 class minutes trying to get the nit-wits up to speed to pass the TAKS while other are ignored. Then we were told there was not enough "inclusion" in the State of Texas. This means that we'll have more special education kids put in the regular classes and they'll now be given the TAKS Test. Thus bringing our scores down.( and the media, the parents, the state will wonder why the scores have gone down.)
The sad part is that all these kids top and bottom are told they can go to college. So, now your local community college allows in Little Johnny who has the IQ of a worm and people wonder why they take remedial classes?
Why does everyone need college? Why is it now a disgrace to be a plumber, or welder, or work in a warehouse?
Come on politicians, use some common sense.

Posted by: ohiggins51 | December 20, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

When NYC administered tests that were over-inflated, schools refused to give academic intervention services to those that passed despite teacher recommendations. Klein also instituted "seat credit" as well as other insane ways to pass a student in high school. They did nothing to alleviate overcrowding and hence many students were not programmed into the classes they needed. This is all the result of a test-driven agenda.

Posted by: Schoolgal | December 20, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

It must be those pesky parents, not doing their share of the total education workload. And of course, poverty is getting worse, and the school buildings and security are declining.

Of course, teachers have nothing to do with the increase in needed remediation. It was due to all other factors, but not teachers.

Posted by: axolotl | December 20, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

It must be those pesky parents, not doing their share of the total education workload. And of course, poverty is getting worse, and the school buildings and security are declining. And then there are all the disciplinary problems, you know.

Of course, teachers have nothing to do with the increase in needed remediation. It was due to all other factors, but not teachers.

Posted by: axolotl | December 20, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

You can't have it both ways, Strauss. Here you argue against standardized tests. Elsewhere, you argue for more standardized texts to rate schools.

Rating schools using standardized data is unconscionable and a serious disservice to students and schools alike. Some schools are excellent for some students and terrible for others. It's about finding the right match for each student.

Posted by: pensaed | December 20, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Patti, testing itself has no bearing on education UNLESS tied back to learning. If testing is only assigning grades without remediation on where students need improvement, you are right. If testing is used for alignment what what was taught, intended, or misunderstood it can be extremely valuable.

Higgins, you are on top of the idea. Far too many colleges accept kids who should not be in college but the President, Congress, and the idiotic idea of "global" scares people into thinking they MUST get a degree. Saturating kids with the idea that college is the only way, then when tested can't qualify, cause kids to stop because they feel lost.

Forest had it right...Stupid is as Stupid does.

Posted by: educ8er | December 20, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Axoloti, you are among the chorus of "blame the teacher." It is not as simple as you think, it really isn't. Guess what some kids are well, not very bright. They can learn just so much. Yet, they are stuck in classes with kids who are college material.
If you are an expert, tell us what to do to change the bloated education administration that is spinning out of control in America. If you think you can do better, come teach school.

Posted by: ohiggins51 | December 20, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

I think that everyone who likes to have an opinion about education, especially government officials and reformers, should spend a day or two as substitute teachers. If you're not part of the solution, then you're part of the problem.

Posted by: stevendphoto | December 20, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for illuminating the remediation rates. Here in Seattle at the community colleges we're right in there with NYC. About half of all kids in our 46,000 student district fail to meet the state standards in math, science & language arts. However, only 10% flunk on their report cards. This phenomenon occurs across the board in all grades that test and get report cards.
I attribute the math and reading / writing problems to fuzzy curricula & instructional methodologies that fail to develop clear cut strategies for building mastery in discernible increments. Kids really never do master arithmetic or grammar because they are not required to. Additionally, in spite of NMAP 2008 recommendations, our district continues to use calculators and constructivist math (here in Seattle K-12) that really leaves the ELL, brown, and black kids behind while the whites and Asians beat a path to tutors and KUMON. When I asked Olympia's Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction why they have a test if it doesn't inform course corrections in education across the state, they said because the Feds require it. When I asked Seattle Public Schools why they give good grades to that other 40% who should be failing, they had no answer for me. I think it might be time to make high school 2 - 3 years, offer another 2 years for community college work, and transition the universities to upper division only.

Posted by: KateMartin | December 20, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

pensaed said,
"You can't have it both ways, Strauss. Here you argue against standardized tests. Elsewhere, you argue for more standardized texts to rate schools."

Don't worry, pensaed - Valerie Strauss doesn't argue for standardized tests to rate school - she argues against it. She is on our side.

Posted by: educationlover54 | December 20, 2010 5:44 PM | Report abuse

chiggins51: as a parent and taxpayer and sometime-activist citizen, I've done enough to support government programs and expenditures, including the employment of professional (right?) teachers to deliver public education. That is the system most of the country depends on, without having to prop up weak teachers or compensate for differences among students. I could have sworn that teachers were supposed to do that during classroom hours. The better ones can and do.

Frankly, if I were to devote more of my own time directly to the government, it would be to fix some of the parts and levels of government that do not get nearly the attention and funding of public education. It is a disgrace what we receive for high expenditures in public education in such cities as our Nation's Capital. And some of our teachers will take scant responsibility the results of the work they perform.

It is interesting you point to bloated "administration." 99 of a 100 parents, overseers, ed profs, and other experts would not name bloated admin as our top problem, compared to the uneven (I am being polite) quality of teachers. Be more observant and realistic, please.

Posted by: axolotl | December 20, 2010 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Axolotl,

Most parents are actually quite happy with their teachers, both in DCPS and overall in the US (probably moreso than I am honestly). You can look at the DCPS satisfaction survey for more details if you wish.

I agree that there are some poor teachers, just like there are poor anything.

However, I suspect that there is a pretty simple answer to the question of why remediation rates in college are up, specifically that more people are going to college, and as more marginal candidates attempt to go to college, a higher percentage will need remediation.

Posted by: Wyrm1 | December 20, 2010 8:06 PM | Report abuse

I taught undergraduate baby statistics. Many students simply did not know algebraic order. After drill and practice, 100% passed the unit exam. But, for the final, about 40% routinely forgot and reverted back to their old habits. The new knowledge was stored like a telephone number, quickly forgotten once the call was made. That explains how end-of-year tests can improve, but most still need remediation in community college courses. I never figured out how to solve this problem, and the educational system has not either, based on these stories.

Posted by: funfun881 | December 21, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Education is today like medicine at the beginning of the 20th century: good intentions but little benefits and lots of risks -- and it cost, too. Mandating better outcomes and lower risks would result in little change no matter how long and hard physicians worked. Science and technology has transformed medicine, and largely for the good. Science and technology can do the same for education. Extant research provides an indication of the transformative changes that are possible now if we put these research findings into policy and practice with fidelity to the science findings.

The record is strong and consistent. Interventions to help students usually give little or no boost in educational achievement, and if there is a modest boost, it does not endure. This is not to say that interventions can not be effective, only that, with one notable exception, large and enduring boosts in educational achievement are yet to be demonstrated and replicated in rigorous evaluations. We need a National Institute of Education with a research budget commensurate with the need (enormous) and the science with the rigor of a National Institute of Health institute.

The one exception to the dismal outcomes for interventions comes from National Institute of Health funded research. This research found that the amount of verbal interactions with little ones correlated highly with the vocabulary that the little ones acquired. And vocabulary correlates better than .9 with verbal IQ. The intervention: in home visiting with children of disadvantaged parents -- who often do not provide a verbally rich environment -- from 8 mos. to 3 years in order to immerse the little ones in words. The results with transformative and enduring: At 4th grade, average IQs of 100 and educational achievement at 4th grade. Think of the opportunities opened up for these children, the reduced delinquency and teen parenting, and the magnified contribution that they can make to their communities and our country. The implication of this research is clear: Intervene early, intervene intensely, intervene with fidelity to the research.

(Incidentally, other research has found that when there is home visitation there is almost no child neglect or abuse.

(And, if one interacts extensively with little ones, it is almost impossible not to provide rationales for actions, thus usually developing a moral child.)

How to pay for such an intensive intervention? Quit buying Yugos. Reallocate funds from the many interventions that don't work to what science shows can produce transformative results.

Another example. Sleep research has compelling found that adolescents usually get sleepy later and need more sleep. Adjust the start time for school. What should that time be? Adolescent gets sleepy at 11. Adolescents needs 9 hrs. sleep. That means, awakening at 8. Start school around 9:30. When the start time is moved back, grades and test scores jump up meaningfully.

Posted by: jimb | December 21, 2010 6:15 PM | Report abuse

You should look into the question of the remediation rate at Montgomery College. You might be surprised at how many MCPS graduates require remedial courses.

Posted by: mwd43 | December 22, 2010 12:14 AM | Report abuse

I am not a big fan of standardized tests, but these stats are much to go on. They might make for the beginning of an inquiry, but they aren't sufficient evidence to draw any conclusions from. All kinds of factors might be at play - including who is going to college and the standards the colleges are using. If colleges dropped their standards would that prove the high schools are doing a better job?

Posted by: mike_midwest | December 22, 2010 12:37 AM | Report abuse

Former governor Jeb Bush was Florida's worst governor - just like his brother was America's worse president, although Obama is rapidly catching up with him.

People universally hate Flor-duh's standardized test - the FCAT. Every decision made at a school in Florida is designed to boost test scorces. Arts, music and physical education have fallen by the way side. They don't boost test scores.

Posted by: alance | December 22, 2010 6:09 AM | Report abuse

"If standardized test-driven school reform is so successful, why are college remediation rates still so high?" Because many of these "students' are NOT college material. In fact, many are lucky they passed their high school graduation exams (all written at an eighth or ninth grade level).

But all of a sudden there's a college out there for everyone. That's right, especially if the parents have an adequate to ample bank account that can afford the $30K-$50K per year for these so-called institutions of higher learning. Most of these "colleges" are, in fact, nothing more than glorified secondary schools bilking the public out of their life's savings.

Heck, if this were 1970 or 1980 a lot of these kids would never have even taken the SATs. But because it's 2010 everyone is being told they MUST have a college degree to make it in the twenty-first century global economy.

Never mind becoming an electrician, a plumber, a carpenter, beautician, auto mechanic, sheet metal worker, etc. They're all blue collar jobs and would you want your son or daughter seen in one of these occupations for life?

NONE of these jobs are in danger of being outsourced anytime soon and they're all well paid, most with union benefits.

Wake up America. Take a course in pragmatism instead of philosophy, art history, or psychology. Your child and your wallet will both be better off in the end.

Posted by: phoss1 | December 20, 2010 8:14 AM | Report abuse
______

I agree college may not be for everyone.

The reality is students who graduate from high school don't have the basic math, reading,and English skills.

Regardless if someone works a blue collar or white collar job; they should be able to read at a 12th grade level by the time they graduate from high school. They should be able to do basic arithmetic and algebra.

What is really sad is over 40%-60%(depends on who quotes the stats) of adults in the US are functionally illiterate.

People wonder why crime is so high and so many people are on welfare. There is a direct correlation with illiteracy and crime/poverty.

What is sad is that DC area is home to 5 of the wealthiest counties(some of the best school systems), but each of the wealthy counties have rates in the double digits.

What is going in the school systems in the U.S.???

Posted by: redskinsgirl | December 22, 2010 8:21 AM | Report abuse

Its hard to continue to throw money at the school systems with little or no results but this article does not address the fact that these kids are being told by the government and their parents they have to have a college education whether or not they are actually college material, whatever happened to trade schools where the future plumbers, electricians, mechanics, carpenters all came from. This side of our education system has been sadly misplaced in our push to get everyone into college and have you noticed every college in the country raised tution rates each and every year???? regardless of the inflation rates or the economy your local college will raise their rates each and every year because they get more and more federal dollars for each student thru the pell grant program and a multitude of other government mandated loan programs.

Posted by: ren51 | December 22, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Read "How Public Educators Cheat on Standardized Achievement Tests: The 'Lake Wobegon' Report" by Dr. Cannell. He is a physician who became interested in school testing after treating a young girl with above average IQ and well below average reading and math performance - as tested by a psychotherapist. Yet, her school standardized test performance was slightly "above the national norm." One thing led to another, and soon he became an education activist working for improvements through "accountability." There he learned that school administrators routine studied achievements tests to "align the curriculum" with the test questions. Unlike currently tested students, the norm group took the test "cold" - without having their curriculum aligned with the test.

Cannell then decided to survey all 50 states to see if any were testing below the publisher's "national norm." He could not find one state below average! After obtaining results from more than 3,500 school districts, he concluded that 70% of American school children, 90% of American school districts, and all 50 states were testing above the "national norm" on commercial norm-referenced achievement tests - an impossibility.

Posted by: Arizona70 | December 22, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

"High Remediation Rates Cast Doubt on Reforms" Huh?

This article should be renamed "High Remediation Rates Linked to Record Numbers of Students Attending Community College"

A simple Google search shows that CUNY is bursting at the seams and last year, it had the highest enrollment ever. A lot of these kids probably would have gone straight to the workforce in a different time and different economy.

Yes, there are problems with standardized testing. But please, let's have a civil debate and let's not leave out pertinent information in order to support our own agendas.

Posted by: trace1 | December 22, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

"High Remediation Rates Cast Doubt on Reforms" Huh?

This article should be renamed "High Remediation Rates Linked to Record Numbers of Students Attending Community College"

A simple Google search shows that CUNY is bursting at the seams and last year, it had the highest enrollment ever. A lot of these kids probably would have gone straight to the workforce in a different time and different economy.

Yes, there are problems with standardized testing. But please, let's have a civil debate and let's not leave out pertinent information in order to support our own agendas.

Posted by: trace1 | December 22, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

@phoss1

NONE of these jobs are in danger of being outsourced anytime soon and they're all well paid, most with union benefits.
-----------------------------------------
Excellent post. I agree with most of your points. But I don't know if there are really a lot of jobs in those areas. I'm living in Vegas and my roomates' boyfriend is a sheet metal worker. He's having a really difficult time finding work. It's very on and off again. He's really depressed too. Help him out, people. Also, my haircutter is having problems getting enough work too. This place is depressing.

Posted by: Playitagainsam | December 22, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

So, what do the school-reform skeptics suggest instead? These findings are troubling, I agree. But what is the alternative to trying to fix the shools? More of the same of what got the schools into this mess? Modest improvement is better than none. The problem seems to be that there is still disagreement about whom the school system exists to serve. To me, that answer is easy. It exists for the children. It does NOT exist for the teachers or administrators. Bad teachers should find work elsewhere. Children's futures should not suffer for the sake of a bad teacher's job security. The SOLE criterion of any school policy should be whether it is in the best interests of the children. Not teachers. Not administrators. Not the union. But the strident tone and barely concealed glee at this disturbing news suggests some really don't care about children's education, but rather care most about job security for bad teachers and inefficient administrators.

Posted by: ConcernedDCparent | December 22, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Too many believe that the problem with schools revolves around the unions and the inability to fire poor teachers. Some yearn for the three "R"'s; however I believe they miss the most important point.

The three "R"'s were extremely useful when the rate of change of knowledge remained fairly static. However, the rate of change of knowledge has been accelerating exponentially. The need of education today is not going to be met by pedagogical techniques; it requires the approach of andragogy--that of teaching students how to learn. The reason for high remediation needs points to the fact that learning did not actually take place, even though performance on the tets suggested it did. No single text book can teach all the learning necessary, and no single test can truly measure the extent of learning that has taken place, on a particular topic.

It is our approach to learning that must be revised, and our teaching/learning methods must consider the many distractions that the young are experiencing today which impair the ability to learn.

Posted by: CalP | December 22, 2010 6:40 PM | Report abuse

First, a high percentage of American youth has NEVER performed well in school. Long ago, most received virtually no education. In the middle term, most struggled to get a high school diploma.

Second, today's culture is largely one of grossly obese, couch potatoes - unfit to do anything...and unwilling, unable, and therefore most unlikely to change.

Third, race is fundamental to the issue. Blacks and, to a lesser extent, Hispanics are not educable to the same standards as whites and Asians. Make the same demands on all and this will become painfully obvious...and politically unacceptable.

Posted by: lifeguardlarry | December 22, 2010 6:45 PM | Report abuse

@lifeguardlarry

1) If blacks and hispanics were inferior to whites as you suggest then how is it that African immigrants to the United States hold a college diploma at nearly double the rate of white Americans and according to the US Census are more highly educated than ANY other immigrant group?

If what you say were true then there could not be a hispanic woman on the supreme court, or a black man who is currently the head of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins (Ben Carson). A black man could not have brokered the peace deal that created Israel in 1948 (Ralph Bunche), or performed the first successful open heart surgery where the patient didn't die (Daniel Hale Williams).

Furthermore, while you witness the achievements of asians who have immigrated to the US there are hundreds of millions in asia who are in the same situation as poor blacks and hispanics in this country. And there are millions of poor whites who are also not academic achievers. Immigrants tend to be the cream of the crop regardless of the group. The percentages may not be equal between native born blacks and whites but neither has the percentage of access to opportunities i.e. tutoring, social contacts, generations of literate adults surrounding them, etc.

2) There is no need to reinvent the wheel. If one were to adopt the educational materials and resources that were used in the one-room schoolhouses of the late 19th century, they would find that students were held to much higher standards that included critical thinking skills, mental math, geography, etc., which today's students are rarely challenged to do. Go to an old bookstore and read some of the antique textbooks "readers." It will amaze you how little all of us here truly were taught in comparison. But I bet they are still held to high standards at the private boarding schools who are not chained to tests. It's not the same standards because it's not meant to be. A certain segment of the population is being set up to remain dumb while simultaneously being told it's their own fault. In that way the continued move towards a nation of feudalism with haves who run the show and have nots who are led by the nose to focus on race instead of class can continue unabated.

Posted by: pricky | December 23, 2010 12:13 AM | Report abuse

@pricky

No matter how you (reasonably) measure intellectual ability and achievement blacks and Latins have significantly lower mean scores than whites and Asians, in America and around the world,...which means that they have far fewer (not none, as you suggest) high achievers.

Also, contrary to your conspiratorial claims, great efforts and large sums of money have been spent over the last 40 years trying to close various achievement and ability gaps. To no avail.

Posted by: lifeguardlarry | December 23, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

@lifeguardlarry

Large sums of money have been spent to do nothing more than enrich the pockets of standardized test companies, textbook companies and private/charter school companies. Have you ever truly looked at a line item list of the expenditures for a school district and tried to connect the dots to figure out how it benefits the student? Furthermore, please show me the tests of which you speak that controlled for such things as wealth, parental education, prep courses, social contacts, etc. It is quite easy to compare apples to oranges and then say see! They're all genetically stupid. Also, tests are funded by various companies and organizations that have certain dogmas and agendas that they espouse and attempt to utilize tests the way politicians use polls. I have not seen a test with the accompanying full sheet of socioeconomic backgrounds for the test takers that is truly equal. And those who create the tests are not exactly akin to the makeup of the UN or the International Olympic Committee, which could allow for unintended cultural bias to seep in. The latest international test results from the Program for International Student Assessment did not even include Latin American or African countries in their testing schedule, so how can they even be compared? Lastly, the Wapo article about test scores even admits that tests do not measure learning ability. Read it here for your own edification.

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/answer-sheet/guest-bloggers/test-scores-cant-prove-whether.html

Posted by: pricky | December 23, 2010 11:53 PM | Report abuse

@lifeguardlarry

Oh, and you may be interested in knowing that hispanic is not a race, it is an ethnicity. There are hispanics of every hue and background, white, indigenous, black, multi-racial, etc. So, which hispanics would you consider of an inferior genetic makeup? Would that be the ones with just a drop of indigenous or African blood or more than a drop? How would you know which were which without a full dna test done on all of them? And By George what would you do with the Europeans who have African blood in their ancestry since that is where humankind began and since African moors single-handedly contributed to the evolution of darker skinned Italians and Spanish that you see in the southern parts of those countries since they once ruled them.

Posted by: pricky | December 24, 2010 12:00 AM | Report abuse

Hispanics, for the purposes of this discussion, are almost entirely immigrants from Mexico and Central America. Mestizos.

Ethnicity is often used as a near synonym for race. These terms are not exact, since people have been migrating and mixing throughout human history. But they are not devoid of meaning. Groups have been isolated for very long periods of time and thus have developed different characteristics, some of which are genetic, some of which are cultural. All societies are conscious of these differences. That consciousness is certainly evident in all Spanish speaking societies.

Testing for the strength and meaning of these differences did not begin yesterday, or last year, or ten years ago. Nor are all the testers biased bigots as you portray. You did not invent the term "socioeconomic" or the variables which characterize it (some of which you name). Virtually all testers, and there have been hundreds, have tried to control for them. Use google to find them.

Posted by: lifeguardlarry | December 24, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.




characters remaining

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company