In 1983, a commission appointed by President Ronald Reagan released its “A Nation At Risk” report which warned that “the educational foundation of our society are presently eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity.”
Sadly, a new national education progress report released today finds that mediocrity would now be a vast improvement.
You’ve probably heard by now the headline that reading and math scores fell in EVERY state in the country last year.
You’ve probably heard that math scores plummeted by the largest margins in the history of the NAEP test, which began in 1969.
You’ve probably heard that almost four of 10 eighth graders cannot perform even the most basic math problems.
You’ve probably heard that the drop in reading and math scores was most severe for blacks and Hispanics – which portends even wider racial gaps in earnings in the future.
You’ve probably heard that inner-city schools in places like Baltimore and Cleveland suffered the biggest drop in performance.
Even in the age of amazing learning tools like computers, and the internet, and even though real spending per child in public schools has more than doubled over the past forty years, educational achievement is now lower today than in the 1970s.
It’s hard to imagine that any foreign enemy could do as much damage to America as the teacher unions and the public education blob in Washington and state capitals have done to endanger the future of our country.
We are infuriated by the blasé reaction of the “educators” who are responsible for this dumbing down of America. There has been no apology to parents and the kids from the unions or the school boards for this epic failure of what is now a one trillion-dollar industry.
The feeble response from the education bureaucrats is “the pandemic really hit us hard,” as Eric Gordon, the executive of the Cleveland Public Schools put it.
Wrong. For the thousandth time: these lousy test scores are not a result of the pandemic. It was the teacher unions and the politicians who shut down our schools for a year or more – even though we knew that kids were not in danger. Test scores have been falling for many years BEFORE the virus.
The head of the public schools in New Mexico, one of the states with the worst results, responded by saying we are going to have to “pay teachers more.” WHAT? To pretend that this problem will be solved by dumping more money into a rotten school system with too many rotten teachers is a dangerous fantasy that will only perpetuate the crisis.
When will our politicians – and voters – wake up to the reality that the highest national priority of our time is NOT climate change? It is our tragic public education system that is cheating yet another generation of children as they prepare for life. This should have been fixed 25 years ago. It’s so disarmingly simple. Let every parent have the financial resources to send their kids to a good or great school – public, private, religious, home schools, pod schools, technical schools, whatever works. This can’t wait another day.