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Sunday, September 18, 2011

SAT Scores Hit A New Low .... So What's New?

In case you've been off the planet, the SAT scores for the 2011 graduating class achieved a trifecta this year. Reading, writing and math all declined from the prior year results.

Setting historical records, reading and writing hit all time lows. Wow!

SAT Reading, Writing Scores Hit Low reports that 43% of high school students taking the test are ready to do college work. Earlier ACT scores stated that only 25% of those tested were prepared to do college work. See also Average Scores Slip on SAT.

Whatever the correct percentage may be, it's a continuing and very sad story and saga for American students and their families. Taxpayers and other interested citizens, too.

Quoting from the article, "At the precise time the importance of a college degree is increasing, the ability of the U.S. to compete in a global economy is decreasing," said Jim Montoya, vice president of the College Board. "We, as a nation, have to do a better job preparing our kids for college."

Using common sense, it would be eminently reasonable to assume that a radical overhaul of our K-12 government controlled public education system should take place asap or even sooner.

But since the government and the teachers unions run the schools, and we the people are willing to passively sit on the sidelines, this miserable performance is now not only pretty much accepted but also widely expected.

And that's not all. In addition to the overall horrible test results, the costs for government run schooling go up each year. Still, vouchers aren't being considered as a viable option due to the powerful influence of government officials and teachers unions. And lest I forget, the Democratic party, too.

In looking for a solution to the problem of poor test score results, let's try a thought experiment based on the evidence: (1) one reasonable hypothesis would be that more national or state government control (beyond the local level) yields poorer student outcomes; and (2) another would be that the more money spent as specified by the government and in the manner in which it is currently spent, combine to yield poor test results.

Both of the above hypotheses make sense to me, and I believe they are based on the available facts, as well as common sense, too. In any event, something new should be tried, since our ability to compete as a nation is now under serious challenge.

What do we have to lose by trying something new? Even if we're wrong, how much worse can it get? Not much downside, I would argue.

But admittedly, I'm NOT any of the following; an official of any governmental body, a school administrator, or a teachers union official.

So what could I possibly know, being just a taxpayer, parent and grandparent? Not much, I guess.

We could sure use a "civilly disobedient" Henry David Thoreau about now.

Thanks. Bob.

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