By Bill Korach www.thereportcard.org
The Education Establishment refers to the long-term administrators, teacher’s unions and tenure system in K-12 public schools and higher education that has been eating away at America for the past 60 years. Declines in America’s academic accomplishments in K-12 can be directly traced to the founding of the teacher’s unions and the U.S. Department of Education in 1978. The nearby Cato institute chart illustrates that the only thing increasing in education is spending. Reading, science and math scores are flat or declining.
Academically, America is falling further and further behind the developed world while at the same time, spending more per pupil than any country on the face of the earth. Since 1998, the Program for International Student Assessment, or Pisa, has ranked 15-year-olds around the world on common reading, math and science tests. The U.S. has been stuck in the middle since Pisa was started in the early 2000’s among 65 education systems that make up fourth-fifths of the global economy. The triennial Pisa report also shows—again—that East Asian countries like Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea produce the best outcomes.
U.S. performance hasn’t budged in a decade. For 2012, U.S. students placed 26th in mathematics, a bit below the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development average, and 17th in reading and 21st in science, close to the average. The U.S. slipped in all categories compared to international competitors, plunging from 11th in reading as recently as 2009.
American teenagers seem especially weak in core academic subjects with high cognitive demands, such as translating concepts into solutions for real-world problems. A quarter never become proficient in math. In Shanghai and Korea, the comparable figure is 10% or fewer. Some 7% of U.S. students reached the top two scientific performance levels, compared with 17% in Finland and an amazing 27% in Shanghai. Is it tiger moms or tiger schools, or maybe both?
The U.S. is way out front in one measure: per-student spending. Despite laying out $115,000 per head, the U.S. did no better than the Slovak Republic, which spends $53,000.
According to the Department of Education’s NAEP survey, 89% of high school seniors are not proficient in American History. In many inner-city schools, reading and math proficiency is as low as 6% at the middle and high school level.
Will Fitzhugh, writing in The Concord Review says
High schools are failing to teach students how to write. As a result of this failure, businesses must spend their money to teach employees what they should have learned in high school. The $3 Billion dollars could have been used to hire more employee, or give productive employees raises. Instead business have been forced to do a fundamental job that high schools failed. These estimated figures were reported by the College Board’s
National Commission on Writing in the Schools, working with the Business Roundtable, which surveyed member companies…
Annual Cost of training new salaried employees in writing: $104,860,000
Annual Cost of training new hourly employees in writing: $98,670,000
Annual Cost of training current salaried employees in writing: $1,362,104,758
Annual Cost of training current hourly employees in writing: $1,525,308,436
Grand Total: $3,090,943,194 annually
That is 3 Billion + dollars each year in remedial writing instruction.
Here are some of the reason why schools are failing to do a good job of teaching reading and writing:
The failure is no more pronounced than it is in poor, and minority communities. Often the educational establishment blame poverty for their failure to teach. Joel Klein points out in his Wall Street Journal Op-Ed, that Charter Schools in New York are outperforming traditional public schools by big numbers. Success Academies, a charter group whose students are 100% minority and 75% poor, outperformed the state as a whole by 30% in math and reading. Without burdensome unions and an unaccountable bureaucracy, schools can and do work!)
Eva Moscowitz, who heads up the Success Academy, stated in the “Wall Street Journal:”
“As she reminds every audience, the 6,700 students at her 22 Success Academy Charter Schools are overwhelmingly from poor, minority families and scored in the top 1% in math and top 7% in English on the most recent state test. Four in five charters in the city outperformed comparable schools.
“We think one of the sins of American education is intellectually underestimating children,” she says. “It’s so much more engaging for kids when they’re challenged.” Her other complaint about many traditional schools: “It’s incredibly boring.” While those public schools don’t have her flexibility to design a curriculum and hire and fire teachers, “engagement doesn’t cost any money. It can be done tomorrow if the adults decide that boredom is not acceptable and you embrace a curriculum that’s interesting and rigorous.”
Many states do not prepare their high school students wanting a college degree. Only 38 percent of Nevada graduates met the college readiness benchmark for English; 27 percent for reading; 21 percent for math; and 19 percent for science.
“Obviously, we have a lot of work to do,” said Mike Barton, chief academic officer for the Clark County School District.
The state made it mandatory for all 11th-graders to take the ACT starting in 2016 — a move that education officials have blamed on the dip in ACT scores. Nevada’s average composite score in 2015 was 21.
Education is failing America morally by failing to teach students citizenship, our fundamental documents such as the Constitution and a fundamental respect for that foundation of learning, the First Amendment. Instead K-12 is busy indoctrinating students on LGBT matters, and established unisex bathrooms and lockers. School administrators seem intent on re-writing history textbooks, and minimizing or entirely redacting our well-documented Judeo-Christian Heritage. In Florida alone, Citizens for National Security has issued a report documenting 26 Islamic-Biased textbooks. One textbook, World History, Pearson 2013 has 3 paragraphs on Judaism, 4 paragraphs on Christianity and 32 pages-a full chapter on Islam. That chapter incorrectly states that Islam was spread peacefully, when in fact it was spread by violence and bloodshed.
In higher education over 450 college have speech codes generally prohibiting conservative thought. Many programs have so-called studies courses such as “black studies, women’s studies, native American studies” that focus on the cult of victimhood. The search for campus Racists has become the modern-day witch hunt with accusations of racism being bandied about like golf balls on a driving range. One will read in vain for any textbook or instructor who has anything good to say about America. High school administrators have become so bereft of common sense, that they have been persuaded to allow Satan Clubs to co-exist beside Bible Clubs. A high school coach was recently fired for praying alone on the football field.
Not only is patriotism unfashionable on campus or at the K-12 level, but America is now depicted as the problem in the world, and no longer the shining city upon a hill. The new SAT Advance Placement US History (APUSH) framework prepared by David Coleman author of the Common Core Standard was so anti-American. It was attacked by scholars and AP Instructors and had to be revised. Capitalism, free speech, American exceptionalism and patriotism were all denigrated in a sweeping anti-American indictment. Avowed Communist, Howard Zinn wrote “A People’s History of the United States” a 1000-page screed that trashes America from cover to cover. Zinn was quoted as saying “The world would have been better off if America never existed.” Some believe there are 1 million of these books in American schools even though People’s History is not considered a textbook.
Conservative speakers and even Republican elected officials are banned on campus and nearly have of college students says it’s ok to shout down speech they don’t like.
According to a study by the National Association of Scholars, leftist professors of history and the social sciences who oppose free speech outnumber moderates by a factor of 15-1. Conservatives educators simple cannot get work, and if they do, they cannot get tenure. Students have become so indoctrinated against traditional American values that they overwhelmingly support leftist/socialist thought. The map illustrates that if the 2016 presidential election were decided based upon 18-25 year old voters, Hillary Clinton would be president with 504 electoral votes with 23 for Trump.
There should be any astonishment at the facts of media bias against conservative thought, at NFL players who disrespect the flag and the National Anthem, or college students and even faculty that want to shut down freedom of expression. They have learned all of this from the education establishment.
What Can Be Done?
There are some great examples to be followed at the K-12 level and in higher education. The charter movement has seen the growth of the classical model that has out-performed run of the mill public schools by a factor of 30%. In New York, Success Charter schools are driving student to 90% reading and math proficiency while the public schools are the reverse. Clearly school choice in the form of charters and school vouchers that allow parents to use that public school money for private education should be broadened.
K-12 standards and accompanying textbooks need to be improved and implemented outside of the K-12 school establishment. An independent board of schools should be empaneled.
Model schools should be built on what works best, not a rehash of failure factories. American exceptionalism and patriotism need to be encouraged. America is a great country and whose institutions have offered more liberty, economic success and freedom that any county in the history of the word. American history deserves reverence and respect.
State universities that stifle free speech do not deserve funds from public coffers. They should be defunded. Private universities that stifle freedom of expression deserve public rebuke and loss of any Federal research grants. Teacher and professorial hiring needs to reflect true diversity: of thought and expression. It is time to restore American education to its former greatness.