Friday, March 03, 2006
WEIRD AND WACKY
BARELY HALF CAN READ
WELL ENOUGH FOR A COLLEGE INTRO CLASS?
You know, I harp on this: kids aren’t reading up to snuff, and it’s because the public schools aren’t teaching reading right in the early grades. But educators don’t care. Why should they? They don’t get in any trouble whatsoever. Good grief: isn’t it time we gave them some – grief – to turn this abomination around?
According to the ACT, 51% of the students who took the ACT last year had the reading skills necessary to succeed in first-year college classes or a job-training program. That’s the lowest proportion in a decade. And that’s just the kids who took the ACT – the college-bound population. It doesn’t even count the sizeable number of kids who didn’t even take it.
See for yourself on:
What’s that the Cowardly Lion used to sing? “’F’I were king of the forrrrrrrrrest. . .” I’d sure as heck do some loud roaring about this. I’d probably fire a few educators . . . and send them to the Wizard for new brains AND new hearts.
IF THERE’S BEEN ‘BLACK FLIGHT’ OUT OF MINNEAPOLIS,
CAN IT BE FAR BEHIND IN OMAHA?
(Here’s the start of a Wall Street Journal article published Thursday by a Minneapolis Star Tribune columnist. Inner-city black kids in Minneapolis were in the same boat as those in the Omaha Public Schools, with low test scores and a 50% graduation rate. The difference is, they could escape to the many good charter schools available there; Nebraska does not allow charter schools and very few private-school options. Could we possibly have a more politically powerful and stifling teachers’ union than Minneapolis, a state that’s far more liberal in policies and spending? But yes, unionism is the apparent reason for Nebraska’s lack of school choice. Sigh. Later in the story, a black leader says that if the public schools don’t clean up their act in the inner city, they’re going to be like dinosaurs in a museum – dead! Hmm. I wonder what an “OPSaurus” would look like.)
MINNEAPOLIS--Something momentous is happening here in the home of prairie populism: black flight. African-American families from the poorest neighborhoods are rapidly abandoning the district public schools, going to charter schools, and taking advantage of open enrollment at suburban public schools. Today, just around half of students who live in the city attend its district public schools.
As a result, Minneapolis schools are losing both raw numbers of students and "market share." In 1999-2000, district enrollment was about 48,000; this year, it's about 38,600. Enrollment projections predict only 33,400 in 2008. A decline in the number of families moving into the district accounts for part of the loss, as does the relocation of some minority families to inner-ring suburbs. Nevertheless, enrollments are relatively stable in the leafy, well-to-do enclave of southwest Minneapolis and the city's white ethnic northeast. But in 2003-04, black enrollment was down 7.8%, or 1,565 students. In 2004-05, black enrollment dropped another 6%.
Black parents have good reasons to look elsewhere. Last year, only 28% of black eighth-graders in the Minneapolis public schools passed the state's basic skills math test; 47% passed the reading test. The black graduation rate hovers around 50%, and the district's racial achievement gap remains distressingly wide. Louis King, a black leader who served on the Minneapolis School Board from 1996 to 2000, puts it bluntly: "Today, I can't recommend in good conscience that an African-American family send their children to the Minneapolis public schools. The facts are irrefutable: These schools are not preparing our children to compete in the world." Mr. King's advice? "The best way to get attention is not to protest, but to shop somewhere else."
COLORADO ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGH,
OR TWO NEW TEACHING LOWS?
You be the school-board member: if teachers in your district said these things to children in the classrooms your voters and taxpayers provide, would you think it was great, or fire them on the spot? These are two separate incidents. The first link is a news story about a teacher’s in-class lecture and the second link is a recording of that lecture. The third link is about another Colorado classroom incident.
NEVADA MAN GAMBLES
THAT HE’S NOT THE ONLY ONE
SICK OF EVOLUTION PROPAGANDA
A Nevada man is putting together a petition drive that could make it illegal in that state to teach kids that evolution is fact. A constitutional amendment would require teachers to point out that there’s a controversy over how life began and how it developed:
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