13 February 2008

What is progress for USA students?

The US Department of Education released a new report: Mapping America's Educational Progress 2008. I learned a few things reading it. My big question ... How come we settle for less when it comes to the results of educating our future leaders of the world?

One example comes to mind, the Super Bowl. Millions of dollars spent to produce a game making the owners of the team and their association tons of money. A nation attention on a sport that is played by a few... leaving youg students in their impressionable years longing to be like their sport stars/heros. Yet, what does this support contribute to education of K-12 students? Again, I want to raise the flag for FIRST, which is an organization dedicated to student education that promotes student competitions using real life applications in science and math PLUS technology: robotics. Check them out at their web site.

Here are some facts from that new education report, which in me stirs up an keener interest in focusing more on national education than national sports.... with those millions of dollars. Am I over simplifying things again?

1. It's now six years after No Child Left Behind's (NCLB) passage – and midway to the nation's goal of having students on grade level or better in reading and math by 2014 – we have collected more data than ever before about the academic performance of our students and schools. This information enables charting of individual states and the nation to map a course of action for future progress.

2. There are 49,676,000 K-12 students in 2005-06
3. There are 98,980 K-12 schools
4. he number of schools making Adequate Yearly Progress is 70%
5. Money spent on NCLB in 2007 was $21,786,000,000
6. Number of 8th graders in Reading at Proficient level is 29%
7. Number of 8th graders in Math at Proficient level is 32%

Wait, the taxpayers spent 21 billion dollars to fund NCLB in 2007. What did we get back on that investment?

The fact is, a whooping 75%+ of students ARE NOT proficient at reading and math in the 8th grade ... so how do we expect them to be ready in high school to dig and be successful at college prep studies .... so we can have universities producing those engineers and professionals our society desperately needs?

Do you have any ideas on the fix?

Read the report
- Mapping educational progress state by state in 2008

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