In?their continuing drive to ratchet up learning standards, New York State's education leaders?are now sounding the alarm?about high school diplomas. According to a new study, done for NY's State Ed department, fewer than half the kids in the state holding a diploma are ready for college. ?In New York City, 23 percent of graduates (remember 40 percent don't even get that far) are college ready; in Rochester, it's just 5 percent.? Startling numbers.
?Some ethnic and racial groups fared worse than others,? says Barbara Martinez in the Wall Street Journal, ??While statewide the published graduation rate among black students is 62%, only 15% are considered college- and career-ready. In Syracuse, only 1% of Hispanic students graduated from high school at college- and career-ready level.?
This is what we get nearly three decades after being told our nation was ?at risk? because of its mediocre public education system??
Reports?Sharon Otterman* ?in the New York Times,
State and city education officials have known for years that graduating from a public high school does not indicate that a student is ready for college, and have been slowly moving to raise standards. But the political will to acknowledge openly the chasm between graduation requirements and college or job needs is new?.
Last October, Otterman, writing about the state's new efforts to toughen up its grade 3?8 tests, reported?that
[E]vidence had been mounting for some time that the state's tests, which have formed the basis of almost
?I'm not sure if Atlanta school board members were included in Rick Hess's latest survey of school boards, but if they were, let's hope they aren't representative.??
Atlanta has been embroiled in a school cheating scandal that has brought down its superintendent and caused the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to put the district on probation. (See my report from January 23 here).? A parent group formed (great name) -- Step up or Step Down ? with 740 members and 62,500 hits on its Facebook page in its first week of existence.? It told the board to get its act together:
Engage the public?. Close the loopholes in Board policy?. Seek expert executive guidance.
Whether the board sought it or not, Arne Duncan, in town for a speaking engagement at Morehouse College, weighed in anyway:
What you have now, frankly, is you have adults who I think have lost sight of why they're doing this work? It is what I call adult dysfunction.?
Adults?? School boards?? This could be a new concept.
--Peter Meyer, Bernard Lee Schwartz Policy Fellow
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About the Editor
Peter Meyer is an adjunct fellow with the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. Since 1991, Meyer has focused his attentions on education reform in the United States, an interest joined while writing a profile of education reformer E.D. Hirsch for Life. Meyer subsequently helped found a charter school, served on his local Board of Education (twice) and, for the last eight years, has been an editor at Education Next.
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