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The Myth of the Education Crisis

The Myth of the Education Crisis
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Everyone knows that our public school system is a mess, far worse than it’s ever been. Teachers’ unions, more than any other factor, stand in the way of making progress toward a brighter future, where graduation rates are up, test scores stop falling, and we restore our education system to its former greatness. If we only convert the current public schools into charter schools, we can achieve this goal.

Everyone knows this.

Everyone is wrong.

Despite being underfunded, undervalued and vilified, America’s teachers are by any measure doing a better job today than they ever have before. Graduation rates are up. Test scores are, too. American students graduate from high school with better education than they ever have in our nation’s history.

You probably haven’t heard this. You’ve heard about failing schools and burnt-out teachers. You’ve heard Michelle Rhee tout her experience in Washington, D.C., arguing that college students with no education training make better teachers than 20-year veterans. You’ve heard that teachers are just greedy and don’t care about whether kids succeed or fail.

With the Chicago teachers’ union striking for the first time in a quarter-century, these stories — told by Democrats and Republicans alike — are circulating once again. Indeed, so pernicious are the tales that you probably doubt everything I’ve written so far. We all know our schools are failing us. We hear this tale every day.

The numbers tell a different tale.

Our Succeeding Schools

A high school diploma is considered the minimal education needed for success in our country, and not enough students are receiving them. The high school graduation rate is abysmal, and we need to do something — anything — to shore it up.

Does that sound familiar? It should. We hear, over and over again, how a quarter of high school students drop out, and how this is a crisis of epic proportions.

No, it’s not good when a student drops out of high school without graduating — but that’s happening less than at any time in recorded history. Moreover, the students who drop out rarely stay dropped out — most go on to earn a G.E.D., the equivalent of a high school diploma.

In 2009, 86.7 percent of Americans over 25 years old held high school diplomas. That was the highest rate in U.S. history, up from 80.2 percent in 1997, up from 73.9 percent in 1985. Moreover, 88.6 percent of people aged 25 to 29 were high school graduates, also a record.

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Image Credit: Robert Couse-Baker

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160 comments

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6:26AM PDT on Apr 29, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

12:48PM PDT on Oct 16, 2012

they keep raising the bar. kids in 1st and 2nd doing algebra. you heard me. it's sad and insane

1:55PM PDT on Sep 18, 2012

To put it all simply....yes the dumbing down of the next generation.
Republicans are not the only ones who wish this but they are the most noticeable and ACTIVE of this group.
Most folks do not believe this simply because they themselves can see no purpose for it.
It doesn't make "sense" to them. Children need to be able to DO things to work and earn a living don't they...they ask ????
The for profit idea as a negative idea can get through to some but the problem is deeper than either of these two.
Knowledge is NOT what is a stake here......THINKING is.
Being able to perceive, understand, reason, create, etc. and...the biggest of all...
QUESTION PRECONCEIVED IDEAS/THEORIES and..... IDEALS.
They want a NATION OF DRONES !!!!!!
Placid CONTROLLABLE drones.
Think...beehive or anthill.
Perfect example of the 1 % controlling the other millions.
Works great in nature for a few exceptions but it is TOTAL DISASTER FOR HUMANITY !!!!!!
Whether or not our children obtain KNOWLEDGE is not the question...
It is the question of whether or not our children WILL BE FREE !!!!!

5:56PM PDT on Sep 17, 2012

That last comment was to Elaine A, NOT Elaine P. I could not agree more with the latter!

5:53PM PDT on Sep 17, 2012

Elain- Do you even know 55 people? When was the last time you put all 55 of them in one room with you? How did you go about meeting their every need in 50 minute intervals and expect to get all you planned to get done even started by yourself? Unless you can honestly say YES, I have dealt with the individual issues of 55 people in one place at one time IN 50 minutes, daily, then you really should keep your mouth shut. Your ignorance of reality in the class room is beyond reproach. You are a fool. ANd I mean that in the nicest way...

5:47PM PDT on Sep 17, 2012

Taking public money and handing it to parents to use in private schools is what offends me most. As if those private schools have to take the discipline problems, the under privilaged, the mentally challenged, black, hispanic, Jewish, Hindu....no, they don't have to take them, folks. Vouchers are simply sweeping the dust under the carpet- does NOTHING for the kids or their futures.
THe only thing that does is take money from ailing schools so that they will be closed. Those kids move to another school, causing more over-crowding, eventually that school closes, and it goes on and on.
Corps are hoping we dumb down our kids so they don't know the difference between a sallery and $5.00 an hour with no bennies. Hopefully, the kids will be desparate enough to accept jobs that require no thought and deserve no compensation.

3:28PM PDT on Sep 17, 2012

NOTED

12:32PM PDT on Sep 17, 2012

Thanks

3:24AM PDT on Sep 17, 2012

Thanks.

11:06AM PDT on Sep 14, 2012

This privatization of S/S, post office, prisons, schools is a means to an end: ($$$$$) is the bottomline for any business: just ask Romney. Do not sell out our public school system to "for profit" business. Look what greed has done to Romney and his Bain Capital and in turn our society.

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