Follow the money—again!!
Written by Rambling Rose

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the investment (current years/dollars as reported) in K-12 education with state and federal tax dollars:

Total expenditures for public elementary and secondary schools in the United States in 2013–14 amounted to $634 billion, or $12,509 per public school student enrolled in the fall (in constant 2015–16 dollars).

One would expect good returns on such investments, but the 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), known as The Nation’s Report Card, released earlier in April, gives the nation’s schools a failing grade. Only 37% of the high school seniors tested as proficient or better in reading, and only 25% in math. Among the black students, the results were even lower: 17% proficient or better in reading, 7% ‘at least proficient’ in math.

It gets worse. Nationally, the graduation rate is over 80%. That means that the high school diploma has lost its meaning. With the high school diploma in hand, 63% of the graduates are declared proficient in reading at the 12th grade level when the test scores reveal the opposite. Likewise, 75% of high school graduates are deemed proficient in math skills when they are not. For black students, the numbers are even lower as noted by the test scores in the previous paragraph.

What does that diploma certify? Attendance? Are those young people ready to continue their postsecondary education?

Apparently. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that “70 percent of white high school graduates in 2016 enrolled in college, and 58 percent of black high school graduates enrolled in college.” Studies report that two-thirds of community college students enroll in at least one remedial course as do 40% of those in a four-year institution. Many universities hire special tutors to assist their athletes, many who read at the fourth- to eighth-grade levels.

College professors admit that they have had to “dumb down their classes” in order to teach their inadequately-prepared students. Others have removed the analytical components of the programs. Majors have become “studies” with the emphasis on social issues. Sadly, the cycle continues. Many of the least prepared enter education, as revealed by their intended majors reported by SAT scores—26th of 38 options.

The executive director of the Council of Chief State School Officers, the organization that represents every state’s top education official, Carissa Moffat Miller, stated “Today’s release of The Nation’s Report Card confirms that there is still much work to be done to close achievement gaps and ensure that our young people are ready for success in college, careers and life.”

Yes, there is much work to be done—by teachers, administrators, politicians, students and PARENTS. Parental involvement and schools with a focus on academics and not ‘justice’ issues would be a start.

It appears that dollars alone are not the answer.

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