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Philadelphia's NAEP scores are below average for big-city districts

By Dale Mezzacappa on Dec 18, 2013 02:42 PM
Photo: Source: nationsreportcard.gov

Percentage of 4th-grade public school students performing at or above proficient in NAEP reading.

Philadelphia students in District-run schools lag 7 to 14 percentage points behind the average for big cities in math and reading achievement in 4th and 8th grades on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the only test that compares students across the entire country. 

NAEP is considered the gold standard of standardized assessments and is the benchmark that state tests are measured against, amid complaints that some of those tests are not rigorous enough. Higher percentages of Philadelphia students score proficient on Pennsylvania's state assessment, the PSSA. The NAEP results are potentially more reliable because they involve a sampling of students and there are no high-stakes consequences attached.

Just 19 percent of Philadelphia students scored proficient or above on 4th-grade and 8th-grade math, little change from 2011, the last time that NAEP was administered. In reading, 14 percent of 4th graders and 16 percent of 8th graders scored proficient or above. That compares to big-city averages of 33 percent proficient in 4th-grade math, 27 percent in 8th-grade math, and 23 percent in both 4th-grade and 8th-grade reading.

This is according to the Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA), begun in 2002 to gauge the progress made in urban districts. Now 21 districts voluntarily have their NAEP scores disaggregated and analyzed. Philadelphia began in 2009, and its results in both grades and both subjects have remained basically unchanged since.

Overall, scores in the large districts improved faster than in the nation as a whole, although they still lag behind the national average.

Philadelphia's NAEP performance "is now and continues to be low, and they haven't made substantial movement in the last couple of testing cycles," said Michael Casserly, executive director of the Council of Great City Schools. He attributed that, however, to "mitigating circumstances," especially over the last two years, including "all the upheaval that has gone on." He mentioned school closings, the lack of collective bargaining agreements with the major unions, and budget cuts. "They were going through a substantial amount of upheaval that keeps them from focusing on instructional reforms I know they want to put in place." 

Casserly did point out, however, that scores did not decline this year even though Philadelphia now includes more special education students and English language learners as part of the sample than it did in 2011, the result of stricter rules on the part of the National Assessment Governing Board, which administers the NAEP. 

Philadelphia ranks near the bottom of participating cities, along with Cleveland, Detroit, Baltimore, Milwaukee, Dallas and Fresno, Calif. These, for the most part, are the districts with the highest level of low-income students. In Cleveland, 100 percent of students are eligible for free and reduced-price lunch, one measure of poverty; Philadelphia's rate for 4th graders is 94 percent, the same as Dallas and just above Fresno, Baltimore, and Detroit. Several other cities -- notably Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles, both of which have somewhat lower levels of poverty -- made statistically significant gains in one or more grades and subjects.

"Seeing those results, we are flat, and that’s a place we don’t want to be and are currently aggressively thinking about how to change those results," said David Hardy, the District's new chief of academic supports. "We realize as a District we can and will do better and we’re creating a strategy to do so." He would not offer a preview of what the strategy is. Nor would he comment on Casserly's observation that the turmoil in the District over the last two years contributed to its inability to move forward.

In Philadelphia, females generally do better than males in reading, especially at 4th grade, but not in math. And the test-score gap beween Whites and African Americans and Latinos is smaller than that of the nation overall. But Whites in Philadelphia District-run schools score considerably lower than the large-city, Pennsylvania, or national average. 

The Philadelphia results are from a sampling of District-run schools and doesn't include charters. However, charter schools participate in NAEP, and it is possible to look at statewide NAEP charter results through the extensive interactive website run by the National Center for Education Statistics.

A quick look shows that students in charter schools in Pennsylvania on the whole score lower than those in non-charter schools, even when comparing just low-income students. But the sample size for charters is small, and the standard error for the results is much larger. 

About half the charter schools in Pennsylvania are in Philadelphia, but there is no indication of how many students from city-based charters were in the statewide sample.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan issued a statement on the TUDA results, calling the progress in urban areas "encouraging."

“The 2013 TUDA results show student performance in large cities continues to both improve overall and that large-city schools nationwide are improving at a faster pace than the nation as a whole. While we still have a lot of work to do to close achievement gaps in our largest cities, this progress is encouraging. It means that in 2013, tens of thousands of additional students in large cities are Proficient  or above in math and reading than was the case four years earlier. In particular, three districts that pressed ahead with ambitious reforms — the D.C. Public Schools System, Los Angeles, and Fresno — made notable progress since 2011.”

American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten, whose union represents mostly urban teachers, said that the results "show incremental progress despite the challenges urban schools face, but poverty and economic inequality — as economists and even the Pope have acknowledged — will stymie long-term gains unless policy makers face these issues head-on."

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Comments (49)

Submitted by Gloria Endres (not verified) on December 18, 2013 5:29 pm
In today's New York Times, there is an editorial that compares the overall performance of the United States on international tests of reading and math to other industrialized nations, plus a couple of large cities like Shanghai and Singapore. Our country is below average in the world. They go on to say how the other countries beat us. What they do that we do NOT do is eliminate childhood poverty. They provide health care from pre-birth onward. They provide access to quality early childhood education which includes hot meals, dental and health care and social services to the families. They train their teachers rigorously and give them respect. In American schools where the free lunch qualification is lowest, our students can and do outperform their counterparts in the world. Attack childhood poverty by providing resources, including nutrition and health services, and our scores will rise and exceed other nations.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on December 18, 2013 6:27 pm
China has NO state sponsored healthcare. The people pay in cash. The difference is that they don't have a bunch of drug addicted welfare queens as parents with their hands out at every turn. They work or starve.
Submitted by Gloria Endres (not verified) on December 18, 2013 7:44 pm
Very interesting, but China is not on the list. There are two cities in China, Shanghai and Singapore,on the list and they are considered completely separate from China for the purposes of testing. They also have a better health delivery system than the rural areas of the country. Your racist comments are noted.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on December 18, 2013 10:17 pm
Singapore? China? Is there an Atlas in the house?
Submitted by Gloria Endres (not verified) on December 18, 2013 11:17 pm
OK, it is not part of China. It is a city/state with 75% Chinese living there. It is between Shanghai, China and Hong Kong, China as the top 3 regions in the world on the international math test.
Submitted by Gloria Endres (not verified) on December 18, 2013 7:13 pm
The point is that children who are hungry, sick or developmentally delayed do not normally attain high levels of academic achievement. These are all symptoms of poverty. The nations in the world that beat America on international tests make sure that their children do not fall through the cracks and come to school ready to learn. We can make excuses and complain, but the facts are there. As long as we tolerate child poverty in this country, the further behind we get.
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on December 18, 2013 8:25 pm
We don't just tolerate child poverty, we insist on it, we set it up, make it happen then deny its crippling effects and actually BLAME the poor for their condition. Hitchens compared it with Catholicism-----People are created sick then blamed for it and demanded to be well. OK--I butchered the analogy but you get the idea. Yes, the comment above by Josef Mengele is stunningly insensitive and racist.
Submitted by Go-Eagles (not verified) on December 18, 2013 9:48 pm
My parents grew up in poverty during the Great Depression. They were dirt poor. One set of my grandparents came over from eastern Europe and my second set of grandparents were second generation Americans. All of them had very little formal education. Basically, none. Yet, my parents, along with many other immigrants, took education seriously and most of them graduated from high school during the depression or WWII. They improvised and adapted to the times. Everybody had a garden to grow food. You can forget about healthcare back then. It didn't exist. There were food stamps, but welfare (the term used by my grandma was relief) was a kiss of death. According to her, you signed over all of your assets to the state. You tried to avoid it at all costs. Today, it's wrapped up in some government program. The poverty of today compares to nothing to the poverty years ago. Today, folks like you make poverty an excuse. Back then, it was ...... Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country. Today ........ Ask not what you can do for your country, but what your country can do for you. BTW, I've been to China. The ruling elite and wealthy have private schools (more like tutors) for their children and many of them are taught by Americans to learn English. If you want an education, you have to be politically connected. Haves and have-nots over there.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on December 18, 2013 10:35 pm
Sounds like Elitism, just like the road American education is on.
Submitted by Gloria Endres (not verified) on December 18, 2013 11:09 pm
My grandparents were immigrants also and worked in factories or building the railroad. My own parents were factory workers when they should have been in high school so that they could put food on the table for younger siblings. In 1940 only 50% of Americans completed high school, but they did have manufacturing jobs and could support their families. There was no welfare in the early part of the Great Depression before the New Deal, and a lot of children of indigent parents were put in orphanages. Little Orphan Annie was not just a cartoonist's idea of a fun character. So life was tough then as it always has been. But how anyone could use that history to justify depriving children of food or medical care is beyond understanding.
Submitted by Mr. wrong (not verified) on December 18, 2013 8:48 pm
If you have not lived in an Asian country, don't get used to your American liberalism and label any one racist! Sadly it is true. If the American students are starved, they won't learn, and if they are not starved, they will not learn either. However, Asian kids are starved and they learn, they are willing to learn so that they wont be starved when they grow up. Welfare is not the answer to poverty. Welfare is taken advantage to the point it is disgusting. How about childcare subsidies? more resources for stupid young parents to raise stupid kids. Let nature run its course, somebody got to be starved to survive. And hopefully they will learn not to blame on race or inequalities. They do not deserve anything and they should not be entitled to anything. That is how you fix America. got it?
Submitted by Go-Eagles (not verified) on December 18, 2013 9:00 pm
I've come to respect Asians for their love of education. Don't they get beat up in Philly for trying to succeed? My respect started 30 years ago at the university. I had Asians teach the lab classes for the professors. I've been to Latin America and seen poverty at its lowest form. Yet. Education is valued. Kids wear uniforms, walk long distances to school, resources are a bare minimum and the teacher is respected, but they do get educated. Imagine that. I certainly don't want any child to starve, but the handwriting is on the wall about the failed liberal policies of the War on Poverty, which created dependency and ultimately more poverty from one generation to the next. I will also admit that Raygun's trickle down economics didn't work either, but the pendulum sways more towards the failed liberal policies for the current state of our society.
Submitted by Gloria Endres (not verified) on December 18, 2013 11:56 pm
Do you call policies like Social Security and Medicare, and Medicaid "failed"? They keep the elderly and the helpless from living on the street. The cure for child poverty is complicated by a high unemployment rate. Remember that the poor of the early 20th century had a chance to work in factories or farms. What do they have today? McDonald's?Walmart? It is easy to blame the victims of poverty for its existence.
Submitted by Go-Eagles (not verified) on December 19, 2013 8:21 am
There is a difference between the New Deal and the War on Poverty. Social Security will pay reduced benefits in 20 years. You can read the trustees report. It will be sooner rather than later. There is never enough money for Medicare or Medicaid. Ultimately, it will bankrupt us. The War On Poverty did not eliminate poverty, but has actually created more poverty with more and more people with their hands out. You can check the numbers. Talk about dependency. Those programs were financed on the backs of the middle class with higher and higher taxes. Nah, it never crossed your mind. Pony up Ms. Endres, you're not paying enough. Are you willing to pay more out of your pocket? Just blame the military, blame Corbett, blame Obama, blame the Next Guy. Have you ever thought that is why we have a shrinking middle class? Enough is enough. You speak of the military industrial complex. Have you ever looked at the shear amount of social spending in the defense budget? Have you ever thought that it employs millions upon millions of middle class families and gave them a high standard of living? What about the development in technology that has benefited all of us? That our military could be the last vestage of decency in our society about doing the right thing, actual service to our country. We now have affluenza. Of course, you know as a teacher that our constitution says to provide for the defense. Right? I like to believe that the glass is half full. You believe its half empty. All I read from you is excuses, excuses and more excuses.
Submitted by Gloria Endres (not verified) on December 19, 2013 9:22 am
Seriously, Go-E, it is you who are looking at the glass as half empty with all your talk of bankruptcy. I know about the trustees report on Social Security. It would have more in it if it had not been raided so many times to pay for other things like wars. Here is an idea about the military/industrial complex that you say employs so many people. Let's do a reversal of what Roosevelt did when he turned this nation's factories into defense plants for WWII. Let's retool most of them back to real manufacturing of good products other than bombs and guns. There is a wonderful op-ed in today's INKY about just such a thing. We have a shrinking middle class because the jobs are going elsewhere. That is the point. Good paying jobs are disappearing. No one can stay in the middle class or work their way up from poverty without good paying jobs. When the CEOs of McDonalds and Walmart make millions while their workers take home squat, something is wrong with that picture. I have always paid my fair share of taxes. I still do. I do not have offshore accounts like the Romneys of this world.
Submitted by Go-Eagles (not verified) on December 19, 2013 11:19 am
Ms. Endres - I've worked in heavy industry for well over 20 years. I saw the collapse of the steel industry. I don't blame unions. I blame BOTH the unions and management. Both of them share equal blame. I'm all for retooling, but don't complain about corporate welfare, which actually accounts for only $90 billion a year. Don't complain about the tax breaks for a company to build a new plant to generate jobs. Based upon my experience, regulation is killing American jobs, particularly environmental regulation. Most of the work I did in the steel industry was tied to reducing emissions. Try adding on to a plant in Pennsylvania, let alone trying to build a new plant. It isn't going to happen. Everybody wants clean air and water, but I've seen those same regulations force companies to move elsewhere outside Pennsylvania, particularly to the south and outside the country. Obama is now waging a war on coal. He's shutting down coal fired power plants that can not meet emissions standards. As a result, coal miners are losing their jobs. Don't believe me, take a trip to Appalachia. I was in Appalachia a year or so ago. Those are middle class jobs. Power companies are converting plants to natural gas. They need gas from Marcellus Shale, but try drilling in certain areas of the state. You can forget about nuclear, solar doesn't provide enough, etc. I worked in the ceramics industry. All the whiteware (toilets, sinks, tile, etc.) has been move to Latin America. Like I said, I've been outside the country. There are no regulations in the third world. No environmental, no safety, no codes, etc. Everybody points to third world wages being low, and they are low. Don't get me wrong about clean air and water, wages, health and safety, but we are regulating jobs to overseas. Been there, done that. It's only the tip of the iceberg. Do you see the hurdles here? Do you see the problems here? Do you see how we kill ourselves? I do. For every Romney, there is a Soros. Is he still manipulating the Hungarian stock market? I don't like it and I know you don't like it. BTW, I work for a European based company right alongside Europeans (Belgians, French, Italians, etc.). Europe is in the same boat as us. I hear it everyday.
Submitted by Gloria Endres (not verified) on December 19, 2013 1:12 pm
Of course the multi-national companies who pay no taxes here get to dictate the working conditions. Environmental regulations are meant to keep us healthy. Have you not known people who died of asbestos related lung disease? I have. Without union regulations, you get heavy smog in China and factories collapsing on their workers in Bangladesh. Before we had rules, we had little kids working in coal mines. And young women jumping to their deaths in the Triangle Shirt Waist fire. Does anyone with any heart want to return to those times???? Does it help to blame unions for wanting their workers to survive the day at the plant or mine? What we need is for Americans to insist on buying products made here and not settle for the cheesy shlock that passes for goods coming from abroad. Whenever I find a label with a little American flag on it, I feel as if I found gold!!! The transformation of American manufacturing will not happen overnight. But we must begin somewhere. When we solve this problem, we will have healthier babies who are in homes not the street, who are ready to start school and who can learn the skills they need for lifetime careers. Nice talking to you.
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on December 19, 2013 4:49 pm
Go Eagles---Not for nothin as they say at 10th and Wolf, but you seem to have had LOTS of jobs apparently all concomitantly which is hard to do. That's pretty damn impressive.
Submitted by Go-Eagles (not verified) on December 19, 2013 5:53 pm
Thank you Joseph. My job has taken me to many different places in this country and around the world. I've worked for two companies that were headquartered in europe. I've seen allot of good and I've seen allot of bad inside and outside our borders. So, I speak from my experiences. It has had an impact on me.
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on December 19, 2013 5:32 pm
OK---Because it's Festivus, I'll let it go especially since you're back in my good graces. Otherwise you and Peter Pan were separated at birth. Nick Foles--MVP. Not really !!
Submitted by Go-Eagles (not verified) on December 21, 2013 3:12 pm
I like Nick Foles. Even though his body of work is not extensive, he has been impressive so far. He seems like a good fit for this offense. I don't know if he is a long term solution. We'll see over the course of the next 2 games.
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on December 19, 2013 10:54 am
Go Eagles--You're lucky I have come to like you but please stop being so "creative" with the facts !! That's my job. Plus, The Birds will lose their last 2 games and all will be lost again.
Submitted by Go-Eagles (not verified) on December 19, 2013 10:34 am
Sorry Joe, but I'm not being creative with my facts. Congrats to SJP for winning the state AAAA football title. You beat my Vikings.
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on December 19, 2013 1:31 pm
For the record, I hated the Prep with a hatred reserved only for a few hundred of my relatives. I had a teacher there take me aside and say, "Joseph, were you born in this country?" He was dead serious. My Math scores were so low that he figured there had to be a good reason after all I was at the Prep. After 2 years of physical and mental abuse, we parted ways but I gave them as good as they gave me. I also saw a teacher with a whip knock a piece of a kid's ear off and it was intentional apparently. And you wonder why I am the way I am !!! Now stop arguing with me or I'll have to take away the nice things I've said about you.
Submitted by tom-104 on December 18, 2013 11:07 pm
That the "War on Poverty" failed is a myth. It never got started. It was side tracked by the Vietnam War spending and military spending ever since. The new budget raises military spending to $900 billion, more than the rest of the world combined spends on their military. This is how empires die. They rot from within.
Submitted by Gloria Endres (not verified) on December 19, 2013 7:17 am
Tom, thanks for the needed history lesson. It is not how we collect our wealth but how we distribute it that matters. The choice to arm the military industrial complex rather than fully fund education and job creation is indeed the road to ruin.
Submitted by sdc70 (not verified) on December 19, 2013 9:39 am
The War on Poverty was a unique success...initially. $100 billion was spent in 1974 as the poverty rate fell from 19% to 11%. 25 million people lived in poverty in 1974. Since then, through both Democrat and Republican administrations, the $100 billion has climbed to $500 billion while the poverty rate has increased from 11% to 15%!!! Today we have 46 million people living in poverty! The numbers speak for themselves. Your personal ideology may influence your interpretation, but you can't substitute your own facts.
Submitted by sdc70 (not verified) on December 19, 2013 9:08 am
And I forgot to mention that spending on poverty programs as a percentage of GDP has doubled, so your arguments about defense spending or other priorities is bogus. it is a distraction from a serious discussion of whether these programs really help people out of poverty or have simply become income maintenance.
Submitted by Gloria Endres (not verified) on December 19, 2013 10:25 am
sdc70 - You can trot out statistics all you want, but the fact remains that our poverty levels are not improving. My suggestions are not old but rather new. I suggest that we look at what works in other countries like Finland which has one of the lowest poverty rates in the world. They do not engage in bandaids but real poverty prevention programs like universal health care from pre-natal on; universally free education from pre-school to college; guaranteed school meals, dental, medical and social services throughout the school years. You can call it socialized this or socialized that, but it works. They have far less crime and poverty than our most prosperous states. Oh, and their teachers are unionized. All the unfettered free market has accomplished for this country is that the rich get richer, the middle class is shrinking and the poor get poorer. And we never seem to stop going to war. Forget the ideology. We are doing something wrong and we need to try something else.
Submitted by sdc70 (not verified) on December 19, 2013 9:03 pm
Dear Ms. Endres, I don't disagree with any of your points. Our poverty rate is a disgrace and those who ignore wealth disparity between rich and poor are willfully ignorant. Now what? Personally, I have not given up on "fettered" capitalism. By that I mean less regulation, but more punitive enforcement. Consider the BP debacle in the Gulf. No one went to jail - rather their execs received golden parachutes, and they paid their fines out of corporate income - they self-insured if you will. Effective regulation would have banned them from operations in the United States for a long period of time and criminally indicted their top management. Instead our regulators issued a moratorium on drilling which only punished those who obeyed the law. Bizarre. This just encourages risk taking, since the penalties never fit the crime. As to Finland, no programs are "free." Their individual income tax rate exceeds 50% while ours is around 35%, and who really pays that? Without any information, I have more confidence that Finnish bureaucrats administer and spend their tax proceeds more effectively than ours, and are less beholden to special interests of all persuasions. Would you be comfortable sending another 15% of your income to Washington? So yes, let's try something else. But don't we have to fix the system first? (And I make no distinction between Democrats and Republicans - the place is run by the staffers and the entrenched agencies).
Submitted by Gloria Endres (not verified) on December 20, 2013 3:59 am
sdc70 - Yes, none of the executives at BP nor the disgraceful banking CEOs of the recession scandals went to jail for their criminal acts. That is because we live in a fast growing plutocracy where the super rich corporations buy their own lawmakers and laugh at fines. You ask me if I would rather my taxes go up to 50% which is what it would take to socialize all health care and other public assets like education in this country. When you consider all the nickeling and diming we get from paying insurance and all the co-pays for doctors and medicines and the worry that a particular plan will not pay for a particular treatment, what pray tell is the difference? Raising a child without health or dental care is a nightmare. All I know is that the countries that have universal health care and guaranteed education are healthier and more prosperous than we are. Japan for example has the longest life span in the world. You don't see the Finns sneaking over our borders to work in the USA. In fact they are dealing with their own immigrant crisis as are France and Italy. If we could possibly reign in the international corporations that are turning every country they touch into a feudal society, that is what we need to do. There is nothing wrong with a single payer health plan. It is not the Gulag. It is a blessing to those who have it.
Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on December 20, 2013 9:17 am
I like that Gloria, "... reign in the international corporations that are turning every country into a feudal society...." From several articles I have read lately, I realize that the "corporate raid on public education" is a world-wide affair. Think about it -- we will be paying a "corporate tax" and we will have no public say over those taxes. It is feudalism -- all over again. To put it in a Yogi-ism. (Yogi Berra folks - "deja-vu all over again." )
Submitted by Gloria Endres (not verified) on December 20, 2013 2:44 pm
Thanks, Rich, even though I should have spelled it "rein" . And you are right. The privatization of public assets especially education, but not only that, is worldwide. People warn about government control and all that, but the real worry is that the oligarchs will get real control of everything and with no accountability. Breaking up unions is one of the symptoms of their efforts. Kill workers' rights and you have them under your thumb, ergo, feudalism. Hope all have a wonderful Christmas holiday.
Submitted by sdc70 (not verified) on December 20, 2013 2:48 pm
Rich, And I thought right-wingers cornered the market on conspiracy theories. Your comments are much too self-important. Corporate titans have much bigger fish to fry than public education dollars. They're more concerned with the LIBOR rate or the value of the Euro. You already know this, but let me state it another way. Corporations are opportunistic profit maximizers. They go where the costs are the lowest and the prices the highest. They hire qualified people who can help them achieve these "obscene" profits. If Philadelphia graduates cannot bring dollars to the bottom line, corporations will indeed hire those Finnish graduates everyone is so pleased to mention. Our colleges are still top-notch, so they will extract the best and the brightest, increasingly of foreign heritage. The problem has been well documented. In previous eras you could get a mediocre high school education and secure a job for life that could support a family. Now those jobs for life require a highly educated post secondary degree. We haven't figured out how to educate all of our millions of students to this standard let alone basic literacy. Big problem. - not a corporate problem - a societal problem, particularly with billions of people across the globe willing to work at subsistence wages to bring their families out of perennial poverty. So much easier to blame Exxon.
Submitted by Rich Migliore (not verified) on December 20, 2013 3:14 pm
I was never a conspiracy theorist in my life although I understood the phenomenon. Corporate reform and the privatization of the American schoolhouse is the major issue confronting us right now. Anyone with their eyes open and an ounce of awareness can see it is no longer about improving education, but all about its profitization. In response to Gloria's use of the word feudalism, I figured I'd seize her use of the term to raise a point for discussion which is an issue to think deeply about. Are we moving toward "corporate feudalism" where corporations reign as the kings and queens and princes and princesses of the new nobility? The point I am making about this is that it is not only a national issue, but a world-wide issue. In Sweden they have tried corporate reform and have had enough of it as it was an empty promise. See this article on that subject: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/12/10/sweden-schools-idUSL4N0JK32620... Pearson, making billions off of high stakes tests, which have little validity and reliability, is an English company I do believe. They are selling us what my father termed a "bill of goods." He never graduated high school, but was one of the smartest and most aware people I ever knew. You see, wisdom is not found in a diploma -- Wisdom is learned through Life....
Submitted by tom-104 on December 20, 2013 4:48 pm
If you can document coordination and collaboration, then it is not a figment of your imagination (i.e. a "conspiracy theory"). http://tinyurl.com/muf3ay3
Submitted by Gloria Endres (not verified) on December 21, 2013 4:12 am
Thanks, Tom, as always for supplying good research to support your arguments. The flagship educational entrepreneur, if you recall, was Edison Schools, Inc. founded by Chris Whittle. As soon as Edison came on the scene, with their talk of "economies of scale" I knew we were in trouble. I am not surprised that the education market today is worth over a trillion dollars. When Edison came on the scene, it was about half that. I thought NCLB was a Trojan Horse for edu-entrepreneurship, but it looks like RttT is even worse. As soon as Obama appointed Arne Duncan to be Sec.Ed. I knew we were in trouble. Anytime we talk about a race, we mean winners and losers. BTW, Edison Schools failed in its original business model and morphed into something else. The article that Rich supplied talks about the same thing happening in Sweden. We must stop it from happening here.
Submitted by sdc70 (not verified) on December 21, 2013 11:39 am
Just a few random points - let's stipulate that privatization is not the answer, though it has become a convenient whipping boy. It's a little bit like rearranging the chairs on the Titanic. But the problems have festered far before the charter-voucher crowd arose. I remember all too well the clarion call in 1983 of A Nation At Risk. One reform after another. One acclaimed success story after another unable to be scaled up. Are we any better off today? Your solution of ending poverty is necessary but certainly not sufficient. Our poverty rate is now 15% while Finland's is between 17-19%! So how do you explain their stellar performance if poverty is the sole arbiter of success? I think before we start marching arm in arm singing the Internationale a more humble and realistic analysis of our education failure would be appropriate.
Submitted by Gloria Endres (not verified) on December 21, 2013 12:53 pm
sdc - according to Census numbers used in this report from 2012: http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2012/05/29/491443/un-report-child-poverty/ 23% of American children live in poverty compared to 7% in Finland. That is where the problem lies.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on December 19, 2013 12:51 am
We got that you are a racist know nothing!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on December 19, 2013 9:41 am
Didn't Dickens write a story about you?
Submitted by Poogie (not verified) on December 18, 2013 9:23 pm
All these country comparisons prove that the USA must get rid of poor performing institutions to catch up to the rest of the developed world. This poor education performance is totally the teachers' fault they should all be replaced by TFA members in Charter Schools. While we are at it; recent data from the US Census Bureau shows that the USA is at the bottom of developed countries when it comes to infant mortality. Most of the bad numbers come from extremely high infant mortality in inner cities. All the OB/GYNs in Philadelphia need to be fired and replaced the DFA (Doctors for America) on two year frolics and the Hospitals like Temple and HUP need to be closed and replaced by high performing beds at Charter Hospitals. I know2 several politically connected Reverends who could do a better job. I would certainly feel more comfortable with Kenny Gamble in charge of a major Charter Hospital then the current failures running Temple or HUP. The Bottom line is that low education levels in the inner cities are totally the fault of teachers and high infant mortality is totally the fault of Doctors. No other possible explanation! We need Charters to fix both these problems because as we all know failure in the inner city can never be blamed on the lifestyle of their inhabitants.
Submitted by Morrie Peters (not verified) on December 19, 2013 7:37 am
Diane Ravitch clearly delineates the vast imperfection that exists within tests. To compare those scores is a fool's errand created to undermine Public Education and further privatization interests. If our education system sucks so bad, why does the world's elite send their young here to be educated? If our system is so bad why are we the wealthiest (and most arrogant) country in the world?
Submitted by Taxpayer (not verified) on December 20, 2013 6:45 pm
The world's elite do not send their kids here to attend our public schools. They send their kids here to attend our PRIVATE universities.
Submitted by tom-104 on December 20, 2013 10:39 pm
Whose talking about the "world's elite"? Have you been in a public school lately. It's like the United Nations!
Submitted by Go-Eagles (not verified) on December 20, 2013 11:06 pm
I pass 20 Asians waiting at the bus stops that come from Korea that go to the several different catholic high schools and that's a fact. They'd get beat up in Philly. Dream on Thomas.
Submitted by Taxpayer (not verified) on December 21, 2013 9:58 am
If you're following the thread, the person I responded to alluded to the "World's Elite" sending their kids here to go to school to support an opinion that there is nothing wrong with our schools. I responded that they don't send their kids here to attend public schools, but rather PRIVATE Universities. He also appears to be against those successful private schools, so he's basically in support of mediocrity and failure. Go figure. As long as his pockets are lined.
Submitted by Taxpayer (not verified) on December 19, 2013 7:33 pm
Wait. How come no one asked me to weigh in on this? We can't accept correlation as causation. Our schools were right at the top of the list before LBJ instituted his "Great Society." Back then, even poor people succeeded. Back then, even with racism, the black family survived. The liberal welfare programs have done nothing but destroy three generations of black families. 73% of all black children are born to mothers out of wedlock. That is a recipe for disaster. There needs to be consequences for actions. Take the welfare away and they will thrive again.
Submitted by Morrie Peters (not verified) on December 20, 2013 7:00 am

Yo, taxpayer. Are you really insinuating that we need to return to to the days prior to the Civil Rights Movement? Ask Martin and Malcolm, Bobby and John or any other American interested in Social Justice if they want to return to the days when people were marginalized simply based on the melatonin in their skin. 

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