Time to Heed Former Secretary of Education Bill Bennett's Advice - Get Government Out of Education
The article below reminds me of the quote by former Secretary of Education Bill Bennett's statement in 1989, "I'd give the education reform movement another five years. If we're not able to get our schools back to where they were in 1967, after spending 40 percent more, then maybe we should just declare bankruptcy, give the people back their money, and let them start their own schools."
It is time to heed that advice and give the communities back their schools and local control. I heard even Republicans say in 2003 that local control hadn't worked so we needed to try government control. How long now will we give government control free reign? We keep hearing people demand that we pull our troops out of Iraq because they say we can't win, it isn't working, and it is costing too much money. When are we going to start demanding that the government get out of education and quit spending our tax money for reforms that are not working? Bennett was talking about 40% more; in Arkansas we are now talking about 300 to 400% more being spent on education with no real positive results.
Educational spending from 1996 to 2001 doubled, going from $ 1. 4 billion to $ 2. 8 billion. It gets worse. Adequacy education consultants for Arkansas reported that total education revenue from federal, state and local sources soared to an astounding $ 4 billion in 2004-05. Four billion dollars to achieve what ? This article can be read online at this link: http://www.wpaag.org/Ed%20-%20Time%20to%20get%20government%20out%20of%20education.htm
The quote by Bill Bennet was reported by Family Research Council Washington Watch, December 4, 1995:
Mind-boggling - ADE Celebrates bottom quartile test scores (even at the 18% percentile)
No Mention Made of the Graduation Rate Slipping 10% this last year in Arkansas
Graduation Rate in 1992 was 88% and in 2006 it was 71% (17% lower)
Once more the Arkansas Department of Education and the editorialists at the Arkansas Democrat Gazette are determined to make the public believe that government control and more money improves education. They are actually once again celebrating Arkansas test scores that at best have to be described with the oxymoron, "STEADY, BUT FALLING BEHIND." 1
In relation to the recent NAEP scores, the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) press release actually included this mind- boggling statement, "Recent educational reforms have produced higher test scores across the board for Arkansas students in recent years, and Arkansas performance standards have been judged by national organizations to be some of the most rigorous and closely aligned with NAEP of any state in the nation. 2
(Has anyone seen an ADE Press Release on the graduation rate falling 10% this last year (from 2006 to 2007?] Wonder how they would spin that? 3 (Watch for some finagling of these numbers by 2007. How can any education program be improving when you are failing to educate 10% of the children in Arkansas.)
Ken James is also quoted in a recent newspaper story about the most recent NAEP scores: " "In 2005, our scores fell at or very near the national average, but because the rest of the nation showed improved performance, we have slipped a bit in terms of state rankings in all areas, save mathematics at the fourth grade." Even before this slip in state rankings, in 2005
Only nine states scored lower than Arkansas on the 8th Grade Math NAEP Test in 200 [That would be in the bottom quartile] or at the 18th percentile.
Only twelve states scored lower than Arkansas on the 8th Grade Reading NAEP Test in 2005 [This would be in the bottom quartile] or at 24th percentile
Only sixteen states scored lower than Arkansas on the 4th Grade Reading NAEP Test in 2005. [That would be at the 32 percentile]
Only 18 states scored lower than Arkansas on the 4th Grade NAEP Math Test. [That would be at the 36 percentile] See other negative national measures on Arkansas bulleted below. NAEP Test Scores. See this article and link for more on these NAEP Test Scores: "Did we win the Olympic Gold Medal on the Arkansas NAEP, or did we Bomb It? You Decide!" http://www.wpaag.org/Test%20scores%20-%20NAEP%20Olympic%20Win%20or%20Bombed.htm
How can our test scores be the most rigorous and closely aligned with NAEP of any state in the nation as ADE contends and have scores even lower than those reported above on the NAEP this year? And why in 2005 did 50% of Arkansas students score Proficient or above on our state benchmark scores and only 34% scored Proficient on the national NAEP if the tests are aligned so well?
For a starter, keep in mind that on these rigorous Arkansas benchmark tests a student on the Arkansas 8th grade math who scores only 39 points out of 80 points (less than 50%) is considered Proficient (Equivalent to a B or B+. ) ADE requires that teachers give students with anything less than a 60% an F, not a B. In other words, as I wrote in an article before, the testing system has been corrupted.
The bottom line is that scores have no real meaning now thanks to the government control philosophy. Education has become totally politicized so the scores are totally corrupted – the powers that be interpret them anyway they want and can change the cut off scores or difficulty of the tests anyway that is necessary to prove their programs are working. And even though the reforms are heralded over and over as transparent, 99% of the people can't prove them wrong. The teachers and many citizens know it in their heart but can't get it out to the public because the media is on the side of government control. See this link for a long article entitled "Testing System corrupted, No Correlation Among NAEP, IBS, and Benchmark Tests." http://www.wpaag.org/Testing%20-%20Debacle-No%20Correlation%20NAEEP-ITBS-Benchmark.htm
Other national negative measurements of Arkansas Educational System. It is obvious that Arkansas has not received any benefit from the billions added for education in recent years: (taken from email earlier in 2007)
· Test Scores on nationally normed tests are 11 Percentile Points lower in 2006 than in 1990 (a 22% decrease)
· College Remediation Rate is 51.6% (46.6% in 1995); National Average is 33%
· Only Nine States Scored Lower Than Arkansas in 8th Grade Math on NAEP Test
· Only 28% of AR students pass test on AP courses, while 59.4% pass nationwide
· Fordham Foundation Gives Arkansas an F on Standards
· The National Report Card on Higher Ed. Gave Arkansas a D+ In High School Preparation for College. They graded states in six areas. Arkansas received a D+, a F, three C's and one incomplete. (That averages out a D)
· Educational Reforms Have Cost $1.4 BILLION which equals a 3% sales tax in Arkansas.
Yet Senator Argue, Chair of Arkansas Education Committee, proclaimed that "Arkansas is making such progress that our schools are being noticed across the country" in his guest article, June 24, 07.
Arkansas reforms are being noted by politically correct leaders, just like Kentucky's reforms were noted for years (even while their scores were plummeting and Arkansas was making better scores on ACT test than Kentucky was ) when they fit the politically correct philosophy of reforms (government control and more money). President Clinton proclaimed Kentucky was the lighthouse for educational reforms back around 1992. Arkansas is probably the fastest growing state in government control in the nation. But only the process in Arkansas is being praised - the real measures and scores are declining, and the true picture is being distorted by the government and the media. Has anyone seen anyone praising our 10% plus drop in graduation rates or the above facts?
The educational improvements were supposed to help our economy! That was shouted from the rooftops by Argue and others. Statistics show that the taxpayers subsidize each household headed by a dropout at an amount of about $20,000 a year. Multiply 10% times the number of students enrolled in Arkansas, and you get 46,639 students. Multipy that by $20,000 and it comes to mega bucks! When the reforms bring that type of dropout rate (which many teachers warned it would do) how can the reforms improve the economy? And few people will even know because the government and the media won't tell them!
"Grades Are In" Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Northwest Edition, Monday, October 1, 2007
3. See this link for information on graduation rate for 2006 on the State Report Card: http://normessasweb.uark.edu/src1/State3.php
See graduation rates for Arkansas in 1992 at this link: http://measuringup.highereducation.org/_docs/2006/statereports/AR06.pdf
See this link for "Testing System Corrupted, No Correlation Among NAEP, IBS, and Benchmark Tests
Nationally Normed Test Scores 11 percentile points lower than in 1990 - Yet ADE Commissioner Ken James is JUBILANT
Rebuttal to Senator Argue's Guest Article on Education/Facts Don't Match His Spin
Link to : "Money Wasted on Misguided Educational Reforms, Why Scores Are Lower Now Than When Accountability System Was Started"
Did We Win Olympic Medal on NAEP Scores or Did We Bomb Them - You Decide
See this lnk for "Real Truth Behind Those Low 4th Grade Benchmark 2005 Test Scores (only 33% earned achievement score of BASIC)
See this Link for Why did ADE Commissioner James Spins Low Test Scores
See this link for Why Test Scores Are Lower in Arkansas Now Than in 1984
See this link for Arkansas Department of Education Presents Deceptive Scores (03)
ADE Director Ray Simon Gives False Information About Test Scores