[From an education e-mail loop. E. Fox.]
By Thomas A. Burzynski
If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war." This shocking pronouncement was made in the 1983 report A Nation at Risk, produced by the National Commission on Excellence in Education. The report warned that "the educational foundations of our society are being eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity that threatens our very future as a nation and a people."
The entrenched educrat bureauracy reacted to the widely publicized report in predictable fashion - it demanded more money. According to the Statistical Abstract of the United States, total spending on public elementary and secondary schools has amounted to over $3.5 trillion since 1983. Additionally, in the almost 15 years since the release of A Nation at Risk Americans have been treated to outcome-based education, school-to-work programs, Goals 2000, federal and state school vouchers, character education, and national standards - all of which have served only to exacerbate the problem while empowering the federal government and wasting taxpayer money.
As the following examples demonstrate, after 15 years of government imposed "remedies," America remains a nation at risk. In his 1991 study Smart Schools, Smart Kids: Why Some Schools Work, author Edward Fiske noted the following:
· Only one in three young Americans can put the Civil War in the right century. · One out of four adults do not know if the sun goes around the earth or vice versa. · Only 20 percent of adults between the ages of 21 and 25 can read a bus timetable. · American companies spend $20 billion to $40 billion a year on remedial education for their employees.
The Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), which is "the primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data related to education in the United States and other nations," confirms the dismal trend:
· A March 1997 NCES report noted, "Forty percent or more of the adult labor force perform at the two lowest levels on each of the literacy scales, suggesting that many workers lack the skills needed to interpret, integrate, and compare or contrast information..."
· The United States spent $260 billion on education in the 1993-1994 school year alone with an average of $5,325 spent on each student. On the average, a mere 61 cents of every public education dollar is actually used for instruction.
· A high school diploma does not necessarily certify that a person is ready for college. An NCES "Survey on Remedial Education in Higher Education Institutions in Fall 1995" showed that 78 percent of all higher education institutions offered remedial courses for enrolled freshmen. Similarly, 47 percent of the institutions reported enrollment in remedial courses staying the same over the past five years while 39 percent reported enrollments in remedial courses increasing over the past five years.
There has been measurable academic progress in one area: homeschooling. According to a study by the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), homeschooled students outperform their public school counterparts. The report Home Education Across the United States was released in early 1997 and demonstrates that homeschooled students consistently score better than public school students on core subjects. Among the study's findings:
On average, homeschoolers out-perform their public school peers by 30 to 37 percentile points in all subjects.
· Dispelling the myth that only parents with teaching credentials can effectively homeschool, the study found that homeschool students' test scores segmented by whether their parents have ever held a teaching certificate reveal a differential of only three percentile points. The study also found that a parent's level of education has little effect on homeschooled students while it has a major effect on public school students. According to the study, "test scores remain between the 80th and 90th percentiles, whether their mothers have a college degree or did not complete high school." While public school students whose parents are college graduates score in the 63rd percentile compared with the 28th percentile for public school students whose parents did not finish high school.
How can parents save their children from being overwhelmed by the "rising tide of mediocrity"? The solution, according to the federal educrats, is to spend ever-increasing sums on federal "reforms" - more money for more of the same.
Yet, giving more money to America's public schools is unlikely to save them any more than one can save a drowning man by giving him a drink of water.
The trends and statistics examined above illustrate why increasing numbers of Americans are taking back from the government the direction of their children's education by enrolling them in private schools or schooling them at home. There is a growing awareness that only by breaking up the centralized public-education monopoly can we cease to be a "Nation at Risk."
[COMMENT: David Barton's book, Original Intent, describes the descent into this disaster, giving charts and figures on the results after, in 1962, telling God that He could no longer talk to our children while on government school time, nor they to Him. Get it and read it. It is probably the best documentation of the constitutional disaster upon us available. From Wallbuilder Ministries, POB 397, Aledo, TX 76008 Tel: 817 441-6044 Web:www.Wallbuilders.com ]
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