Friday, October 14, 2011

Great schools? Like most things, it’s all relative…

As long as we’re on the subject of ‘great schools’……you were, weren’t you?, because that’s the subject on our editorial mind right now…..we thought we’d pass along some illuminating data for your edification.  Or should we say education;  we must be ever mindful of our lust for non-profit status, as we mentioned a few days ago.

Brunswick has more than enough voices, parents and otherwise, chanting the ‘Brunswick has great schools’ mantra.  A ‘first response’ from inquiring minds should be, ‘compared to what?’

And so we report education statistics we just acquired that are most troubling, especially on a global basis.  Here they are, and none of them are going to elevate your spirits:

  • The US Ranks 27th among the nations of the world.
  • We are only graduating 79% from high school.
  • 20% entering the UM system need remediation before beginning college work.
  • 54% entering our community college system need remediation.
  • 20% graduate from college after 4 years, and 48% after 6 years.

The figures above come from our state Department of Education.  We find them most troubling, particularly those associated with remediation upon college entry.  You would think those entering college are the ‘better prepared’ of our high school graduates.  If this large a percentage are not ready going in for college work, what are we to infer about our K-12 systems?  What about those not choosing college?

Are we granting a High School diploma to anyone who puts in the seat time, regardless of whether they’ve earned it?  Are we inflating grades?  Who are we kidding with policies that allow such cavalier system performance?

To make matters worse, if you’re thinking Maine leads the nation in education, think again.  According to national studies on the subject, we rank 15th, with a C- grade.  You can view the comparative results here:

www.edweek.org/media/ew/qc/2011/16sos.h30.k12.pdf

Great schools?  Looks more like our schools have great public relations campaigns, and ready and willing spokespersons. 

You can decide which makes for a better adult life.  And whether it’s time to demand better of our government schools.

Especially if you believe ‘the children are our future,’ because if they are, we should start acting like it.  And if you think more money is the answer, our little discussion is over.

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1 comment:

  1. The vast majority of employers with entry level jobs need only someone who can add and subtract, read and write,but most importantly show up on time and come to work every day and they will train them to do whatever it is they need. It hardly seems reasonable that it takes 12 years to accomplish this.

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