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Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 161 -- Education.

Academic Progress-

First, the good news.


Kids are taking more advanced math classes in school.

Meanwhile, young kids have improved math scores significantly in recent years.


Incidentally, reading scores are also significantly up over the past 5 or 6 years for 9-year-olds. And the racial gap has gotten smaller, as minorities have caught up somewhat, all while each individual group has improved.

13-year-olds also have improved their scores in recent years, but not as rapidly as 9-year-olds.

There is less good news, though. 17-year-olds have not improved their numbers accordingly over the past few years.

Now, let's think about why that could be the case.

Why would scores, since 1999, improve for younger kids, but not for older kids? It could be an indictment of our entire education system. Even as more teens are taking high math, such as calculus, they aren't necessary soaking any of it in.

Or, it could be evidence that No Child Left Behind (NCLB) actually works. After all, No Child Left Behind targets younger students almost exclusively. President Bush wants to expand No Child Left Behind to upper grades.

Here's what I like about No Child Left Behind:

1. Accountability. But there needs to be more of it, so bad teachers can be fired, good ones paid more, and so on.
2. Results. It has delivered so far. It is hard to argue with success.

Here's what I don't like:

1. Federalized. It is a large federal program. It takes away some local control. It is expensive. Etc.
2. Griping. Every teacher I know hates it. And I don't know enough about the nitty gritty to respond.

Fortunately, the administration does not seem stubborn or dogmatic on the issue, and is willing to make adjustments to improve the program.

America's young kids score about the same or better than almost every other country on earth. By the time they graduate high school, they have fallen behind much of the rest of the world. Yet, our colleges and universities are the best in the world-- and the most plentiful.

If the U.S. is to remain the preeminent global superpower, with the mightiest economy in the world, we must improve our nation's education system. But more money is not necessarily the answer. The U.S. already spends more per student on education than nearly every other country on earth.

School choice is the optimal way to go. Force schools to compete with one another to be the best. No more complacency. No more NEA lockdown on the way schools are run.

NAEP Trends In Academic Progress (.pdf).


Previous Trivia Tidbit: Supreme Court Nominations.

Posted by Will Franklin · 6 September 2005 12:47 PM


I've heard the same thing regarding complaints. The teachers I know either don't like it or manage but, like you, I am not a teacher and don't know enough about the intracacies to comment.

Posted by: Hoodlumman at September 6, 2005 01:40 PM