One article in the September issue examines three case studies of "A+" students, one from a home school, another from a private school, and the third from--and this is supposed to be shocking to the reader--a plain-old public school! Anyhow, the introductory paragraph rattles off a litany of indicators that America's schools are failing: a quarter of students don't finish high school, only a third of eighth graders score at grade level in math and reading, etc.
Naturally these startling--startling!--figures aren't compared to statistics from previous generations' students (thanks, Paul), but rest assured that "[w]hen it comes to education, our children are in trouble." Assuming we're worse off now that twenty years ago (which I doubt), whom should we blame for our crippling moral failure as a nation? Lack of funding from federal and state governments? Increased grade-level standards and AYPs? Atheists and homosexuals? No, silly. Teachers!
There are plenty of reasons for all that failure--from stultifying school bureaucracy to reform-resistant teachers unions to poorly qualified teachers.Does anyone actually believe this? Are morons across this great nation actually falling for the witch-huntery that the media levy against educators? Do people actually think that waves of unqualified idiots are plucked from local rehab clinics and prison cells to teach American children? Where did all these horrible teachers come from?
In an unrelated story, as reported by the Wall Street Journal this morning (this also arrives into my house under my boyfriend's name--this time it's his dad's fault), bears are bothering people in their homes and recreational areas more than they used to. (They are?) Of course this troubling conflict is because bears are getting too bold, not because humans continue to encroach upon bears' habitat. Uh, yeah.
If I were queen of America I'd pass a law that if you publish supposedly alarming statistics then you have to (a) offer comparative statistics (from either another geographic area or time period, just so we know why we should be pissed off) and (b) actually analyze the causes in a fair, realistic way.
If American schools are failing to do anything it's teaching people how to examine causes when citing an effect.