A National Disgrace, v. 2

By September 9, 2006General

We wrote way back in December of ’04 about the OECD’s Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) tests. The annual test of students in all OECD countries ranked the US a dismal 24th out of 29 countries in math literacy alone. As the biggest end-users of the product of the US school system, we called it a national disgrace.

Well today’s news hits closer to home for those of us who live and work in the Nation’s Capitol. According to a story in today’s WaPo, some 80% of all DC schools failed to meet the basic academic targets set by the No Child Left Behind Act. Eighty percent.

Remember that DC ranks at or near the top in per pupil spending, too, at a whopping $13,280 per pupil. As we’ve also noted here before, bigger budgets clearly don’t lead to better results.

We also wrote back in March of ’05 about the DC School’s view of what they called, “transformation.” It all sounded great ’til you got to the part where you discovered that under the DC teachers’ union contract, incompetent teachers required to be fired from non-performing schools got preferential hiring at any opening in the system. Flush ’em out here, they turn up there. Good way to pull the good schools down. And, apparently, this is precisely what DC has done.

Maybe some day the teachers’ union will loosen their grip, parents will increase their involvement and policy makers will stop substituting money for accountability. ‘Til then, the public schools in the Nation’s Capital will continue to be an embarrassment to the country and a disservice to the kids.