Tuesday, October 04, 2005


This is a story of almost total educational failure and, even so, it does not take account of the 30% or more who drop out without taking ANY exam

Nearly 100,000 California 12th graders — or about 20% of this year's senior class — have failed the state's graduation exam, potentially jeopardizing their chances of earning diplomas, according to the most definitive report on the mandatory test, released Friday. Students in the class of 2006, the first group to face the graduation requirement, must pass both the English and math sections of the test by June. The exit exam — which has come under criticism by some educators, legislators and civil rights advocates — is geared to an eighth-grade level in math and to ninth- and 10th-grade levels in English.

But the report by the Virginia-based Human Resources Research Organization showed that tens of thousands of students, particularly those in special education and others who speak English as a second language, may fail the test by the end of their senior year despite remedial classes, after-school tutoring and other academic help. Teachers, according to the report, said that many students arrive unprepared and unmotivated for their high school courses and that their grades often reflect poor attendance and low parental involvement.

The group reviewed the test results as part of a report ordered by the Legislature when it instituted the exit exam several years ago. Among its findings: 63% of African Americans and 68% of Latinos in the class of 2006 have passed both parts of the exam. By comparison, 89% of Asians and 90% of whites have passed. The report recommended that the state keep the exam but consider several alternatives for students who can't pass. "Clearly, we need to have some options for these students," said Lauress L. Wise, the firm's president, in a telephone interview with reporters.

The state, for example, could allow seniors to submit portfolios of work [Done by someone else] that demonstrate mastery of English and math, the report's authors suggested. The report also proposed that schools allow students to spend an extra year in high school or earn diplomas by completing special summer school programs in lieu of the exam. Additionally, the state could establish alternate diplomas or graduation certificates for students who pass part of the exit exam, the group said.

But California's superintendent of public instruction, Jack O'Connell, said he opposes any change that would diminish the worth of a high school diploma. "It's important to keep one core principle front and center: awarding a student a diploma without the skills and knowledge to back it up does the student a disservice," said O'Connell, who added that his staff would study the options outlined in the report.

The exit exam was originally slated for students in the class of 2004. But disappointing passing rates prompted state education officials to push the requirement back two years. The state also shortened the test from three days to two. Students get several opportunities to pass the exam in high school, and they have to correctly answer only a little more than half of the questions to succeed.

More here


It was not always so and it does not need to be so. It reflects the way the Leftist takeover of the education system has put propaganda before all else

Many teachers cannot spell and there are hundreds of examples to prove it, the Federal Government says. Education Minister Brendan Nelson has released examples of teachers' spelling and grammatical mistakes, in a push to overhaul English education standards. One example included a teacher spelling Qantas as Quantas. Dr Nelson said parents should be shocked. He blamed the shortcomings on the way Bachelor of Education students were taught at university. "Parents have every reason to be concerned because a significant number of children are being let down," he said.

But university lecturers have hit back, accusing Dr Nelson of being an ignorant trouble-maker. "Regarding the Qantas example, the teacher was right as far as the rules go (putting a U after a Q). Maybe the teacher had never flown Qantas before and didn't know how the company spelt its name," Flinders University primary school literacy and English lecturer Barbara Neilsen said. "I assure you some young teachers graduating today are brilliant and we are not helped by people blaming us, but helping us to do better."

Hundreds of examples were sent to Dr Nelson by parents from across the nation after he last month highlighted his concerns about teaching standards. One parent sent in a note written to her by an English teacher regarding the large number of uncorrected spelling mistakes in her son's exam. It said: "This task was an assessment task set to test comprehension skills, and spelling and grammar were irrelevant." [!!!]

Dr Nelson said one in five students left school with serious reading, writing and communication problems, which put them at a big disadvantage in the job market. The Federal Government inquiry would rank states according to their teacher training levels and the results would be made public, Dr Nelson said. "This will put pressure on the lower-ranked states to improve their performance and I'm hoping a national standard will be adopted," he said.


The above article is from Sept. 25th. As a follow-up, on p. 53 of the Brisbane "Sunday Mail" of October 2nd., were printed many letters from readers about the issue. There was much support for the Minister's remarks and many comments about higher standards prevailing in the past. I reproduce two of the letters below:

"I was school secretary of three very large schools over 14 years, and during this period typed thousands of pages of work from hundreds of teachers' handwritten information. I was absolutely amazed (and sometimes horrified) at the countless spelling mistakes contained in the information given, and was just very thankful thatI had excellent spelling skills in order to ensure that the typed article was correct, especially as a considerable amount of the articles I typed were examination papers. On a few occasaions I even overheard teachers telling parents that it was the content that was important, not the grammatical or spelling content, in order for the student to pass that particular assignment or examination. I believe that our children do suffer because of this. Going back to good old spelling tests each Friday would be an effective way around the problem. I remember them well and they didn't have any far-reaching effects that caused me "great psychological damage""

"Why was I not surprised to read about students, including teachers, who have not been taught to spell properly? I am 58 years old and when I was at school we had it hammered into us every other day. I can remember even in my first grade where we had a copybook where we learnt to write properly between the given lines. I take pride in the fact that, today, I have quite nice handwriting and always have had, probably because of my being taught very well. As for spelling, I also take pride in the fact that I class myself as "up there" with the best. Also our tables were drummed into us and, still to this day, and until the day I die, will always be programmed in my memory bank. You could never beat the old-faswhioned system of the three Rs. There is absolutely no question about it, and this is what they must do and the sooner the better".


For greatest efficiency, lowest cost and maximum choice, ALL schools should be privately owned and run -- with government-paid vouchers for the poor and minimal regulation.

The NEA and similar unions worldwide believe that children should be thoroughly indoctrinated with Green/Left, feminist/homosexual ideology but the "3 R's" are something that kids should just be allowed to "discover"

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