One might think that with the length of time we people have been schooling others that we could have come closer to perfecting it by now. Great advances were made in our education system at the turn of the century thanks to thinkers such as John Dewey and Maria Montessori. And yet, American students rank 14th out of 34 countries for reading skills, 17th for science, and 25th for mathematics.
President George W. Bush created a new education reform, No Child Left Behind, which was supposed to identify and assist failing schools and students. We’ve heard multiple voices on this issue — why the emphasis on testing hasn’t worked for many students — but Kristina Rizga’s article in Mother Jones magazine “Everything You’ve Heard About Failing Schools Is Wrong” captures yet another perspective on what’s happening inside our city schools. The education writer spent a year inside of San Francisco’s most challenging schools, Mission High, where a majority of the students are low income minorities. The public school had been identified as a low performing school, one of the lowest five-percent in the nation, but what she found were engaged students and teachers, a high attendance rate, and high college acceptance rates. Why, then, do the students perform so poorly on the standard state tests? And what do those test scores mean really? These are important points for anyone who cares to address the education crisis in the United States.