Friday, March 1, 2013

Academic Disaster In Detroit

recent article on Detroit mentions that, on standardized academic assessments, the performance of the Detroit students in academic assessments were so bad that they were on par with students just chance guessing on the responses.

This is despite Detroit being the 8th most expensive school district out of 555 districts in Michigan.  This is no doubt due in part to public unions.  It's also the tendency of politicians to "throw more money at a problem."  The problem is obviously not money. The problem is African Americans themselves, their collapsed families and culture, the teacher's unions, and the Democratic Party.  It also shows the folly of "throwing" more money at a problem: it doesn't work!

Unless this disastrous decline can be reversed, there is nothing but misery and dependency for these people. Everyone knows that without sound education and skills, there are no opportunities in this lousy economy.

Powerful Unions and Incompetence
From Jarrett Skorup at Mackinac Center from February 2012, he explains the teachers unions avoided reform and opportunity at every turn.
 It is now conventional wisdom among the political class that higher pay for teachers and increased spending per student lead to improvements in teacher quality and student performance -— Detroit Public Schools strongly suggests that this theory must be rejected. It has chronically underperformed state averages, yet reforms are vehemently opposed by the system's powerful school employee union.
At the same time that union, the Detroit Federation of Teachers, has won rich salary and benefits packages for its members. Detroit spends one of the highests amounts of money per student nationwide and the district's spending per pupil is eighth highest out of Michigan's 551 school districts. For all that, by almost any measure Detroit schools have for decades failed their students: test scores, safety, drop out rates, etc. Detroit's public school students perform among the lowest in the state. On a 2009 test for urban districts from the U.S. Department of Education, DPS students performed "barely above what one would expect simply by chance, as if the kids simply guessed at the answers."
In the private sector such failure would result in mass firings for unsatisfactory performance. No doubt such a response would be condemned by the progressives who support the school employee unions that have made similar actions impossible in their institutions, and have opposed major transformation at every turn.
For example, in 2003 philanthropist Bob Thompson offered $200 million to build 15 charter public schools in the city in which he would guarantee a 90 percent graduation rate. In response, the DFT balked because charter schools are not unionized. The outcome was that the union jobs trumped better outcomes for children.
People vote with their feet, and all the above suggests why, over the past decade, DPS has lost about 10,000 students each year to charter, independent and suburban schools
Detroit Test Results
The national test was developed by the Governing Board, the National Center for Education Statistics of the U.S. Department of Education and the Council of the Great City Schools.
There is no jurisdiction of any kind, at any level, at any time in the 30-year history of NAEP that has ever registered such low numbers,” said Michael Casserly, executive director of the Council on Great City Schools, a Washington, D.C.-based coalition of urban school districts.

“They are barely above what one would expect simply by chance, as if the kids simply guessed at the answers,” he said.
Detroit's fourth graders received an overall score of 200 on a scale of 0-500, putting the city dead last among the other 17 large central U.S. cities grouped together in the NAEP test.

In the eighth-grade testing group, a full 77 percent of the 1,000 students tested fell into the below-basic category, while 18 percent performed at the basic level, 4 percent scored at the proficient level and, again, zero scored at the advanced level.
Solutions 
Ban public unions!  Ban teacher's unions!

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