Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Edyukashun pt 2

Even before we adopted, even before I became a prospective father, I had some interest in our education system.  The interest, I should say, of a person looking at a train wreck or any other disaster in the making.  Consider this recent news item:

Only NINETEEN of 600 students in New Jersey school district scored high enough on SATs to get into college
Shocking exams results from a New Jersey school district have revealed that only 19 out of 600 students could get into college.
Just over 3 per cent of pupils from Paterson were deemed 'college ready' based on their SAT scores, meaning they achieved at least 1,500 out of 2,400 points.
The average score obtained by a student in the area was just 1,200. It is a decrease on the 26 (4.2 per cent) who reached the benchmark last year.

This is in Paterson, NJ, scene of the movie "Lean on Me".

The maximum possible score for the SAT is 2400 (three sections, 800 points per).  The minimum possible score is 600.  Assuming that the students who AVERAGED a 1200 did roughly the same in all three sections, i.e. 400 points per section, this translates to:

MATH              16th percentile

READING         18th percentile

WRITING          21st percentile

For purposes of comparison, the average scores on the three sections were:

MATH               514

READING          496

WRITING          488

TOTAL             1498

Naturally, the school board in Paterson is busy making excuses for this situation.  They ring hollow to me.

Ironically, I don't really blame the school system.  Yes, it is ill-serving the students and the taxpayers who support it, but (as the old saying goes), you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink.  The teachers can't force the kids to show up, pay attention, do their homework, &c.  The lion's share of the blame, in my opinion, lies with the parents.  If they are satisfied with their children performing so abysmally, then are we to be surprised that the kids DO perform abysmally?

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