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Monday, January 29, 2007

The Texas Educational Miracle
I read this article in the Houston Chronicle entitled One Third of Students in Texas Don't Graduate and I wonder, is this going to be our future? Not just about education, but with Bush in general. Here we are, about 7 years since he's been running that state, and they're still unraveling his mess of lies.

As we've blogged about previously previously the Texas educational miracle was a hoax propagated by Bush's Texas administration on the people of that state. The state implemented the usual "testing as a solution to all problems" idiocy that he's advocated nationwide, and as predicted, a huge response was seen. The problem, that anyone who is familiar with bureacracy, data collection, testing, etc. knows about, is that it's all smoke and mirrors. Nothing changes with testing, it's just a tool. It's not an educational panacea, it's like saying taking a picture of a building will make it architecturally sound.

So, yes, it appeared that Texas underwent the same "miracle" when Bush implemented this cynical policy years ago, but now look what's happening. You can only sweep the shit under the rug for so many years before the room starts to stink.

One out of three Texas students don't graduate, and more students drop out than finish high school in the state's largest cities, according to education experts.

Statewide, more than 2.5 million students have dropped out of Texas high schools in the last 20 years, and each graduating class loses about 120,000 students from freshman year to senior year, according to the San Antonio-based Intercultural Development Research Association.

The research group says more than half of students in Texas' largest cities drop out. The dropout rate among blacks, Hispanics and low-income students is about 60 percent, according to the Center for Education at Rice University.

The statewide dropout rate is about 33 percent — or 20 points higher than what the Texas Education Agency reports.

Exactly! Because when you tie performance to testing without any real effort to improve performance with money, investment infrastructure, etc., the typical response will always be to fudge the data. And they're not bad people for doing this. They're trying to protect jobs, they're trying to prevent kids from being shuffled out of their neighborhoods, they're trying to keep doing their jobs while realizing that the world has given up on these kids, and that these are just cynical political ploys to hide the dirty truth. This nation does not care about educating black people, hispanics, and anyone other than white middle-class types. We want to feel like we are, but as long as you can just effectively hide the truth, we'll ignore it.

Well you can't hide the truth forever. The fact is the miracle was a hoax. Principles were hiding drop-outs by covering up the loss of students, saying they were transfers etc. They hide poor performance by holding the poor-performing kids back a year so they don't take the test, then socially advancing them two years so they skip it. It's cynical, it's ugly, it's stupid, and it's Bush's legacy in Texas.

Now the question is, how many years after he's out of the presidency are we going to be finding things like this? How many lies (that are pretty obvious to anyone paying attention) will suddenly be "discovered" while the press and all the Republicans voting for this idiot wonder feebly how it ever happened?

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obscurifer said...

The problem isn't that we've got a generation of students who can do nothing but take standardized tests.

The problem is that we haven't yet achieved the goal of a standardized-test-taking economy.

10:28 AM, January 30, 2007


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