Just as young people were headed to universities across the nation and the K-12 back-to-school season was percolating in parents’ minds, a front-page Washington Times’ headline disclosed on August 17: “Scores show students aren’t ready for college — 75% may need remedial classes.”
A statistic like 75 percent gets people’s attention. Worse, the Times article quoted an education advocacy group’s finding that “80 percent of college students taking remedial classes [in 2008] had a high school GPA of 3.0 or better.” So apparently, even when students score well, they don’t know much. How is that even possible?
At least one luminary at the U.S. Department of Education (DoEd) decided not to sugar-coat it: Longtime former U.S. Commissioner of Education Statistics, Pascal D. Forgione, Jr., Ph.D., now persona non grata within the department’s hierarchy, issued an indictment of American schools in 1999 that surfaced on the Internet, despite mighty efforts by component agencies like the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) to scuttle it.
“Our idea of ‘advanced’ is clearly below international standards,” he admonished in his now-famous speech.
Same story in 2011. Associated Press publicized the news September 14 that “SAT reading scores for the high school class of 2011 were the lowest on record, and combined reading and math scores fell to their lowest point since 1995,” as written in a Washington Times report by Justin Pope.
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Photo: AP Images