It’s really disappointing.
Key Kentucky educators constantly try to tell us about all the remarkable progress that has been made in our schools. Sadly, that clearly isn’t correct.
Here is a graph from our recently released KERA @ 20 report that guts those educator claims.
This graph shows the most recent proficiency rates for math and reading in fourth and eighth grade from the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). It also shows the most recent proficiency rate for our eighth graders on NAEP writing, last given in 2007.
As you can see, after almost two decades of KERA activity in our schools, only about one in three students scored proficient in reading and math in fourth grade. For eighth grade math and writing, the proficiency rate is even lower, only about one in four students.
This is all our educators have been able to achieve in the past two decades of expensive reform efforts. So, it is very obvious that it will take many decades more decades to get to the proficiency levels our kids need, given the depressingly low rate of progress to date that only produced the mediocre results shown in the graph.
I’m not the only one who is fed up with the low academic performance of Kentucky’s students. Yesterday, the Jefferson County Board of Education gave Sheldon Berman, the district school principal, his walking papers, effective at the end of the school term.
In explaining that action today to Louisville’s popular WHAS Radio talk show host, Mandy Connell, Jefferson County board chair Debbie Westlund said the board wants a change in focus to emphasize academics. Clearly, Westlund and her board understand graphs like the one above, and its important implications for children, a lot better than the high-paid professional educator they hired.
Still, educators keep on making those inflated claims.
It happened on last night’s (November 23, 2010) Kentucky Tonight broadcast on charter schools when Brent McKim, head of the Jefferson County Teachers Association said “we’ve made remarkable progress” about four minutes into the program (KET Program #1804, not yet available on line).
And, soon to be released Sheldon Berman told the Courier-Journal on November 7, 2010 that the district “produces many outstanding results.”
Well, a lot of informed Kentuckians have grown tired of those inflated proclamations.
Very simply, educators who keep claiming such nonsense just undermine their own credibility. In Berman’s case, that credibility has clearly run out.