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Best and Worst Education--by States

Posted by dublinbay z6 KS (My Page) on
Sun, Dec 11, 11 at 9:37

Since there have been several "arguments" (fights?) on this forum about how different states and regions of our country rank academically, I've been intending for some time to look up some statistics, but haven't had time until now. I was particularly concerned because some of the statistics being thrown around were not matching my memory of studies I had read earlier.

One area that particularly drew hot fire was about whether education was rated higher in the north or the south. One set of statistics cited repeatedly here was that other than South Carolina (which was ranked the lowest), no other southern states fell into the 10 (or 25, depending on the poster) worst states--thereby proving that northerners are simply biased when they disparage southern schools.

I'm sure we can probably find some bias in some of the statements made by various posters, but I would like to clear up some erroneous information that has been offered.

That study that everyone loves to cite--placing South Carolina at the bottom (and Massachusetts at the top, I might add)--does not say what most of the people citing it claim it does. First of all, it lists the 10 (or 25) lowest performing schools--that is, individual schools (not the entire state)-- in the areas of math and science performance only. Now it is evidently true that South Carolina has 10 or so of the lowest performing schools in math and science in the nation, but that says nothing about the state as a whole -- which actually might be performing average or better, despite a handful of really poor schools in that area.

Likewise, the fact that some states did not have individual schools listed in the 10 (or 25) lowest performing does not mean their schools are performing average or better. It is perfectly possible for schools in a state to perform below average even though none of their schools won a place in the ten worst performing. If posters are interested in how the individual schools from their state did in the science and math performance categories, they will have to look up the detailed lists that allow you to check every individual school in your state.

Determining the truth about which states, as a whole, provide better or worse education is rather difficult--because it depends on what you mean by "better" or "worse" education. And that is the problem when posters start citing statistics--they rarely tell us exactly what is being "graded." As a result, different studies make different claims--sometimes even contradictory claims--which is why we should be very careful about citing one study as though it reflected the Almighty's words carved in stone.

Just to give some statistics that will balance out the somewhat skewed (or misunderstood) ones that have been repeatedly cited on our forum threads, I'm listing here information from an education journal (intended for professionals in the field) rather than watered down information printed in newspapers and intended for the general public. I picked this source (see the link at the bottom of this post) because it indicates a number of different ways that schools can be rated, and the ratings are for the state as a whole--which means that each state can have notable exceptions to that rating as a whole, but it supplies an easier to complrehend yardstick than rating separately every individual school in the state and then working out your own state averages.

The BEST and the WORST overall can be seen in the bottom chart called "Chance for Success Index" (a "best in the class" index):

BEST: Top 15 (Hmmm--mostly northern states, with one southern state)
1. Massachusetts
2. Connecticut
3. New Jersy
4. New Hampshire
5. Vermont
6. Maryland
7. North Dakota
8. Minnesota
9. Virginia
10. Iowa
Next five: CO, NY, PA, WI, KS

WORST: Bottom 15 (Hmmm--no northern states, all southeastern and southwestern states)
51. Nevada
50. New Mexico
49. Mississippi
48. Arizona
47. Louisiana
46. West Virginia
45. ARkansas
44. Tennessee
43. Alabama
42. California
Next five: TX, OK, SC, KY, AK

Those categories reflect more the ratings I generally remember rather than the ones repeatedly offered on this forum. However, let's see how the rankings are if we switch to somewhat different and more specific criteria.

K-12 Achievement (as in achievement tests in a number of academic areas):

Highest: Top 10
Mass, NJ, Maryland, Vermont, N. Hamp, Florida, PA, NY, Minn, Montana
(Those are mostly northern states, aren't they.)

Lowest: Bottom 10
Mississippi, W. Virginia, Dist. of Columbia, Louisiana, N. Mexico, CAlif, S. Carolina, Alabama, ARizona, Michigan
(Mostly southeast and southwest, it does seem.)

OK--a few qualification now.
Not every school in the highest and lowest rated states is performing as well or as poorly as the state average. Your school might be superb even if your state gets a low rating, and the reverse could also be true.

It is true that as far as math and science go, American schools are all over the board with no region standing out in particular. Unfortunately, most American schools perform poorly in those areas.

If you check out any number of studies over the years, Massachusetts and the northeastern schools regularly appear in the top 10 in most rankings, but other states also periodically appear in that ranking also--just not as consistently or extensively as the northeastern states do.

And if you check out any number of studies over the years, states in the "old south" often regularly appear in the bottom 10--along with a number of states from the southwest and the west.

I'm not trying to pick a fight here but rather to clear up a lot of confusion about statistics that have been often cited here. It seems that one important function this forum has is to correct misinformation that gets too freely spread around. I hope this post helps bring some clarity to this issue.

Kate

Here is a link that might be useful: Education Week (education journal)


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

There are so many variables, but I would first ask what are the major differences between the better performing states and the poorer performing states.

Who are the teachers?

What socioeconomic strata do the students and teachers come from?

What is the work ethic of parents of students?

What are welfare payments in the particular state?
(because why study and go to school if you don't have to work to earn a paycheck according to some, and YES I've heard this, I've been involved with helping seriously at risk youth)

What are the statistics on crime, which can affect anything from being able to attend a "safe" school to students choosing to participate in drug dealing and thuggery rather than studying.

Is there a correlation between money spent and performance?

Something tells me the geographical location of a state does not play into the results at all, although one could ask if students were more or less likely to attend school if it was snowing or hot and sweltering.

Lots of variables, but I don't think a North Vs. South is going to accomplish anything.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

I agree with many of your assertions there, but if you take the time to study how professional organization collect their statistics, I think you will find that professionals in the field have already thought of those variables you mention and have taken them into account in their studies. They know those are important issues--it is not news to them.

Please do not misinterpret what I said (I know you don't like being misinterpreted either). No where did I suggest it is all about north vs south. In fact, I am the one who said there are many variables involved and posted a link to a professional study that takes into consideration that there are many variables involved. We agree on that and therefore do not need to pretend to argue about it.

I included the north-south information because the previous threads where fights about this were occurring were couched in north-south terms--and very recently the statement was made that those previous threads had somehow proven that southern schools rank as high as other schools in the nation--and further that northern schools tended to cluster at the bottom. That information is false. Whether you want to accept it or not, southern states have clustered near the bottom for decades--in study after study. And I would be more than willing to grant you that a number of the reasons why are exactly because of many of the variables you listed above. Nobody is arguing that. I'm arguing against the misleading information that was given. Now what each poster wants to make of the significance of that north-south information is up to each poster--I make no claims about its significance. I am only making claims for accurate info. in that respect.

However, I would suggest that ignoring what factors in the South and Southwest tend influence the frequent lower ratings that southern and southwestern school often earn would not seem to me to be a good way to try to solve the problems that southern/southwestern states often experience. Facing up to the facts would seem to be an important first step.

And let me repeat (this point was also made in my opening post), education all over the United States would benefit from more reforms and improvements. No state has a monopoly on educational perfection.

Kate


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

I certainly wasn't ignoring the problems of schools in the south. South Carolina has an abysmal record on public schools. But with the exception of South Carolina, no other southern state makes the list of the 100 worst public schools in the US. And I wish that I could believe that making another blanket disparaging statement about the south, had anything to do with research into the education system in the US. But I don't, and there it is.

Here is a link that might be useful: 100 worst


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

Thanks, Kate... I, too, suspected that some of the loose stats thrown around were not accurate.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

mrsk, you keep on citing misleading statistics. If you take the time to read my first post carefully, I address what is wrong with the statistics you are using. They do not say what you claim they do and I explain up there why they do not. I wish you would do me the courtesy of actually reading what I said and then addressing that--rather than just repeating the misleading information.

How rude of you to imply I am lying about my motives when I state that I am concerned about accuracy and about correcting misleading information. Why do you think it is so honorable of you to strongly imply I am lying as long as you don't actually say you think I am a liar? Everyone knows you have just called me a liar -- even if you didn't actually say those words.

And I would like to add that I made no "Blanket statement" disparaging the south. I went out of my way to qualify my statements several times so that they would NOT be "blanket" statements. I also do not consider stating truthful facts as the equivalent of "disparaging" anything. I do wish you would actually read what I posted rather than flying off the handle and responding in terms of blanket statements disparaging me (oh, that's right--by implication only. It's all right to be disparaging as long as you don't state it directly--just hint at it!)

Let's face it--your facts were wrong and you got called on it.

Kate

P. S. And try reading the article I linked to. It also would clarify further what I was talking about--if you bother to read it.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

It was not a blanket statement that you made that opened up this line of attack the south yet again Kate. So, no, I did not call you a liar.

And it's perfectly fine if you feel that your statistics are superior to mine. I'm used to it.


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Whatever

Whatever. I don't have any interest in arguing with your persecution complex.

However, I can't believe how rude and insulting you regularly are--all the time believing you are the flower of courtesy. Unbelievable.

If anyone wants to seriously discuss any of the points I was trying to make, I'd be happy to carry on this topic with them. Otherwise, I have more important things to do--like wash dishes. : )

Kate


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/////RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

And at least be honest Kate. You read the remark made yesterday about the education in the south. And according to your own words, read my answer. And so you felt the need to find statistics that refuted what I said, so you could "prove" that the disparaging remark made by someone else regarding the south was true!

I truly feel sorry for some of you. Some people justify racism by making themselves believe that they are somehow superior to others. It's nothing but regional racism practiced on this forum by some, and let me tell you, it diminishes you in many ways.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

This is zooming into outer space.

I am concerned about the accuracy of the information being offered to this forum, so that some makes me guilty of being one of those "people justify[ing] racism by making themselves believe that they are somehow superior to others. It's nothing but regional racism practiced on this forum by some, and let me tell you, it diminishes you in many ways. I'm a racist because I value accurate information. Who would've thought it! You got to be kidding.

Of course I was responding to your thread yesterday in which you cited statistics in a totally misleading way. I never hid that. Yes, I wanted accuracy. And I said that several times. No, I did not go looking for just anything I could get my hands on so I could put down your argument. Instead, I went looking for ACCURATE information that I was pretty sure existed out there, having read it in the past. And no, I was not trying to support someone else's disparaging comment about the south. I was trying to show how and why the stats you were citing were not accurate, at least in terms of the points you were trying to make.

Are you going to hurl more wild insults my direction? At best, all I can do is say, No, that's not true. Then you will say Yes, it is true. Then I will say, No, it's not . . . and on and on. Let it drop, mrsk.

Kate


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

"Misleading" - that's putting it mildly. We debunked this false data before.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

Bless your heart, the education system for the whole country has taken so many hits over the years that arguing about which state is worse is essentially moot. They will all be equal in the near future and worse than many other countries in the world. There has been an unrelenting attack by people that work for big business to underfund any thing scholarly for years.

A balanced education delivered by well trained, well educated teachers is not possible when they are not paid a decent wage and the system is stripped of the resources to provide it. Shop classes, art classes, music and more classes all take a back seat to athletics that can raise money (see college football and the desire to get into college sports). The dream to become a professional player starts in grade school. The dream to make something of value does not.

Math and science are very important but the peripheral arts, craft and mechanical classes give a sense of what to do with the math and science. Balanced education covers many things and it is being taken away from our kids by the desire to save money. The result is a loss of national income and depletion of the work force in the area of knowing how to apply the small bit of education left in a way that will lift us out of being on a declining level of production in the world.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

Thank you, Kate.

California's Proposition 13 plays an important part in my state's standing. An attempt a few years go to repeal Prop 13 tax limits on commercial property was defeated. And so the public schools continue to deteriorate.

We used to be one of the top states in per student funding; now we are near the bottom.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

I was somewhat surprised to see that California did not rank higher in the ratings than it did, nancy. I had forgotten about Prop 13--what a burden for your state to carry.

Of course, as don points out, all the states are suffering economically right now--and education seems to be one of the favorite places to chop out. And to justify it, all sorts of things about education must be put down--therefore, give them the axe. And like don says, we are losing some valuable programs in the schools as a result. I agree we need to improve in math and science, but not at the expense of the arts, crafts, and mechanical classes. But no--bad mouth them all so we can cut the education budgets--while we fire teachers and cancel their pensions. Let's get to the point where we are scraping the bottom of the barrel for teachers--that ought to solve our education problems! But then, I guess we don't need them since we are cancelling many of the classes as well.

Just how is that supposed to improve the performance of our U.S. students, especially in comparison with students from other countries?

Oh, I just remembered. Newt wants our students to grow up aiming for a janitorial job. They don't need teachers and classes to do that, do they!

Kate


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

  • Posted by ohiomom 3rdrockfromthesun (My Page) on
    Sun, Dec 11, 11 at 13:50

Whose children have been left behind ?

This is well worth a read, hope some take a moment to do so.

Here is a link that might be useful: Once more we


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

It'll never work, Ohiomom, because it involves doing the right thing. There isn't enough combined honesty, empathy or ethics in Washington to do the right thing... and if the GOP has their way, there never will be.

Very good article, by the way... insightful, and very embarrassing for the US... well, it should be an embarrassment.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

I was very surprised in that I had read similar stats that had Mississippi at the bottom of state rankings in Education (and other issues, as well).

Why, on the whole would we be surprised at the educational lackings in the deep South, if we are aware of Southern history, given the legacy of slavery, then Reconstruction, then Jim Crow laws, then Strom Thurmond, George Wallace, et al., Poll taxes, the whole nine yards of discrimination, veiled and unveiled? And, in fairness, not to defend the South, but, having lost the Civil War, was a major setback in its society on all fronts.


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RE: Do The Right Thing

Even in the north, though, institutionalized discrimination plays a part in the flagging education within inner cities, etc... and I'm not defending the south... they have just as many issues, regardless of the continual denial.

My take on it, from spending time in the south, is that some of its citizens are still mad they lost the Civil War. It's a certain attitude encountered, and it's even been spoken within my presence.

Regardless of ingrained racial issues, and embedded deeper, is a level of avarice, corruption and lost ethics that will keep our national education sinking deeper into the abyss if our legislators don't actually do something about it.

But again... this involves unselfishly doing what's right. It's the children that suffer.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

That is a good article, Ohiomom.

I don't think that state averages in education mean much of anything. Public schools in Colorado vary from great schools to awful schools, funding varies from something like $40,000 a kid down to $5,000 a kid, with the corresponding educational opportunities. Teacher salaries can double from the urban districts to the rural ones.

There was a major case in the courts here recently, where some parents and school districts sued the state because the state was failing in its duty to provide an adequate and uniform education - our district sent a couple of teachers who testified to the 12 yr old text books, the lack of supplies, etc. The judge just decided in favor of the plaintiffs. Linked article talks about the decision.

Here is a link that might be useful: link


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

Some day we will stop blaming the educational system and governments and start in on parenting that should be stressing the values of eductional and demands excellence of the children as well as the educational institutions.

The rest of this subject is one long and ugly ideological fight.


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RE: Child Left Behind!

Good parenting can only take kids so far, Marshallz... without the funding, the dedicated teachers, and the right legislation, a lot of kids are doomed to failure.

Parents like myself couldn't afford charter or private schools, and were reliant upon the public school system.

We have to remove corruption and avarice from our systems or the only winners will be those who can afford to buy those trophies.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

Oh brother. Poor, pitiful, woe is me...for a change.

It costs -0- dollars to read to your child every night. It costs -0- dollars to be an active participant in your child's school. It costs -0- dollars to encourage your child and make learning a priorty.


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RE: ///Best and Worst Education--by States

Exactly, paulines. Well, not exactly 0 dollars because being a proactive and caring parent might require commitment of time away from work and personal expenses to make learning materials available to one's child, including field trips.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

  • Posted by ohiomom 3rdrockfromthesun (My Page) on
    Sun, Dec 11, 11 at 16:04

Lack of parental involvement, unfortunately, is not limited to "poor" families. I have a friend who teaches in an upper-income community and she told me the parents are much to involved in their own lives/careers to be bothered. This was in response to my complaint about a lack of parental involvement in the lower income neighborhood school my children attended.

I agree with Marshall and Pauline that the ultimate responsibility for our children starts in the home.

I can't tell you how many hours I spent with my children at extra-curricular events where children would remark their parent/s weren't there because "they worked all day".

LOL I worked 6 days a week for 20 years and somehow I was always a regular at the school (volunteering) and/or school board meetings.

Guess that is why to this day I have no social life :)


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

Our local school district has been rated superior for over 25 years. Who cares about the rest of 'em?


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

I realize reality is a state we can't all live in, but realistically, it takes more than zero dollars to give a child the state required education they need, so they can grow up and become productive adults, yanking hard at those personal bootstraps of responsibility ya'll keep harping on... and that's a fact.

Read some of the articles so the discussion can both stay on track, and remain rooted in reality... the reality of public education within our nation today.

I'm pretty sure no one here is the product of story book reading on Mommy's lap only... well, not entirely sure... but pretty sure.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

  • Posted by ohiomom 3rdrockfromthesun (My Page) on
    Sun, Dec 11, 11 at 17:07

Jodik my own parents showed zero interest in our education .. and I agree that not all school districts are created equal any more than "every" kid in America has equal opportunities in life.

My own parents showed little to no interest in our education, and my mom was a stay at home mom.

They signed our report cards without bothering to really look at them ... how do I know ? Because otherwise they would have noticed the 30+ days I cut school in my junior year of high school.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

Here is an article about ACT scores in Mississippi which does not have a well regarded education system. At the very bottom of the article is a link to the Act web site which has a report that compares the scores of all the states. I think the ACT scores are a good assessment since they are a national test for seniors to measure academic achievement and the test is uniform across the country. mrsk: you will notice how low the Southern states score in comparison to other states. You may not like the results but they are what they are.

Here is a link that might be useful: Act Scores


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

Very true to both Marshall and Ohiomom.

Ohiomom, Like you, I volunteered in DDs' elementary schools, one was in an affluent suburb and one was in a poorer rural community. The rural community had a much closer and more active parent base. Unfortunately I guess, many of the children in the affluent school came from homes where both parents were working professionals.

That said, the affluent community's schools were in the top 10 in MA. Children were expected to graduate and go on to college...that was it. I didn't get that same sense of expectation from the parents in the poorer community. And it wasn't even a money thing...it just wasn't strived for or expected.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

jz, there are also other factors to keep in mind. In Mississippi, 93% of graduating seniors took the ACT test. In Massachusetts only 22 % of graduating seniors took the ACT test. So, if only your best and brightest take the test, your overall ranking is going to be much better. No way to know, if Mississippi's best and brightest only had taken the test, they may have surpassed Mass. in ranking.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

Here in Fullerton there is Sunny hills High School. This public school has a very good reputation. Some years ago the Hughes complex was sold to a developer and a few thousand single family residences were built. They were all sold before they were built and 90% were bought by Korean families. Even the older houses in the district for this school sell quickly to mostly Koreans. Now Sunny hills High School is mostly Korean as they bought for the education. I have worked at houses next to houses the parents bought and have their kids stay there while they still live in Korea. They range in price from $300,000 to over a million. Then the other high schools have a mix of different nationalities. The results get skewed by many different situations.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

No way to know, if Mississippi's best and brightest only had taken the test, they may have surpassed Mass. in ranking.

Miss. best and brightest would have been the ones taking the test since it given to kids who want to go to college.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

"Miss. best and brightest would have been the ones taking the test since it given to kids who want to go to college."

Not necessarily. In IL all high school juniors take the ACT. Everyone from the gifted to the special ed. students take it.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

Frank, 100% of students do take the ACT test in IL. MrsK said that 93% of MS seniors take the test, to demonstrate that maybe the smartest kids weren't taking the test. I have since found a chart (see the link) which indicates that 100% of MS kids take the test too. I surmise that the reason why only 22% of MA students take the test is because it is more common to take the SAT (not the ACT) test in eastern states.

Here is a link that might be useful: ACT Data


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

I had never heard of ACT scores until it was mentioned here in another thread on education. SAT scores are the standard measure in California.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

Here, the ACT's are mandatory for high school kids senior year, so that the schools can be graded and the principals fired.

This has a drawback in that kids who have no intention of going on to college don't exactly put out an effort to do well on the tests.

But hey..... its not your job.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

The ACT is a Midwest thing. Kids here in the East don't take it unless they are interested in a Midwestern college. So it's not a good measure of anything...nationwide

Here is a link that might be useful: ACT-SAT map


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

So it's not a good measure of anything...nationwide

Why is it not a good measure? There are kids who took the test in every state of the union regardless of whether it's the predominant test in their area. It still measure their academic proficiency and the statistic can be compared state to state.

What test would you suggest to measure the academic achievement of students from different states if the ACT (and ostensibly the SAT) is not good enough?


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

Well, you can't compare states' results when some have 100% participation and others 9% In our county in MD, all kids take the PSAT and are strongly encouraged to take the SAT.

We don't have a national test - should we? If we did, I believe Kate's north-south info would hold true, unfortunately.

Isn't this all linked to poverty anyway?


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

My take on it, from spending time in the south, is that some of its citizens are still mad they lost the Civil War. It's a certain attitude encountered, and it's even been spoken within my presence.

*

I wonder how many teeth the people you "spent time with" (how long as that, one month, a drive through, living in the south?) had, as the few people that I know of that would meet that description are usually in shows like Dukes of Hazzard, or backwoods people that are occasionally interviewed by local reporters that sport backwards mullets, live in permanently attached filthy baseball caps and ride fourwheelers to the mailbox to pick up social security disability checks.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

We don't have a national test - should we? If we did, I believe Kate's north-south info would hold true, unfortunately.

Isn't this all linked to poverty anyway?

Likely. Plus I think there is a basic disregard towards education i.e. education shouldn't be for everyone.

As Diane Ravitch (Ohiomom's link) points out: Tests should be used for what they were designed for--as a diagnostic tool.

Ravitch has it right:

-- Every pregnant woman should have good pre-natal care and nutrition so that her child is born healthy. One of three children born to women who do not get good prenatal care will have disabilities that are preventable. That will cost society far more than providing these women with prenatal care.
-- Every child should have the medical attention and nutrition that they need to grow up healthy.
-- Every child should have high-quality early childhood education.
-- Every school should have experienced teachers who are prepared to help all children learn.
-- Every teacher should have at least a masters degree.
-- Every principal should be a master teacher, not a recruit from industry, the military, or the sports world.
-- Every superintendent should be an experienced educator who understands teaching and learning and the needs of children.
-- Every school should have a health clinic.
-- Schools should collaborate with parents, the local community, civic leaders, and local business leaders to support the needs of children.
-- Every school should have a full and balanced curriculum, with the arts, sciences, history, civics, geography, mathematics, foreign languages, and physical education.
-- Every child should have time and space to play.
-- We must stop investing in testing, accountability, and consultants and start investing in children.

Elsewhere on the planet, these are the minimum standards (except there's no need for onsite healthclinics since a decent healthcare system already exists).

And btw, the Finnish spend about a third of what the US spends on education. Go figure...

That reminds me--didn't Bill say he was gonna look into the matter for us, regarding Maine? After all, we're talking billions, in whose pockets does the money end up?


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

demi - there's a problem with education in many of the southern states and until its citizens understand that there will be no chance of correcting it.

Why do we spend so much money on education with so little to show for it. Nationally, our kids lag behind other countries, especially n math and science. Why can't our kids compete in math and science with the rest of the world?


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

jz there is a problem with education in every region of this country. Pointing fingers at one region or another does nothing to elevate the debate on what should be done about it. There are just too many variables on why test scores might not reflect what kids have learned. In fact, I think teaching to test is one of the downfalls of our schools.

We know it's not money. We spend more per student than any other country. Other than the fact that the money is filtered through one bureaucracy after another before the pittance that is left reaches those for who it is intended. And of course we have become so PC, that just the cost of that takes away from the children who can become productive members of our society. I'm sure that many of you will disagree with me, but do you realize that most teachers have to buy most of their own supplies? Yet, a teenage child who must wear diapers, cannot be in the same classroom as other students because he is too violent, will be provided, his own classroom, his own teacher, his own caregiver, in order that he may attend a public school? Approximately 80,000.00 per year, and what will he do with this education?


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

JZ, I feel that family values and upbringing play somewhat into children that see themselves as learners. The affluent community I wrote about earlier was a literal melting pot, with a great deal of Asian, Russian and Indian families moving into town. Many either rented (when they could have purchased in a different town)or bought small, major fixers-uppers, so they could get their kids into this school system. Education seems to be a first and foremost priority.

Perhaps this is part of the reason we see the competency disparity in US vs. other countries?


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

Hmm, looks like it is time for me to start whistling Dixie...


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

A number of candidates want to eliminate the department of education because they are against the government having a say in education, which they believe is best served locally. And yet education in a number of states is abysmal. How does local control improve education? If there are no national standards, how do you compare Florida with the other states to make sure the kids are all getting a good, solid, basic education?


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RE: Worst Education--by States

Maybe online education is the answer, as it seems to be for everything else...


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

Just my opinion jz. I think almost everyone wants their child to have the best education possible. And if education in some states are abysmal, maybe taking the schools out of the hands of Washington and setting the standards at the local level, might be the best way to improve our schools. It would certainly mean more money going directly to the schools. And I think most teachers and educators know how to put that money to better use than some bureaucrat in Washington.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

our schools reflect our collective values and no matter how much lip service we give to children getting a good education, we don't collectively agree with that.

We do value sports in the school system .
As a country we value making money, the more the better. so children chase careers where they can make a lot of money. In so many ways we are a very superficial country.
The saying that children learn not by what we say but what we do applies to what is going on in our school system.

When my parents moved from Canada to Indiana, we immediately noticed these modern , up to date gyms often on a campus with a ho hum school. The people just laughed when we commented about this and they said " in Indiana you pick the biggest, newest building in any small town and that is the gym, the high school is the smaller building beside it"

I went to my 6th grade grandson's Christmas band program and they were begging for donations to the program to buy a trailer for their band instruments when they traveled to competitions. My comment to my husband was that I'll bet they are not begging for anything for their sports program.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

setting the standards at the local level

Science education would be kaput in some states if that happened.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

There is more than enough mis-information in this thread to choke a mule.

Its all well understood by everybody in education that having a supporting family that values education will lead to a majority of students who do well - few outliers in there with autism, other physical/bio-chemical behavior issues, but all in all, no problem.

However, there are far too many students who don't have that home environment. And until someone comes up with a way to force parents to raise their kids to the societal norm, that job falls on the schools. Or has anybody come up with a better solution?

So the schools that have problems with NCLB tests are responsible for teaching kids proper social/communal behavior, making sure they have something nutritious to eat, increasingly, making sure they're healthy enough and not trotting around with nasty communicable diseases, then teaching them - in short, taking on the role of good parents.

Whats the alternative?

Union bashing, school administration bashing, bashing the expense of handlers for brain-damaged kids in wheelchairs, etc. are just the side show.

What I see now is a huge move to just to let those kids from poor family back grounds rot - cut funding for their schools, and if I can't afford a private school, gimme a taxpayer voucher and I'll drive my kid to and fro to some academy that has a 97% college admission rate. Hey, baby, I got mine - personal responsibility, no social responsibility.

Oh, and lets set up a private company, use tax payer dollars to give the poor kids a computer and start up a voucher funded internet school. We can get away with paying our teachers half, give them 80 students a piece to cover, and we can make $$$millions$$$$.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

I seriously doubt that jz. Local school boards are made up of educators, at least here they are not state wide, they are local to the communities. The federal government didn't start taking over public education until the 60's. We made it to the moon didn't we? We have had great scientific breakthroughs for a century. And believe it or not, there are scientists who believe in God, if that is the point.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

I pay tuition and transportation costs so that several of our cousins kids can attend a small semi-rural school system.

Their home school system has decent teachers, but they were bullied and harassed by much of the urban riff-raff that attend school there.

Three that were failing in their home school system have made honor roll in their new school system, plus they're much happier.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

Why can't every child have an IEP (individual education plan) like special ed students do....it can be done. One of the new adminstrators in our district made this point and also spoke of the major cuts coming down the pike (something has to give and it is always on us). Say you cut the music class, well what if music is the only thing that gets a kid up in the morning and allows them to perform in other areas? Instead of focusing what the child has a natural apitude for we throw all our money on extra help etc for what they are week in...

Parents don't seem to have much interest in raising critical thinkers it seems to me or how to fail. The key to success in my eyes in knowing what to do when you fail and having perseverance.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

Ahh, the old stereotype based on a few visits to the south rears it's ugly head. I've lived in the south and I've lived in the north and I've lived in Puerto Rico. I've volunteered in classrooms in all of them. I spent time as a substitute teacher in a local high school. My take is that the schools pretty much every where aren't as good as they could be. I don't think the largest problem is with the education is in the schools. It is at home. Many students are just marking time waiting until the day they can drop out. They don't respect the teachers nor do they respect the other students and their desire to learn. Those students are disruptive and take an inordinate amount of the teachers' and administrators' time. Parents tend to blame the school when a child gets in trouble and not the child. Teachers are afraid to look at child cross eyed for fear that the child will complain to the parents who complain to the administrators who threaten the teachers' job because they damaged little Susie's poor fragile ego because she stole another student's pencil for the third time.

All the money and all the testing in the world won't fix the schools until all the students start to respect the teachers and the parents start to respect and support the teachers and educators.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

Since when have local school boards been made up of educators? Not in my experience although sometime a minority of board members may have once taught or administered schools. In California, the battles for school boards have become brutal ideological battles for control over what is taught and who does the teaching. Faith-based interests have won control over more than a few boards, often by subtrefuge.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

Don't care where Tennessee is on the board. We have TWO of the top high schools in the NATION. Can you say that about the community where you live? And my son will be in one of them next year, so that's all that matters to me. It's where he ends up that matters. We also have one of the top Universities in the US/world. He may attend here or he may go abroad. I don't care which he picks; he'll have his choice too. I've supplemented any lack he's had, which has been rare, and found the best wherever it existed.

It does exist everywhere. In every part of the world, and every part of the US. I expect more out of my child's teachers/principals and I get it or I fight for it. And I'm poor. All in the South.


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Example of a School Board

mrsK: Where in the world did you get the idea that school board members are educators?

Here is a list of school board members for Orleans County, Louisiana. I picked New Orleans because I know you live in Louisiana and that was the only county I could remember that name of. There is one woman who appears to be an educator and that's it. There are a few attorneys on the Board. I wouldn't want any of these people deciding what my children should learn, nor should you. In my area school board members are elected so how is that a guarantee that "educators" will end up on the board?

Here is a link that might be useful: School Board Orleans County


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from an editorial today

snip - When less than one-third of all 10th-graders in the state score "proficient" on the CSAP math test, you have to accept a certain sad reality. And even if you choose to dismiss the test, as many of my colleagues do, you'd have a tough time explaining away why colleges need to vastly expand their offerings of remedial classes, or why employers report that high school graduates' workforce skills are embarrassingly lacking.

Of course, the usual suspects all offer their solutions. From the right you get "vouchers;" from the left you get "more money." Of course, vouchers haven't exactly saved Cleveland's schools; and Washington, D.C., and New York spend vastly more per pupil and they're educational cesspools.

Frankly, it seems like maybe we should stop arguing over ideas that don't work. Instead, let's get none of the usual suspects together, call in a few Big Brains, and look at this differently. Let's come up with something new that the public might buy into.
snip-

How about something that will feature accountability for teachers and schools and students and parents? How about something that will feature high expectations for academic performance and robust co-curricular offerings that allow students to explore the other 80 percent of their brains? How about something both inclusive and ideologically neutral?

And, more importantly, how about something that works? What do I mean? We know from research that long breaks cause knowledge loss, but we still have three-month summers; we know the brain absorbs languages best before age 9, but we don't start foreign language classes until middle school; we know music activates the brain and physical activity helps concentration, but primary students get only 15 minutes a day; we know teachers perform better when they're properly mentored, but for the most part they're thrown in a classroom to sink or swim from day one. Why can't we devise an education system that takes advantage of what we know? Then maybe it would be worth investing business and taxpayer money in.

Of course, all this means it will have to be entirely different. We cannot hope to educate a 21st century workforce with a 19th century model of public education. Students will need to read, to write comprehensibly, to compute and to analyze. But if we really want to contribute to the global community, we will also need dancers and musicians and philosophers and masters of all those disciplines that shape our innately American ingenuity.

So can we puh-leeze get to work using the 20 percent of our brains that are math and language to work out the logistics of the system that will come from the other 80 percent? Something more imaginative and modern. Something better.
end quote

And a thought for those who complain about what it costs per-pupil. There are 2 private K-12 and 1 private high schools near here. The tuition runs $20,000 to $30,000 a year. And then we scream at how awful schools are paying $5,000 a year/pupil. Must be the union.

Here is a link that might be useful: link


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sew buttons

No educators on my school board!

Jhug, I agree with much of what you say. Any progressive policy our district has explored has been shot down by parents for fear of "too much work"...:/

Rob, good for you but your situation doesn't change the statistics or the problem. It is like saying it is sunny here so it can't possibly be raining in the next town.


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true dat

Great great post, David! Here our district is exploring the IB (international baccalaureate) program for primary years which is an all inclusive program unlike the high school program which is a diploma similar to AP which allows students to use the thought process that works for them to arrive at the solution and also allows them to cross disciplines so if an element in math applies to a history lesson, etc. Critical thinking...common sense thinking! Cuomo has implemented tough standards and accountability on teachers coming through this year. IB is being shot down as to "global" and "international" but the right wingers here. One person called it a nazi program.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

Uh no, it's like saying, look for the good because it exits. Don't lump me in. I managed to find good because I wanted to find it.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

School boards are sometimes the bane of the educational system. I should know. I'm from Kansas--the first state to mandate that Creationism (oh, excuse me--I meant "Intelligent Design"--you know, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, or whatever) must be taught as Science. Yes, thanks to our "educated" (get real) school board! The truth is that right-wing political agendas had taken over and were dictating what was to be considered "good education" -- based on their religious ideas, not on any educated standard recognized by the science profession. It took several years and a lot of political lobbying to get some of those creationists kicked off the education board and the Creationism mandate revoked (thank goodness!). There are still several Creationists on the Board, but at least they are no longer the majority, so some sanity has returned to the Kansas educational system.

Of course, given our current governor (Brownback) who is trying to compete with Kasich and Walker in Ohio and Wisconsin to outdo their t-party/right-wing agenda, who knows what further damage will be done to the Kansas educational system!

Don't underestimate how much damage politicizing the educational system can do in your own state also!

Kate


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

I am from Mass (see screen name)and living in the South. Part of the difference in school systems is based on simple mathematics. Public schools use property taxes and property values are a lot lower in the South.

Kate, I would also be interested in the stats of how much each state spends on education per child. I have seen the figure for Mass before (can't recall) but it was much, much higher than Kentucky, for example.

We have an IEP, long story, but we lost it recently because my child's grades were too good...I was told that we would not receive services unless he was FAILING. That is anathema in Mass. I have been told by one friend that three children in her son's class have a FULL-TIME aide. That does not exist in our school system. Another friend said that a child advocate comes to their school to tell parents how to get services if they need them. That does not exist here.

I asked in our IEP meeting why my son cannot receive services to reach his potential and I was told we are not given services to reach our potential. God forbid, if we did maybe our scores would be higher than the abundance of countries who are cleaning our clocks in math and science.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

Great post David, one of the best re the public school system I've ever read.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

  • Posted by sweeby Gulf Coast TX (My Page) on
    Mon, Dec 12, 11 at 11:22

"The free market works very well in producing goods and services, but it works through competition. In competition, the weakest fall behind."

"The goal of our education system should not be competition but equality of educational opportunity. There should not be a Race to the Top. What is the Top? Who will get there first? Will it be poor and minority students? Don�t count on it. The Top is already occupied by the children of the 1%."

What a fabulous article Ohiomom. Thanks for posting the link.

"It costs -0- dollars to read to your child every night. It costs -0- dollars to be an active participant in your child's school. It costs -0- dollars to encourage your child and make learning a priorty."

Very true Pauline. And you can bet that the 1% (or their nannies) are reading to their children every night. And diagnosing and aggressively treating any learning disabilities. And providing enrichment opportunities and counseling and tutoring galore. The children of well-educated parents are doing very well indeed. (Not unlike disparities in health care -- Those with excellent health insurance have excellent health care.)

This thing is -- As a society, we say that we value an equal opportunity for all. And a free, excellent and equal public education should be the cornerstone of that belief. As a society, no other investment has a bigger payoff (though admittedly a delayed one) than a high-quality education for our children.

"Yet, a teenage child who must wear diapers, cannot be in the same classroom as other students because he is too violent, will be provided, his own classroom, his own teacher, his own caregiver, in order that he may attend a public school?"

So MrsK -- What would you do with such a child? And please rest assured that the aides that provide care to such children are NOT well paid...

"We have TWO of the top high schools in the NATION. Can you say that about the community where you live? And my son will be in one of them next year, so that's all that matters to me. It's where he ends up that matters."

That's good for you and your son, Rob, but what about for society as a whole? What about the kids whose families are not so education focused?

Don't we as a society have any responsibility to them?


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

red,

In Tennessee, any and every need is met with our IEP, as it is seen as a "special" need (my son makes 100% on standardized testing here. He's very bright and we use IEP). Is the law for your state vague enough to read it that way? I hope so. Or hopefully, you can get them to see that it can be seen that way? Check it out. It might be worth it.

___________________________________________________________
To those who wish to denigrate: Heck, you know hicks here are just stupid enough to help out our children! Dumb ol' "backwards South". I do wish I'd quit hearing such, let me get it right this time--not racist--but discriminating remarks about the South.


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-RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

Sweeby,

How about this. What if everyone expected better education, as I do? PEOPLE have to expect it and fight for it. Is that better stated?


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more...

Redsox, I am sorry to hear that. What they heck are they there for if not to help your child reach their potential? In our district they have one class in each grade which is an inclusion class that has two special ed teachers and sometimes and aide to help students that need it. So many get lost in the "institutional" style...every student must be a solider learning environment - my child included. I am so thankful.

Something else, kids with brains that think "different"...say dyslexia - those type of brains often are architects and engineers. They think outside of the box. The think we value most as a society - entrepreneurs and creativity, we are squashing in our school system!

Sorry rushed post from my phone.

Rob, that is great but still doesn't change the statistics. I have family in Florida and South Carolina and they put very little to education and that includes aging and dangerous bus fleets and roads.


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hmmm

Rob, I don't think anyone was saying that to you?

Follow the policy and in red states they do less for education in government policy.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

Those comments shouldn't be made to anyone. Maybe not directed AT me. But enough. Stop discriminating. California isn't the South, and they're at the bottom. But excuses will be made for them, no?

"I included the north-south information because the previous threads where fights about this were occurring were couched in north-south terms--and very recently the statement was made that those previous threads had somehow proven that southern schools rank as high as other schools in the nation--and further that northern schools tended to cluster at the bottom. That information is false."


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

  • Posted by ohiomom 3rdrockfromthesun (My Page) on
    Mon, Dec 12, 11 at 12:13

This thing is -- As a society, we say that we value an equal opportunity for all. And a free, excellent and equal public education should be the cornerstone of that belief. As a society, no other investment has a bigger payoff (though admittedly a delayed one) than a high-quality education for our children.

...many people say many things, living up to their word is a whole nother' thing.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

Hey, redsox--good to "see" you here. (How did your roses do this past summer?)

I don't have time at the moment to look up how much the different states actually spend per pupil, but that link I posted in the opening post (and below this message) contains a number of different ranking based on different criteria. One of them somewhat pertains to your question, but there wasn't enough info. to determine whether they were looking at underfunding or overfunding or what. I'm guessing they are measuring the amount of spending in relation to the better or worse outcomes in the other areas of ranking, so I'd assume a lower ranking on funding means something like "underfunding."

Anyway, here's a few rankings based on School Finance:

Higher Finance Rankings:
Wyoming, Rhode Island, NJ, NY, Conn, Maryland, Vermont, Mass., Wisc, Maine
There may be some correlation between their Finance rankings and their overall rankings based on a number of other factors, but one obvious exception is Wyoming. Evidently Wyoming spends most per pupil and gets rather poor results (at least I think that is what the chart is saying).

Lower Finance Rankings
Lowest: Idaho.
Also: Nevada, Utah, Tenn, Mississippi, Colorado, N. Carolina, Texas, OK, Arizona

I've never studied the issue of money spent per pupil, so I'm not sure if I'm reading that chart right or not, but here's my 2 cents worth.

It appears that while there is some overlap between Finance rankings and Achievement rankings, there are also many exceptions, so I'd guess that while finance may be an important factor in some cases, it would probably need to be determined on a state-by-state basis.

I am surprised, however, that a rich state like Texas evidently doesn't fund per student very well--but then I have always regretted parts of the education my (now adult) daughter received the three years we lived in Texas. She was lamenting that subject just last week, in fact. I do hope it is not a sample of what other Texan students are still receiving today.

Kate

Here is a link that might be useful: Education Week (charts on school rankings)


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//RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

And it's like the argument between me and my gearhead buddy. We were arguing about the fastest stock car on the road at the time. He meant top speed and I meant 0 to 60 speed. There are different things at different times, and all states have some good schools and all states have some bad schools.

So? To say all Southern schools are bad, well, that's just uninformed. Be informed. Your states also have bad schools. And good schools. Stop the generalizing and get on with it already. Oh the drama!


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confused

Do you not get statistics and the extrapolation of data from them? It actually is not about YOU.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

I'd still like to know where it costs zero dollars to send a child to school... because in my experience, it cost plenty to send three children through public schools... and not just through property taxes paid. There are registration fees, book fees, extra fees for music, art, or sports. And that doesn't include a lot of extra things that kids need, like health care, nutrition, etc.

You can read to your child all you want... our parents did, and we did... and while it's very helpful, it doesn't complete, nor begin to round out nor pay for the state required education every child must receive.

So the buzz words "zero dollars" are just another red herring to take eyes away from the growing issues of privatized, and therefore segregated, education... which is becoming a problem... nor does it help focus on other educational system issues.

Getting a good education in America costs a lot more than zero dollars! We got lucky that our schools were good ones with good teachers and good programs. But what about all the other areas with crummy public schools that have no educators on their boards, very little funding to put toward actual education, and too many kids that fall through the cracks... in a society that is so wrapped up in itself, individually, it can't see the collective future of the system in jeopardy.

This nation has the funds, and it supposedly has the brains... so why can't we show such great public education statistics like the Finnish and other countries in Europe? Because avarice stands firmly in the way...


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:) RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

I don't give a rat's behind to whom the statements are directed, maggie. EVERYONE!: please stop the name calling and discriminating. Generalizations are inane and prove nothing except that getting to the correct facts aren't important.

WHAT'S WRONG WITH EDUCATION IN AMERICA IS THAT ATHLETES ARE PRIZED OVER INTELLLECTUALS. It's in caps because I want to get down to the facts. Now then, I understand athletic scholarships can be a vehicle, but that doesn't seem to be the universities' objective (great grades for the child! to the point of, they'll fire a coach if they aren't winning enough) these days, but there it is. Follow the money trail. Who gets paid more? A scientist solving cancer or some stupid running back who'll rip his hamstring and languish out of the league? Or, if you want to address the problem via another route, go for it. But to say that folks' geography has to do with their education is not correct. Please stop beating the long dead horse and get down to the nitty gritty already!


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

rob: There is something radically wrong if you can read this thread and come away with the notion that anyone said that all Southern schools are bad. Because a state scores low compared to other states or spends less money per student doesn't mean that there are no good schools in that state. It's shocking to me that you do not comprehend that. It the nature of ranking - there's going to be one state on the top and one state on the bottom. There are going to be states that spend more and states that spend less. Now you can disagree with the methodology used to rank schools and discount the results. That's a different argument but one that you haven't explored yet.


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huh?

Rob, there is a total disconnect between what I said and what you claim you think I said. Total disconnect.

Enough said on that matter.

Kate


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

Thank you maggie and rob....right now I am fighting like h@ll to get his services back. And, yes, if he is not an engineer, I will eat my hat. I call him the human mapquest.

People don't always understand that IEP does not necessarily mean poor academics. But, when you go on a college or job interview, you also have to look the interviewer in the eye.

I am bound and determined to get his services back and I will not give up until I do. But to say that your child must fail to be entitled is wrong on so many levels.

No one is saying ALL southern schools are bad but it is true that the South lags the rest of the country as a whole. Most of the social programs we (still) have were created for the South.

The other thing I noticed when I moved here....back before we had kids and had disposable income was that every event we went to was "white." Go to a basketball game...sea of white faces. Go to the theater....sea of white faces. I found it bizarre. It was so noticeable. I asked my Husband why there were so few minorities at these events. Clearly, minorities have not come as far in our state. Why not?


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

I am late to the party, but this is a good thread overall. Great article ohiomom.

And something paulines said WAY up there bears repeating:

It costs -0- dollars to read to your child every night. It costs -0- dollars to be an active participant in your child's school. It costs -0- dollars to encourage your child and make learning a priorty.

I blame some lack of involvement on society's desire to have THINGS - to have so many things that both parents have to work (a big house, the newest/best car, gadgets, boats, vacations, eating out ...). If one parent could be around more often - even just from after school to bedtime, kids could have more parental involvement.


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(RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

No, I totally comprehend what you said Kate. There is a total connect. I'll cut YOUR comment down farther. How can I possibly be getting the "south is at the bottom" part wrong? What am I missing? Did I mix up your words? Which words did you not mean to add? I'm sorry you didn't write what you meant to say.

________________________________________________________
"somehow proven that southern schools rank as high as other schools in the nation--and further that northern schools tended to cluster at the bottom. That information is false."
__________________________________________________________

I have also noted other things in the thread, but this is the part I want to quit seeing. It could've been left off completely. And I want these sorts of digs left out of threads. Really, they need to disappear. If it's funding, then say funding. Don't say "poor states" (but fully meaning anything in AR, MS, AL, LA, TN, and GA) or "southern" or anything else that is an us/them biased statement. Just cut it out. Address the issue as a whole. As a USA issue.

And I did discount that jerzee. I said it's because of the value system is offkilter. It's shocking that you can't see something in bold and caps????? There is more, but you can feel free to say it. Or refute my answer. It's the wrong values that are shared by America in general.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

Rob, you will have to give orders somewhere else. No one on this forum put you in charge and agreed to salute you. If you don't like what is being posted, you can always go read something else--that is your choice. This forum was not set up to please you and your preferences.

I stand by what I said--it is accurate--no matter how you try to twist it.

Are we now going to have another one of those sequences--so know: yes, you did--no, I didn't--yes, you did--no, I didn't . . . and on and on. Just drop it, rob. This is getting us nowhere.

Kate


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tough-RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

And I can stand up to you. You go ahead, run along and be proud of being wrong about how you generalize. Fantastic job of creating a bigger chasm. Nor will I bow to your preferences. I'll call you out on calling us less than you every time. I too can say what I want. Tough for you.


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Here we go again

Whatever. I'm taking off for lunch now. You will have to find someone else to squabble with.

maybe I should join Chase for virtual cocktails this afternoon? Hmmm--not a bad idea.

Kate


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

rob, you have a right to your own opinion, but you do not have a right to your own facts.

Kate's presentation is right and there's no amount of huffing and puffing going to change that.

Yes, of course, there are individually good schools in every state but that doesn't negate the statistics.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

rob, give it up, really. You'll just be waiting for the next...the south is racist, southern strategy, the south is so not as good as north or east. As I've said before, everyone has the need to feel superior to someone, and this is about as good as it gets for some.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

Denial ain't just a river in Egypt.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

It starts at home. The more the parents are invested, the better the outcome. Decades ago when we moved to this area, we investigated the school systems where our two kids would attend and THEN looked at houses. Later we wanted an old farmhouse but didn't move till the kids were in college. Ironically the house we found WAS in their district. I attended every parent/ teacher event from K thru 12th and more than a few times the teacher would ask why I was there since my kids were at the top of their class and those at the bottom were not represented by either parent at these events.

I'm not going to get into the north/south thing again because I was slammed the last time but there is a similar situation here. The poor city schools have a huge drop out rate and mucho dollars a year, I think $18,000, are spent on each student. Yet five miles away, my GS is in one of the best schools in the state...I think in the top five. 96% of the senior class goes to college. This kid in 8th grade in his AP classes has way more difficult material than I had in college. I am amazed at the quality of their education, and it costs LESS per student than the horrific schools in the city.


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/////RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

That is usually the way it is though lily. You can see the parents that show up at open house, show up for their kids extra curricular activities, and there are plenty, I made three last week. A band concert, glee club caroling, and a Christmas lunch at school. These kids will make it, no matter what school they go to. It's expected. I try to make sure we sit with a group of kids that for whatever reason, don't have parents there. It's fun to chit chat with them. You are right, it starts at home.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

"jz, there are also other factors to keep in mind. In Mississippi, 93% of graduating seniors took the ACT test. In Massachusetts only 22 % of graduating seniors took the ACT test. So, if only your best and brightest take the test, your overall ranking is going to be much better. No way to know, if Mississippi's best and brightest only had taken the test, they may have surpassed Mass. in ranking."

You are correct. In the eastern half of the US, most kids take the SAT. Only those students seeking prestigious schools and/or rigorous programs take more than the SAT.

So, yes, usually only our best students take the ACT as well, so it's impossible to make a meaningful comparison based on one test. I would expect other states, those that mostly use the ACT, to beat us like rented mules on the SAT rankings, because it is mostly their best students who are taking that test.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

Lily,

That is exactly what I did. I moved to the school district and have stayed. Glad to see I am not alone!


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

First off--there are no counties in Louisiana--as is clearly indicated on the link you provided.

Secondly, New Orleans' schools are experiencing a cutting edge renaissance for which they're receiving national attention--due to the establishment of charter schools--largely the idea of those "non-educators" you decry. Imagine that.

Changing tack slightly, what's up with Mark Zuckerberg's $100,000,000 donation to Newark's public schools? Is there some sort of problem there?

Charter Schools in New Orleans


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

You'll just be waiting for the next...the south is racist, southern strategy, the south is so not as good as north or east.

You know I live in the South and I certainly don't feel like everyone is bashing the South on this forum.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

So sue me...I should have said Orleans Parish.

Is there some kind of meme going around that national testing suddenly means nothing? Am I missing something? If you are worried about the percentage of students taking the test and feel the comparison isn't fair, then just compare the states that have 100% participation. Three out of the eight are Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee. Compare them only to each other and Mississippi's score is still "tragic".

These tests used to be as important as a student's grades for college entrance. Maybe that no longer applies - I don't know, but if someone would explain to me why you feel these tests are no longer a benchmark of academic achievement, especially in math (I recognize that the English part of the test might present some unique problems), I would appreciate it.

Here is a link that might be useful: act data


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

I didn't say everyone was bashing esh. I'm simply saying, address the problems found in schools, but leave off the derogatory remarks about regions. Take it as you will, I don't hate anyone. I want the rift to end. You know what? Since we are all Americans, then maybe, we should pool every last bit of the taxes and then divide them completley equally and that should solve the money problems. Just like they do(?) (well, did when I lived there) it in Hawaii. But I still think the problems don't stem from money. It's from pushing kids into things other than the world of academia.

jerzee what I got out of it was, it depends on WHICH test you observe. Not that the tests didn't count. You sure are selective in your reading. Rather like, criminal reporting. That is, just because not all crime is reported, doesn't mean crime doesn't exist. And whether one precinct calls it robbery or defines it as theft... the statistics can vary. It's how one looks at what is being listed.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

rob: To me it's more like comparing murder statistics in Tampa, Florida with murder statistics in Newark, New Jersey. There may be a certain number of murder that were reported incorrectly but that won't skew the statistic since they are likely misreported in both locations. It can be done and it will give you an idea of how much of that particular crime was committed in each place. And you can compare the two and say there's more murder in NJ than there is in Tampa. Then you can try to figure out why that is AND TRY TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM. If you don't do these comparisons then you might find yourself satisfied with the status quo and that won't get you anywhere.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

Dublinbay, I did want to point out that although the following states spend the most - "Wyoming, Rhode Island, NJ, NY, Conn, Maryland, Vermont, Mass., Wisc, it Maine, it should be noted that some of these states have very high costs of living when compared to Texas. When you adjust for cost of living, I believe Texas comes out very much in the middle on education spending. Since salaries are the bulk of education spending, you really can't compare education spending without including cost of living comparisons.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

Wyoming, a low-population, low density state, is making an awful lot of money with severance taxes for coal and natural gas. They are investing in education. In contrast to neighboring states, small rural school districts can and will pay teachers a very decent salary, and thus attract some top educators from around the region.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

I don't think the difference between our two parties can be more cyrstalized then in education. Republicans think education dollars are wasteful spending. Their budget cuts education by 25%. If you want to see their future just look at Mississippi and Texas where those programs have been gutted. I personally believe that charter schools would mean the death of our public education system and we are coming close to a time when only the elites can afford a college education, anyway. A feudal future if we vote for it and certainly a race to the bottom.

Redsox, I wish you well. You are 100% right. Academic scores and IQ don't tell the whole picture. I so wish you could have a parent advocate. It is so hard to speak rationally when you are in these meetings and it is your child they are speaking of and of course we are so emotionally vested. Our school has a staff psychologist which is great for helping kids with their fear, anger, transition issues, etc. We also have an amazing public library system complete with computers and homework clubs and many many other resources it helps to level the field for lower income children but is a great resource for all of every age. But this comes at a cost of tax dollars, something some areas just don't want to spend.

We can certainly fix our problems in this area but cutting spending so the wealthy can have a tax break is not going to do it. No, money doesn't solve the problem, but not funding creates the problem.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

Here's my .02

I read to DD. I tell DD little puns when I come across them to show her words can be fun. We do math when we're cooking.

Not too long ago (my grandmother) people only got 8th grade educations... that's if they were lucky. And my grandmother could do sums in her head, do correct change before an adding machine, sew her own clothes beautifully, cook and can and fix small engines and was an excellent (uncertified) nurse/midwife.

Kids can learn just about anything. It's our job to open their minds and show them how many things are out there and how accessible they are with effort.

Our schools here in California, public schools, IMO... SUCK. I see them as socialization arenas, mostly. But DD is doing good, she likes school and she is learning.

Stop teaching to the test. Stop grading everyone based on the same criteria. Start teaching to the child.

I was raised with a combination of education systems, private, illegal private/home, homeschool by mother, homeschool by tutor, homeschool with mixed families.

Most of what I learned and RETAINED was by experience, not from a classroom.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

Posted by maggie2094 (My Page) on
Mon, Dec 12, 11 at 20:05

Republicans think education dollars are wasteful spending.

*

Please back up this generalization.
How do you know what Republicans think?

I'm not a Republican and I certainly don't think education dollars are all wasteful spending--only some of them.

To those of you so quick to disparage Louisiana residents--look and see who those "uneducated" Orleans PARISH residents vote for.

Democrats.

Still waiting for their ship to come in, as promised.

They should have known, NOLA Mayor Ray Nagin wouldn't even send the buses in to keep them from drowning or being stranded.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

Stop teaching to the test. Stop grading everyone based on the same criteria. Start teaching to the child.

Amen Sista! You are so so so so right! I totally agree.

_________________________________________________________
I did what you did with your daughter, with my son. Showed him everything in the world around him and to discover what makes it tick can be fun and interesting. Sometimes, I have to remind him. For instance: He dragged out his science homework last week; the summary of three science project ideas he might want to try and what he thought the outcomes might be. Slogged his rear end down on the couch and grumbled about how he "hated" (already? He hates everything? he's not a teen yet, but hormones sounds like they're getting to eye-rolling stage) to have to do this since he already knew what science project he was planning on doing. Sure enough, the eyeroll. I told him to go get the book we bought for FUN, the book about science projects. We'd bought it after thumbing through it excitedly thinking about what we could try on our own. I reminded him how much fun we thought this or that would be, and by end of he conversation, he was having a hard time narrowing down what he was writing down.

Get excited about it and they will too. Sure, I make certain he plays baseball in a non-competitive league. Sure, I say great job! when he comes home and says he ran the ball so fast in soccer that he whizzed past all the other boys proudly. But I emphasize that learning isn't just fun, it's a means to the end he wants to reach, and that it'll make all the difference in the world between getting a job in the MD world and getting a job in the MD world as a secretary (ok, maybe a bit more, but not a lot more). I should know.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

I don't think the difference between our two parties can be more cyrstalized then in education. Republicans think education dollars are wasteful spending.

No we don't, we think a lot of education dollars are wasted. Big difference. Two of my best friends are teachers, my BIL was a principal till retirement. It is unbelievable the number of petty bureaucrats they have to answer to for every piddling federal mandate. And they have to dance fast to the tune, because it means federal dollars for the schools. And every bureaucrat wants their little form or report first. Forget about teaching, get those reports done. Go to work at 6:30 in the morning, and bring an armload of paperwork home at night. It is enough to boggle the mind.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

Demi, I base my comment on what republicans say and do. Look at the Paul Ryan/House budget - it cuts education by 25%. Look at their policy on Head Start. Look at Haley Barbors MS and Rick Perry's Texas, and so on. They want to demolish the Dept of Ed. There are plenty of examples and it is clear in their platform and policy what education would look like in America if you followed it through on a federal level.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

In most cases, school administrators are there to handle the paper work required by the state and fed, not the local school districts. But with that paperwork comes the money. I'd think that if the tax payer is shelling out $11,000 per kid, you'd want to see how that money was spent and what the results are, carefully documented. Now multiply that by all the different sources of income.

We have something like 17 people working in school administration here, and most of them just do the paper work for Federal, State, and private grants.

And yes, you'd think it could be done more efficiently.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

Rob, your son is so lucky to have you as his mama.

My daughter loves to learn geography.... as long as it's not from a book/required. We have a shower curtain that is a map of the world and a map of the world on our kitchen wall. It's one of those little things that we can always find something to talk about. Did you know Antarctica has no polar bears? It's easy to remember because Arctos in Greek means Bear and Anti means opposite... therefore Antarctica means the opposite of bear land!

DD didn't want to learn about continents either, until we started talking about what we knew about each one... once she had the hook (Grandma is from Europe, Sushi comes from Asia, marsupials come from Australia, etc) she was interested.

I just learned the Rocky Mountains run all the way up to Alaska and down into S. America. D'oh!!!!!!

Like you said, learning is an on-going, life long experience. The more open we are, the more we will learn. I want my daughter to WANT to learn, to want to keep learning, and to enjoy her experience here on Earth. A well paying job would be good, but mostly I want her to have the skills to handle her emotions, to keep herself safe and aware, and the energy/drive/enthusiasm to pursue what interests her.

What we're doing is training kids to sit for long periods of time with very few potty breaks, eat poor nutritional food and be a slave to consumerism. Would you like fries with that?


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

Teaching to the test doesn't in itself have to be a bad thing. I am not against children being expected to achieve benchmarks as they learn. How would you assess their achievement, if not by testing? Testing doesn't have to be the only way of assessing them, but it certainly can be one of them. Testing also introduces some academic competition which is important for kids to get used to especially if they want to go to college. No kid is an island unto himself.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

From Monday's NYT on the unaddressed link between poverty and education: Class Matters. Why Won't We Admit It?

The correlation [between economic advantage and student performance] has been abundantly documented, notably by the famous Coleman Report in 1966. New research by Sean F. Reardon of Stanford University traces the achievement gap between children from high- and low-income families over the last 50 years and finds that it now far exceeds the gap between white and black students.

Data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress show that more than 40 percent of the variation in average reading scores and 46 percent of the variation in average math scores across states is associated with variation in child poverty rates.

International research tells the same story. Results of the 2009 reading tests conducted by the Program for International Student Assessment show that, among 15-year-olds in the United States and the 13 countries whose students outperformed ours, students with lower economic and social status had far lower test scores than their more advantaged counterparts within every country. Can anyone credibly believe that the mediocre overall performance of American students on international tests is unrelated to the fact that one-fifth of American children live in poverty? [...]

But let's not pretend that family background does not matter and can be overlooked. Let's agree that we know a lot about how to address the ways in which poverty undermines student learning. Whether we choose to face up to that reality is ultimately a moral question.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

jerzee,

Sorry, but I disagree with you; it is wrong to teach for the test solely. I appreciate your comments, but here's my 2 cents on that idea.

For instance, my son wants to learn something beyond the rote deal that goes on when it's a couple of weeks before test time. After all, he argues, What does memorizing stuff have to do with understanding the material? What happened to critical thinking in this scenario? And a small boy knows that memorizing isn't the same as learning. He makes consistently high grades on all standardized tests, but that's not what makes him smart. He's a great critical thinker, leaps and bounds better than I ever dreamed of being. He's more like my dad is, and they're deep thinkers. Too bad daddy spent his critical thiking skills on military stategum and acquiring funds. I suppose we need a strong military, but he could've solved so many important problems. Wish he'd stuck with his bio-chem background.

And if nothing else, making learning awful to someone who is borderline about learning want to stop, that'd be bad enough. But it also stresses out the kids who aren't great test takers. It's wrong on so many levels. There may be something right about making sure they're making it to benchmarks, but propping them up aint the way to get er done.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

I would think so too, David. Very top heavy. We just recently started consolidating transportation service and negotiating cheaper contracts between districts and sharing bus runs. Seems like a no brainer but it was never done before.

Jerzee, your on the money. Testing is critical to assesing where students are at but there needs to be room for teachers to teach big picture and critical thinking which is what IB does, I sure hope our district adopts this platform, curiculum stays the same - that is mandated. Funny, people can want teachers evaluation but don't want student testing. Under Cuomo, they are beginning to implement teaching "testing" and evaluation. Yippeee.

Again, though...with a college education becoming of thing of the elite, who knows what the future holds for them. Republicans were the ones that made student debt dischargable under banrupcy and nonnegotiable and under Bush did away with many pell grants, etc. The evidence is out there. Your voting makes the difference. Your education is directly linked to your economic prosperity in life.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

Jerzee, there's nothing wrong with testing. It's TEACHING TO THE TEST that I object to. What that means is that for over 1/3 of the year the students are being drilled on ONLY what is on the standardized test. Why? So they can get good test marks, so their teachers won't be fired and their principal moved to another school.

The teachers I've spoken too have all said they hate teaching to the test. It turns them and the kids into robots.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

What do you mean when you say "Teaching to the Test". Why would you teach a kid one thing and then test him on another thing? Isn't that known as a trick question? You almost have to teach to the test to get any kind of correct assessment. In the dark ages we used to call it preparing a kid to take a standardized test. There is a certain amount of stuff that a kid has to learn to move on to the next level or to find out if he needs more work in that area. Like 1+1=2 and finding the hypotenuse of a triangle. If the test asked what 1+1 equals or what is pi, shouldn't the kid have learned those things? Teaching and testing is kind of a symbiotic thing with one determining what the other is going to be.

By the way, there is no reason to think that critical thinking and testing are antithetical to each other. Critical thinking skills are actually quite important when taking a test and it helps with test taking strategies.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

Well, I dunno about Silver's area, but here, they give them actual past tests with which to "practice" before taking the current year test.

Instead of teaching the concepts, e.g. converting fractions to decimals, etc. And building on those concepts. Do you see what critical thinking about which I am talking? You are correct, they are not mutually exclusive, but in this case--choosing one over the other is what goes on.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

jz, I'll give you an instance of teaching to the test. Here the kids have to take the LEAP test every four years, if they don't grade well, they cannot go into the next grade, nor graduate. When school started the year mine went into the fourth grade, they began teaching strictly what is on this test. And I can tell you, it is some pretty boring stuff. Up until the fourth grade, he loved school, he was an honor roll student. Fourth grade, his grades began to drop, he hated school well before mid term. The teachers hated what they had to teach. He has a cousin who is the same age as he, also an honor roll student, even in the fourth grade. They took the test at the end of the year, he passed, she failed. She had proven that she understood what was being taught to her. It was a very painful year for him.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

I can understand the confusion. Yes, students here get a "test" (also can be downloaded online) that is made up of prior tests. The students practice taking that test.

What it means is that they only learn what will be on the CST (California Standardized Test). They do not learn ANYTHING (or hardly anything) that is not on the test. Which means... no social studies, no geography, etc. etc. etc. because the tests ONLY test for math and English.

What it means is the students in DD's school get poor scores because they are ESL students. They'll learn, and they're smart, they just don't know the things they're testing for yet.

I think reviews are great, I think students should be learning what will be on the test. But at this point all they're doing is rote memorization (which does not work long term) and I don't like it, and the teachers hate it too, and the students are bored.

Like Rob said, it's teaching memorization rather than concepts and then building on the concepts. We even have them jumping all over the place (DD9 is doing geometry and algebra and fractions and decimals and multiplication and statistics ((yes, there's even a place on the report card for statistics, 4th grade))... and it's ALL within the first 4 months of the year. Why are they jumping? Because the test jumps.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

All of the above, plus here, they spend a couple weeks on test taking strategies as well.

I have a friend who grew up at the University of Texas with parents that volunteered him as a guinea pig hundreds of tests done by the education, physiology, etc departments. He got so good at figuring out the correct answers, without knowing much more than a whit about the question, that he managed to pass his mcats with out studying.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

We were just notified last week that every Monday our 3rd grade students will be working on how to take multiple choice tests and how to approach open response questions. So now, they are not only teaching to the test, they are spending time EACH week learning how to test.

By the way, most of the emphasis is spent on raising the lower category into the middle "proficient" category. Very little in the way of resource time is spent on raising proficients into distinguished or raising distinguished scores into what....(China's scores?)


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

"So sue me...I should have said Orleans Parish."

That's right, you should have; so, that would be a "do over" for you in education parlance.

Other failures I might ascribe to you (so far)include your failure to address the resurgence of education in New Orleans via (gasp) charter schools.

Likewise, I find your failure to comment on the debacle in Newark puzzling.

One might think that with the moniker jerzeegirl that you'd want to comment on the plight of Newark's schools and explain to us what that's all about and what steps the enlightened State of New Jersey is taking to remedy all that.

I see that's not going to happen.

Otherwise, coming to these forums after months away and reading them with "fresh eyes" is to find oneself embarrassed with oneself for ever having actively participated on a regular basis.

MANY of you--across the entire spectrum of beliefs and positions--might want to think about taking a break.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

You know what they say Michael about those who assume....

I do not live in New Jersey and haven't for many years. It would be quite easy to see that since I am listed as living in zone 9. That's right, zone 9, you should have seen that; so, I guess that would be a "do over" for YOU in education parlance.

Because I am not familiar with what is happening in Newark, I will be making no comments on that subject. But, please feel free to comment if you'd like, since you seem to know it all.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

P.S. Charter schools have as many failures as successes. Clearly, that is not the answer.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

Newark's schools were taken over by the state over 15 years ago. Gov. Christie failed to obtain a federal grant of 400 million due to a clerical error last year.

Mayor Booker secured a deal with the governor to gain back control of Newark's school in light of the Zucherberg donation. Booker and Christie seem to work well together and Booker has made a name for himself as a passionate crusader for his city.

It could very well become a laboratory for education reform for our country and will be interesting to watch.

The work that The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation has done is pretty extraordinary.

Like the original article says, no one side has all the answers and we need a collaboration of public and private thinking and funding to make the changes we need, but we must put the emphasis on it.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

As long as programs like No Child Left Behind are still in place, there will be little or no change in the schools. No Child... mandates all that test-taking a number of you are complaining about and takes away the schools' monies if they don't perform the way the No Child . . . program thinks they should. Since schools are dependent on public funding, they have to teach to the tests or they will lose their money and have no way to operate.

Someone needs to start lobbying against programs like No Child. . .--universally hated, I do believe, by all educators, but beloved by the Dubya Bushes and political company that imposed that program on our educational system with the false promise it would improve education in the USA. All you got to do is get tough and impose personal responsibility on the schools and our educational ills will be cured.

Kate


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

From my NYT link above:

No Child Left Behind required all schools to bring all students to high levels of achievement but took no note of the challenges that disadvantaged students face. The legislation did, to be sure, specify that subgroups -- defined by income, minority status and proficiency in English -- must meet the same achievement standard. But it did so only to make sure that schools did not ignore their disadvantaged students -- not to help them address the challenges they carry with them into the classroom.

So why do presumably well-intentioned policy makers ignore, or deny, the correlations of family background and student achievement?


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

In California it isn't the funding. it's the top heavy administrative costs for one. When I went to school we had one principal and a vice principal in elementary and jr. high school. Add a dean of girls and a dean of boys in high school.

When my kids went they had a principal and a vice principal and multiple assistant principles and multiple assistants (secretaries) to the principals and assistant principles in elementary school only to grow larger as they advanced grade levels.

The district office was worse.

The demographics of our schools play a role also. Some schools had students from as many as a dozen different languages.

When I was in school they assimilated on the playground. No ESL, no interpreters. I had early Vietnamese refugees in class and students straight off the boat from Norway and other countries. Not a word of English but by the end of the semester they were just fine.

Then we have all the special needs children with nurses and personal assistants in tow.

When my kids were in school I would help out in the classrooms. Lots of migrant children who would be there one week and gone the next. Most volunteers time was spent with them but the teachers had to put in extra with them also. Only to find them gone the next day or week.

The teachers aren't free to teach children to learn and think and problem solve. They have to teach to test. At the same time they are supposed to be unpaid social workers.

I sent my kids to public school because I believed in all it had to offer. I didn't want them to be in a sheltered or elitist environment.

Expecting my first grandchild soon. Unless my DD and her DH can find a good charter school or happen to be living in an excellent district when the time comes I will do everything in my power to pay for private school.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

For the reasons you give wildchild, for dumb programs like No Child Left Behind, for the schools we grew up in, or my older children, is the best evidence of why public education should be returned to state and local level. The federal government turned it into one giant bureaucracy, run by little bureaucrats who seem to do nothing more than sit around and dream up new mandates. The money spent per child shouldn't be filtered through all these little bureaucrats and the new mandates and programs they dream up. It should be going into the school district, to keep the schools up to date, the teachers well paid, and the kids who need the best education we can offer them. Kids showed be excited to learn, teachers should be excited to teach. It has been turned into a drudge for both.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

Except that those mandates are not coming from "all these little bureaucrats." It is the state and local people, as well as the federal people, who "dream up new mandates." It is state and local school boards that come up with the requirements that are being complained about in this thread. It is not the assistant vice-principal who makes up the requirements. The principals and assistants merely carry out those requirements and, as david pointed out, are overwhelmed filling out all the paperwork that goes along with the mandates generated by local, state, and federal people who are all basically outside the system but creating the "rules" that those in the system must follow.

Kate


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

Oh, I agree with that Kate. I don't consider principals or vice principals bureaucrats. The mandates come from high, the federal government. And the state and local school boards have no choice but to implement. All of those mandates, that the bureaucrats are paid twice as much as a teacher to come up with, all come with strings to the money attached. Then the states and local school boards have to dance to that tune. It is so unfair to teachers as well.

That is another thing about the tests. One size fits all. Only the teacher knows that little Johnny is one bright kid. She also knows, he didn't get much sleep last night. His dad is a drunk, he was awake most of the night listening to Mom and Dad scream at one another. But today, he has to take the test that decides whether he passes or fails. No fair.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

Isn't that always the way, though, Kate? Those writing the legislation and/or rules or parameters for such things are never on the inside and lack a basic understanding of what's needed, or are influenced by other things... such as money and/or power... the bottom line ending in a lack of intelligent regulation/legislation.

And who loses? The children... that's who.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

It is state and local school boards that come up with the requirements that are being complained about in this thread.

Take a close look at who exactly is trying to get on all the schoolboards across the entire US.

Excessive testing what a waste of time and energy. And money. Follow the money:

The Testing Industry's Big Four.

Then there is the Gates Foundation's latest racket:

Levesque noted that reform efforts had failed because the opposition had time to organize. Next year, Levesque advised, reformers should "spread" the unions thin "by playing offense" with decoy legislation. Levesque said she planned to sponsor a series of statewide reforms, like allowing taxpayer dollars to go to religious schools by overturning the so-called Blaine Amendment, "even if it doesn't pass...to keep them busy on that front." She also advised paycheck protection, a unionbusting scheme, as well as a state-provided insurance program to encourage teachers to leave the union and a transparency law to force teachers unions to show additional information to the public. Needling the labor unions with all these bills, Levesque said, allows certain charter bills to fly "under the radar."

This particular talk was being given in the context of online education and the perceived value of permitting online charter schools, funded with public education dollars. Levesque's clients?

But Levesque wasn't delivering her hardball advice to her lobbying clients. She was giving it to a group of education philanthropists at a conference sponsored by notable charities like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation. Indeed, Levesque serves at the helm of two education charities, the Foundation for Excellence in Education, a national organization, and the Foundation for Florida’s Future, a state-specific nonprofit, both of which are chaired by Jeb Bush. A press release from her national group says that it fights to "advance policies that will create a high quality digital learning environment."

American Legislative Exchange Council
Date: November 2011
Purpose: to educate and engage its membership on more efficient state budget approaches to drive greater student outcomes, as well as educate them on beneficial ways to recruit, retain, evaluate and compensate effective teaching based upon merit and achievement
Amount: $376,635
Term: 1 year and 10 months
Topic: Advocacy & Public Policy
Region Served: Global, North America
Program: United States
Grantee Location: Washington, District of Columbia
Grantee Web site: http://www.alec.org

Yep, you read that right.

Here is a link that might be useful: Follow The Money, People!


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

I do not see the federal government as the main "villain" in the scenarios we have been painting. Or at least it is no worse than state and local school boards. As I mentioned above, it is state and local school boards that have been causing a lot of the past problems here in Kansas. They have become political entities and the people on them have political agendas, not educational improvement, on their minds.

Kate


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Speaking of multiple principals

In elementary school, my kids had one principal and one assistant principal. However, starting in middle school (6th to 8th), the school has one principal and three assistant principals - one for each grade. I really love this system.

My son's assistant principal started with him in sixth grade and has moved up with him each year. He's in the cafeteria every day during his kids' lunch period. He attends every single meeting pertinent to his kids. You can find him whereever his kids' are.

While I know this system has double the administrators, I think this is one area where we get our money's worth.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

"They have become political entities and the people on them have political agendas, not educational improvement, on their minds."

Amen to that! I think this is what MrsK was trying to say and I agree with both of you. The system is poorly set up right now. I did a paper on No Child Left Behind quite a long time ago, probably in 2006 (too long ago to remember what I wrote!), so don't quote me on this, the legislation was being considered for scrapping, but passed reauthorization in 2007. It'll come up again next year. A new bill will have to replace it and it's just not on the forefront, so we're likely stuck with another five years of it. We need to write letters, make phone calls...

Here is a link that might be useful: Public Education.org about NCLB


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

Our district pays the company that prints and grades the NCLB tests $350,000 a year. The average teacher salary here is now up to $41,000. So thats 8 - 9 teachers - the district now employs a total of 190, and are now getting rid of theater, German, and most of the art classes, while increasing class size for all the rest of the subjects - the teachers have not had a raise in 5 years.

This on top of going to a 4 day week to cut bus fuel and heating costs.

15 years ago, we moved here because of the excellent schools. They are now in a death spiral - although there are a lot of factors, certainly one of the big ones is NCLB.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

I've seen the bigger picture, and I've been mentioning it for a long time, now... but it's always sloughed off as nothing to be concerned about, or not happening, or just more conspiracy theory... but there it is, people, in black and white. Read it and weep.

Pretty much every system within our country, and more to the point, many within our global community, are controlled through a select process involving... greed. Money and power are very influential.

Follow the money... it always leads to the truth... whether people want to admit it or not.

Nothing to see here... nothing sinister, nothing scary, nothing to be concerned about... move along. It's just your imagination...


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

The schools here are a mess. It is so sad.

I graduated close to 50 years ago at a small public school. Teachers and principals were not paid that well but they were all dedicated to educating their students. The kids I started 1st grade with were mostly the ones I graduated with; 34 of us. Six are now dead. Some live out of the area, but of those close, most meet every other month for breakfast. There was a special relationship between all the students of my class, every single one of them, that has lasted a life time.

My class had 4 Merit Scholars, better than 10% of the class. During the five years I had particular knowledge of, only 1 student dropped out of school, less than 1%. There was lots of tradition, but no hazing or bullying. Students respected teachers and teachers respected students. It was an environment for learning, and we did. Which was a good thing because grades were mostly based on a mandatory final that could only be passed with a comprehensive and working knowledge of the subject.

I doubt you can find a school anywhere in the country that can match that today.

You could take the policies from my school, apply them to any small school, and get the same results today. It won't happen, because neither parents or school administrators will accept it.

I wish students today could have what we had. It's just sad that they don't.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

Scapegoating prop 13 in CA is not the answer to the problems of the education system in this state. One of the major selling points for the CA lottery in 1983-84 was funding for education that it would provide. Since the lottery was established in this state it has provided 1.5% of the yearly education budget. Also, in the early years, the CA legislature "adjusted" the budgeting for education based on what the lottery brought in. You also have to factor the inequality of the education system in the state. Some small communities in the Sierra foothills for example get somewhere on the order of $200,000 per student, per year! While the state average last year was just under $8500 per student. Some disparity. Also, for whatever reason, some school districts are able to produce higher scoring students on less money than other school districts. I suspect that since CA is such a polyglot state some areas will always have naturally occurring performance problems. I remember in the 50's the two top performing states were always Connecticut and California but times have changed.

On that link that was provided it showed that SC had 73 out of the 100 worst performing schools in the nation. I also noticed that a very high percentage were tagged as charter schools.

-Ron-


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

Ron,
Even when I lived there, California had a stellar system. In 2nd grade, we were reading on what was a 6th grade level nationwide. I'm 44. South Carolina is a mess. So was Illinois, and Wisconsin. I would've never guessed any states were, but those seem like they could do all right. I thought it was surprising. But then, no state should have any problem educating students. Why we do is beyond me.

pls,
I know of several people who dropped out of my school, but we also were state champions at loads of things (besides athletics). Many of the children were All-State Band or Orchestra, and certainly ranked very highly at Academic Olympics consistently. We had several completely filled AP classes. Very high number of both great intellect and dropouts. My graduating class was about 290 students. My class, a couple below, and a couple above also meet for lunch every once in awhile. Yet, it sounds like we're six times your size. Graduated in '85 if that helps to put it into perspective. In Nashville (fairly small city). We didn't do without, never a problem. I hope my son fares as well, and if his middle school experience is any indication, it will be. Very similar to mine in the same city. Close friends and the camaraderie among parents seems enjoyable.

I think NCLB has really added to the problems. Disparity of finances (even within cities, not just the US or a state) is another. Also, it was my parent's generation where women HAD to go to work (or the bills wouldn't get paid) and so, they weren't at home to help out with homework as much. Last, I really do think US morals aren't where they belong; the focus long since lost. However, my son is on a higher level mathematically and has far surpassed me in the sciences. I can no longer help with some (physics! my first couple of years of university were bio-chem like both parents) of his homework. Some places are doing ok. We need to get all of the children up to speed.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

The Illinois Lottery was also supposed to help a flagging education system... wonder where all that money eventually ends up? Same for the tollway system... I wonder what a detailed accounting of that would look like?


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

States are relative. My 3 grandchildren are all in accelerated classes, and their parents are well pleased with themselves and me for putting in the extra time to get them there.
I won't tell them this for fear of being ostracized, but I think we're rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. They are 10 years old.
In a recent test of 15 year old contestants among 34 countries we ranked 14 in reading skills, 17 in science and 25 in math.
I have no idea where NC ranks in the states, nor do I care, but I do care that when I graduated from HS in 1966, our education system was envied by the rest of the industrial world.
Personal note: when my 3 children were in school I tutored them in Algebra, Geometry, and Trigonometry. I was chastised by teachers and principles for pushing them past school parameters because they were "bored" in class. I told them that was their fault. Kids will eat up all the knowledge we can throw at them.
Something is badly wrong in this country.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

Regarding parental impact on their children's education: parents' active participation in child development in education cannot be overstated.

For example, children, whose parents have read to them as babies and continue to read to them, grow basically smarter than children who are not read to. And those children tend to continue reading on their own. To me this is alarming, as a former English teacher and current teacher. And reading to your child is so easy and inexpensive (as opposed to private schools).

It's not just that children learn information from reading. We are animals that have a window of development as babies/toddler in language acquisition, which stimulates other areas of development.

And reading to your kids nurtures a relationship between child and parent that really nothing else matches.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

Really good points, elly. I saw the values of reading to children with my three, the oldest having gotten a lot more exposure and attention and becoming an avid reader. The younger children were read to but not with the same intensity of purpose. The youngest one is a reader and was read to by his oldest sister, there being 7 years difference in their ages.


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

Yes Marshallz, reading with children is too good for childer because i thought this kind activity help to enhance the reading skill of child. For proper education of child parent is also responsible.

Here is a link that might be useful: Event Management Courses In Indore


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

A spammer, just joined today....


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RE: Best and Worst Education--by States

For proper education of child parent is also responsible

Yes, proper education of this child by a parent might've helped this post! Interesting wording.


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