Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Detroit Makes it to the Top of the List

Who says that Detroit cannot bring home the hardware?

When test results were delivered around the nation to school districts that take part in the standardized National Assessment of Educational Progress, only Detroit merited a visit by Michael Casserly, executive director of the Washington-based Council of the Great City Schools, to help brief the media prior to the release of the results.

Pretty cool huh, that Detroit Public Schools should deserve the presence of a nationally recognized educator to address the media on the school's latest measurement of academic achievement.

Oh, nuts. Then the results were disclosed.

Detroit Public Schools students posted the worst math results ever recorded in the 40-year history of a prestigious nationwide test, according to scores released today.

Sixty-nine percent of fourth-graders and 77 percent of eighth-graders scored below basic skill levels in math on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a standardized test that serves as a nationwide yardstick in measuring student learning.

"These numbers are only slightly better than what one would expect by chance as if the kids had never gone to school and simply guessed at the answers," said Michael Casserly, executive director of the Washington-based Council of the Great City Schools, which represents large urban school districts. "These numbers ... are shocking and appalling and should not be allowed to stand."
So, I guess what I was really meaning to say is that they made the top of a list of schools needing improvement. Maybe that isn't such a shock after all.

Robert Bobb has done a stellar job trying to clean out that rat's nest that is the Detroit Public Schools. He has made great strides in cleaning out a lot of the corruption and in helping aim the district toward a more sound financial future. He has some limitations however as he is still engaged in a fight with the district's school board (who have sued him) over control of the educational process, and he continues to have difficulty getting mass support from the district's labor unions on concessions that would further improve the school's likelihood of future success.

You see, there are still a lot of people in Detroit who have a lot to gain by that sacred cash cow that is the failing DPS. There are salaries to make, payoffs to collect, influences to peddle, and backs to scratch. That kids happen to be lolling about in the hallway learning next to nothing should not stand in the way of educrat prosperity! I mean, really, most of them will drop out before 12th grade anyway, so whats the harm in collecting a little cabbage off a deal that is going to go bad anyway?

I hope that Bobb can get this listing ship aright, but he will have more than just the dysfunctional district to contend with, he will have generations of corrupt progressive attitudes to displace as well. See the blogprof on this.

He will also be fighting against a tide of many social problems for which Detroit is famous, and against which he will have little impact. Too many of Detroit's children grow up without a parent. Too many of them grow up in ramshackle neighborhoods choked with poverty, joblessness, and crime. Too many of them grow up listening to the incessant chants of victimhood and live under its self-fulfilling social constraints. Too many of them have succumbed to the allure of the flashy culture personified by the city's ex-Mayor felon and the begolden Gods of hip hop.

This mess took generations of neglect to create, and it will take nearly as long to correct, though sound and vital improvements can be made in the interim. Let us hope the city has finally hit it's real bottom, because simply being on the bottom of a list does not mean things cannot get worse.

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