Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Is there a campaign to discredit public education?
On April 27, 2011, Governor Snyder said that "only 16% of all students statewide are college-ready based on the ACT taken in spring 2010 as a part of the MME."
So I did some research.
I looked at the state of Michigan's MI-School Data website. Under the post-secondary options link I found the high school in my district - Novi High School - and looked at the data available for the graduates of 2010.
I ask the database to show me how many of the graduates of 2010 had earned 24 college credits in two years.
According to Governor Snyder, only 16% of my graduates were college ready.
Yet the data shows something different.
Of the 2010 graduates from Novi High School, within 24 months, 89.9% enrolled in college and 75.3% had earned 24 college credits.
Let me repeat that. Within 24 months (2 years) of graduation, 89.9% of the 2010 graduates of Novi High School had enrolled in college and 75.3% of them had earned 24 college credits.
Why would Governor Snyder say that on "16% of all students statewide are college ready.?"
You might defend the Governor and say that he was not talking about Novi. After all Novi is a great school district and it has students who are prepared for college.
But look at the state numbers. Using this same state of Michigan database, the numbers tell a different story than the Governor tells.
In Michigan, of the 2010 high school graduates, within 24 months 75.5% of the students had enrolled in college and 56.4% of the students in the state had earned 24 college credits.
Why is the Governor telling anyone who will listen that only 16% of students statewide are ready for college when the real numbers tell a completely different story?
I would think that the governor would want to promote that our public schools are preparing students to be successful. I would think that our Governor, who professes to be a "nerd", a numbers guy, a data-geek, would use the data to promote the good job that public schools are doing to help our state's economy. I would think that the Governor would want to attract businesses to a state where students leave high school with the skills and knowledge they need to be successful in college.
Yet it does not appear that the Governor wants to do that at all.
In fact, it looks like the Governor is looking to discredit education, to embarrass public schools, to get the public to believe that we are not doing our job.
Why would the Governor want to do that?
One possible explanation is that the Governor wants to discredit public education so that he can force through educational reforms that have no track record of success. It appears that the Governor has a political agenda that he is focused on instead of focusing on the facts.
I would hope that the Governor is not trying to discredit public education to foster a political agenda but it is hard to argue against that.
Because the Governor is promoting educational reforms like the Educational Achievement Authority (Senate Bill 1358 and House Bill 6004) that would create a statewide school district that would take control of public education away from communities and put it in the hands of political appointees. The rationale used to justify this power grab is that public schools are failing.
This is the same Educational Achievement Authority that started this fall with a small group of failing schools. This reform effort has no track record of success at this point. It is only three months old. Yet the Governor is confident that this reform effort is of such quality that it should be expanded across the state. How can that be justified?
But public schools are not failing. The state's own data clearly makes that point.
I know that there are schools and districts that are not meeting the needs of the students in their care. Yet the Governor is not using a surgical approach that looks for solutions to very specific and isolated cases. He is making the case that all schools in Michigan are failing and that the majority of students are not prepared upon graduating from high school.
The only excuse for this gross misuse of data is that the governor has a political agenda.
I would urge the citizens of Michigan to pay attention to the changes that are being proposed for public education. Contact state representatives and senators and let them know that we will not stand for the Governor or for others to politicize the education of our children.