Are Schools Teaching What Children Need To Be Successful?

Something I’ve become sensitive to is what the definition of “good education” is in Florida and across the country. For example, we hear that school districts like Miami-Dade's and Palm Beach County are “A” rated. Broward’s a B. In my mind that implies Broward’s education is decent and it’s good in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach County. But then I look at the National Assessment of Educational Progress data and I’m shocked. 

What’s a good grade in your mind? A 90? A 95? In my house, if the conversation didn’t start with a 90 there was an issue. According to the K-12 NAEP report, the levels of math and reading proficiency in the tri-county area landed as follows:

Broward:

  • Math 58%
  • Reading: 55%

Miami-Dade:

  • Math 56%
  • Reading: 54%

Palm Beach County: 

  • Math 58%
  • Reading: 54%

If barely more than half of our students are proficient, which means competent in math and reading, how is that “A” or “B” territory? To me, anything in the 50% range is failing. This is part of my greater concern. Have we lowered our educational standards so far that an A today is yesterday’s F? That’s the biggest grading curve I’ve ever come across. Regardless, I don’t think we should collectively feel so good about just under half of grade school students who aren’t at least competent in math and reading. What’s more is the best school district in the country, which is in Illinois, only was at 66% and 70%. 

Recently, we’ve seen the US fall into the 20’s in education outcomes worldwide. In 1980 we were second. This helps explain why. In 1980 this wouldn’t have been acceptable. Today, it’s defined as good. Are we really teaching our kids what they need to be successful or are we just lowering the bar far enough for them to trip over it?

Photo by: Getty Images

 
Brian Mudd

Brian Mudd

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