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This statement by Beverly Perdue, former North Carolina Governor and head of the National Assessment Governing Board, about recently released national test scores is chilling but not surprising. Many of us have known for a while now that our children are drowning academically. As Governor Perdue says, "This should spur us all to action."
‘The results confirm our fears’: Federal school test scores dropped during pandemic – POLITICO
This reference is to the recently released National Assessment of Educational Progress scores for math and reading given in grades 4, 8, and 12. The tests have been the standard for assessing the academic proficiency of our nation's children since 1969. Here is a description of the program:
The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is a continuing and nationally representative measure of trends in academic achievement of U.S. elementary and secondary students in various subjects. It is the largest continuing and nationally representative assessment of what our nation's students know and can do in select subjects. It was first administered in 1969 to measure student achievement nationally. Teachers, principals, parents, policymakers, and researchers all use NAEP results to assess progress and develop ways to improve education in the United States.
The findings by the National Assessment of Educational Progress showed a 7 percentage point drop in math scores among 9-year-olds, mostly fourth graders, and a 5-point drop in reading scores.
What is most shocking is that the decline is the following from NATIONS REPORT CARD:
NAEP Long-Term Trend Assessment Results: Reading and Mathematics (nationsreportcard.gov)
Average scores for age 9 students in 2022 declined 5 points in reading and 7 points in mathematics compared to 2020. This is the largest average score decline in reading since 1990 and the first-ever score decline in mathematics.
Remember, this test has been given since the early 1970s.
Educators and national officials are quick to jump on the Covid pandemic as the excuse for this horrible performance. And, while the lockdowns, virtual learning, and mask mandates have played a part in the poor performance, it's time for the schools to admit that this is just one cause of the disaster.
That is not to say they aren't using this data to raise their usual claims of underfunded schools and underpaid teachers. However, these claims seem to be reflex rather than reality since, over the past two years, billions of dollars have been directed to public schools in response to the pandemic. So much money that many districts have YET to spend all their funds. However, that won't stop the Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardena, from singing the same old refrain:
"You know, we're proposing a 21 percent increase in our budget for education. We need to make sure we have highly qualified teachers in every classroom, we have programs for students after school, in the summer. We know what to do, we just have to have the urgency across the country to get it done."
That urgency always seems to prompt more money. Even if it doesn't get spent:
Billions in School Covid-Relief Funds Remain Unspent – WSJ
Or if it gets spent on programs that don't help students achieve academically or to cover luxury items like turf sports fields. In California, schools spent $1.5 billion on "implicit bias training." Washington D. C., which delayed opening schools in person more than all other jurisdictions, didn't use the money as intended; to allow students to attend school in person or to provide more teachers. These are just a few examples.
Rachel Greszler, a senior research fellow for the Grover M. Hermann Center for the Federal Budget at the Heritage Foundation, said available data suggest only a third of new staff positions funded by the stimulus have gone to people providing education directly to students. The rest, she said, are mostly administrative positions.
Follow the money: How schools spent their billions in COVID-19 relief funds (washingtonexaminer.com)
So while Cardona continues to beg for more money, he cannot account for all of the $140 billion-plus dollars misspent or not spent at all. It seems that lack of funding is a ridiculous excuse for the downward trend.
Others find that the failing test scores are because of other factors:
"School shootings, violence, and classroom disruptions are up, as are teacher and staff vacancies, absenteeism, cyberbullying, and students' use of mental health services," National Center for Education Statistics Commissioner Peggy Carr said of the latest test scores in a statement. "This information provides some important context for the results we're seeing from the long-term trend assessment."
Of course, each of these conditions could possibly account for the decline.
Based on anecdotal evidence, it's due to much more than that. Throughout the country, teachers and parents describe a distinct detour in classrooms from academics to an agenda of racial division, political activism, and gender confusion and indoctrination. While trying to close the gap in achievement, teachers are forced to provide lessons that have no root in content. As a former teacher, I can tell you that if you are trying to "catch kids up" academically, every single minute in class is vital, especially at the lower levels. It is frustrating and is driving good teachers out of the classroom.
Holly Terei, who has two children in Georgia schools, joined "Fox & Friends First" to discuss how the far-left's push to implement the woke agenda has impacted already-existing shortages.
"It's overburdening them (teachers)," Terei told co-host Todd Piro. "They didn't sign up to have to implement all of these woke strategies within the classroom. They signed up to teach, and all of the SEL, social-emotional learning, the DEI that's being forced on these teachers to implement in the classroom, they're not psychiatrists."
Georgia mom blames ‘woke’ push for worsening teacher shortages: ‘Not what they signed up for’ | Fox News
In Maryland, the test scores are in line, and in some cases worse, than the national scores.
NAEP Mathematics: State Average Scores (nationsreportcard.gov)
NAEP Reading: State Average Scores (nationsreportcard.gov)
In summary, 69% of Maryland's fourth graders were at or below the basic level in Math. The same applies to Reading.
As the State embarks on the huge Blueprint for Maryland's Future program, which will spend billions of dollars on Maryland Education and could possibly double or triple taxes in the next 8 years, these scores are disturbing. Especially disturbing when the State did not release state test scores for last year, citing standard setting as the reason. Science scores, which were released, were horrible.
Maryland data on student proficiency in science lag behind pre-pandemic scores – Baltimore Sun
A quick look at these scores shows that only ONE-THIRD of Maryland students are proficient in science. We are not talking excellent; we are talking basic proficiency.
COVID Set Back MD In Math, Reading, ‘Nation’s Report Card’ Shows | Bel Air, MD Patch
The picture for Maryland's Education system is dismal. And the Blueprint is designed to offer more inexpensive feel-good social programs than real solutions for the achievement deficit.
So, what is to be done?
First, it's time that educators stop focusing on teaching subjects that are not only inappropriate for schools to teach but also detrimental to children. Students need math, reading, science, and history, not woke ideology, gender identity, or political theory. Academics are what schools are supposed to do.
There are many other things that need to happen as well. Teachers' Unions and special interests have no business dictating what is taught in public schools. Schools need to listen to parents and give them a say in what their children are taught. Schools need to get out of the medical and mental health business beyond basic referrals for those students who truly need them.
Teachers and Principals need to be put back in control of student behavior in their classrooms and schools in order to create a safe environment in which to learn. Children who cannot follow school rules and who are a danger to others must face consequences along with strategies to help them better themselves. They cannot be allowed to keep others from learning. Those who can't change need alternative learning environments.
Special Education students must be given the services guaranteed to them under the law. During the last three years, many of these services have been deferred or, in some cases, denied.
We need the hire the best teachers who are not only well-versed in content but in teaching practices. It needs to be clear to them that they are not hired to share their personal lives, alternative lifestyles, or political opinions with children.
One of the main things we need to do is elect Governors, Legislators, County Officials, and Board of Education members who are going to focus on the academic performance of students in our schools and not on pandering to unions and special interest groups. It's the only way that students will gain the skills and abilities to be successful adults who can support themselves and their families.
The "woke" agenda and constant focus on division by race, ethnicity, gender, economic status, and sexual preference in the classroom needs to END. The constant indoctrination of our children isn't moving them forward toward success. It is actually depriving them of a future at all. And it will eventually ruin them and this country.
Here are some candidates from Maryland who support Parent's Rights and have signed a Parents' Rights Pledge. Consider giving them your vote on Election Day:
coxforfreedom.com (Dan Cox for Maryland Governor)
restorefreedoms.com (Gordana Schifanelli for Maryland Lt. Governor)
johnnymautz.com (Johnny Mautz for State Senator)
patrtiots4peroutka.com (Michael Peroutka for Maryland Attorney General)
Locally, (Talbot County, Maryland) these candidates have signed the Parents Rights Pledge:
David Stepp, Candidate for Talbot County Council (davesteppfortalbotcountycouncil.com)
Wade Strickland, Candidate for Talbot County Council
Todd Svehla, Candidate for Talbot Board of Education, District 4
More names will be added when additional candidates sign on!
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Not to worry the teachers' unions will be sure to spend a majority of classroom time focusing on changing genders, the how-to's of sexual intercourse and the racism exhibited by expecting 4th graders to know their times tables....