A $2 million program aimed at higher scores on advanced placement tests is in place in New York City and the results are in.
There are more 5's (top score) on the test than there were before the program began, however, there are fewer 3's (minimum passing score) and 4's. It seems that some of those students who might have gotten 3's or 4's have pushed themselves high enough to get 5's. However, there is still no significant increase in the number of students passing.
In Wednesday's (8/20/08) New York Times, Sol Stern, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute said, "I’m just dumbfounded that they can regard this as an achievement or as a great improvement or as something worth spending the money on. I’m surprised that that kind of money, that kind of incentives, doesn’t produce better results. It sort of undercuts the argument that the problem is the question of motivation.”
Mr. Stern had expressed cautious support for the Advanced Placement program when it was announced last fall.
Contrary to the opinion of so-called conservatives like Mr. Stern and the Manhattan Institute, schools are not in trouble because the teachers are not trying hard enough. They're not even in trouble because the students aren't trying hard enough. Schools are failing because our society is failing.
Schools cannot substitute for absent, inept, or abusive parents. Schools are not equipped to be the only source of food and shelter for some students. Schools cannot be the only source of medical care, emotional support, and safety for students.
"...It sort of undercuts the argument that the problem is the question of motivation.” Exactly!
The problem is in our legislatures and in the minds of our representatives and government executives. They are perfectly happy to blame schools for all the problems of the country...in order to get elected.
-----No Child Left Behind is leaving thousands of children behind!
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