Many educators comfortably embrace the myth that the military will enlist any and all high school graduates who are interested. However, a new analysis from The Education Trust reports that too many of the nation’s high school graduates have not been adequately prepared to serve in the U.S. Army.
The picture of American education grows even more unflattering when examining the performance of minority students. Based on these tests, 29 percent of Hispanic Army applicants and 39 percent of African Americans were found ineligible. Furthermore, when minority candidates did gain entry into the armed services, they achieved lower scores on average than their white peers. These ratings exclude them from higher level educational, training, and advancement opportunities provided by the Army.
Picture a business that systematically puts its customers in hock—and provides them with very little in return. This is the experience of far too many students who put their hopes for a better future in the hands of for-profit colleges.
These companies aggressively market to low-income individuals and people of color whose dreams of a secure place in the American mainstream include a college degree. And yet these institutions do a far better job at turning a profit for stockholders than ensuring that their students graduate. And while too few of their students acquire degrees, too many end up saddled with crippling debt.
Students in high-poverty schools are still disproportionately taught by out-of-field and rookie teachers, according to “Not Prepared for Class,” a new report from The Education Trust. While inequity in teacher assignment patterns mark inner-city and rural schools – notably in mathematics – gaps in access to in-field teachers actually are widest in our nation’s suburbs and small towns.
In fact, nearly ten years since No Child Left Behind passed with provisions to equalize access to strong teachers – particularly for the kids who need it most – progress has been disappointingly slow.
In the latest national data on American 12th-grade achievement, there’s good news and then there’s bad news. And the bad news is extremely troubling.
New information released by the National Assessment of Educational Progress shows that even though high school students have improved in reading and math, the nation’s 12th-graders still achieve at staggeringly low levels overall. In 2009, around two-thirds of our high school seniors failed to meet the Proficient level in reading while three-quarters fell short in math.
Teacher education is overdue for retooling, and some good ideas have emerged from the national debate on just how to do it. Indeed, a new report by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) lays out a promising road map for preparing 21st-century educators.
To overhaul the way we train teachers—and make a difference for the kids who need them most—will take several key components, as urged by NCATE:
At the 2010 Education Trust National Conference, a common refrain rang clear: We can close the achievement gaps for low-income students and students of color. But only if this goal becomes a national priority and the movement is led by people with a can-do attitude.
Over 600 advocates, educators, experts, and parents converged on the nation’s capital to get their annual dose of inspiration and information at the 21st national conference on the theme, "Take Charge of Change: Effective Practices to Close Gaps and Raise Achievement.” Workshops by leaders in the education reform movement provided wisdom and insight on the tough work of closing achievement gaps.
Ed Trust President Kati Haycock urged conferees to think about the social implications of denying all students a solid education. “When people tell us that we can’t fix public schools until we fix poverty, we should tell them that they have it backwards,” said Haycock. “We cannot fix poverty until we fix our public schools.”