Friday, July 23, 2010

Detroit's Magical Education

From Robert Weissberg, writing at American Thinker, on the sorry state of education in Detroit:
Though the U.S. is indisputably a first-world nation, this is not the typical human condition. Far more commonplace are the billions of people who, in the words of political philosopher Thomas Hobbes, live lives that are nasty, brutish, and short -- the third world. Here things work sporadically, if at all. Third-worldism might be viewed as a communicable illness, a situation often witnessed when nice neighborhoods almost overnight slide into crime-infested, trash-filled slums. So how can we spot the early warning signs of creeping third-worldism?

Diligence is required, and while some outcroppings are clear -- e.g., crushing government debt to fund make-work public jobs -- other early manifestations are less visible. Let me therefore play public health official and highlight a situation in Detroit that has all the earmarks of an "outbreak" of plague-like third-worldism. And rest assured: If this calamity-in-the-making thrives in Detroit, it will spread, if it has not done so already.

Instigating Detroit's third-world slide is its schoolchildren's woeful academic performance. A mere 2% of its high school graduates are prepared for college-level math; just 11% are ready for college-level reading. In 2008-2009, its graduation rate was 58% compared to the national average of 89%. In 2009, Detroit public-school students posted the worst math scores in the forty-year history of the National Assessment of Educational Progress test. Students are fleeing at jailbreak speed -- between 1997 enrollment dropped from 175,168 students to 84,000 and continues to fall, and those remaining are probably the worst of the worst. [emphasis added]...
Read the rest here.

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