Thursday, September 29, 2011

Suburban refuges aren't refuges

When the Best is Mediocre : Education Next
American education has problems, almost everyone is willing to concede, but many think those problems are mostly concentrated in our large urban school districts. In the elite suburbs, where wealthy and politically influential people tend to live, the schools are assumed to be world-class.

Unfortunately, what everyone knows is wrong. Even the most elite suburban school districts often produce results that are mediocre when compared with those of our international peers. Our best school districts may look excellent alongside large urban districts, the comparison state accountability systems encourage, but that measure provides false comfort.
My childhood district, which is considered to be a good one, with a high percentage of college-goers, came in at: 61st percentile in math and 74th in reading when compared to students in other developed countries. Los Angeles Unified comes off badly with: 20 & 25. Milwaukee comes off even worse: 16 & 26.

But the point of the article is to look at those nice suburban districts that so many people rely on. It points out that they aren't keeping pace with the educational attainment of students in comparable countries. In other words, the districts that we think are good, aren't.

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