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School Board incompetent, not students
Recently the Everett Herald printed an editorial, followed by an Arlington Times story describing Arlington schools as dropout factories in a study conducted by Johns Hopkins University. The Arlington drop out rate is listed as 40 percent. It should be noted that the Johns Hopkins study used data from three years, not the four years usually considered in similar studies.
Over the past 15 years I have read two surveys of drop out students examining the reasons students leave prior to graduation. The survey data indicated these students had acquired inadequate or nonexistent levels of knowledge of basic academic components, that is, reading, writing and math. These students after failing primary school courses and in spite of these failures, school administrations passed them on via social promotions. When these students entered high school they were unable to understand the subject instruction, eventually becoming bored and engaging in disruptive behavior, cutting classes and dropping out.
In 1995 I did a similar study for Arlington HS graduation rates using the number of enrolled freshman students and the number who graduated four years later. I found the drop out rate over the immediate past four years graduation classes had increased by about a percent a year with the class of 1995s rate being 35 percent.
In recent years a similar comparison was conducted in this state, using data from all Washington school districts. The state drop out rate was 35 percent and for the Seattle School District, a bit over 50 percent.
The inadequate and low level of education knowledge and skills has also been demonstrated by state and national testing programs. Beginning in the early 1960s Scholastic Aptitude Test scores took a nose dive. I have seen a listing of the SAT scores of Arlington graduates as compared to national averages. Arlington dropped faster than national scores. In addition the two national commercial testing programs, the Iowa Test of Basic Skills and the Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills used in many states and school systems, including Washington and Arlington demonstrated similar low levels of knowledge and skills. The education establishment and the National Education Association and its 50 state clones, worried over mounting public criticism, persuaded congress to pass a law allowing individual states to create their own state testing programs. In Washington state, the legislature created the Washington Assessment of Student Learning.
These testing programs were not alone in demonstrating a lack of adequate educations. The U.S. Congress created an the National Assessment of Educational Progress to monitor public school education results. The NAEP does not test every child in every school, rather it tests representative samples of children from each state. The NAEP results also demonstrate the inadequate nature of public school education. When U.S. NAEP data is compared to testing programs data from the same tests administered to some 20 or so foreign nations, the result shows U.S. schools are low in comparison, generally being 17th or so out of 20 nations tested.
Over the last several months, the media has discussed the inadequate math knowledge levels demonstrated by students administered the WASL. What has not been discussed is the very low reading skills of also demonstrated by Washington students.
These testing program results are not the only indication of a failed educational program. In 1991 I talked to several home school parents. About one third stated their children were subjected to the disruptive and ill-disciplined students, about one third were worried about the safety of their children and about one third were unhappy with drug and sex education programs, however all 100 % stated they were unhappy with the extremely poor education offered by Arlington Schools. In 1991 discussions with local home school parents, we estimated 5 percent of the children resident in the Arlington School District were home schooled. A year ago, a home school parent estimated 15 percent are now home schooled or enrolled in private schools.
The inadequate educations of public school children is known to district administrators and Arlington School Board members. All of the spin by Arlington officials is not going to negate this knowledge. The drop out factory designation for Arlington Schools is a disgrace and the totally inadequate educations of students is disgraceful to the administration, faculty and school board. The Arlington School Board is just plain incompetent and should in embarrassment, resign.