Simi Valley Sophist

The Simi Valley Sophist ruminates on all manner of topics from the micro to the macro. SVS travels whatever path strikes his fancy. Encyclopedia Britannica: Sophist "Any of certain Greek lecturers, writers, and teachers in the 5th and 4th centuries BC, most of whom travelled about the Greek-speaking world giving instruction in a wide range of subjects in return ..."

Location: California, United States

Retired: 30years law enforcement-last 20 years Criminal Intelligence Detective.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Diploma or Competence?

What is the function of the public education system? Is it to produce an educated student, who is productive and capable of competing in society, or is it to handout a diploma to the student who has completed the high school coarse work but still failed to be a competent student? Silly me, I thought it was the former. But, not according to Massachusetts’ New Bedford School Committee.

The New Bedford School Committee has thumbed its nose at the state required Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System test.

In a unanimous vote, the committee said students who meet all other requirements deserve a diploma, not the demeaning certificate of attendance that state law now says must be conferred on anyone who fails one or both of the English and math tests.

New Bedford must be plagued with a school system that can’t produce competent students from disadvantaged schools. So unlike California, which had not until recently required schools of certain subgroups to perform at the same level as schools for moderate and upper income white students, New Bedford is going to issue a diploma to substandard students anyway.

It has been more than a decade since the Commonwealth began its concerted effort to reform public education. Billions of dollars and a generation of students later, MCAS has not been the great equalizer. Urban schools in low-income neighborhoods still are disproportionately represented among schools with failing scores. Why? And why is the proper response to withhold high school diplomas from the very population that needs the credential most?

What do you want to bet that in Massachusetts the phrase used in the quoted paragraph above, “Urban schools in low-income neighborhoods,” is code for racial minorities?

There are two conclusions from the New Bedford story: the New Bedford School Committee is racist; and the New Bedford School Committee is willing to give incompetent students credentials that they did not earn. That means that the school district is lying to the failing student, who is not in a position to compete effectively with students who have mastered math and English skills. In essence, the school authorities are lying to both the incompetent students and the prospective employers.

Personal responsibility and individual productivity are not highly valued concepts in the socialized mindset. And, why should we expect anything different? After all, there is always the government to take care of the non-productive, entitlement crowd.