How are America’s public schools doing? Lousy, says a report from the Council on Foreign Relations, the most influential Establishment organization.
Defenders of private education have been saying this for half a century. The CFR has finally acknowledged the problem.
The CFR’s “task force” has announced that the failure of tax-funded K-12 education is the #1 threat to America’s position in the world.
The United States’ failure to educate its students leaves them unprepared to compete and threatens the country’s ability to thrive in a global economy and maintain its leadership role, finds a new Council on Foreign Relations (CFR)–sponsored Independent Task Force report on U.S. Education Reform and National Security.
“Educational failure puts the United States’ future economic prosperity, global position, and physical safety at risk,” warns the Task Force, chaired by Joel I. Klein, former head of New York City public schools, and Condoleezza Rice, former U.S. secretary of state. The country “will not be able to keep pace—much less lead—globally unless it moves to fix the problems it has allowed to fester for too long,” argues the Task Force.
The report notes that while the United States invests more in K-12 public education than many other developed countries, its students are ill prepared to compete with their global peers. According to the results of the 2009 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), an international assessment that measures the performance of 15-year-olds in reading, mathematics, and science every three years, U.S. students rank fourteenth in reading, twenty-fifth in math, and seventeenth in science compared to students in other industrialized countries.
This sounds bad. It is bad. The problem is, all this has been known for years. Nothing changes except cost per student, which rises. Reform after reform is proposed. A few are begun. The performance of the students falls. The cost per student rises.
To call for another reform without the announcing a new system of rewarding success and punishing failure is an exercise in futility. No such system of sanctions is ever implemented. The teachers union will not allow it.
Here are some data on student performance.
- More than 25 percent of students fail to graduate from high school in four years; for African-American and Hispanic students, this number is approaching 40 percent.
- In civics, only a quarter of U.S. students are proficient or better on the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
- Although the United States is a nation of immigrants, roughly eight in ten Americans speak only English and a decreasing number of schools are teaching foreign languages.
- A recent report by ACT, the not-for-profit testing organization, found that only 22 percent of U.S. high school students met “college ready” standards in all of their core subjects; these figures are even lower for African-American and Hispanic students.
- The College Board reported that even among college-bound seniors, only 43 percent met college-ready standards, meaning that more college students need to take remedial courses.
The CFR report offers some blather about what is needed. It offers no plan to get the present system revamped from top to bottom.
“Human capital will determine power in the current century, and the failure to produce that capital will undermine America’s security,” the report states. “Large, undereducated swaths of the population damage the ability of the United States to physically defend itself, protect its secure information, conduct diplomacy, and grow its economy.”
There is a solution: stop all tax funding of education. But the CFR is not going to propose that. Ever. The Establishment wants control over education. Taxation is its tool.
The Task Force believes that its message and recommendations “can reshape education in the United States and put this country on track to be an educational, economic, military, and diplomatic global leader.”
It isn’t going to happen.
To see how stupid the Establishment is, click the link.