Saturday, January 13, 2007

Professor closes his eyes to the facts

Furman professor Paul Thomas opines in a Greenville News op/ed on the Education Week: From Cradle to Careers report that I commented on here last week. Dr. Thomas amazingly comes to three conclusions:

* South Carolina education is performing relatively well within the socioeconomic realities of this state.

* South Carolina education is struggling to meet the needs of those students in poverty and those students we might label "at-risk," but we are succeeding in addressing the needs of the best and the brightest (see our Advanced Placement ranking).

* The myth of "good students trapped in bad schools" is not the emergency some people want to claim, but the reality of "disadvantaged students trapped in struggling schools" is.

Here's the most salient fact in the report:
The longer children are in the South Carolina public education system, the further behind their peers across the country they fall.
Do you think Dr. Thomas could have possibly have read the entire report and come to the conclusions that he did? Or did he just ignore the parts he didn't like.

One of those that commented online at the Greenville News observed:
Many talk about how bad our SAT scores are in this state. What they fail to look at is the fact that in our state ALL students are allowed to take the SAT as long as they pay to take it.
We've dealt with that fallacy before too. Those of us at the top like to believe that the problem is those at the bottom, when the truth is:
The better educated a SC student's parents, the further behind their peers they are.
Until we accept the reality of the problems we face, we've never make the improvement that is essential for our children to compete in the world in which they will live and work.

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