Education White Paper
Allen Polk Hemphill
Discussions of education need to be placed in context, and this White Paper will attempt to do so from my personal perspective.
In addition to other professions, I was a Core Adjunct Professor of Computer Science at National University in San Diego. I logged more than 6,000 classroom hours, and many of my courses were required for all undergraduate students – including those students in the School of Education.
Let me just tell you my personal experience: The lowest grades in all of my classes were invariably scored by teachers.
Just to test my conclusion, I enrolled in the School of Education for a second Masters Degree – and quit half way through because of the lack of academic rigor. EVERYONE in every class got an “A,” even if they just mailed in their assignments! (The School Dean told me this was justified because “All parents want their children taught by straight “A” teachers.”)
The University President (Dr. Jerry Lee,) in a discussion of “Grade Creep” with Department Heads, read class after class in the School of Education where everyone received an “A”.
National University provided the highest number of Teaching Credentials in California!
So, with that as a background, I will give you the numbers. Those numbers, taken from government and academic sites, show that California schools are at bottom of the states in academic standing (National Report Card, US Dept. of Education) and that many local schools are not even good California schools.
The best school districts are Torrey Pines, La Jolla, Coronado, and Poway. The Poway Unified School District is the school distinct in which the best education may be had for people who want to buy reasonably priced homes – it is the “Best Bang for the Buck” in education, but not, as often claimed the “best” school district.
All of this must be placed in the context that U.S. schools are not, in general, very good when compared to European and Asian schools.
So, even being a ‘great” California school is in comparison against a greatly diminished standard – it is like being the Best Dressed Man in Big Foot, Texas!
Here are a few quotes from National Center for Education Statistics
(U.S. Department of Education, March 2009)
“Overall, the United States spent a higher percentage of its GDP on education (6.7 percent) than all other G-8 countries.”
“In 2006, the Russian Federation had the largest percentage of adults ages 25 to 64 who had completed higher education (54 percent), followed by Canada (47 percent); Italy had the smallest percentage (13 percent). In the United States, 39 percent of adults ages 25 to 64 had completed higher education.”
“A greater percentage of first university degrees were awarded in the combined field of
social sciences, business, and law than in any other field in all G-8 countries. In science, mathematics, and engineering-related fields, the United States awarded among the lowest percentages of first
university degrees of all the G-8 countries. The United States was the only G-8 country to award more first university degrees in the arts and humanities than in science, mathematics, and engineering.”
“…fourth-graders in the Russian Federation outperformed their peers in all other participating
G-8 countries in terms of average scores in reading literacy. U.S. fourth-graders scored higher on average in reading literacy than their peers in Scotland and France, but lower than their
peers in Italy and the Russian Federation. Twelve percent of U.S. fourth-graders reached the advanced international benchmark, the highest of the benchmarks set by PIRLS to describe the range of student performance”
“…students in Japan outperformed students in the other participating G-8 countries in mathematics,6
with higher percentages of Japanese fourth- and eighth-graders reaching each of the four international benchmarks set by TIMSS to describe the range of student performance. For example, the
advanced benchmark (the highest TIMSS benchmark) was reached by 26 percent of Japan’s eighth-graders in mathematics, compared with percentages ranging from 3 percent in Italy to 8 percent in
the Russian Federation and England. In the United States, 6 percent of eighth-graders reached the advanced benchmark.”
“On the TIMSS 2007 fourth-grade science assessment, students in Japan scored higher, on average, than their peers in Scotland, Germany, Italy, and the United States, but not measurably different
from their peers in England and the Russian Federation. At eighth grade, students in Japan had a higher average score in science and generally had larger percentages of students reaching each of the four international benchmarks compared to their G-8 peers”
The United States scored lower, on average, than their peers in the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, and Canada on the combined science literacy scale and on each of the three science literacy subscales: identifying scientific issues, explaining phenomena scientifically, and using scientific evidence. U.S. students outperformed their peers in Italy and the Russian Federation on the identifying scientific issues subscale and in Italy on the using scientific evidence subscale”
The following State quotes and comparisons are from the National Report Card,
U.S. Department of Education
(Both recent and historical data is included, so you can see any "improvement.")
At the Fourth Grade level, California students rank just above Mississippi, Louisiana, and the District of Columbia. (http://nationsreportcard.gov/reading_2007/r0005.asp)
At the eighth grade level, California students rank only above Mississippi and the District of Columbia. (http://nationsreportcard.gov/reading_2007/r0005.asp?tab_id=tab2&subtab_id=Tab_1#chart)
At the Fourth Grade level, California students rank above the District of Columbia, Arizona, Utah, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama and South Carolina, Oklahoma and New Mexico.
At the Eighth Grade level, California students rank above the District of Columbia, Georgia, Minnesota, Louisiana (by one point), Mississippi, and West Virginia (by 2 points).
At the Fourth Grade level, California students rank above the District of Columbia, Alabama (by one point), Mississippi, New Mexico, and tied with students in Louisiana.
At the Eighth Grade level, California students rank above the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Mississippi, and Alabama.
At the Fourth Grade level. California students rank above Mississippi. (That’s it, but a few states were not ranked)
At the Eighth Grade level, California students rank above Mississippi (That’s it, although a few states were not ranked. States with higher scores include Alabama, Louisiana, Tennessee…)
California School Analysis
API Results 2008 & 2007
The following are the latest 2008 API scores, and the 2007 scores for each school for comparison. API reports provide information about whether schools meet state requirements under the Public Schools Accountability Act.. The goal is to have every school at an 800 level, but obviously higher scores are better.
Note that all schools are links to the main website: http://api.cde.ca.gov/AcntRpt2008/2008GrthAPIDst.aspx?cYear=2005-06&allcds=3768296&cChoice=2004BApiD
At this website, you can determine the male scores vs. female scores; the White vs. Latino vs. Black scores; and the scores of those accepting government aid for lunch programs, and other breakdowns as well, but these raw scores are satisfactory for comparison of schools.
Valley Center Schools
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