OCALA, Fla., October 19, 2014 — Why do some schools struggle to muster a graduating class, while others send students off to Harvard and Yale?
This question has proven difficult, to say the absolute least, not just in academic circles, but political ones as well. Standard public schools in low-income, and heavily minority, neighborhoods have had low performance rates for decades on end. During the early 2000s, a group of public officeholders led by then-President George W. Bush brought a set of policies collectively known as “No Child Left Behind” into law.
The goal was to have federal officials spend so much money on failing schools that those attending them would have access to resources which previous generations did not. It was hypothesized that youth set for academic failure would then productively take charge of their educational careers.
Billions of dollars later, these troublesome schools are still trending downward. Those whose test scores improved were artificially boosted as the standards for passing were lowered drastically. In certain cases, organized cheating rings, which extended from the student body to administrative staff, took hold. It is nearly a unanimous verdict that “No Child Left Behind” never brought much of anyone beyond the starting gate.
Now many claim a “school to prison pipeline” keeps traditionally low-performing student demographics from achieving their full potential.Dr. Robert Weissberg disagrees with this notion vehemently. He is the author of, among several other books, Bad Students, Not Bad Schools. For decades on end, the University of Illionis, Urbana emeritus professor was a popular columnist and public speaker. Despite having been fired by the National Review for his opinions, he continues to write about sociocultural relations, among other matters.
He joins us to discuss the hard truths of education in America on this episode of Cotto & Company; a thirty-minute-or-so online radio program featuring independent voices who shape our society. Regardless of partisan registration, political philosophy, or personal worldview, the goal is sharing diverse, and often innovative, ideas that we all can learn from.
I’m your host.
As with my work as a Communities Digital News journalist and nationally syndicated columnist, I hope to bring about deeper understanding of the issues which impact our society. Even if we don’t always agree, we should be able to see eye to eye.