17 August 2012

The Art of Headlines and the State of Schools

Part of my freely-chosen penance--blogging-- involves monitoring the usual St. Louis-area media outlets for relevant news items. Well, today I glanced at a headline for a story from STLToday that I only looked into more deeply because it might be relevant to the homeschooling readership:

Crackdown is likely reason for plummeting scores at city school

At first glance, I figured the story probably had something to do with school violence. Perhaps increased security measures made it difficult for students to study, focus, receive appropriate instruction, etc.

Silly me. Headlines don't always tell the story. Maybe they aren't supposed to do so.

The story dealt with the dramatic decline of standardized test scores from 2011 to 2012 at Herzog School (and also at Ford School, as noted in a sidebar) in St. Louis City. The article does, indeed, lay the blame for the plummeting scores on the "crackdown". Pretty dramatic difference, too-- check out these percentages of students at the two schools who tested proficient-to-advanced in the following subject areas:

Comm. Arts

2011, 2012
Herzog 47%, 10%
Ford 38%, 10%


2011, 2012
Herzog 43%, 8%
Ford 40%, 14%

Devastating reversals, indeed. Without focusing on the too-low percentages of 2011, the absolute failure embodied in the 2012 scores is beyond stunning. In these two schools, only one student in ten tests at a proficient or better communication level, and only one in seven (at the better school) tests proficient or better in Math. Wow.

This "crackdown" has been brutal.

But, what, you ask, is the true nature of this "crackdown?". What knowledge-killing directive is this?

The "crackdown" in question is this:
These schools were told they couldn't cheat on the tests anymore.


Alison said...

Hope this doesn't come off mean but that open line just sounded a little too much like Ignatius J. Reilly. Please refrain from any jelly filled donut runs.

LMG said...

The worst part of these children getting a lousy education at the city public schools is they will graduate uneducated.

I went to get my hair cut the other day and complained to the beautician that when I paid with my card on her iphone it would only let me select a 30 percent or above tip. She looked at another hair dresser and said, "Oh, I got rid of the 10-20 percent options. I mean, like, do you know what a 10 percent tip is on $12.00?" The other lady looked at her blankly and she said, "It's only like 50 cents!" I bit my tongue. . .