Council of the Great City Schools
October 19, 2017
… Today, I’d like to share what we have learned over the last 17 years and how those insights will change what we focus on over the next five years.
But first, I’d like to say a few words about the state of public education in the U.S. By and large, schools are still falling short on the key metrics of a quality education – math scores, English scores, international comparisons, and college completion.
While much has rightly been made of the OECD data that shows lagging performance of American students overall, the national averages mask a bigger story.
When disaggregated by race, we see two Americas.
Well, that’s what I’ve been saying about PISA and TIMSS scores for many years. Except …
One where white students perform along the lines of the best in the world—with achievement comparable to countries like Finland and Korea. And another America, where Black and Latino students perform comparably to the students in the lowest performing OECD countries, such as Chile and Greece.
Are there any other races of students in America than whites, Black, and Latino students? It seems like there is this race whose test scores are pretty interesting and their name begins with an A …
Australian Aboriginal-Americans? Andaman-Americans?
No, that’s not it …
Oh, yeah, Asian-Americans!
But, obviously, who would expect Bill Gates to have ever thought once in his life about Asian test scores? Asians and test scores are just not a topic that ever comes up in Seattle’s tech industry. So, it’s completely pedantic and off-topic of you to bring up the question of Asian test scores. Obviously, poor black test scores are the result of FDR’s redlining in 1937 and your bringing up Asian test scores is just an attempt to interject Fake News into the science of redlining.
And for all students in U.S. public schools, the percentage of high school graduates who enroll in postsecondary institutions has remained essentially flat.
Without success in college or career preparation programs, students will have limited economic mobility and fewer opportunities throughout their lives. This threatens not only their economic future but the economic future and competitiveness of the United States.
There are some signs of progress. Over the past decade, in cities like Charlotte, Austin, and Fresno, high school graduation rates have gone up rapidly.
High school graduation rates go up when the construction industry crashes. In 2007, lots of Latino youths were dropping out of high school to get construction jobs. Then Latino-heavy areas found they had built more houses than Latinos could pay for, so Latinos decided to hang around school longer.
Much of the rest of Gates’ is speech is about how he and Melinda will donate a fortune to make schools more data-driven.
But noticing Asian data is something you just can’t do, even if you are Bill Gates.[Comment at Unz.com]