When’s the trane leave?


I’ve always been bothered by people who right, I mean write, “loose” when they mean “lose” or “there” instead of “their” or-well, you get the picture.  The thing I’ve always wondered is, where do all these people come from?  How come they haven’t learned to get this right?

A few clews emerged in Thursday’s New York Times.  In an article entitled Grades Rise as Reading Skills Drop in H.S. Study, the Times summarized a recent report by the National Assessment Governing Board on the state of U.S. schools.  Some shocking numbers (and I’m pulling this almost verbatim from the NYT):

1) 27% of 12th graders cannot read at the basic high school level.  This means, for example, that they cannot understand different train times in a brochure.  This is up from 20% in 1992.  Conversely, the number of “proficient” readers is down to 35% from 40% over the same time period.

2) 23% of 12 graders are proficient in math, but there’s no data to compare that with prior periods as the tests have been revamped.  However, a stunning 39% of 12th graders lack basic high school math skills-meaning that they cannot calculate the length of a hypotenuse given the Pythagorean theorem.

Sadly, this is happening as students spend more time in the classroom (360 hours more during high school in 2005 vs. 1990) and grades are “up” (GPA’s in 2005 are a third of a letter higher in ’05 vs. ‘90).

No wonder Bill Gates is so worried about high schools and putting his money where his mouth is.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

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