Sunday, April 27, 2008

Ring around the Blackboard

This week, George Will marked the 25th Anniversary of the release of A Nation at Risk, the landmark report on the state of American education, with a melancholy column that turns into a panegyric on the late Patrick Daniel Moynihan. It's fine with me. As far as I am concerned Moynihan was an amazing man for whom I voted religiously, despite party affiliation. Anyway, Will's conclusion, more elegantly phrased, of course, it ain't gettin' any better.

There are solutions to be had, as Dr. Matthew Ladner maintains that Jeb Bush's reforms in Florida have borne fruit in this piece. It's hard to argue with the variety of statistics he unearths. Here in the Sunshine State, we remember the debate, which rages to this day, about "teaching to the test." My view: the test measures reading, writing and 'rithmethic. Something wrong with that? Of course, that's a gross oversimplification. But the point is valid.

According to the previous column, one the strengths of the Bush policies was "school choice." Speaking of same, Florida voters are being given the chance to bring back the voucher program, which was deemed unconstitutional by our progressively inclined Supreme Court. It's one issue on which inner city moms find themselves aligned with Republican preachers. Read about the November ballot here.

Let's finish the discussion with this Mary Grabar column on some of the realities in the classroom, particularly sad is the state of higher education. It's another one of those boomer indictments. And speaking of indictments, get a load of this news report. Remember the events here transpired in very law abiding Sarasota, where our criminals are mere babies in the art. One has to think there is little an educational system can do, if these are the parents.

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