Ed Reform: The Data Doesn’t Lie

image001 (1)Anyone who has spent any time in the fight against education reform knows that  its tenets are that poverty is a poor excuse for low test scores, that every student can learn, and that teachers must be held accountable by evaluating and compensating them based on the results of student tests. Block The Agenda agrees with two of the three statements…sorta!

  1. Poverty is absolutely a poor excuse for low test scores. The way that the reformers measure poverty is by looking at the percentage of free/reduced lunches at a particular school. Poverty is affected by so much more than dollars.
  2. Every student CAN learn. That is a 100% true statement. What happens in schools and classrooms across the nation is there are barriers to learning that cannot be controlled by a teacher or a politician.
  3. Evaluating and compensating teachers based on student test scores is the most inappropriate and ineffective method possible for evaluating a teacher. It is totally based on the assumption that a highly effective teacher can overcome any and all barriers to education. It is demeaning and demoralizing to the teaching profession.It would be akin to evaluating a physician based on the improvement of their patients’ health. The outcome depends largely on the effort put forth by the patient; likewise, the student in the classroom.

We thought it would interesting and beneficial to research other factors that influence the educational outcomes of students that a teacher has absolutely no control over.

Below you will find a number of line graphs that were generated using data that is readily available from www.kidscount.org and the United States Bureau of Statistics and represent the year 2014.

In this first line chart, we show the direct correlation between educational outcomes and unemployment. The blue line indicates the state’s rank in education, 1 to 50, and the red line represents how the same state ranks in unemployment from lowest to highest. As you can see, in almost every instance, education rank is almost identical to unemployment rank. There is a clear direct correlation.

For the next comparison, we have illustrated how the states rank in education vs how they rank in relative strength of economy. As was the case in the first chart, states that rank highly in education, also rank highly in strength of economy. Conversely, those that rank poorly, do so in both categories. There is a clear direct correlation.

economy

For the third comparison, we took a look at the relationship between educational outcomes and strength of community. Like the other charts, states are ranked 1-50 in education and 1-50 in strength of community which is a measure of concern for community success, sharing of burden and community involvement, in general. Again, states with a high ranking in education, also have a high ranking in strength of community. There is a direct correlation.

community

For the last comparison of “direct correlations,” we have included the overall health of the state’s general population. Again, states that rank highly in educational outcomes, also rank highly in overall health. There is a direct correlation.

health

For our last comparison, we have chosen a statistic that represents an indirect correlation. The chart below shows each state’s educational ranking from 1-50 and compares it to its rank in regards to crime rate. A ranking of #1 actually indicates the highest crime rate. As you can see in the graph, the two lines oppose each other in almost every state, meaning states with high crime rates have low educational rankings and states with low crime rates have high educational rankings. There is an indirect correlation.

crime

In summary, we feel that there is sufficient evidence to indicate that there many events outside of the four walls of a classroom that affect educational outcomes and to hold the teacher solely responsible for them is despicable.

Voting citizens of Louisiana, wake up to the atrocities that are being carried out in our public education system. It is time for all of us to stand together and say, “No more!”

On October 24th, election day, we have the power to regain control of our education system. Please do your part and vote for the following candidates:

District 1: Lee Barrios
District 2: Kara Washington
District 3: Lottie Beebe
Distict 4: Mary Johnson Harris
District 5: Johnny Fatheree
District 6: Jason France
District 7: Mike Kreamer
District 8: Carolyn Hill

For more information on these candidates, please visit FlipBESE, or www.facebook.com/flipbese.