On Thursday’s Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 am to 8:00 am – Leahy talked in studio with all-star panelist Carol Swain in the second hour regarding the national K-8 report card and it’s less than favorable results.
During the first segment, Swain and Leahy discussed the recent percentages from the national assessment K-8 report of fourth and eighth graders finding that current education platforms are not working. Swain specifically cited Obama’s executive order which allowed violent students to stay in classrooms and pointed to this as being a damaging focus on social justice instead of education of the basics.
‘It’s not working. And it has nothing to do with teachers’ pay or in some cases money. It has to do with the schools pushing a political agenda. And they’re so much into social justice issues that they’re not teaching the basics, said Swain.
Leahy: So Carol, you’re a former professor at Vanderbilt University. You know about education. Note with interest, we have a story at the TenneseseStar.com today that the nation’s report is measuring the status and performance of our K-8 students. It’s not going so well, is it?
Swain: No it isn’t. And I think that we can lay part of the blame at the feet of teachers unions. And in particular, they have just pushed through so many policies that are focused on things other than educating our children about those basics of reading and writing.
And if you look at the sexual education program that they pushed through. A lot of that comes from Planned Parenthood and some communities as well as other organizations that push a hyper-sexualized curriculum on children.
Leahy: Yeah, they’re teaching the wrong things. This is one of our themes we’ve talked about for some time. K-12 public education is broken. The question shouldn’t be should we pay teachers more or less. The question should be what should our system be that produces students that are proficient at math and writing.
Swain: Well one of the problems has to do with the racial equity disciplinary problems. Many people have forgotten that in 2014 President Obama signed an executive order and it was geared at reducing the suspension of black students or minority students. And so the focus has been on keeping children in the classroom.
Sometimes these are children that are very aggressive. They’re violent. They beat up teachers and other students. But unless they do something like aggravated assault, it’s almost impossible for teachers to get them out of the classroom. There are some studies that show that performance levels drop in those schools where they use this aggressive social justice model.
Leahy: And you can get away with violent acts and not be punished under that rule. And that’s been a problem here in Nashville. This thing is called the National Report Card. And let me just read the results. This is a story at the TennesseeStar.com.
The national assessment of educational progress announcement in math and reading scores in the fourth and eighth grades show little progress since standardized testing began in the 1990s. In 2019, only 35% of fourth-graders scored as proficient in reading.
In 2009 that number is 33%. In the eight grade, the scores for 2019 were 34% proficiency compared to 32% in 2009. In math, fourth-graders scored at 41% proficiency while eighth-graders scored at 34%. Not much change from 2017. And again, it’s actually down since 2019. It ain’t working!
Swain: No, it’s not working. And it has nothing to do with teachers’ pay or in some cases money. It has to do with the schools pushing a political agenda. And they’re so much into social justice issues that they’re not teaching the basics.
Leahy: And you talk about money right? If you look at the district, the state, or entity that pays the most per kid. It’s like Washington, D.C. where they pay like $20,000.00 a kid. That’s similar to D.C., in California they pay like $19,000.00.
Swain: But there’s no direct correlation between spending per pupil and performance. Its all teacher quality. And if you look at what the common core has done, the common core has changed some of the basics such as math in such a way that it pushes the parents further and further away because they come up with these new math concepts.
This means that parents that were educated with the old math are not able to help their children with their homework. And so the children at the mercy of the teachers and the teachers don’t really understand it in some cases.
Leahy: Old math, 2+2=4.
Leahy: New math, hmmm, let’s go through 25 million steps.
Swain: It’s whatever it feels like it seems. (Chuckles)
Leahy: What does 2+2 feel like to you today, Carol. Really?
Swain: No one’s wrong, we’re all right.
Leahy: (Weak voice) 2+2=what would you like it to be.
Swain: That’s the world we live in and we have to end it if we want our children to be educated and compete with the world.
Listen to the full third hour:
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