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The facts you discuss on this blog entry need to be trumpeted until we are tired of hearing about it. Parents (and all taxpayers) need to know the truth about our education expenditures and the results the students are achieving. And the students need to know that we all care about their education--not just the Democrats and the AEA (who don't really care about education--they only care about the salaries and benefits of their members).

What your stats don't show is that only 15% of AZ graduates take the SAT, compared to 100% on Colorado. As such it is a self proscribed test being taken mainly by the highest achievers in the state.

That being the case, being only a few points above the national average its hardly anything to crow about.

What this tells me is that regardless of the percentage of students taking the SATs, those who take it do fairly well. These are students who are products of the state K-12 system. Therefore it stands to reason that any student who is motivated and responsible can get a very good public education in Arizona.

DGN - what this tells me is that if only 15% of AZ students are taking the SAT and if the SAT is the requirement for college admission - and we know that nationally about 30% of High Schoolers go to college - that AZ students aspire to education at the post-high school level at a 50% less rate than the national average. This should concern all of us. Now those ads about an 'educated' workforce are a stretch.

Gee, we're not the "57th state" in the words of POTUS Obama?

I'd like to see the percentage of students attentding college referenced somewhere.

Your assumption might be interesting if you actually appeared to have any knowledge of analysis, trending or just plain facts about education. In fact you should have at least checked major news services for the very readily available information (Wall Street Journal, Aug 25) that SAT's for 2009 have actually fallen alarmingly low. In fact a much better assumption than yours based on verified information might be that the nation has suffered so heavily at the hands of 7 years of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) that national scores have actually dropped to Arizona levels rather than Arizona Children raising to acceptable standards of success. Just look at the recent data and historical scores from the 70s on. The crash in ACT scores (the more demanding exam) is more alarming in it's precipitous drop. Don't worry though they seem to be educated enough to become journalists.

What I find fascinating is that if you look at a test scores and family income you can see a direct correlation between family income and how well a student does on the test.

http://professionals.collegeboard.com/profdownload/AZ_09_03_03_01.pdf

It should also be noted that this has been studied previously and there is not worthwhile information to be gleaned about an educational system from the SAT scores.

Todd - I agree that family income probably has a role. But what about the poor immigrants from Asia who cream just about every other ethnic group in our schools in tests and grades?
1. A culture that respects and values learning
2. Strong parental involvement
You have that - and even if we were 50th in spending (which I don't agree with) our public schools would thrive.
All "increased spending" does is enrich teachers and administrators.

This is quite the rorschach test.

Phaedrus74 is entirely correct that Arizona's very low participation rate will inflate the scores. In fact, if you look at the reports that accompany the release of the scores, you'll find lengthy exhortations NOT to compare SAT scores across states for this very reason. Of course, this sound advice is promptly ignored.

The fact that so few Arizona kids take the SAT or ACT is telling us something far more important than the fact that a small self selected group drawn primarily from the top quartile score a little above the national average.

benson,
I think many things play a role. However, in looking at the stats for AZ and the SAT, it just jumps out the correlation between income and scores and between the educational level of the parent and scores.

Great Job!! We get a C+.

Todd,
Agree. I would like our society to instill the value of and respect for education in our children.
And before the AEA cheerleaders jump in: more $$s is not the answer.

Half empty or Half full.
Teacher are still not worth their weight in my book, and the fault are the unions.

I have to bust %110 a day and don't make it every day. I rest on Sundays. They get 3 months off. Half day Wednesdays. Fall Break, Christmas Break, I mean winter break, Easter break. I get 1 week after a year.

Cowboy up teachers, you have nothing to whine about. No one held a gun to your head...

The fact that the 15% that take the SAT score at least a little above the national average is good to know. My daughter was one of them.

It would be interesting to see a reputable survey on why only 15% of our students take the SAT. Is it because only 15% are interested in college? Is is simply because the rest have decided to skip the SAT because they are starting with Community College and don't have to have the SAT for admission? Could it be that a large amount of students realize that there aren't that many jobs in AZ that require a degree and those are being filled by emigrants from other states or H1B visas?

Matt,
I believe a majority of high school students in AZ don't even graduate with the number of credits that many colleges requires. Last time I saw something this was around 60%.

comparing student to student and state to state is not good enough. The results are not good enough. More should be expected. More delivered. You can't prove that more money will help. You can't prove that it won't (in specific instances). Education, like newspapers, is being fundamentally changed by technology and those who adjust will succeed. Most will not.

"It would be interesting to see a reputable survey on why only 15% of our students take the SAT."

Probably because they take the ACT instead.

What amazes me is that not one person has commented on the fact that SAT scores are not reflective in anyway of quality education. Students who excel in school can achieve low scores, while students with poor grades can "learn" to take the test.
Research shows that the SAT does contribute to the prediction of first-year grade-point averages in college. This supports the notion that even if a student scores well on the SAT he/she may not have been academically prepared in high school for the rigors of college OR he/she may not have learned the necessary academic foundations to begin with.

There is emperical evidence that Arizona students achieve in the middle to high-middle of their peers (see ALEC, Terra Nova, Center for Education Policy, National Center for Education Statistics). So, regardless of where we stand in the rankings of per pupil spending, Arizona stduents are doing well. Can we do better? Of course; but more money is not the only answer (see Washington D.C. and New York City).

More money was proven to be part of the answer in Maryland.

Does anyone have an idea what the average level of education for Arizona students is?

After reading the Time article....what was not mentioned was the fact that if you burn more calories than you take in, you lose weight. The fact that people who may exercise then turn around and eat more calories doesn't mean that exercise doesn't help you lose weight. It means they aren't paying attention to what they eat!
As to education spending, you can toss statistics around all day long. The reality that exists is this.....we don't have more money to spend on education so the state's educators need to suck it up and make do with what they have. How about asking parents whose children are taking advantage of a free education to help out and become involved?

There are some pretty ugly remarks towards teachers in the comments above that just don't make much sense. "Teachers should just suck it up..." and "teachers have nothing to whine about..." I can't imagine that you've set a foot in a classroom since the day you left your school or went to your last parent/teacher conference. Fact is that many teachers are dealing with class sizes of more than 30 and 40 students. That means that a kindergarten teacher is now asked to provide quality education for 30 or more 6 year olds.

Simply put, a better investment in education will lead to a better education for our children. Smaller class sizes, especially for younger students, makes a huge difference because it allows for more individualized attention to specific needs. Additionally, the cuts being made now are not necessarily impacting the result of education but the quality of service. Teachers are running out of classroom supplies such as PAPER! Most teachers spend an average of $600 per year on classroom supplies for their students. That's just wrong.

Just this year many school districts have cut programs like art, music, and after school sports. Many High Schools are enforcing pay-to-play programs limiting access to sports programs that have clear and direct benefits to student success and community safety.

You see, this problem is not all about teacher pay, it's clearly much more involved and must be given careful consideration before you attack a profession that 96% of us have taken advantage of.

Watch the stats, Greg! You say that test scores reflect that our students are achieving at or around the middle of the pack among other states. This may well be the case but we also have one of the highest drop-out rates in the nation. We boast the lowest total of students going to college upon graduation from high school.

It was asked above, "Could it be that a large amount of students realize that there aren't that many jobs in AZ that require a degree...?" This is a terrible reality for Arizona. If we don't invest in education, Arizona will never attract the kind of high-paying jobs that do require college degrees. This means a pretty bleak future for our state's economy.

Jim T -

here is how we are doing?

"An Arizona Community Foundation study released in January showed that half of Maricopa County's 2006 high school graduates who entered Arizona universities or colleges had to take a remedial math class and a quarter had to take a remedial English course."

Thank you John for your comments about educators. GOP Hack, I am appalled at your ignorant comments about educators. I am an educator and spend about 10 hours a day physically at the school, teaching students, preparing lessons, in meetings with parents and dealing with discipline issues. Then I come home and grade papers. These 'so-called' vacations and time away from school are spent in additional education classes required for your credential, preparing lessons and grading papers.
The amount of students in each classroom in Arizona has gotten unbearable. Every student added to the total amount decreases the amount of teaching time. So much time is spent on managing the classroom. There is not even time to be able to help struggling students individually.
Reducing classroom size has to be a priority in Arizona for education to get better. I believe many students are getting left in the dust. This too would account for the high drop out rate.
More and more demands are placed on the teachers as more and more students are added to the classroom. Teachers are losing there passion for education and teaching. It has become a babysitting job, what does not help is the lack of respect for teachers and how media is teaching kids lack of respect for adults.
It was mentioned above about the SAT scores and I agree with many of the comments however if there was someway to compare the State Standardized Tests this would be the true tell all for where states stand on education.
Because of the demands placed on teachers I believe the level of quality of education for our children is declining. Smaller classroom sizes would be a start to improving education.

John posted this presumably researched bit of info. ? ? ? ......"Maricopa County's 2006 high school graduates who entered Arizona universities or colleges had to take a remedial math class and a quarter had to take a remedial English course."

GOOD GRIEF!!!!!! This is terrible. I used to hear about how our being a border state was causing some of these teaching problems. It was suggested that with all the illegal/legal Spanish speaking students, the teachers have to use up a lot of time for them. Is this true? Is that a big factor in how well we educate the whole class? Meaning; teachers are spending too much time with students who have the language barrier. AND, how does this effect the dollars we have to spend on giving all our legal tax paying citizens (Race not being the issue but language abilites and money gained from taxes) a quality education? I may be wrong but I didn't see any comments about this issue or NON-issue above....or, is this too Politically Incorrect? No offense but I heard rumors it is an issue. LINDA

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