My hunch is that the truth about whether reading scores are used to project/calculate jail cells is closer to the comments by Sara Neufeld in your second link above. She said:
"EWA public editor Linda Perlstein and other members of the organization decided to "truth-squad" the jail claim. They checked with the U.S. Department of Education's press office; the National Center for Education Statistics; the National Institute for Literacy; researchers Lesley Morrow, Russ Whitehurst and Catherine Snow; and various state officials. Pearlstein told me yesterday that nobody could offer any specific examples where a jail was built based on elementary test scores, just that lots of people have said this is the case."
It sound like what we have here is one of those (used to call 'em) "wive's tales" created by persons unknown and repeated by everybody else because it sounds good if you say it fast.
Reading, writing and 'rithmetic used to be core skills that formed the basis for life's endeavors until we "progressed" to other theories and philosophies about what was important in elementary education. We pay a lot of lip service to the importance of reading, but I don't see us making a whole lot of progress in solving the problem. Our solution has been to throw more money at it, and the results are that the scores seem to keep going down.
I know I sound like a broken record, but we have to view this issue in the context of the health of our society as a whole. Marriage, religion, education, parenting, positive role modeling in the media - all of these things have been pillars for the success of our society over the years - until just the last 30-40 years or so. Since then, these pillars have been under attack by a media and an increasing proportion of a populace with an "anything goes - if it feels good, do it" mindset that has substantially degraded our society as a whole, and which has replaced sound parenting with quick medication. Our educated experts' progressive approach and ethereal actions have resulted in NEGATIVE effects in just about every area of these pillars of society. In short - we have progressed BACKWARDS, and have created more problems than we have solved.
Back in the "good old days," it seemed like we were much better off applying Occam's Razor as they did, as opposed to following the lead and advice of the educated elites who think they know what's best for us. Sometimes things are as they are for a REASON - i.e., because they WORK. To attempt to make "progress" by "improving" the system - IMHO - has resulted in a system which is less functional and worse off than it was before.
It's all tied together.
sebe, your assessment is spot on.
Our public school teachers are burdened with far too much administration and reporting mostly imposed on them by Federal authorities and some by the State.
I think we need to get back closer to the basics.
@tot/seb-how do we get back to the basics? I also believe it takes a village to raise a child. I spend most of my days advocating for the poor, illiterate and abused.
It's hard to prepare a child for success when their parents can't read or write. We need more programs to address literacy in the home.
Host literacy and GED classes in the neighborhoods with low literacy rates. We cant wait on them to come to us-we need to reach out to them. If we can set up a building to pass out free lunch we can use that same building to facilitate class.
I don't think were doing enough in Liberty County to help at risk populations. I see too many young women and men settling for 2 dollar rent or hanging out at the gazebo by the Coastal bank instead of improving their employment skills or trying to find employment.
"....how do we get back to the basics?"
We as a society have to WANT to get back to the basics. We have to recognize that placating our "baser instincts" is not healthy for society. We have to understand that the "sanctity of marriage" is a major part of the foundation upon which a healthy society thrives. We have to admit the error of our ways and decide to - as a society - examine WHY our educational system was one of the best in the world in by-gone days and why it is way down the list now. We have to then have the determination - as a society - to make the changes necessary to regain our former health and strength.
It won't be easy. Another blog contained a spot on quote about one huge challenge we as a society face in order to "get back to the basics" and make the kind of "progress" that is healthy and worthwhile. Here is that quote:
""This is also the Great Internal Struggle going on in our country today. One political party seeks to maintain our nation as it was Founded. The other political party wants us to be more like the rest of the world. This party supports anything that will change us. This party wants our children to be taught that the United States is the problem in the world, and we must change our ways to be accepted by others. This philosophy is taught in our Colleges and Universities and our public (government run ) schools ,with the total support of this party. Fifty years ago, our culture expressed in our movies, TV, music, books, reflected our Christian philosophy, values, and beliefs. Not so today. It has all changed to glorifying and making glamorous the dark side of human nature. We are educating our children to be accepting of this behavior. We are destroying our national soul from within, with the full support of this political party."
So in order to "get back to the basics," we will have to overcome significant obstacles posed by strong opposing elements within our own society. Can we do it? WILL we do it? I certainly hope so, but IMHO - before we have the national will to do so - things will get a lot worse than they are now. Only in the face of absolute crisis do we ever seem to get off our butts and confront our problems head-on.