It’s the Academic Equivalent of the Participation Trophy

So Haslam’s running around the State talking about the two biggest issues we face–not having any money and our school systems.

Folks, I could not even make this shit up.

The federal “No Child Left Behind” bill, passed in 2001, requires students to reach academic proficiency, but the law also “lets every state set its own bar” for the score that determined when academic proficiency has been reached, he explained.

“Unfortunately, Tennessee set ours really low. We have one of the lowest proficiency settings of any state,” Haslam said.

As a result, he said, last year 90 percent of the state’s children tested as “proficient” or higher at their grade level.

Next year, the state will align with the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress, Haslam said. On the NAEP-aligned test, he predicted that “only 25 percent will test proficient.”

We set our standards so low that everyone looked proficient at their grade levels.

Let me repeat that: we set our standards so low that everyone looked proficient at their grade levels.

And yet, 30% of our kids drop out of school and only 17% of them go on to college. But, hey, the lie looked good and made everyone feel good.

Here’s the thing that kills me. What the hell was the point of that?  Did we think the rest of the country was going to be fooled into thinking we were North Carolina Jr.? Like, “Oh, well, none of them go to college, but you know, maybe they don’t need to because they’re all super geniuses?”

These proficiency results were basically falsified in order to make the state look better, which means that parents and children did not have an accurate assessment of where they were.

Could they bring a class-action lawsuit, do you think? “The State was failing to teach me, but they rigged the requirements so I wouldn’t be able to tell?”

4 thoughts on “It’s the Academic Equivalent of the Participation Trophy

  1. The fact we’ve set the bar low isn’t that surprising, nor is it really news. I remember reading/hearing about this a good while back.

    It’s just sad.

    What’s even worse is the fact that Metro Nashville is STILL failing to meet those requirements.

  2. It’s absolutely true. But to be fair, Bredesen pointed out the same thing a couple of years ago, and new standards are going into effect starting with this year’s freshman class-they have to get more credits to graduate, including more math and science classes, and the end of year testing system is being revamped.

  3. Lost in all of this is the fact that achieving proficiency in this system even if the bar is set really high doesn’t mean there is any proof of proficiency in understanding and applying the content, and that is the thing that scares me.

  4. In 2005 75% of Tennessee freshman college students lost their lottery scholarship which only required them to hold a 3.00 gpa to keep it. The following year the state legislature accused Tennessee professors of being too hard and trying to fail students. Their answer to improving student performance: They lowered the standard for keeping the scholarship to 2.75. Frickin’ idiotic.

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