US News (N) and Newsweek (NW), the two former national weekly news magazines that failed to hold onto enough readers to justify the ink and paper to actually print a magazine (look out morning paper), have gone into the rating business. It’s cheap, and in the US News case they just report what others say the ratings are without actually doing much work. They know we do love rankings. In the case of high schools they are both out to provide cover for poor performing school systems across the nation. N claims to report on 21,000 PUBLIC schools; more on that in a minute. If you look at N’s list only the first 2,290 are ranked by number. The other 18,710 are just listed alphabetically. I guess we wouldn’t want to hurt any more feelings than necessary. As it is they went just far enough to pick up three of our schools. North was best at 1,948th, West at 2,064th, and East at 2,162nd. Hendersonville and Balfour were lost in the alphabetical list. I was personally delighted to see that my granddaughter’s future school was listed at 3rd, which means it must be pretty good regardless of the Department of Education (DOE) biases. The rankings themselves are provided courtesy of the National Teachers Union (NEA) dominated Federal (DOE), along with the self appointed College Board (CB). It is worth noting that the rankings ignore private schools on the flimsy excuse that they do not report to DOE, not because they might beat the pants off the NEA schools.
NW chose their own criteria and emphasis in their rankings, though largely based on the same “raw data” as Board of Public Education (BOPE) member Lisa Edwards would erroneously say. The DOE and CB data are their final published reports. We can’t call them “raw data” if we don’t like the story they tell. We needn’t spend too much time on NW though, since they only rated the top 1,000 which none of our schools made. What we ought not to forget is the fact that our graduates will spend their working lives competing with their age-mates from every corner of the world.
Organization for Economic Cooperation’s (OECD) Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) final report scores continue to, inconveniently for BOPE’s Lisa Edwards, place our US 15 year-olds 17th in reading comprehension, 23rd in science, and 31st in math. That is not just Obaminable, but Bushinable, Clintonable, and even Reaganinable, but most of all the fault of Lillian Carter’s second smartest son Jimmy who signed it into law under the grinning eyes of union goons across the country. If we don’t stop defending failure in Henderson County schools and those across the region and country, our kids will work for Slovenes, Poles, Belgians, Hungarians, and Canadians, not to mention Chinese, Koreans, and Japanese all of whom, along with 15 others whipped our kids in the 2009 testing. The North Carolina Association of Educators (NEA) dominated Department of Education in Raleigh (NCDOE) has a lot to answer for too, given that Tarheel kids rank below average nationally. Six months or so will see the OECD reports from 2012 tests. We will hope and pray for the unlikely event that they bring change and let you know. We also have the good fortune to have our local Rep. Chuck McGrady, Co-Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, working to straighten out NCDOE.
If you have ideas on any of this, the next BOPE meeting with public comment is May 15th, 6:30 at 4th and Buncombe streets.
If you have private concerns on any county issues including school security, that need to be aired publicly, contact me with complete confidence in our respect for your privacy at:Bill@tribunepapers.com or BillOhSee@gmail.com or call 828 890-0412.