We have followed the continuing failure of the public school systems in cities like Detroit and Washington D.C. where students are graduating without basic skills or ability to compete in the new economy for valuable jobs. Instead, they are left without any meaningful chance to break the cycle of poverty that often holds them in a stagnant social strata. The most recent review of Detroit demonstrates just how badly we have failed these children. The 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress tests published by the Department of Education’s National Center for Educational Statistics shows that 96 percent of eighth graders are not proficient in mathematics and 93 percent are not proficient in reading. This is the result despite spending approximately $14,743 per student in the school system.
The situation nationwide is not particularly gratifying with only 33 percent of public-school eighth graders scored proficient or better in reading in 2015 and only 32 percent scored proficient or better in mathematics. However, that is still an astonishing contrast to Detroit.
With only 4 percent of students proficient in math and 7 percent proficient in reading, the Detroit school officials have utterly failed in managing the system. Moreover, the dismal performance of the schools matches the a long history of corruption and incompetence in other areas of government in Detroit. On every level, public officials have failed the voters of the city to deliver the most basic services. Yet, there is no move to remove these leaders and officials in gross for what they have done to this once great American city.
The next lowest city was Cleveland where officials only achieved an 11 percent scoring proficiency in reading and 8 percent in math Among the rogue’s gallery were also Baltimore and Fresno (tied for third worst with only 13 percent scoring proficient or better in reading and 12 percent in math) and Philadelphia ranked fifth worst with only 16 percent scoring proficient or better in reading while Los Angeles ranked fifth with 15 percent in math.
What is equally depressing is that Detroit is failing a current population of 48,905 students. That is roughly 50,000 students who are being released into a world without the skills needed for success. As I have said before, this is the real crisis in our country. We will continue to see a downward spiral in the economy and crime unless we overhaul our public educational system. Otherwise, these children will be trapped in a poverty cycle that they cannot realistically escape.
I understand that many of these kids are coming from broken homes or extreme poverty that makes the task far more challenging for the schools. However, these statistics are still an utter disgrace for any system and show massive budgets being spent without minimal and measurable success. I am not one who looks to public voucher systems as the solution. I still believe in public education and I have sent my kids to public schools. I believe these schools play an important role in our democratic systems in raising future citizens. We cannot fail in this basic task as a nation and remain a viable and successful country in the increasing challenging global economy. These scores reflect a permanent underclass where these children are finished before they even start to make their way in life.