(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)
New Year’s Eve was the end of an era with the closing of the Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO). The PISA data show just how vital BAEO’s mission remains. Developing countries like Chile and Estonia outscore American Black students despite spending a fraction of what American schools spend per pupil. It staggers the imagination to believe that the structure of our incredibly generously funded K-12 system plays no role in this appalling state of affairs imo.
I would like to see this display done using 8th grade TIMSS math scores rather than PISA math.
Sometimes I wonder if I’m part of either the solution, or problem. My students have never had high test scores, although by observation students seem to do better in my class, i.e., there is test-score growth from 7th grade to 8th grade (me). Long-term outcomes I’m convinced I’m part of the solution, as the HS graduation rate of our students is above the state average, and as I’ve said before the only thing that keeps me employed is the volume of students coming back boasting of their math performance in HS, students who got ‘C’s and ‘D’s in my class.
The problem is buried in the statement I hear: “You were the best math teacher I had.” Your best teacher after 8 years? Your best teacher after graduating from HS? Too many Black students haven’t had a 9 (grades 3-12) year run of quality math instructors in far too many of our urban schools, which leads to the chart you see.
Evidence connecting HS graduation to long-term life outcomes is much stronger than that connecting short-term test score changes to long-term life outcomes, so I think you’re right to think you’re part of the solution.