Saturday, May 3, 2014

What do conservatives really care about? Not public education.



A good example of this is a recent Detroit News editorial piece that focuses on data from the National Center for Education Statistics. The report indicates that Michigan ranks in the bottom third of all states when it comes to graduation rates. While graduation rates are an easy to understand number it is a very blunt instrument if you are attempting to advocate for significant change. It also offers little in the way of analysis for how prepared these students are to participate in the work force. 
Having said that, if Detroit News editors believe graduation rates provide an important window into our educational system then it should be noted that the 80 percent graduation rate the US hit in the 2011-12 school year was a record number. Never before in the history of this country have we graduated this many students. 
The problem is that the editorial never acknowledges this reality. Rather than recognizing that the system as it was constructed over the past few years represents the pinnacle of educational achievement as far as graduation rate is concerned, the piece suggests these consistently improving numbers prove that there should be an "urgency to rapidly reform Michigan's education system." 
The disconnect between reality and this errant conservative talking point that the article attempts to pass off as feasible is astounding. But even that pales in comparison to how the editors choose to end the piece. Having already set up the false meme that Michigan's education is broken and failing despite the fact that their own data suggests otherwise the authors go on to offer a solution to this manufactured crisis.