Monday, April 13, 2015

New report says 'the statistics speak for themselves'

Oklahoma's educational outcomes leave a lot to be desired. This according to a new report commissioned by the Oklahoma Educated Workforce Initiative (OEWI) entitled "Oklahoma’s Business Case for Education Reform."
  • In grade 4, Oklahoma ranks in the bottom 10 states in math on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) exam; nearly two-thirds of the state’s fourth graders cannot earn proficient scores in math (see page 9).
  • By grade 8, Oklahoma’s students fall further behind in math, earning a ranking of 45th of the 50 states as three quarters of the state’s eighth graders score below the proficiency level in math (see page 9).
  • In high school, just over one-third of the state’s ACT test-takers earn a “college-ready” score on the ACT math section. This is especially disappointing as this test is generally only taken by the students in the state with an interest in college. On this measure, Oklahoma ranks 38th of the 50 states (see page 11).
  • The costly result of this under-performance is that too many of Oklahoma’s college-bound students -- 40 percent -- must take remedial coursework when they arrive at college (see page 11).
  • Due to these weaknesses in student preparation, fewer than one-quarter (22.8 percent) of degree-seeking students in Oklahoma’s public colleges successfully graduate within four years. This places Oklahoma 40th in the nation (see page 12).
Public education's productivity collapse has been nothing short of staggering, Cato Institute scholar Andrew Coulson wrote in 2009 in Investor's Business Daily. "Once upon a time, America could afford to sustain a parasitic school monopoly, fecklessly throwing billions more dollars at it decade after decade despite its failure to improve. That time has passed. … The perpetuation of that monopoly puts our economic future at unacceptable risk."

Indeed, a 2009 report from McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm, found that America's "underutilization of human potential" imposes "the economic equivalent of a permanent national recession."

Hats off to the Oklahoma Educated Workforce Initiative for sounding a much-needed alarm.

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