ACT scores underline education faults - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

ACT scores underline education faults

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Posted: Sunday, August 23, 2009 9:33 pm | Updated: 1:31 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Our View: Wednesday's release of statewide results for the annual ACT college-entrance exam highlights how Arizona - and the United States in general - is failing to deliver a proper education for too many of our children.

Wednesday's release of statewide results for the annual ACT college-entrance exam highlights how Arizona - and the United States in general - is failing to deliver a proper education for too many of our children.

As Capitol Media Services reported, the results show only about one of every four students scored well enough to be likely to get at least a "C" grade in college-level classes for English, algebra, biology and social science. As Arizona has no requirement for high school students to take the ACT, presumably those who did were truly interested in a college degree. But a majority of those kids simply weren't ready, at least according to the ACT results.

In an upbeat news release, Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne pointed out Arizona's scores are above the national average. But that doesn't mean Arizona is doing well in grooming students for college. We just aren't quite as bad at it as the rest of the nation.

Not every student should be compelled to go to college. But for those who have that desire, they have every right to expect that their grade-school education has prepared them for the experience.

Of course, education in Arizona has been a topic of public debate for some time, and a lack of money is frequently cited as a key barrier to our collective lack of success. But tax dollars can't be the central solution, or our public education system already would be preforming better. State spending on K-12 education grew between 1999 and 2008 by nearly $2 billion or 86 percent. During that decade, the number of students enrolled in public schools rose by only 25 percent.

The real answer can be found in empowering families - all families instead of just the wealthy - to really control the educational future of their children. Attending the neighborhood school should be an honest choice, not the default, because its teachers and administrators have risen to the challenge of preparing their students for life.

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