A Judge Stands Up for Ignorance

Debra Saunders:

I wish I were shocked at a last-minute judicial fiat that runs roughshod over a much-needed school reform — much as, in a different age, a French aristocrat’s coach might ram over peasants unfortunate enough to stand in the way. In this brave new world, if anyone tries to improve schools — and you can’t improve schools without raising standards — no matter how weak those standards are, some court likely will step in to quash the reform lest it hurt someone.
As if ignorance doesn’t hurt children.

One thought on “A Judge Stands Up for Ignorance”

  1. This purposefully misleading article (are there any other kinds?) fails to explain the issues (of course, because otherwise one might disagree).
    The critical backdrop to this issue is the $1 Billion settlement with the State of California after 5 years of ligitation in the case Williams V. California which alleged and then proved that California schools were inadequate for a significant number of children.
    The settlement required that all teachers be qualified, that the texts are current and undamaged, and all classrooms be clean and safe.
    In implementing this settlement, in 2004, California passed 5 bills with costs totaling $1 Billion. These bills hold the schools accountable for ensuring they implement the settlement. Further this settlement has been interpreted to set the floor of educational quality, not the ceiling.
    Further, districts are now required to conduct rigorous self-evaluations through facilities inspection systems and annual instructional materials hearings. The results of the districts’ self-evaluations and reviews of teacher assignments are then to be reported to parents and the community in yearly School Accountability Report Cards. Students, parents, community members, and teachers are also empowered to make certain the standards are met; the Settlement Legislation provides a new Uniform Compliant Process that they may use to identify deficiencies and seek timely remedies. In addition, because of Williams, county superintendents are visiting and reviewing low-performing schools to ensure there are sufficient instructional materials, properly assigned teachers, and clean, safe, and functional facilities. County superintendents must publicly report the results of their visits every quarter, and issue comprehensive reports once a year. The accountability systems are helping schools and districts address the underlying causes of existing deficiencies, such as inadequate inventory systems, lack of training, and limited channels of communication.
    It is against this backdrop of poor and inadequate schools that this case has been brought.
    I certainly believe that a HS diploma should mean something, but the onous must be on the schools to deliver the necessary skills for students to succeed. One cannot totally blame the students for their failure to learn.

Comments are closed.