Education America’s students

Posted Saturday, Dec. 07, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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The Bound for Success initiative at the University of Texas at Arlington is a good one, but those involved in Arlington and the rest of the U.S. seem to have their heads in the sand regarding higher education. (See Nov. 27 editorial, “Program offers more students shot at college.”)

The fact is, when people go to college they have to take again many of the same courses they took in high school. There’s no need to take those courses twice.

The College Board, which administers the Advanced Placement Program in high schools and the SAT test, has had in place the College Level Examination Program, with 33 exams, since the 1960s. But hardly anyone knows about it, including most teachers.

High school courses can align with the CLEP exams.

At about $100 each, students could pass just 20 of them and start college as a junior. UTA and TCU accept these.

The way to do it is to take notes in the classes in high school and then CLEP out.

The total for the two years of credit is about $2,000. This is easy, and I know, because I did it myself.

— William Clark, Granbury

Scores on tests in the Program for International Student Assessment are misleading if students’ socio-economic circumstances are not considered.

American students perform as well or better than those of most countries when apples-to-apples comparisons are made.

This is well known and widely publicized, most recently in the book Reign of Error by Diane Ravitch.

Nonetheless, the predictable alarm over PISA test results found its way into a Wednesday editorial, “U.S. students are just keeping up.”

Research on No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top reveal them to be marginally helpful and in many cases harmful.

Yet remarks critical of these programs were dismissed in the editorial as finger-pointing while Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s remarks were given a full paragraph.

A close look at consistently high-scoring countries reveals populations that cherish their public schools, treat teachers with the respect, training and high salaries they deserve, and have no use for profit-motivated charter schools.

Perhaps these practices are better than “test and punish” reforms and privatization.

— Tom Hallford, Keller

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