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Only 22% of California 8th Graders Pass National Science Test

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the above-the-mendoza-line dept.

Education 580

bonch writes "22 percent of California eighth-graders passed a national science test, ranking California among the worst in the U.S. according to the 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress. The test measures knowledge in Earth and space sciences, biology, and basic physics. The states that fared worse than California were Mississippi, Alabama, and a tie between the District of Columbia and Hawaii. 'Nationally, 31 percent of eighth-graders who were tested scored proficient or advanced. Both the national and state scores improved slightly over scores from two years ago, the last time the test was administered.'"

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National Science Tests (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39967545)

Are known to the state of California to cause cancer.

Re:National Science Tests (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39967613)

Public Schools are known to FUCKING EVERYBODY to be gigantic and expensive fail-whales.

If anyone reading this is a public school teacher, administrator, or school board member: fuck you.

Re:National Science Tests (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39967797)

You may have a point. They certainly failed you.

Re:National Science Tests (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39967829)

This is an absolutely terrible thing to say. I'm not a teacher, but i do support a better public school system. You can't automatically assume that all public schools are terrible and directly accuse teachers or board members. There are many public school in the nation which can give an amazing education, many of the best schools in the nation are public.

Re:National Science Tests (1)

jdgeorge (18767) | more than 2 years ago | (#39967869)

My understanding of how to interpret this is that:
Students whose parents are involved with their education do better in ANY kind of school (public or private). Just guessing, but I suspect the areas where students are doing better are ones with more 2-parent, single income homes.

Re:National Science Tests (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 2 years ago | (#39968003)

Mine was great. Sucks to be you I guess.

Quick! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39967557)

Someone blame the creationists.

Re:Quick! (1)

ddd0004 (1984672) | more than 2 years ago | (#39967635)

They certainly aren't helping.

Re:Quick! (5, Insightful)

N0Man74 (1620447) | more than 2 years ago | (#39967919)

Do creationists really have much of a foothold in California? I wouldn't have expected that to be the case, but I wouldn't know. It seems to have the reputation of being a fairly liberal state though.

As much as I may dislike the Christian Right trying to inject their belief system into public education, it's not like the Right (or any subset of it) has a monopoly on ruining education with their ideas and beliefs.

It seems to me that the coddling don't-hurt-their-self-esteem attitude that is churning out kids that have screwed up expectations, inadequate educations, and a distorted view of their own competence is a product of a subset of liberal thinkers.

Re:Quick! (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#39967961)

Part of on overall event where science is being attacked by many groups. Heartland, several churches, pundits.

"It seems to me that the coddling don't-hurt-their-self-esteem attitude that is churning out kids that have screwed up expectations, inadequate educations, and a distorted view of their own competence is a product of a subset of liberal thinkers."
well, you are wrong, but keep letting the media dictate your views for you.

Re:Quick! (1)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | more than 2 years ago | (#39968147)

So where does it come from?

Re:Quick! (1)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 2 years ago | (#39968021)

San Fran & it's surrounds are very liberal. The rest of the state, not quite as much. Not that I think that has *anything* to do with the test results.

Makes no sense (3, Insightful)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39967585)

I can see states like Mississippi, Alabama doing poorly because they are run by Republicans and republicans hate spending money on kids. (Yes I just heard a guy on MSNBC say that last night.) But California is a Democrat-run state. Their students should be the best and brightest and most well-funded. Like Democrat-run Maryland. Hmmmm.

(Note: I'm being sarcastic. I think Democrats suck just as badly as Republicans. None of them know how to run anything.... not the schools, not the MVA, not the Amtrak, nor the post office.)

Re:Makes no sense (4, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#39967633)

Of course, you're assuming that test competency is a good thing. That assumes the test is fair, reasonable and actually has something to do with the student's knowledge base. Given what we know about standardized tests, a bit of skepticism is in order.

That said, the bottom feeders being the states we assume to be be bottom feeders when it comes to anything other than actually eating does give one pause.

Re:Makes no sense (3, Insightful)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#39967677)

I don't think Democrats versus Republicans is a relevant issue. California's scores may be skewed by poor test scores in large urban areas, which the superintendent touched on in the article, and that's a hot-button issue no politician seems to be willing to tackle.

Re:Makes no sense (2, Insightful)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | more than 2 years ago | (#39967699)

You are leaving out the fact that untill about a year ago Calironia was actually run by Republicans. With the exception of the bay area and LA, California actually votes republican (not saying Democrats are any better, just pointing out the data).

Re:Makes no sense (5, Insightful)

Idbar (1034346) | more than 2 years ago | (#39967753)

Just checked the partial list:

Rank State %
1 Massachusetts 44
1 Montana 44
1 North Dakota 44
4 Utah 43

I'm not republican or democrat... but perhaps the data really requires a more careful analysis rather than just pointing fingers to the other side.

Re:Makes no sense (4, Interesting)

swx2 (2632091) | more than 2 years ago | (#39968119)

While i'm from MA, and I'm quite happy that my state is tied for first... but... 44%????? Only 44% of the kids tested passed the test, and it somehow tie for FIRST among the nation? If this was a test, then all 50 people (state) in the class (country) have failed. This is not good news :/

Re:Makes no sense (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39967771)

You are leaving out the fact that untill about a year ago Calironia was actually run by Republicans. With the exception of the bay area and LA, California actually votes republican (not saying Democrats are any better, just pointing out the data).

That must explain why California's electoral votes have gone Democrat for like 30+ years.

So, except for the multiple decades of a significant majority of the population who vote for Democrats, a Democrat Governer, and a Democrate-controlled Legislature, it's the Republican's fault?

Dude, did you brain wake up today?

Re:Makes no sense (0)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | more than 2 years ago | (#39967867)

I also never said it was ANYONES fault, I was just pointing out the data. Defensive Conservative much?

Re:Makes no sense (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 2 years ago | (#39968071)

I also never said it was ANYONES fault, I was just pointing out the data. Defensive Conservative much?

In that spirit, I'd like to point out that California has the second longest coastline of any State.

Not saying that that caused the problem, just pointing out the data.

In other words, you were certainly trying to suggest that it was the EEEEEVIL Republicans who were at fault.

Re:Makes no sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39968035)

California requires a 2/3 majority to do anything involving money. It's called minority (Republican) rule.

Re:Makes no sense (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39968047)

Until last year, California had a law that required all tax hikes to have a 2/3 majority of vote of the various representatives.
For decades a Republican Minority slowly strangled California's finances in to the mess you see today. Of course, it's easy to sell not raising taxes. In California we're a greedy bunch. That's our fault.

If you've ever been to a California school it's not hard to see that they're criminally underfunded. My high school had ancient, falling apart buildings. I had text books from the 50 and 60s. You can blather about waste, but you're full of shit with your anti-education agenda. Our school could barely cover the necessities, but we had great teachers. We sent bright minds to MIT, Berkley, and other high education institutions... But we were the last. The very tail-end of Gen X. Those that came after us, frankly, are fucked.

Went there for our 10 year reunion. The place is just a hole now, a shell. All of the good teachers are gone, and place is even more run down than before. As far as I can tell, the school is just a pen where they teach them some standardized test, then let them go. Taking money away and screaming "Accountability" won't fix a fucking thing.

No child left behind has killed a generation. We'll be taking care of our younger brothers and sisters in the future because they won't be able to do it themselves. If I were elected, I'd have the perpetrators of NCLB publicly executed.

Re:Makes no sense (1)

BlackSnake112 (912158) | more than 2 years ago | (#39967845)

Well the actor governor was a RINO as they say. California has been voting blue for years. Well at least it has been shown to be blue in all the President voting that I have seen. It is usually the cities that make it vote Democratic. The rest of the state votes Republican but the greater number of votes (or more greater weighted votes) from the cities carry the state. In many states all you have to do is win these counties to carry the state. Even if you lose all the other counties. Even if the number of 'lost' counties is greater then the number of 'won' counties. Politics and voting are strange.

Re:Makes no sense (4, Informative)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | more than 2 years ago | (#39967905)

You are leaving out the fact that untill about a year ago Calironia was actually run by Republicans. With the exception of the bay area and LA, California actually votes republican (not saying Democrats are any better, just pointing out the data).

Put down the crack pipe. The California state legislature has been Democrat since I can remember. The last time their electoral college went to a Republican was 1988. Schwarzenegger was the Governor, but he was far from being a right-winger and often called a RINO. Except for a small 2 year period, Democrats have controlled the State Senate for years. And LA and the Bay Area make up a majority of the POPULATION of California. Not necessarily the land area.

"Run by Republicans"? (2)

Scareduck (177470) | more than 2 years ago | (#39967965)

Really? You mean Democratic state majorities in both legislative houses dating back to at least the Gray Davis administration were figments of my imagination? And, whew, that Arnold Schwarzenegger! What a government cutter [taxfoundation.org] !

Re:"Run by Republicans"? (1)

milbournosphere (1273186) | more than 2 years ago | (#39968107)

At the state level, you have a point. But at the county and district level, the level at which administrators decide how to meet these mandated test standards in the classroom, it's really a toss-up (at least in this state). The two counties I've lived in in California (both on the beach, in supposedly "liberal" areas) have both had surprisingly conservative local representation while electing blue or moderate state reps. My point is that this is muddier than just "who the state is run by." The state may set the standards and issue the tests, but it's up to local school district members to set out a plan to meet those standards; those district reps may or may not be as blue as our state legislation. It's amazing how convoluted this state's politics can be.

Re:Makes no sense (1)

Talderas (1212466) | more than 2 years ago | (#39967705)

On the other hand, you have states like N/S Dakota, Montana, and Utah which would traditionally be classified as Red states at the top of the list....

Re:Makes no sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39967777)

>Whitest States in the union

>best science scores

Nope, no correlation there at all.

Re:Makes no sense (1)

HeLLFiRe1151 (743468) | more than 2 years ago | (#39967731)

My kid is in the fourth grade, each day I send him off to school I feel like I'm pimping him out. They almost always have some fundraiser packet that I'm suppose to devote my personal time taking my kid out and try to sell nonsensical bullshit to strangers. Since that isn't happening, the shit gets thrown away. Use the the money that they have, on the things that matter most and they would find that they have plenty of money to spend.

Re:Makes no sense (5, Insightful)

DesScorp (410532) | more than 2 years ago | (#39967739)

I can see states like Mississippi, Alabama doing poorly because they are run by Republicans and republicans hate spending money on kids. (Yes I just heard a guy on MSNBC say that last night.) But California is a Democrat-run state. Their students should be the best and brightest and most well-funded. Like Democrat-run Maryland. Hmmmm.

(Note: I'm being sarcastic. I think Democrats suck just as badly as Republicans. None of them know how to run anything.... not the schools, not the MVA, not the Amtrak, nor the post office.)

Not only is it a statement on the fallacy of the superiority of "progressive" regimes in schooling, but in funding as well. Utah spends far, far less per pupil, and gets much better results. Success in education comes from, first and foremost, an appreciation of getting an education, and second, the willingness to work for it. You'll get better results with a single, good teacher with nothing but a piece of chalk and a chalkboard, teaching a class of eager students, then you will with any expensive computerized, state of the art classroom that's been staffed with some guy waiting for his retirement age and a class of kids that don't give a damn.

Re:Makes no sense (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 2 years ago | (#39968093)

Hear, hear!! First time I've ever wished I had mod points....

Re:Makes no sense (-1, Troll)

DigiTechGuy (1747636) | more than 2 years ago | (#39967761)

The problem is spending other people's money (taken at gunpoint, mind you) on your kids. Pay for your own children's education, don't rob me to do it.

Re:Makes no sense (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39967983)

The problem is spending other people's money (taken at gunpoint, mind you) on your kids. Pay for your own children's education, don't rob me to do it.

Fine. Then don't expect my tax money to implement laws to protect you from having the rest of your money taken away from you by someone else because they want it.

Lets all devolve into a bunch of people living in armed compounds telling everyone else to fuck off. You don't get roads, you don't get electricity, you don't get laws, you don't get nothing that you can't get and keep yourself by force.

See, in your system, you want someone to help pay to enforce your rights, and you want to opt out of paying to help anybody else. Which means as long as you get what you feel you're entitled to, everyone else is on their own. Why should my taxes pay to preserve the rights of the rich?

It's not so much "society" and "civilization" as it is a collection of armed camps.

I sincerely hope you get the opportunity to experience life the way you think it should happen. I bet someone will decide you've got a pretty mouth.

All you drooling idiots who whine about the taxes being forcibly taken from you at gun point seem to conveniently forget there's a lot of those services you do make use of ... take those away, and you can have something like Somalia or the inside of a prison. Bet that would be fun.

Re:Makes no sense (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39968067)

You should move to Somalia then.

Re:Makes no sense (2, Insightful)

tompaulco (629533) | more than 2 years ago | (#39967763)

I can see states like Mississippi, Alabama doing poorly because they are run by Republicans and republicans hate spending money on kids. (Yes I just heard a guy on MSNBC say that last night.)
Oh, well if it was on MSNBC then it must be true. /sarcasm

Re:Makes no sense (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39967921)

But... but... MSNBC isn't lying scum like Faux News. We can trust the MSNBC news! /sarcasm. LOL

Re:Makes no sense (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#39968015)

When you break it down to the actual facts, Fox is far worse then MSNBC.
Don't assume equal weight on each side of the scale.

It makes complete sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39967767)

California State Politicos (on both sides - mostly Dems) are beholden to the teacher's unions. Hence why they spend a shit load on education and don't get much value.

Unfortunately, all one has to do to distract the general public from the issue is to bring up a distraction issue - using something that pisses off the Social Conservatives works best (Smaller government! Unless it has to do with what goes on in the bedroom or women's reproduction; then government MUST be involved!).

Just think how fast the problem could be solved if people voted and became as politically active as when the gay marriage vote came up - Prop 8, was it?

Nothing wiiil change. Even when California's kids are placed in with Alabama and Mississippi's kid's.

Makes perfect sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39967803)

Knoweldge of biology, physics, etc, tends to lead one to a life of low-paying and extremely frustrating work.

By avoiding those subjects, california is doing its students a favor.

Re:Makes no sense (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39967827)

California: 57% white
Mississippi: 59% white
Alabama: 68% white
D.C.: 38% white
Hawaii: 24% white


Massachusetts: 80% white
Montana: 89% white
North Dakota: 90% white
Utah: 86% white

Re:Makes no sense (4, Informative)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#39967837)

Some relevant data here (per pupil spending):
US average - $10499
Alabama - $8870
California - $9657
Mississippi - $8075

You'd be surprised, but California is really not spending a lot on their kids either. The places that are spending a lot:
DC - $16408
New Jersey - $16271
New York - $18126
Alaska - $15552
Vermont - $15175

Source: US Census [census.gov] .

Re:Makes no sense (-1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#39968025)

Thank you. That's the issue.

Re:Makes no sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39968109)

Yet, overall, the US spends a ton on its students but these same students do poorly in the world rankings. Do things really cost that much more than anywhere else? Or is there a social issue in the United States that most people still refuse to acknowledge?

Funding doesn't solve every problem. You'd think some people could make the connection in a nation that has consumed itself into debt and chronic illness.

Re:Makes no sense (3, Insightful)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 2 years ago | (#39968123)

Note that, from TFS, DC did even worse than California.

Re:Makes no sense (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39967931)

As a Latino, this doesn't surprise me that California has those scores. Among first-generation Americans there's no encouragement in Sciences or Mathematics, since its culturally a no-no to be smarter than the mob. I got my ribbings since basic Biology and Physics came to me naturally, and it was usually the bilingual children of migrant workers and Cholo-types.

Re:Makes no sense (0)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#39967981)

It's the lack of money. Kill Prop 13 and CA can start being a leader again.

Re:Makes no sense (1)

xclr8r (658786) | more than 2 years ago | (#39968019)

"Earth and space sciences, biology, and basic physics" 4 different sciences fields? + reading and writing. You could not pay me enough to have to run the test guantlet of Jr. High. If I was a kid today with all these tests I would not do anything extra curricular like sports or music.

Re:Makes no sense (1)

xclr8r (658786) | more than 2 years ago | (#39968031)

+ math*

Re:Makes no sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39968149)

If you think the quality of an education is directly proporationate to the funds spent on it, your education has in deed horribly failed you. The fact is, study after study consistiently shows that very basic tools are all that are required for a proper education. Meaning, once you have the minimum material requirements for an education, you can learn as much as you want. Once the requirements have been met, it is impossible to spend your war into a better education. Rather, its entirely up to the person in question to get what they can out of their education.

The fact is, it has absolutely NOTHING to do with politics and everything to do with how and what the is being taught. If you believe otherwise, please provide some proof because your state is contrary to everything currently known about the school systems in those states, which also happen to be some of the poorest states in the nation.

So contrary to your stupidity, its far more likely its a cultural and/or societal thing in these states rather than something as black and white as simply politics. Which interestingly enough, everything known about these states and education systems back up everything I've said and nothing you've said.

I see why so many of your posts are moderated as troll.

Maybe not a bad thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39967589)

Those subject areas generally do not lead to profitable careers. So, if california really has the best interests of its students at heart, they are emphasizing human resource management and finance instead.

Re:Maybe not a bad thing (1)

geekopus (130194) | more than 2 years ago | (#39968051)

/not sure if serious......

But, if you are, I'd say you actually have a good point. Probably less than 22% of those educated in the California public school system will actually go on to USE basic science in any meaningful way. That same principle could be applied to any other public or private school system.

I used to the type to think that educating every single person in every single subject was a good idea, but as I've gotten older, I'm not so sure of that anymore. Trying to expect every student to be above average (yes, that's impossible) in every subject is simply a demoralizing exercise, and my personal belief is that it causes kids to have either a) unrealistic expectations of what "successful" means or b) they are utter failures at everything they try.

Re:Maybe not a bad thing (1)

geekopus (130194) | more than 2 years ago | (#39968077)

grr.... "I used to be the type to think..."

LOL bonch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39967595)

And 100% of bonch sockpuppets fail the shill test.

Re:LOL bonch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39967821)

Signed,
HarrySquatter [slashdot.org] aka GreatBunzinni [slashdot.org]

The sad bit? (1)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | more than 2 years ago | (#39967597)

At that low of a %, they are only "among the worst"

The definition of insanity (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39967609)

Refer to Einstein's famous quip.

This news will undoubtedly be used as the basis for calls to shovel more money into a broken system despite decades of funding increases failing to show results, all the while modest Chinese budgets are sufficient for creating public K-12 education which outranks us.

The public schools have become a jobs program contaminated by labor politics.

We can't reward success without screaming from those who fear being held accountable for their failures.

We can't make better use of technology and automated learning because of perennial votes for make-work teaching positions.

The whole thing stinks, the public doesn't understand the system stinks, and poison politics will prevent the problems from being corrected.

Re:The definition of insanity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39967989)

It's not just failure to hold public school teachers accountable. It's also pension systems that trap disgruntled teachers. How many people out there change professions after 10 years? If you're a teacher and you switch after 10 years, you lose a ton of money in your pension. So you stick it out, knowing that you can do a crappy job and not be fired. Is that a win for the teacher? Is that a win for the students?

Re:The definition of insanity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39968055)

Why model the Chinese system when the Finnish system seems to offer the best results?

Wonder how they'd do if CA followed WIsconsin (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39967623)

And banned public-employee unions from forcing people to join and from collective bargaining.

There's something fundamentally wrong with a forced membership public-employee union turning around and using its dues to fund a political party that wants bigger government.

Talk about the fox guarding the henhouse....

Re:Wonder how they'd do if CA followed WIsconsin (2)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 2 years ago | (#39967735)

Not nearly as good as Massachusetts which has a first place rank and has teachers unions.

And California doesn't? (1)

Scareduck (177470) | more than 2 years ago | (#39967985)

Coff [laweekly.com] .

Ahem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39967651)

Who needs so called facts when you have Jesus?

Re:Ahem (1)

Barbara, not Barbie (721478) | more than 2 years ago | (#39967937)

Who needs so called facts when you have Jesus?

I guess you didn't get the memo - thanks to the failing US economy, Jesus and his buddies went back to Mexico [pewresearch.org] .

After four decades that brought 12 million current immigrants -- more than half of whom came illegally -- the net migration flow from Mexico to the United States has stopped and may have reversed.

The standstill appears to be the result of many factors, including the weakened U.S. job and housing construction markets, heightened border enforcement, a rise in deportations, the growing dangers associated with illegal border crossings and the long-term decline in Mexico's birth rates.

Simple solution (1)

Pope (17780) | more than 2 years ago | (#39967663)

Make the tests easier: Everybody wins!

Re:Simple solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39967741)

And that is what they will do! They have done it here in N.Y.. Lets face it, you can only worry about you and your own, make sure your kids get as best an education as they can, so when they do they can take advantage of the stupid Americans left, because no one will ever say what needs to be said about this problem.

Re:Simple solution (1)

Q-Hack! (37846) | more than 2 years ago | (#39968133)

You joke, but I wonder if anybody ever thought to account for the apathy factor. When I was in the 8th grade, the last thing I wanted to do was take a stupid test. Knowing that the standardised test wouldn't affect my future, I would draw patterns in the bubbles.

no surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39967687)

Learning science helps teach critical thinking and one of the greatest threats to the status quo governments we have in place today is a population of critical thinkers. I often bemoan the fact that I never participated in the drug culture of my youth and fried my brain to the point where I'm too apathetic to care and cannot suspend my sense of disbelief in what I see around me. It's all too depressing and, if you think about it, you know that we're well on a path to a new world order with no room for free thinkers except as artists used to distract the masses from the real problems. And I'm not talking about global warming or population control.

Its True (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39967689)

I live here.. look, money doesnt fix this.. The politicians and unions have crafted to a fine art the urgent plea "Money for schools - the kids!"
But guess what? teacher pay goes down.. Secondly, look at the facts on the ground.. lots of people having lots of babies that dont do well with reading writing and arithmatic. You can argue about it all you want, but its true. So instead of wasting air telling me I am misguided, how about a society that is relatively free and fair, aside from people's science skills..

Re:Its True (1)

BlackSnake112 (912158) | more than 2 years ago | (#39967911)

If people would stop expecting handouts and tried to better them selves maybe things would be different. In many places people are taught to expect the handouts. That is passed from one generation to the next. Until the handouts stop things will not change. After all if they aqre going to be paid to do nothing, why would the want to do anything but the things to get more handouts.

Another way to look at it (1)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 2 years ago | (#39967693)

>> Nationally, 31 percent of eighth-graders who were tested scored proficient or advanced

May-b our kids is just to dang stoopid.

Unsurprising (2)

TorrentFox (1046862) | more than 2 years ago | (#39967695)

When so many Californians believe that their new electric meters are going to be giving them cancer ( http://stopsmartmeters.org/ [stopsmartmeters.org] ), this is comes as no surprise at all. Also, crystal healing and homeopathy.

What's the percentage for Slashdoters? Seriously. (4, Interesting)

pantera (30229) | more than 2 years ago | (#39967703)

Can someone post the test here. I think it would be really interesting to see what percent of Slashdot readers can pass the test.

Re:What's the percentage for Slashdoters? Seriousl (1)

DigiTechGuy (1747636) | more than 2 years ago | (#39967773)

Yep, I'm curious on the content and how well I'd do.

Re:What's the percentage for Slashdoters? Seriousl (1)

sandytaru (1158959) | more than 2 years ago | (#39967809)

Curious here as well. Any time Christian Science Monitor posts one of their mini tests (my favorite recent ones were "Are you smarter than an atheist?" and "Could you pass the naturalization test?") I'm all over those. I like tests, unlike the majority of Americans. I'm also a total nerd and science geek, though, with my RSS plugged in to Discover Blogs...

Re:What's the percentage for Slashdoters? Seriousl (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | more than 2 years ago | (#39968143)

Thanks for mentioning those. I'm going through the naturalization one now. I was a little bit disappointed at the "atheist" test to see that the average score of my demographic -- Protestants -- was a mere 16 points out of 32, but I acquitted us well with a score of 31 (rather than taking a guess, I put "Don't Know" for the only one I didn't know for certain). I thought the questions were fairly trivial, to be honest, and was surprised that even the best-scoring demographics failed to average more than about 20. That's not exactly very comforting.

How do they do on a reading test? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39967725)

One thing that the article doesn't discuss is what kind of test it is. If it's a knowledge based test, then the score is probably interesting on a standalone basis. If, on the other hand, it's like the ACT science test was when I took it (a while ago, admittedly), it's really more of a reading comprehension test that happens to focus on science-based material.

A purely knowledge-based test obviously favors students who have been taught the topics, in which case the official's comment stands and the test isn't really a useful metric of California's performance as a whole (provided they cover earth and space science eventually).

On the other hand, if it's more of a reading comprehension test over science-based material, and the scores aren't aligned with the scores on a general reading comprehension test, it reveals something about California students not being able to their reading skills to scientific material in a general manner.

Standards mean competition. (1, Insightful)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#39967747)

Competition means pressure to achieve, and that means some people won't do as well as others.

We need school choice vouchers so some people can rescue their kids from a _permanently_ and irretrievably broken system.

(It's heresy to admit it's broken and that given the REALITY of the public DEMANDS which broke it, that it WILL NEVER be fixed.)

Vouchers would allow secularists who value education to rescue their offspring from the mediocrity of public schools and from frequently toxic public school students. (I was so rescued and fortunate enough to finish my education in good boarding schools.)

Vouchers would also allow Superstitionists to send THEIR kids to religious schools, but that's actually a good thing since it rescues publics schools from them.

Re:Standards mean competition. (5, Insightful)

sandytaru (1158959) | more than 2 years ago | (#39967999)

Vouchers aren't going to help. The public school systems aren't broken, its society that is broken. Kids who are individually motivated and have parental support will do great in any school environment. Kids who lack motivation but have parental pressure may be forced into rebellion in their later teenager years or college, but they'll at least do well in grade school. Kids who have motivation but lack parental support are the ones who are trapped in the school system, and their parents won't take advantage of things like vouchers. And the kids who lack motivation and lack parental support will eventually drop out because we have no support system for them. Any increased funding needs not go to vouchers, but instead to parental education to encourage the unmotivated parents to be more involved in their children's lives.

Designed by Apple in California (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39967757)

Apple may want to stop touting that it's products are designed in California.

It's the taxes, stupid (3, Insightful)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 2 years ago | (#39967759)

When California passed laws limiting property taxes, local funds for schools decreased. They were never fully replaced with state funds. The problem is, sadly, democracy driven by greed. In California, laws can be made by referendum - direct voting by the people, who voted to keep their money and to hell with the school systems. I don't blame them. I have no children and don't particularly want to pay to school any, but this is the result.

Re:It's the taxes, stupid (0)

Sparticus789 (2625955) | more than 2 years ago | (#39967953)

In California, laws can be made by referendum - direct voting by the people, who voted to keep their money and to hell with the school systems.

Shame on the citizens of California who decided to keep their hard-earned money!!! No donuts for California!

Re:It's the taxes, stupid (3, Insightful)

sootman (158191) | more than 2 years ago | (#39968139)

> I have no children and don't particularly want to pay to school any...

That's pretty short-sighted of you. Who do you want to perform surgery on you in 30 years? Even if you're in perfect health, would you rather your neighbors be educated and employed, or uneducated, unemployed, and prone to break into houses?

PS: Lots of people with no kids paid for your schooling...

Sample size problems (2)

Scareduck (177470) | more than 2 years ago | (#39967785)

From TFA:

“The sample sizes for these tests are generally somewhat small to make any real sense out of them,” county Superintendent William Habermehl said. “Also, most of these students tested in California come from large urban districts, so it’s not always an accurate representation.”

If you want to see something that is a fairer guide to academic achievement, the National Assessment of Educational Progress [nationsreportcard.gov] is a much better guide. Iowahawk used it to take down a weak argument about ACT/SAT scores [typepad.com] during the public kerfluffle about the efficacy of union vs. non-union teachers.

Re:Sample size problems (1)

pavon (30274) | more than 2 years ago | (#39968013)

I'm confused; the article is about the National Assessment of Educational Progress results. Hence, the site you linked gives the same ranking as the article (once switched to all students, not just Hispanics).

Is it so surprising? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39967799)

By the time my generation hit the schools we were in the age of "it's okay, just do your best" which children are smart enough to realize means "slack off and claim it's your best". I'm nearly thirty now, so this doesn't come as much of a surprise -- we're starting to see the kids of the folks a half decade older than me transition from middle school to high school.

I wonder what Benjamin Spock would say.

Re:Is it so surprising? (1)

Barbara, not Barbie (721478) | more than 2 years ago | (#39967997)

I wonder what Benjamin Spock would say.

Nothing. He's dead, Jim! [wikipedia.org]

Remember this in the population stats. (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | more than 2 years ago | (#39967805)

We talk talk a lot about income distribution, health stats, longevity, teen pregnacy... etc.

Who wants to bet the 22 percent that passes the national science exam doesn't have most of these problems?

Now, having determined that there is correlation between many different negative demographic stats. What is the cause? Really?

Fix it.

It isn't education because they're getting the same education as the kids that do well.

It isn't school lunches because those are the same too.

What is it? Go through all the correlating factors and isolate the cause.

Why an interest in science (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39967823)

The educator says
"We don’t want every child to become a scientist, but we want them to be prepared to make that choice if they want.”

That's only a small part. the big part is that living in a society dependent on gadgets without a basic understanding of science causes problems.
    Like fear of 'chemicals' like hydrogen. (But likeing water.)
      Or fear of harmless things with a bunch of wires.
      Or not being able to sort out real science from fake.
      Or ....

in other news... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39967839)

only 22% of californians aren't mexican.

We are being left behind (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39967871)

The US is being left behind the rest of the world, and especially what most Americans consider third-world countries. Brazil is really flying up the ladder in terms of what it offers the world. They import almost nothing and are a rising economic power in the region. Same goes for some EU countries like Poland and Croatia.

Americans are too worried about entertainment. I'm thankful to have actually been taught in schools. I graduated in the mid 80s and they still taught back then. Now schools "teach" the kids how to pass the standardized tests. They don't really teach. Very few places even teach critical thinking skills, cause and effect, how to use semi-colons, etc. School has become a place to spend the day -- a club where you may be presented with useful facts. There are exceptions, but they are woefully few.

It is true that the right doesn't like to spend money on education unless they can control the curriculum. Here in Texas a couple of years ago, the entire state body that decides on what's to be taught went right wing. New books were immediately ordered that presented the right wing revisionist history. Science is almost anathema in Texas schools because of the fundamentalists. Kids know more about celebrities than they do about how cells reproduce. Most kids I've met in Texas at family get togethers and such are grossly misinformed and generally put on airs of "it's funny that I'm a dumb ass" and will likely spend four years in a college and still learn nothing or end up going into the military where they will truly learn nothing.

Computers were hailed as ushering us into the next phase of better living, where we would have access to just about any tidbit of information. While this promise has largely come true, education uses computers wrongly when teaching. Americans schools both K-12 and higher still teach by rote. This is so wrong. Look at Asia where kids are taught to actually think through and reason things out based on potential cause and effect.

We are losing the STEM battle big time and we don't give a damn as long as American Idol is on... I really thank God I'm not a teen in today's America.

Useless knowledge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39967935)

Who needs space science when we have American Idol? OMG, did you watch last night's show?! I couldn't believe she totally did that! lol!!!! I'm gonna be on Idol someday and be a rock star. If that fails, there is always The Voice or America's Got Talent. Gotta go, playing Angry Birds now.

Monorail! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39967951)

But at least we're gonna have a super-cool high speed rail link between SF and LA! Right? Right?

Anything below 50% is appaling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39967957)

I don't know about anyone else, but that number should be above 50%, or even 60%, period. Under 30% is downright terrifying.

Science isn't important anymore (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39968053)

Question is how many know how to apply for welfare and know how to speak spanish...

Heading to a new Dark Age (1)

ddd0004 (1984672) | more than 2 years ago | (#39968059)

I think we are headed to a new Dark Ages, much like Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire. Instead of being caused by strictly by a hardline Catholic church, this one will be a combination of religious and political division, the insatiable desire to consume media with no redeeming value and the idolization of fame. You only have to look to the Kardashians, Paris Hilton, Lindsey Lohan and anyone on the Jersey Shore.

Then again, maybe I'm just getting old.

Let's spend more money on schools! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39968091)

Our per-pupil spending on public schools has quadrupled since 1962 (inflation-adjusted, the nominal increase is over 25 times [ed.gov] ). Yet, only 30% of 8th-graders nation-wide can read properly [mediamatters.org] , and about as many have a firm grasp of science. Obviously, we aren't spending enough money, are we?

i is famous, make money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39968113)

we be president now

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