Croker Sack

"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard." — Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1956)

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Washington Children Are Stupid, Says the State Legislature

It appears that our legislators have turned tail.

The Washington Assessment of Student Learning ("WASL") has repeatedly shown during the past few years that approximately half of Washington's children don't have what it takes to earn a high school diploma.

Our legislators are soon going to cancel the requirement to pass the WASL as a condition to receiving a diploma -- before the requirement even becomes effective. (This year's sophomores were the first class that would have been required to pass the WASL.)

According to the Seattle Times:

The state Senate passed Senate Bill 6475 by a 33-10 vote Friday. It would set up alternative routes to graduation for some students, such as putting together a portfolio of work. The House passed a similar measure late Thursday.
Even this abandonment of the WASL as a graduation requirement doesn't make the teachers' union happy:

The Washington Education Association (WEA) doesn't support SB 6475, or the House version, House Bill 2785, setting up alternatives.

"We know going into it that the WASL is not an appropriate assessment for some students, so to require them to take it is poor professional practice," said Charles Hasse, president of the WEA, the state's largest teachers union.

His group contends that grade-point average should count more than the WASL in deciding whether a student should graduate.

The union knows that, so long as the WASL is around, the dismal academic performance of the children will be apparent.

Note that the union wants the grades assigned by teachers to count more than the WASL. Then consider that the "inflated" grades given by teachers to children who haven't earned them helped create the need for a standard test like the WASL.

Grades still count. The children do, after all, need to pass their classes to advance to the point at which they take the WASL; then they must pass their classes in the 11th and 12th grades to graduate.

It seems that the masses of the common people would rather pretend that children are being educated than admit that too many are not. A test of academic achievement that requires a 9th grade education to graduate from high school is just too much for them to bear, since half the children are not achieving even that level of education.


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