Failing Schools Tell Us Much More About Ourselves

Some place their hope in education as a solution for social ills. Unfortunately, what happens inside schools is often more of a symptom than a cure. When children in schools fail, it only means that we as a society are failing to meet some of the basic needs of our children. When children fail to learn how to read, it simply points to our own failures.

Children from the city of Detroit in the state of Michigan in the US are among the lowest scorers in the country's National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).

Above copied from Detroit News
Failing test scores, however, is not the end of the story. Failing schools are frequently associated with other bad news. Here is another one from Detroit.

Above copied from NPR
In the above piece of news, it is alleged that a dozen principals, working independently, have given contracts for school supplies to a vendor, and in return, have received a share of the profit. It is indeed sad to see that on top of failing schools, there is alleged corruption.

Children in the Philippines, similar to the young ones of Detroit, are also performing miserably in national exams.

Above copied from UNESCO
The passing score in this exam is 75, yet the mean scores throughout the past years have always been below this mark. The standard deviation in these exams is about 12, so it is truly comparable to those in Detroit, where about less than a third are passing the exam. A closer look at Mathematics reveals deeper problems. A study involving grade 8 students from Don Bosco Technical Institute in Makati shows that students fail in half of the contents tested:

Above copied from Romee Nicker A. Capate and Minie Rose C. Lapinid,
Assessing the Mathematics Performance of Grade 8 Studentsas Basis for Enhancing Instruction andAligning with K to 12 Curriculum
And similar to Detroit, the bad news does not stop here. The Commission on Audit in the Philippines finds that the Department of Education has wasted 608 million pesos on textbooks students can no longer use.

Above copied from the Philippine Star
In Detroit, there are those who see what children need. LutheranHANDS, for instance, has the following call for help.

"The shockingly low standardized test scores and graduation rates in the majority of the Detroit public schools are a sign of dysfunction across institutions meant to support children." These institutions are the homes, communities, schools, church and government. It is not the curriculum....