America’s Public Schools Are a Disaster

A report recently found that there are 53 public schools in Illinois where not a single student can do math at grade level. That report made international news, and my colleague Catrin Wigfall wondered whether there could possibly be any such low-achieving schools in Minnesota.

So she investigated. It turns out that there are 19 public schools in Minnesota, 11 of them public charter schools, where not a single student can do math at grade level. Per-pupil spending at these schools runs as high as $32,000 annually. Money has nothing to do with it.

Statewide, only 45% of public school students can do math at grade level, and only around 50% can read at grade level. By the time they get to the 11th grade, only 36% of Minnesota youths can do math at grade level.

Our public schools are a disaster and a disgrace. One wonders whether the best course would be to dynamite them and start over. School choice, obviously, is a must, but the Democratic Party won’t let it happen. Further, choice does little good to the extent it moves students into low-achieving public charter schools. A charter school that can’t train a single student to do math at grade level should be put out of business, along with a lot of other failing, taxpayer-funded schools.

The question of what to do about our dismal education system is a large one, but any possible solution begins with the acknowledgement that our public schools are, now, unacceptably bad, despite the astonishingly large amounts of money we spend on them.

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