John Thompson, historian and teacher, lives in Oklahoma.
The Oklahoma press is focusing on the state’s low level of college readiness as measured by the ACT test, 16 percent, in comparison to the national rate of 27 percent. The state known for dramatic cuts in education funding is ranked 19th in the nation with an average composite score of 19.3. But it is missing the big picture.
The average ACT composite for my old school, Centennial, is 14.8, which is above average for the high-poverty neighborhood schools in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Even when we were ranked last in the state, our ACT scores were significantly higher. Since I retired, Centennial received a $5 million School Improvement Grant. I believe that its ACT decline is just one example of evidence explaining how and why tens of billions of dollars of corporate school reform drove meaningful learning out of many…
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