Finley: Education reform is working
National Education Association president Lily Eskelsen Garcia was in Detroit Tuesday to tell the Detroit Economic Club that the education reform movement has been a failure.
She’s certainly right that student progress is too slow, particularly in Michigan. But the solutions she seemed to be suggesting — give public schools (and by extension the teacher unions) an exclusive franchise on education and excuse teachers from accountability for the performance of their students — was basically what was in place in Detroit in the pre-reform days. How’d that work out?
As more states have embraced reform, there has been some notable results. One example: High school graduation rates are at an all-time high, with 80 percent of students earning a diploma in 2012, capping a decade of progress. For black students, the graduation rate hit 69 percent, up 9 percentage points since 2006, and for Hispanics, the rate reached 73 percent, a 16 percent gain.
The rising rates correspond with former President George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act and President Barack Obama’s Race to the Top initiative.
The movement is in the right direction, and argues against scrapping reform.