Monday, June 25, 2007

The Kahlil Gibran High School is a Symptom of a Failed Education System

I would like to again compliment Alicia Colon on her courage in confronting the Kahlil Gibran High School controversy. The New York Sun has been on the forefront of a wide range of difficult battles, to include Kahlil Gibran. The fact that the MSM and left wing activists have attacked Ms. Colon is a tribute to her courage and good judgment.

The Kahlil Gibran High School is a symptom of the Bloomberg administration's incompetent schools administration. In today's schools, students are no longer competently taught to read, write and do arithmetic. Instead, they are taught to identify with their ethnic backgrounds; have high self-esteem; and to hate the United States. The Kahlil Gibran High School is a symptom of the absence of competent education. That the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation have funded the social justice high schools is consistent with Microsoft's stock performance since 2000. Bill Gates fiddles with boondoggles such as the social justice high schools while Microsoft burns.

Parents ought to demand better and more objective outcomes assessment for schools, to include the social justice schools, on up through the college level. Better outcomes assessment would include tracking entering students' and graduates' achievement through objectively normed entry and exit tests. This is already done by the Educational Testing Service and the SATs, but needs to be generalized to elementary, high school, college and graduate levels, with the mean entry (for elementary schools multiple level) and exit results, (including quartiles and standard deviations) tabulated and published publicly per institution to determine whether each school is more or less successful in developing skills.

Furthermore, students' career progress post graduation should be sampled and tracked, and schools evaluated based on subsequent career outcomes, with sample outcomes also publicly published per school. Public revelation of the mean job outcomes such as income, with quartiles and standard deviations of graduates per school is not information that many educators at any level want to make public.

Recently, Candace de Russy, some other associates and I discussed the possibility of a conference to discuss emerging fiduciary duties for university trustees. The Sun has done an excellent job of bringing related problems to light, for example when the Sun published pictures of the Columbia trustees on its editorial page.

My hope is that part of this conference would involve consideration of trustees' duty to demand assessment in order to understand institutional performance, just as directors of corporations are expected to demand accurate financial data. That the former board of education, Mayor Bloomberg, schools chancellor and the colleges have not implemented such a system convinces me that there are major gaps in governance and management. This spills over into frivolous abuses such as likely occur at the social justice high schools.

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