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School test scores reveal a trend of deceit

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Quite some time ago, on Sept. 21, Tennessean parents and students received the latest TCAP test results.
Many of our state’s media published local reactions ranging from frustration to outright anger about the often severe drops in the reported student-achievement results.
So why haven’t Roane County’s citizens heard or read anything about the reactions from our students, parents, teachers and school administrators?
And by the way, do you realize that the main number of the local schools’ administration (376-5592) isn’t even listed in the newest edition of our phone book?
Surely these are not indications of a sound and effective public relations interest or policy.
After all, this is the first time that Tennesseans received the evidence of the past lies issuing from the state Department of Education, as well as many local school administrators.
Yes, although many states were among the liars, Tennessee administrators have achieved the unfortunate designation of being among the biggest liars, if not the biggest liars, among the states.
For your information, it is a fact that the achievements of many students who used to be scoring among the supposedly “proficient” and “advanced” categories in such subjects as language, reading and math are now rated as merely “basic” or even “below basic.”
And, unfortunately, this new and more honest ranking is, of course, much closer to the truth and comparability with the other states.
This simply confirms again that not only are the average U.S. student achievements continuing to slip among the industrialized nations, but the average Tennessee students score below the average of the U.S. students.
And, yes, folks, irrespective of the claims of so many of our local school administrators and other “promoters” (like some of the “rah-rah” heads of local chambers of commerce), we shall have to engage in a vital catch-up program in our homes, communities and schools.
At last, some of these leaders have finally revealed their past efforts to mislead the public and are trying to make up for them.
The first current requirement is, of course, for all of us to finally face the facts of the present situation.
There is no hope for the urgently needed improvements if we are not even ready to face these basic truths.
More specific approaches have already been developed.
And some school systems like our neighbors in Knox County are among the leaders in the reforms.
Moreover, all of us need to remember that Tennessee is by far the envied top recipient of the federal “Race to the Top” funds.
Are we really on the course of meeting this enormous challenge or are we going to embarrass ourselves?
Our local economy and quality jobs will depend on our answer to this question.
John Shacter
Kingston