Thursday, August 16, 2007

Good thing we're getting full-day kindergarten

After all, Montana students only have ACT scores that exceed the national average.

Only 13 states had higher average test scores, and of those, a number of states were ones where the SAT is the major test taken by high school students -- meaning that their ACT scores are artificially high (just as SAT scores in states where the ACT is the major test are artificially high, since only those students who are headed toward more elite colleges take it.)

But these test scores definitely prove that Montana's lack of full-day kindergarten and supposed neglect of education has seriously hampered student performance.

Thank goodness the Dems have ridden to the rescue.


Anonymous said...

I don't recall the press discussing any of these test scores during the debate over full-day kindergarten. I do recall a lot of editorials telling us that full-day kindergarten was badly needed or our children would fall far behind those in other states.

I also don't recall anyone in the press noting that, if the education community was pushing full-day kindergarten so hard, it seemed to disprove their claims that their other financial needs were (are) so dire.

Montana Headlines said...

You are right, the press didn't discuss it -- but do a search for "kindergarten" on this blog, and you'll find that Montana Headlines discussed it pretty thoroughly.

The point isn't that the legislature should have been hanging on every word appearing on Montana Headlines -- the point is that if even ignorant Republicans can put two and two together on such points, you'd think that the highly educated and intelligent Democrats of this state would have asked such questions even earlier.

At least on one occasion, we made exactly the point that you make (and we would agree that it is an excellent point) -- namely, that if the standard educational needs of schools are so extreme because of supposed chronic underfunding, then why would the educational establishment want to spend all of that money on a new, non-essential program like full-day kindergarten?

Wouldn't it be better to just give that money to schools with no strings attached, letting each district decide if they want full-day kindergarten? If the districts are severely underfunded and have crticial needs, one would predict that very few districts would choose to spend their money in such a way.

The Democrats wouldn't even allow discussion of such an idea. The reason is obvious: if they gave no-strings-attached money to districts and none of them spent it on kindergarten, it would demonstrate that kindergarten wasn't our most critical need -- as Democrats claimed.

If they spent it on kindergarten, then it would show that the infrastructure and teacher's pay problems really aren't so severe after all.

So, Democrats couldn't allow districts to decide for themselves how to spend such money -- and wouldn't even allow Republicans to change the law from a specific "full-day kindergarten" to a more general and flexible "early education."

Democrats got what they wanted: more teachers to be paying dues into the MEA, the political wing of which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Democratic party -- and they get to continue to complain about education being underfunded.