by Anna Manning
Ahead of the May 1 teacher walkout in North Carolina, organized by the state affiliate of the NEA, the country’s largest teacher union, John Locke Foundation’s Terry Stoops questions how the list of union demands would effect students:
Results from state achievement tests administered last year show that only 56 percent of elementary and middle school students were proficient in math, and just 57 percent were proficient in reading. Since 2014, math proficiency has increased by just over 5 percentage points, but reading has gained only a single percentage point.
That’s not the worst of it. A mere 42 percent of economically disadvantaged elementary and middle school students are proficient in reading, and around the same percentage reached math proficiency. Shockingly, only around four of 10 African-American students in elementary and middle school grades are proficient in reading and math. Within both these subgroups, far fewer earn scores that equate to college and career readiness. Think of what’s ahead – and not ahead — for these boys and girls as they become men and women.
This crisis of our kids seems lost on activists who drown out the voices of those who do see the real issue. Rather than invite collaboration by presenting a list of measures to jumpstart achievement and restore hope to our most vulnerable, union leaders published a list of demands that would cost billions to implement and likely have negligible effects on performance.
Last year’s walkout resulted in 42 school districts cancelling class, keeping over 1 million children out of school.
Now the “Rally for Respect” has morphed into a clenched fist rather than an outstretched hand. If denying our most vulnerable kids instruction time is the union blueprint for improving student achievement, they have revealed how out of touch they really are.
You can read Terry’s full piece for Real Clear Education here.