We Can Do Better

Sep 10, 2014 by AFP

Opinion Editorial Published in the Knoxville News Sentinel 8/24/2014
By Andrew Ogles

Nationally, the average ACT is 21, with 26% of students achieving college-readiness benchmarks.  In contrast, Tennessee’s composite score is 19.8, with only 19% of students meeting college-readiness benchmarks.  We can do better.

After 5 years of education reforms and millions of dollars spent, the significant accomplishment is two-tenths of a percent on the ACT from 19.6 in 2010 to our current score of 19.8 in 2014.  With only 19% of our high school graduates academically ready to start college and a low average of 19.8, it’s projected that Tennessee would rank near the bottom at 43rd in the nation on student preparedness for college.

19%… What do we have to show for our reforms? Statistics and data can easily mislead. Benchmarks that are supposedly being met do not produce actual results as students graduate.   19%… We can and must do better. Less than 20% of high school graduates are ready for college.  We are failing them as a state.

What are the solutions? Let’s start with giving parents control over their child’s education.  Let’s give parents more control of how their education dollars are being spent on their child’s education and ultimately their child’s future.  As parents we should decide what best suits our child’s education needs. Education dollars should follow the child, and parents should be able to choose what type of school their child attends.

We can do better.  A top-down, one-size-fits all approach to education is holding our children back.  Our state, our educators, and our children are capable of so much more.  It’s time Tennessee joins other states in innovating education and seeing improved results; it’s time for Tennessee to implement real school-choice.