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In 1990, three academics, Harold Stevenson, Chuansheng Chen, and David Uttal did a study of attitudes and academic achievement of black, white, and hispanic children in Chicago. They found a disturbing gap between what parents thought their children were learning and children’s actual performance. Teachers in high-poverty schools had given A’s to students for work that would have earned them C’s or D’s in affluent suburban schools.
In study, black mothers of Chicago elementary school students rated their child’s skills and abilities quite high and thought their kids were doing well in reading and math. The children thought same thing. Unfortunately, researchers found that parents’ and children’s self-evaluations of their math and reading skills were way above their actual achievement levels.
There was a big gap between their optimistic self-evaluations and their dismal academic performance on independent tests. Public schools were giving these children a false idea of their academic skill levels. In other words, these children were heading towards failure and no one bothered to tell them.
Parents would not be wise to trust any claims by teachers or school authorities about their children’s alleged academic abilities, even in so-called “good” schools in suburban neighborhoods. Parents should have an outside independent company test their child’s reading and math skills to find out how their child is really doing. If parents find that their child’s academic skills are far below what their local public school led them to believe, they might want to take their child out of public school and look for better education alternatives.
The Resources section in "Public Schools, Public Menace" shows parents many excellent, low-cost education options for their kids, such as new Internet private schools, learning computer software just for kids, and home-schooling. Turtel's book and website, www.mykidsdeservebetter.com, also list many reading and math-skill testing companies parents can use to determine their children's true reading and math abilities.
Joel Turtel is an education policy analyst. He is also the author of "The Welfare State: No Mercy For The Middle Class." Contact Information: Website: http://www.mykidsdeservebetter.com, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Phone: 718-447-7348, Article Copyrighted © 2005 by Joel Turtel, Article can be reprinted on ezines or newsletters only if Contact information to Joel Turtel and his website is included.