The other comes from Guy Darst, deputy editorial page editor emeritus for the Boston Globe, who wrote a similarly glowing description of Massachusetts schools chalice-output and argues that the Bay State should build on its educational success.
Lets go to the numbers, again, 2005 fourth grad reading: Massachusetts, 231, U.S. 217, or, racially, Massachusetts white students, 237, U.S. 228. Massachusetts didnt get much for its money ($11,681 per pupil in 2005, with 23 of its fourth graders unable to function at grade level, but it got marginally more than Vermont at $11,608 that same year.
Like Vermont, Massachusetts went out and purchased, deployed, and publicized the results of its own locally preferred test, the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System, but explains it by asserting that, as proof of equal testing rigor, Massachusetts students usually do well on the NAEP. To Mr. Darst, it seems, fourth graders doing well means getting a 231 out of 500 and quietly ignoring a 67% chalice rejection rate. His adverbial choices go unchallenged.
Is it legitimate to compare students to clay vessels? Heck, the Old Testament had Jeremiah speaking thus of humans when he addressed the Kingdom of Judah, and the Apostle Paul did likewise in his Second Letter to the Corinthians.
Horace Mann, that worshiped mid-19th century advocate of free public education, spoke far more harshly when he wrote of educating little savages, but whatever you may think of such as Horace Mann or, later, John Dewey, the educator who argued that schools should minimize student individuality and maximize collective consciousness, at least schools in their times produced students most of whom could pass achievement tests. Excellent? Probably not, but a lot better, 3-R-wise, than todays.