Wheeler: Where is the outrage for SAT scores?

Wheeler: Where is the outrage for SAT scores?

I’m writing to express concern about the SAT scores released by the R.I. Department of Education this past week. It’s troubling that more isn’t being reported on the subject. Providence has earned a lot of press coverage for their poor-quality scores and schools. According to the report, however, both Central Falls and Pawtucket are generating even worse individual and combined subject scores. The scores from this past year are declining compared to the year before. The biggest problem: Over 50 percent of the tested population is not achieving standards in either math or English language arts. More than half are failing!

Where is the outrage? Where are our educational and political leaders? Where is the community demand that we do better? Clearly what we’re doing isn’t working. Our students and our community need something different/better and it doesn’t seem like anyone wants to talk about it.

Some will say, “it’s just one test. We do better in other things.” My response: What other things could be more important than math and English literacy for our advanced student population? If we cannot do well on these basics, what other proficiencies will set our students up for success?

As a community, Pawtucket has wisely made a good investment in repairing/enhancing the space our students learn in. Let’s also follow that up with an “investment” (doesn’t have to be just financial) in getting results! We cannot possibly hope to attract new families/new businesses with a “worst in state” education track record. More than that: We have a moral obligation to set these students up for success. All of our leaders (e.g. School Committee members, city councilors, mayor, superintendent, parent groups, etc.) need to step up, demand better, and demonstrate results.

Robert Wheeler