And we worry about ID in school

By all means, keep your kids in public school. I’m sure the homeschooled elite will appreciate the cheap labor, doing those jobs illegal aliens don’t want:

An NAEP test of 12th-grade achievement was given to what the New York Times called a “representative sample of 21,000 high school seniors attending 900 public and private schools from January to March 2005.”

What did the tests reveal?

* Since 1990, the share of students lacking even basic reading skills has risen by a third, from 20 percent to 27 percent.

* Only 35 percent of high school seniors have reached a “proficient” level in reading, down from 40 percent.

* Only 16 percent of black and 20 percent of Hispanic students had reached a proficient level in reading.

* Among high school seniors, only 29 percent of whites, 10 percent of Hispanic students and 6 percent of black students were proficient in math.

This is only the half of it. Among the kids whose test scores on reading and math were not factored in were the 25 percent of white students and 50 percent of black and Hispanic kids who had dropped out by senior year.

Factor the dropouts back in, and what the NAEP test suggests is that, of black kids starting in first grade, about one in eight will be able to read at the level of a high school senior after 12 years, and one in 33 will be able to do the math. Among Hispanic kids, one in 10 will be able to read at a high-school senior level, but only one in 20 will be able to do high-school math.

You know, sometimes I’m almost ashamed to call myself a scientist. But it is amusing to think of the next-generation’s Richard Dawkins, who will no doubt require a particular talent for illustration.

I imagine that popularizing science – whatever that is, I’m still waiting on my fellow scientists to help me out here – among the illiterate herd will demand a certain skill in producing pretty pictures with bright colors.