Steve Gill Commentary: Why Can’t Johnny Read in Our Nation’s Capital?

Steve Gill

Perhaps we should pay more attention to the abysmal reading and math scores being produced in the public schools in our nation’s capital rather than spending our time, energy and resources keeping our southern border wide open to tens of thousands of those who are illegally entering our country. There are about 13 million AMERICAN children living in poverty. Shouldn’t we care for them first before bringing in a massive wave or impoverished and uneducated children and adults that divert resources from dealing with our own infrastructure, education, healthcare and other demands?

How bad are the test scores that are being produced in Washington, D.C.? In 2010-11, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, 83 percent of D.C. public school students were not proficient in Reading; 89 percent were not proficient in math.

Clearly Johnny can’t read…or do math.

But, some might argue, it is because we aren’t spending enough money to adequately teach those children. According to the Census Bureau figures, when calculated accurately, we are spending over $29,000 per pupil per year in D.C.  That means we are spending nearly three quarters of a million dollars per classroom of 25 students per year.

We can’t teach basic reading and math skills with that much money?

There are about 48,000 students in the D.C. public schools. There are about 4,000 teachers. That comes to about a 12-1 student to teacher ratio. Nothing particularly out of line there. And with starting salaries of over $50,000 with the ability to earn well over $100,000, plus huge bonuses, the pay scale is clearly nothing to sneer at.  Average pay is over $77,000, and much higher than the better performing Charter Schools pay their own teachers.

Well paid teachers; plenty of money per student. So what is the problem? Well, it seems that the government bureaucrats running the Washington D.C. public school system have completely failed to monitor the credentials of those they put into the classrooms. NBC Channel 4 in Washington has just discovered that about 1,000 teachers in the D.C. system have been teaching without a license.  By not following there licensing process, teachers who have had licenses revoked for misconduct are not discovered, nor placed in the national database where other school districts can discover that misconduct if a licensed teacher is dismissed for cause.

A few thousand children brought into this country illegally — who are being properly cared for while the illegal immigration process runs its course to prosecute and deport those who are not eligible for asylum — is a problem. 48,000 children in D.C. schools with one in four of their teachers being unlicensed and not properly vetted is a crisis that deserves the immediate attention of our policy makers. They just need to stop their political grandstanding and anti-Trump hysteria long enough to actually focus on helping to protect children who are a stones throw from their palatial Congressional offices and their precious tv cameras!

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Steve Gill is the Political Editor of The Tennessee Star.












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4 Thoughts to “Steve Gill Commentary: Why Can’t Johnny Read in Our Nation’s Capital?”

  1. Stuart I. Anderson

    It’s not political correct to even broach the subject, but behavioral geneticists point out that academic performance is in large part the result of such characteristics as obedience, patience, self-control, attentiveness, motivation, persistence all traits that are heritable. There are certain cohorts of people that are not particularly well endowed with these traits who produce generations of people similarly not well endowed. Perhaps we should come to the recognition that there are certain groups who simply can’t perform as well as others and will NEVER be able to perform as well no matter how much we spend on the effort for them to do so.

  2. Wolf Woman

    This problem is prevalent throughout the country. Common core has hollowed out the core of the educational process, straightforward methods of teaching kids to read, do math and how to write an essay.

    Teachers can’t teach what they don’t know. My 14 year old granddaughter told me that she didn’t know the capitols of all the states but she could sing the capitals of Central America in Spanish!

    Meanwhile, more and more kids aren’t taught to pay attention, be respectful and grateful for the opportunity to learn. But they are taught to be overly attached to their electronic devices and super concerned with their “esteem” problems.

  3. 83ragtop50

    The reason for the dumbed-down D.C> students nay be s simple as the fact that make wonderfully ignorant voters who will support the loudmouthed Democrats who run that place.

  4. Randall

    Nashville is not far behind.