Friday, March 6, 2009

Top 20 by 2020?

Over at the Prichard Committee, they are pushing something called “Top 20 by 2020,” a plan to have Kentucky’s education system rank among the top 20 states in the nation by the year 2020. The latest shot was fired in Owensboro a couple of days ago, according to a news report, “Group maintains Top 20 education target,” in the March 6 Messenger (Owensboro – Subscription Required).

The newspaper reports that Prichard’s leader, Dr. Robert Sexton, says we can’t let the current economic situation get us off target. Bob wants to spend more money on education now, even if the economy is bleeding (which it clearly is).

But, let’s think about the Prichard plan and other things Prichard is saying.

There are only 50 states, so ranking in the top 20 means ranking just slightly above average – that’s all. And, of course, all of this depends on how you determine the rankings, which is why I bring this up.

Over at Prichard’s Blog, Susan Weston recently posted a comparison of how she sees Kentucky’s educational system ranking against the rest of the nation.

Susan claims Kentucky already ranks above average on science, poverty gaps, social studies, and arts.

She says we are “in line with the nation” on reading, writing, disability gaps, race gaps, high school completion and college entrance.

The only areas where we fall behind are math, college completion, and degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Often called STEM).

If we accept Susan’s rankings as accurate, it looks like we basically are already about where Sexton wants us to be in 2020.

Where is the challenge in that?

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