01 September 2008

Education: Parallels in the U.S.

Phil Greenspun writes about the public education system in Cambridge, MA. He writes that Cambridge high schools have the highest cost, lowest student-teacher ratio, and "the most non-teacher staff". The net result: very low SAT scores. This sounds like Bermuda.

In addition, Cambridge is a very affluent city, in that is filled with academics from MIT, Harvard, and all the other schools in the surrounding area. At the same time, Cambridge has many poor people. East Cambridge (technically a different town) is in fact a blue-collar town with deep Portuguese roots. Many of the well-to-do in Cambridge go to the private day schools in the area, leaving the public schools full of the poorer students. There's also an accompanying white/black (or other) split along the obvious economic lines. I don't know which causes which, but they are certainly connected.

This again is very reminiscent of Bermuda's situation, where those without the resources to attend private schools are being let down by the public education system, despite massive spending & ministerial apparatus. And here, some people will say that because all the "good" (smart, well-behaved, good home situations) end up in private schools, the public schools are structurally doomed to failure.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interesting post, Doug.

But what do you make of the stats shown at http://www.blackboysreport.org/ and at http://www.statestats.com/edrank.htm ?

Massachusetts has pretty much always had a high ranking for education overall. However, I can personally attest that your district has a huge bearing on the quality of your education. Family in one area of Mass test about three to four grades lower than family at private school here. Not a large enough sample to be conclusive, but food for thought.

It's probably due to, like most education systems, the level of expectation put on the students to perform.