John Cannell is a physician that started to investigate why there is little, if any, relationships between the tests administers by the schools and those given by the outside psychologists.
One of his patients, a 15 yo pregnant girl dropped out of school after giving birth. Cannell was curious about her school records and found out that her teacher didn't say anything about the girl's low academic skills because the teacher didn't want the girl's self-esteem to be injured. She scored on a standardized test (CTBS) slightly above the national norm.
How could so many children test below average on independent testing but do well on their official school achievement test? States like W. Virginia and Kentucky announced that their test score placed their students "above the national average" on that same CTBC test. Does that means that all is well?
Looking closer, Cannell found that W. Virginia had the lowest proportion of college graduates and the third lowest ACT college entrance scores of any state in the country. It ranked near the top in illiteracy and poverty. Same questions applied to Kentucky.
Cannell then decided to present himself to a test publisher as a superintendent. Almost immediately, he was talking to a saleswoman who implied that their district's scores would be "above average" if he bought one of their tests and as long as he didn't change tests, their score would go up every year. How could she be so sure?
Not a single one of the 50 states reported that its students scored below average. More than 90% of American school districts claimed to be performing above average.Among those were St. Louis, Kansas City, New York City, all districts notorious for the break down in their schools. His findings were upheld by the U.S. Department of Education.
Cannell is going even further to believe that the current American epidemic of teenage pregnancy, depression, drug use, delinquency, and teen suicide is partially related to the low standards and the low expectations so evident in America's public schools.
Dumbing down the tests and the low standards that the schools set, cheat our children of the future they can have.