According to the newly released Kids Count Survey conducted by The Annie E. Casey Foundation, the State of California is ranked 43rd in the United States in K-12 education.
The survey showed 52 percent of 3- to 4-year-olds are not enrolled in preschool; 75 percent of 4th graders are below proficient in reading and math; and 22 percent of California children are living in poverty.
In addition, we have 26 percent of California parents who have not graduated from high school. That’s over 2 million parents who decided not to continue with a basic education that is supposedly important to function in our society.
In the County of Riverside the data isn’t much better. It showed that 38 percent of students have used drugs or tobacco in the last 30 days, and 32 percent of students were truant to school.
But the most disappointing data in our county is that 44 percent of elementary and middle school students are not supervised after school by adults.
The odd twist to California’s educational woes is what the recently published 2011-2012 World University Rankings showed, which highlights top colleges. The cream of the crop included the usual big names like Harvard University, Princeton University, and the University of Oxford in England.
But California universities ranked high as well. Actually, the highest honor went to the California Institute of Technology, or Cal Tec., and Northern California’s Stanford University tied Harvard for second place. The University of California system schools also made it into the top 10: UC Berkeley ranked 10th on the list; and UCLA placed 13th, just behind Yale at 11th and Columbia at 12th.
In the top 50, even more California schools made it: UC San Diego was 33rd, UC Santa Barbara was 35th, and UC Davis was 38th. All of these schools beat Brown University, an Ivy League school that ranked 49th.
UC Irvine and USC also made it into the top 100.
The big question is why does the State of California rank so low in the K-12 system within the U.S., but outperform everyone in the world when it comes to college? Maybe because we force all students to attend a K-12 education, whereas the universities can drop you from school for whatever reason: low grades, discipline, or failure to follow rules of the school.
Would our rank rise if we dropped students like universities do? What if the state or county fined parents for not forcing students to do home work that will increase academic achievement in the classroom?