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Another Year Lost

• Patricia Levesque

2214 CCCR 2014 InfoGraph4–IRCEarlier today, ACT released its annual The Conditions of College & Career Readiness report, which showed another year our education system failed to improve academic outcomes of students.

Students who take this exam are largely those who aspire for a postsecondary education, and for 2014, 86 percent of test takers indicated they intended on enrolling in higher education. But the sad truth is most of those graduates aren’t adequately prepared. Only 1/4 of test takers were considered college ready in all four tested areas: English, Reading, Mathematics, and Science. You can view ACT’s infographic here.

Putting that number in perspective, more high school graduates (31 percent) failed to meet ANY of the four subjects’ benchmarks than those who met all four (26 percent).

Unfortunately for most of these students, hearing they aren’t college-ready when they’re already applying for colleges is too late.

Low standards, weak accountability, and inflated grades are fancy ways of lying to students. Adults who are in charge of our education system have been sugar-coating the truth to students for too long, and students are the ones who will wind up paying the high price.

It is important to ensure that a high school diploma actually means more than the paper it’s printed on. And we need to create viable pathways for students to achieve success. This means using assessments that tell the truth and that let students, parents, and teachers know of knowledge gaps—and having enough time to fill in those gaps.

Our education system is failing our country’s next generation, and it HAS to be fixed.

Children deserve better. Parents must be empowered to pick the school that will best fit their child’s needs. Students must be provided the opportunity to access the best teachers and courses, regardless of location. And schools must be transparently assessed and held accountable to ensure they’re doing what they were designed to do: educate students.

Let’s hope this message doesn’t need to be repeated one year from today.

About the author

Patricia Levesque @levesquepat

Patricia is the Chief Executive Officer for the Foundation for Excellence in Education. She served as Governor Jeb Bush’s deputy chief of staff for education, enterprise solutions for government, minority procurement, and business and professional regulation. Previously, Patricia served six years in the Florida Legislature in the Speakers Office and as staff director over education policy. Contact Patricia at