In Virginia, More Evidence Of Gross Public Education Incompetence

Here is what Al Gore might call an “inconvenient truth,” except that this really is truth, while Al’s was propaganda: there is no valid reason for any responsible parent to entrust the mind and future of a child with the kinds of teachers, administrators and “experts” currently being produced by the U.S. education sector.

What you see above is one more piece of damning evidence.It is a recent test question in an advanced placement (AP) government course in Fairfax County, Virginia’s largest school district, one of the largest in the country, and just a short drive from my home. The question challenged students to choose an “accurate comparison of liberals versus conservatives,” giving them multiple choices.

It sure stumped me. After all, the difference between liberals and conservatives lie in belief systems and ideological orientation, not occupations and demographic categories. However, this basic fact appears to have escaped the creators of the question. (The “correct” answer, at least according to the dimwits who devised the thing, is “C.”)

There is some good news in that the question was flagged after provoking widespread gagging, and removed from the test. The College Board, which oversees advanced placement programs, distanced itself from the question, saying, “We did not and would not create a question like that for AP students. Neither the content nor the format of this question is appropriate for an AP Exam.” A spokesperson for the district said, “Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) accepts that an AP Government test question, designed to assess 12th graders’ understanding of American political ideology, did not meet the division’s high expectations. The question, which formed part of an assessment for 12th graders enrolled in the FCPS Online Campus, will be removed from future tests and a review of all AP Government Online Campus test questions will be carried out.”

I’ll be checking those other questions after my breakfast settles. But why would the Fairfax County schools have “high expectations” if such a question made it into the test at all? Who wrote the question? Who approved it? How many alleged educators read it, shrugged and said, “Okey-dokey! Looks fine to me!”? The school system not only doesn’t have high standards, it has non-existent standards if a question based on stereotypes could crawl onto an Advanced Placement test.

Fairfax County Public Schools, you may recall, are being investigated by Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares after some of its high schools did not tell students they had received National Merit recognition, apparently to avoid discouraging students who had not in the interest of “diversity, equity and inclusion,” or something.

7 thoughts on “In Virginia, More Evidence Of Gross Public Education Incompetence

  1. Oh, I’m sure the intent was to test the 12th graders’ understanding of American political ideology….the ideology of stereotypes and otherizing people, labeling conservatives as uneducated, religious and white.

    They knew what they were doing. They just got caught.

  2. Certainly there are tendencies which are part of any reasonable political analysis: a particular policy initiative is likely to play differently in Massachusetts than it does in Utah, for example. And recognizing tendencies ought to be part of the analytical process. But this question conflates likelihood with certainty.

    The difference parallels the distinction in the legal system between “the preponderance of evidence” as opposed to “beyond reasonable doubt.” If the former is taken as an inherent truth, then Clarence Thomas is a liberal and Illinois governor JB Pritzer is a conservative (I was going to use Dick Durbin as my example, but he’s a little long in the tooth to be considered middle-aged).

    Asking pretty much the same question a different way–not “is an accurate comparison,” but “is most likely to match a demographic profile to a political philosophy”–would make this an okay (not good, but okay) question. As it is, whoever wrote or signed off on the question would fail a high school level logic course. That’s not a good thing.

    • Indeed a terrifying thing.
      Our homeschooling of our son ended when he announced that he wasn’t interested in college and wanted to begin immediately his career of choice, being an auto tech and mechanic. We often wonder if completing public (or private schools in Virginia would have altered his career path or improved his enjoyment of life. Somehow, I don’t think so…

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