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Classical Charters Significantly Outperform Public Schools in STEM

23 April 2014 The Report Card

By Bill Korach

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) is the latest buzz word in education. American students  are falling far behind developed nations in STEM. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) the United States standing in math is 25 out of 27 developed member nations. OECD says that after WW11 the United States stood #1 in percentage of high school students graduating. Now America ranks #22 out of 27.  Only 5% of American college graduates are within the STEM subjects, while in China 46%, South Korea 37% and Germany 27% are STEM graduates. Clearly the United States is falling behind in STEM.

Educators who prefer the latest progressive fads, believe that STEM learning must be a zero-sum game. So progressive educators, who have been running education since the founding of the Department of Education in 1978, believe that in order to learn more math, they must reduce literature. These are the educators who have presided over the growth of educational budgets while test score in every measure have declined.

The Classical approach to education says that development of the whole student across all disciplines is key to learning and growth. According to SAT and ACT scores and other measures, it appears that Classical Charter Schools outperform their mainstream public education counterparts by a large measure.

Great Hearts Academies, a Charter Management Organization in Arizona with 17 schools has posted these results for 2013:

SAT Math Great Hearts SAT US SAT PS Arizona  ACT Math Great Hearts ACT PS Math US ACT PS Math Arizona
615 522 525 27.2 21.1 20.3


Ridgeview Classical Schools in Ft. Collins, Colorado has consistently out performed both U.S. and Colorado mainstream public schools. Here are 2012 ACT results for math and science:


Ridgeview Math Colorado PS Math US PS Math Ridgeview Science Colorado PS Science US PS Science
25.7 20.5 21.1 25.7 20.8 20.7


In addition According to Peggy Schrunk a Ridgeview spokesperson: “Ridgeview does exceptionally well in local science and math completion 1st place Rocky Mountain regional science bowl 2009,20011,2012, 2013. 3rd place Rocky Mountain regional science bowl 2010, 1st place Division Team Challenge, National Science Bowl 2011. Our chess team also does exceptionally well. This year they finished 16th in the nation.”

According to ACT, only 25% taking the ACT test demonstrate readiness for college across all four subjects, math, science, English and biology. In Florida only 19% demonstrate readiness for college. However, 52% of Ridgeview Classical School students demonstrate readiness for college, or twice the rate of the US national average.

Classical Charters, only a small percentage of total charters embrace a teaching philosophy called the Trivium. The idea is to master the rules of the game before getting into the game. In English, the first step is to learn grammar and spelling. In math the first step is to learn the tables. This was the approach American public schools used prior to the founding of the USDE. Now, these proven methods have been discarded in favor of trendy unproven ideas like Common Core.

In baseball, before you play the game, you must know the rules of the game. In the Marines, to be effective you need to know the rules and the command structure. These are proven approaches to learning that now have been rejected by progressives who are good at spending money, but less effective at producing results.

The example of Classical Charters are there for all to see. Public schools should embrace these ideas before they buy into the latest vogue in progressive thinking.

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