Governor Halsam recently announced the "Drive to 55" initiative to increase the number of Tennesseans with a "post-secondary degree" from 21.8 percent to 55 percent by 2025. While an admirable goal, it is another policy that makes one wonder how this will happen.
A state Board of Education policy allows for "credit recovery." A student who has failed a course with a 50 percent or higher can make up that grade. When schools are accountable for high graduation rates, this policy becomes a tool to facilitate inflated graduation numbers, not for "preparing students for post-secondary education." It seems odd that as graduation rates go up, ACT scores drop and area schools remain below the national average (national average - 20.9, Tennessee - 19.5) with 18 percent of Tennessee students "College Ready" on all subject areas vs. 26 percent nationally. Hamilton County's average ACT is only 18.9.
The problem becomes clear when looking at community college success rates: the destination for "credit recovery" graduates. Graduation rates at Chattanooga State are abysmal. Students enroll in multiple remedial courses. Schools label students as "high school graduates" without the skills necessary for post-secondary success. How many dollars will the governor expend on "Drive to 55" while ignoring the real problem: "graduates" who cannot deal with college work?
Let's be clear: Saying (repeatedly) that "Obamacare" is a "failure" is like telling someone that person is a "failure" for not graduating college when that person is only in the first semester of his or her freshman year. To say people are "suffering" under this health care act is like saying you are "suffering" from a flu shot you haven't taken yet. (Using that same analogy, inoculations are designed to protect you, not damage you.)
Ted Cruz and his ilk are bandying about distortions and misinformation (lies) with all the fervor of a holy crusade.
Much like the crusades, this effort is very destructive and totally antithetical to its stated purpose of "protecting" the American people from this supposed "evil."
Just one example: Sunday Sept. 29 on a morning news show Cruz declared that "Congress is exempt from Obamacare!"
In fact the opposite is true. Like everyone else, lawmakers are required to have insurance.
There are more distortions and fabrications than can be addressed in a letter to the editor. If you have questions I urge you to investigate factcheck.org or PolitiFact.org. Beware the yahoos who, apparently without conscience, would rob many millions of people of the opportunity for health care!
KATE STULCE, Ooltewah