I am happy to see the public school system coming in for much-deserved criticism. I don't have anything to add to this article that I have not already said about schools many times. But I want to make one complaint about a chart used in the blog post:
SAT scores are a terrible metric for measuring academic performance over time.
First, I am not at all convinced that the test scoring does not shift over time (no WAY my son had a higher score than me, LOL).
But perhaps the most important problem is that all students don't take the SAT -- it is a choice. Shifts in the mix of kids taking the test -- for example, if over time more kids get interested in college so that more marginal academic kids take the test -- then the scores are going to move solely based on mix shifts. Making this more complicated, there is at least one competitive test (the ACT) which enjoys more popularity in some states than others, so the SAT will represent an incomplete and shifting geographic mix of the US. Finally, as students have gotten smarter about this whole process**, they gravitate to the ACT or the SAT based on differing capabilities, since they test in different ways.
To me, all this makes SAT scores barely more scientific than an Internet poll.
** If you have not had a college-bound student recently, you will have to trust me on this, but parents can spend an astounding amount of time trying to out-think this stuff. And that is here in flyover country. Apparently private school parents on the East Coast can be absurd (up to and including hiring consultants for 6 figures). A few years ago it was in vogue to try to find your kid a unique avocation. Violin was passe -- I knew kids playing xylophone and the bagpipes. A friend of mine at a high profile DC private school used to have fun with other parents telling them his son was a national champion at falconry, the craziest thing he could make up on the spur of the moment at a cocktail party. Other parents would sigh enviously, wishing they had thought of that one for their kid.