When People Lie About Numbers…..

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/29/education/29scores.html?_r=1&hpw

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/01/education/01schools.html?hpw

and the most recent update:  http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/16/nyregion/16gap.html?_r=1&hpw

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/05/business/economy/05view.html?hpw

even more updates

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/11/education/11scores.html?ref=education

and more updates

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/20/education/20grades.html?hpw

For many years I have personally, publicly and professionally questioned the efficacy and reliability of school testing in the spring.  Anything multiple choice automatically reeks of not know ing much due to the ‘chance’ issue (college statistics is a great course for understanding this phenomenon).  Depending on where one sets the ‘line’ for a pass also has a great deal to do with mediocrity – set the line high and few pass, set the line low and many pass.  The line becomes the definition of success rather than the representation of the line.  This is what NCLB and charter schools brought us – a moving line with justification.  Charter schools never go public to demonstrate how they did exceedingly well compared to the surrounding school district, county, state when something like this occurs – they can not demonstrate the success they have been portraying.

By order of the principal, codified in the school’s teacher handbook, all teachers should grade their classes in the same way: 30 percent of students should earn a grade in the A range, 40 percent B’s, 25 percent C’s, and no more than 5 percent D’s. As long as they show up, they should not fail.   Lynn Passarella

As the case in New York, noted above, demonstrates, standardized testing has its limits and to base much credence on these tests is an attempt to fool the public.  The way the test issue is addressed even seems like something Michelle Rees of Washington D.C. fame would say.  As if calibration of test scores is an acceptable answer for cheating students of an education by expecting less of their parents (in this case, many parents thought their parenting was GREAT and this is why their children were ‘proficient’) is acceptable, at least it is a different place to put the pile of blame (rotating the blame around also confuses people).

It would seem that the ‘great experiment’ of education we have played on our students has had some unintended consequences which will be difficult to undo or re-do as the case may be. Rather than feeling vindicated in any way, I am deeply troubled that I was correct in what I have said over the years and had to pay a high price for what I believed.  Not only am I (and many teachers across the country) paying the price now by evaluation systems completely lacking in inherent integrity, I will pay later when the self same students who were professed to be proficient and are not, do not get to college and succeed. I only have half of my working life left……not enough time to turn around what has been going on for 50 years. 

It takes approximately 50-100 years to undo 10 consecutive years of not or improperly educating a population. You do the numbers.

As of 10 PM Pacific Time on 1 August 2010, it does not appear anyone is taking this issue to seriously – see NYTimes article number two above.  I do have to give kudos to all the spin doctors, especially from charter schools who are and will continue to use this issue as a grand manipulation instead of owning up to the fact they tried to play the game better than the rest –

At the main campus of the Harlem Promise Academy, one of the city’s top-ranked charter schools, proficiency in third-grade math dropped from 100 percent to 56 percent.

“There are two reactions those of us in this business can have,” said Geoffrey Canada, the chief executive of the Harlem Children’s Zone, which operates the school. “One is to complain, and it’s human nature to do that. The other is to say we need to do something dramatically more intensive and powerful to prepare our kids. We are going to look at the mirror and say we have got to do better.”

In New York City, charter schools, a touchstone of school reform, had been outperforming traditional schools on state tests. But due to steep losses, they are now even with traditional schools on the English test, though they maintained an advantage in math. Statewide, the proficiency rate for charter schools is now one point lower in math and 10 points lower in English than at traditional schools.

Again, what I find so deeply disturbing is how the lies have played out on students and parents and all I can think of is Caveat Emptor, which seems so hollow since charter schools ARE public education.  If this were Wall Street having to rewrite numbers, heads would roll.  The good part of this (there is always a silver lining) is surely employment for PR will increase exponentially to solve this problem.

Advertisements