"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

NAEP and the Headlines

One has to wonder what kind of magic realism that ED will muster to counter this kind of headline:

Students Show Few Gains Since 'No Child'

Math Up Slightly, Reading No Improvement

By Lois Romano
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 19, 2005; 11:57 AM

Despite a new federal educational testing law championed by the Bush administration, scores among fourth and eighth graders failed to show any improvements in reading, and showed only slow gains in math nationally during the past two years, according to a study released today. (Click here for full story.)

1 comment:

  1. I was dumbfounded when I saw some articles spin these scores as proof NCLB is a savior for schools. Here is a copy of a press release I'm sending out to PRNEWSWIRE. I hope it's okay to share with your readers.

    “Quit lying to the public, Margaret Spellings, about No Child Left Behind!” says author/teacher Debra Craig.

    Southern California teacher Debra Craig is mad as hell and isn’t going to take it any more. Instead of just being complacent or “waiting for the tide to turn” like many educators are doing, Debra has decided to launch her one-woman battle against the insane and totally absurd, No Child Left Behind Act.

    She sees this landmark education policy as destroying public schools with its ridiculous obsession on testing and the unrealistic expectations that ALL students can achieve some artificial level of success based on one yearly assessment regardless of the student’s ability or motivation. She’s also angry that the government puts no responsibility for student achievement on the student or parent.

    “I find it outrageous that anyone, especially Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, can claim that the “core principals of NCLB” are helping public schools based solely on the fact fourth grade math scores went up by four percentage points over a two year period. While any improvement should be recognized, I thought their idea was to “leave no child behind, not just fourth graders in math.”

    This high school teacher is referring to data released on Wednesday by the National Assessment of Educational Progress, which reported the results of a federal test considered the best measure of how students in every state perform on core subjects. While it was good news for fourth graders in math, eighth graders who achieved the “proficient” level went up by only 1% over the same time period.

    “Furthermore, if the ‘core principals of NCLB’ are working so well, why then have reading scores basically stayed the same over the last two years?”

    Debra is also the author of Why Is the Teacher’s Butt So Big? Plus 111 Other Mysteries of Public Education, a book that examines other things she doesn’t understand about public schools. Her book motivated her to create the organization “BUST our BUTT.” The name doesn’t refer to the anatomy but are acronyms for “Better Use of Schools and Teachers” and “Better Understanding of Teaching and Testing.”

    With the help of her book and organization, Debra says she will “bust her butt” to be the touchstone of a new revolution in education, a revolution that will bring real positive changes to public schools.

    Debra Craig can be contacted at (951) 247-6980, http://www.debracraig.com, or Debracraig@hotmail.com.