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

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Growth Model for NCLB?

The story is circulating that ED will announce tomorrow a proposal for use of growth models in determining adequate yearly progress for NCLB.

Back in October, one day after the release of the latest NAEP data, McGraw-Hill/Standard & Poors released a document that may be seen as tipping the hand of their BushCo. cronies at ED.

Here is a chunk from an October 21 post that offered this brief analyis of S&P's effort to introduce a growth model that ED might buy, while making sure no school will be let off the hook when it comes to impossible expectations. Remember: if impossible expectations are taken out of NCLB, then school privatization will have suffered a severe setback for now:

Leveling the Playing Field: Examining Comparative State NAEP Performance in Demographic Context insists that, "once the playing field has been leveled by taking student poverty into account, most states actually perform as might be statistically expected."

In an attempted explanation that is Kafkaesque in its hopeless absurdity and absurd hopelessness, and one that hopes to reassure those at ED who have crafted a national policy around impossible expectations, they say this:
Note that “expectation” is used to refer to statistical probability, not educational goals. The correlation between performance and poverty does not mean that students living in poverty cannot learn, or that less achievement should be expected from them as a matter of educational policy.
In other words, don't worry if these kids in these poor schools don't have a chance in hell—keep those demands in the impossible zone! (The Fordham hoods could take some lessons from these guys on how to talk out of both sides of their mouth at the same time).

What does it all mean? Does it mean that S&P would like use NAEP and their "leveled playing field" model to craft their own impossible performance expectations for the nation's public schools?

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