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

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

First Lies and Deceptions Found in Spellings Higher Commission Report

There was good reason for Charles Miller to try to keep his attack on higher ed under wraps (as reported by Inside Higher Ed) until he could get his hired guns to pull it all together and push it out the door this coming September. It is a nasty, cyncial, inaccurate (lying) and poorly resourced piece of angry opinion that any credible researcher would never put his name on.

You only have to go to page 6 to find the first lie in the draft report by the Spelllings Commission to Meddle in Higher Ed.

From the Draft Report, p. 6:
"According to the most recent National Assessment of Adult Literacy, for instance, the percentage of college graduates deemed proficient in prose literacy has actually declined by 40 percent in the past decade."
What the NAAL actually said is that there was a 9 point drop, rather than a drop of 40 percentage points. So when did facts matter to these thugs! From (p. 15, A First Look at Literacy in the 21st Century:
"On the prose scale,the percentage of college graduates with Proficient literacy decreased from 40 percent in 1992 to 31 percent in 2003."
The second example shows how Miller and Co. ignored findings in the NAAL when there was no drop in mathematical literacy rates to report. Instead, they move off to quote a report by AIR, an outfit bought and paid for by the neocons ED. From the Draft Report, p. 13:
Students’ basic computational and analytical skills are also lagging. Another national survey found that 20 percent of those completing 4-year degrees – and 30 percent of those earning 2-year degrees – are unable to estimate if their car has enough gasoline to get to the next gas station or calculate the total cost of ordering office supplies. More than half of students at four-year schools and more than 75 percent of those at two- year colleges lacked the skills to interpret a table about exercise and blood pressure, understand the arguments of newspaper editorials, compare credit card offers with different interest rates and annual fees, or summarize results of a survey about parental involvement in school.
Here is what the NAAL reported on mathematical literacy, the same study that is used (though exaggerated to the point of incredible lies) when it serves the purpose of the Commission to castigate higher ed. From p. 14, A First Look at Literacy in the 21st Century:

The distribution of adults across the four literacy levels on the quantitative scale did not change significantly between 1992 and 2003 within any of the educational attainment categories.

I will have much more to say about the Chuck Miller Side Show when I return from a two week holiday--beginning tomorrow. I will be posting not so often, so Peter Campbell and Judy Rabin will have the floor entirely.

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