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

Friday, July 20, 2007

Why You Can't Trust Education Trust Redux

Kati Haycock and Amy Wilkins continue to serve as reliable voices for a hostile takeover of the public schools by the Business Roundtable and the education industry. Their naivete, their blindness, and their acquired taste for threats and punishments against the poor and the weak have made them popular spokespersons for the hucksters and privatizers who continue to hide behind the cynical rhetoric of rescuing the urban poor in order to impose a stringent system of social and behavioral control.

Now the Bushies are hoping to escalate their war against public schools, and their strategy for reathorization of NCLB includes the opening of a new testing front in the high schools. Kati and Amy, the Colin and Condi of the expanding education propaganda war, are on the road and on the air spreading the lies that have been cooked up for them by the education industry and the gas bags from the right-wing sludge tanks.

Below is Jerry Bracey's factual response to Amy Wilkins's lies offered earlier this week on NPR:

THE EDUCATION TRUST’S DISINFORMATION CAMPAIGN
YOU CAN’T TRUST THE EDUCATION TRUST

Gerald W. Bracey

There appears to be no level of dishonesty to which the Education Trust will not sink in propagating its agenda which is right now to get No Child Left Behind reauthorized. Thursday, July 19, on “On Point,” an NPR show that comes out of WBUR, the Trust’s Amy Wilkins told host Tom Ashbrook, “Our most affluent kids are getting their lunches eaten by kids in other countries. The system we have has not served our children well. There is no point pouring more federal money into very broken bottles.”

I listened to the show again this morning (July 20) and assure you the quote is accurate and that it is not taken out of context. Anyone can find it at www.wbur.org. The statement comes a little after minute 40 in the show.

Leave alone for a moment if a bottle can be “very broken,” what do the results of international comparisons actually look like? Here they are for the most recent incarnations of PIRLS (Progress in International Reading Literacy Study) and TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study). I present the results for U. S. schools with fewer than 10% of students in poverty (13% of all U. S. students), 10-25% (17% of all students), 25-50% (28%), 50-75% (22%) and more than 75% (20%), interwoven with the top countries, the international average for all countries and the U. S. overall average.

PIRLS Reading

Country % of Poverty Score

US 10% 589
US 10-25% 567
Sweden 562
Netherlands 554
England 553
U. S. 25-50% 551
Latvia 545
U. S. overall 542
U. S. 50-75% 519
Int’l avg. (35 countries) 500
U.S 75+% 489

TIMSS Math 4th Grade

Country % of Poverty Score

Singapore 594
Hong Kong 575
US 10% 567
Japan 565
Taiwan 564
Belgium 551
US 10-25% 543
Netherlands 540
Latvia 536
Lithuania 540
U. S. 25-50% 533

US overall 518
US 50-75% 500
Int’l avg. (25 Countries) 495
US 75%+ 471


TIMSS Science 4th grade

Country % of Poverty Score

US 10% 579
US 10-25% 567
Singapore 565
US 25-50% 551
Taiwan 551
Japan 543
Hong Kong 542
England 540
US overall 536
US 50-75% 519

Int’l avg. 489

U. S. 75%+ 480

TIMSS 8th grade results look very similar.

Thus, for reading and science, the two categories of US schools with the smallest percentages of students living in poverty score higher than even the highest nation, Sweden in reading, Singapore in science. In math, the top US category would be 3rd in the world.

It is only in American schools with 75% of more of their students living in poverty where scores fall below the international average.

The TIMSS results are in NCES report NCES 2005-005 from the National Center for Education Statistics, U. S. Department of Education. The PIRLS results are online only at www.nces.ed.gov.

Eating our kids’ lunches? Wilkins’ performance makes me want to hurl lunch.

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