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

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

New York Times's Front Page Coverage Hides the Story of "Nearly 100 Percent Failure of All Schools"

Yesterday's story by Sam Dillon in the Times offered an exemplary case for education historians and policy people to use in examining how the corporate media cover education issues that they would prefer to ignore. Three weeks after Science published a study by Dr. Rich Cardullo and his colleagues at UC Riverside on the effects of NCLB's AYP testing demands and the "nearly 100 percent failure of all schools by 2014," the NYTimes finally became the first prominent paper to grudgingly notice. Their front-page coverage (cont'd on A14), in fact, misses the primary finding of the Cardullo study that most people would find shocking if the New York Times or the L. A. Times could leave their unwavering "take names, kick ass" editorial support for NCLB on the shelf long enough to report the news. None of the following information from Science Daily found its way into the Dillon's NYTimes piece (and I cannot believe the printed story is the one that the reporter filed):

"For most schools, the greatest risk of failing AYP lies with ELA proficiency," said Cardullo, a professor of biology. "It is the Socioeconomically Disadvantaged and English Language Learner subgroups within the schools that are most likely going to fail to meet AYP in California. Given the weakness of ELA progress, no doubt more emphasis needs to be placed on ELA. But what we emphasize in our paper is that schools are also in need of support in mathematics since the current data trends, if not altered, predict nearly 100 percent failure of all schools by 2014 in meeting AYP."

Not that there was anything really new about this Cardullo peer-reviewed finding of 100 percent failure rate. Dr. Bob Linn, former President of AERA, presented and published the same predictions five years ago based on his own analysis. I know because I was at CREATE in Memphis in 2004 when he brought his well-traveled slides (pdf) there. In fact, Dr. Bob Linn appears in yesterday's story near the end of the piece on A14, but the 100 percent failure rate that he has talked about for five years is conspicuously missing from the Dillon story. Not a word.

Instead of reporting on the guaranteed failure rate of public schools and the accompanying erosion of public support by a manipulated and unsuspecting public (hey, hockey moms and Joe Sixpacks!), the Times yesterday chose to focus on the states' various lengths for their testing fuses as we move toward the 2014 explosion that is never mentioned in the Times story. After all, the Times Editorial Board is in the tweek-and-repeat NCLB camp, and their support for cheap charter chain gangs in urban centers is not to be compromised by too much of the harsh truth. The Times graphics department is even called upon to show which states are taking the slow fuse route and which ones have decided to instill heartbreak, demoralizaton, and nervous breakdowns in their children and teachers before 2014. Four big charts!! with the underlying message that the long fuse states are cheating themselves from the quick suicide that they deserve.

Here is the chart from the Cardullo study (Download the high-resolution JPG version of the image) that the New York Times refused to publish, the one that tells all the truth that the Times refused to print. The Times did not even offer a link to it. Pathetic.

Had the Times chosen to report the indisputable fact that NCLB was designed to show school failure, they would have been forced to acknowledge their own continuing complicity in the child and teacher abuse that business, government, and media have agreed upon "to make the U. S. competitive in the world economy." If there has ever been a bigger bunch of idiots in charge of our future, I have not found it yet in all my study. That reminds me--I will have a Olbermanesque Special Comment on Margaret Spellings this evening, I hope.

Last updated 10:40 AM


  1. Your right about the media not dealing with the whole issue NCLB, even when Spellings admits total failure should be avoided. I hope I'm remembering right about her position on trying to update how standards are in need of changes.

    The idea that Califonia's best school could fail because of the idiotic benchmarks set by NCLB is proof enough there has to be change. I'm hoping the Democrats are waiting for an Obama administration to deep six NCLB or change it dramatically. I still flash back on the Bush signing of NCLB and a smiling Sen. Kennedy. I couldn't believe he backed this thing. Total failure by 2014, when no system in the world has reached such perfection.

    Don't even get me started on "academic schools" in England.

  2. Take a look at this article on vouchers. It makes some great points.