Commando research

Two letters in Education Week rip a study that claimed fourth grade reading scores have declined or held even in 15 of the largest states since the passage of No Child Left Behind. Attacking politically motivated “commando research,” Eric Hanushek writes:

In the garbled presentation of various “facts” and conclusions about the No Child Left Behind law and student performance, the study by unnamed Stanford and Berkeley researchers violates virtually all rules of science.

Reading scores improved in 12 of the 15 states in the study, he writes, and held steady or rose in the other three.

John Kerry cited the study as evidence that NCLB hasn’t worked.

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Comments

  1. Mike in Texas says:

    Here’s a direct quote from one of those letters:

    the achievement gap must be measured in a different manner from overall testing trends.. In other words, the data needs to be manipulated so it won’t show NCLB is really hurting the minority students it was claimed it would help.

  2. Mike in Texas wrote:

    In other words, the data needs to be manipulated so it won’t show NCLB is really hurting the minority students it was claimed it would help.

    Oh well then, let’s just quote the very next sentence in the article. Then we can see if clipping one sentence out of the article accurately reflects the authors idea or serves the agenda of those defending the failed, status quo.

    Different states define pupils’ proficiency in different ways, making state test trends very difficult to interpret.

    So we don’t need any “other words” to divine the authors intent. All we need is all the author’s words.

    By the way Mike, I was just wondering if you’ve ever heard of a school district that was “fully funded”?

    Seems to me that in this big, wide, wealthy land of ours there ought to be some school district, at least one, that considers itself to be fully funded. Given the virtually universal bleating about inadequate funding there ought to be one example of the sort educational nirvana that results from “fully funding” some district, somewhere.

    See, that would give us a standard of comparison in resources required and the results that could be expected. You do want to have a measure of results to go with that “fully funding”, don’t you?

  3. Mike in Texas says:

    Allen wrote:

    By the way Mike, I was just wondering if you’ve ever heard of a school district that was “fully funded”?

    I dont’ know about other states but here in Texas I’ve never heard a school complain about having too much money.

    Here’s a nice little link to a story about how politicians manipulate schools and school funding.

    http://www.dfw.com/mld/dfw/news/consumer_news/10003810.htm?1c

    If you’re too lazy to read it, it says a state representative, who is head of the Texas House Education Committee didn’t like the results of a study the House commissioned on school funding. He didn’t like it b/c it showed Texas schools need 3.6 billion dollars more to achieve to a 90% passing score on state mandated tests. Please note this is not the 100% NCLB will eventually require. The representative then pressured the head of the committee to only report what the state needed to spend to achieve a 55% passing rate, a number which was recently declared unconstitutional as it does not meet the “adequate funding” rule in the Texas constitution.

    So answer a question for me Allen. If the law says your school will have 100% passing the test (an impossible goal) don’t you think schools should then receive 100% of the funding required to do it? I believe you did the Math on the number of dollars the state of Texas should be spending per student (using the state’s own 55% funding formula)and I believe the answer was over $12, ooo. Are you prepared to fork over that much money to local schools to achieve the goals some politicians in Washington have decided on?

  4. So we’re going to move right off your attempt to misrepresent the report Joanne linked to and right back to the usual whining about “fully funding”, hey? Fine.

    I dont’ know about other states but here in Texas I’ve never heard a school complain about having too much money.

    Let’s just all do our best imitation of shocked suprise.

    Maybe it’s kind of a Zeno’s Paradox. You know, the closer a school district gets to being fully funded the further away the goal recedes. Let’s call that the Public Education Paradox.

    Here’s a nice little link to a story about how politicians manipulate schools and school funding.

    and

    If you’re too lazy to read it,…

    You wish.

    Just like your misrepresentation of the study that kicked off this thread, you misrepresent the news story.

    Let’s just see about that $3.6 billion, shall we?

    The lead researcher said that the excised data were flawed and that she would have removed them with or without Grusendorf’s input. Grusendorf said he called for its removal because the data were based on “bogus” assumptions.

    There’s the justification for you $3.6 billion, gone like a cool breeze.

    A tip Mike. If you’re going to misrepresent some publication then pick a publication that isn’t so accessible.

    So answer a question for me Allen.

    If you don’t answer my questions, why, unless you just want to change the subject, would you think I’d be inclined to answer yours?

    Are you prepared to fork over that much money to local schools to achieve the goals some politicians in Washington have decided on?

    Are you positioning the word “goals” near the word “achieve” to suggest that measurable goals are somewhere in the future for public education? NCLB not withstanding, that would be diametrically opposed to the position of the entire public education establishment and you.

    Or, to answer your question – that puts several up on you since your Fred Astaire imitation kicks in any time you feel the walls closing in – ,sure provided the preformance measures were realistic and that failure would mean immediate dismissal of all the personnel involved.

    The funding is for the purpose of delivering education, not excuses.

  5. Mike in Texas says:

    Allen wrote:

    There’s the justification for you $3.6 billion, gone like a cool breeze.

    Did you read the whole story Allen? The 3.6 billion was in the initial drafts of the report. It was only after Grusendorf pressured the researchers that the information became flawed and based on bogus information.

    If you don’t answer my questions, why, unless you just want to change the subject, would you think I’d be inclined to answer yours?

    I did answer your question. I have never heard of a school, at least not here in Texas, that says it is fully funded. YOU yourself used the states information to determine Texas needs to be spending 12K a year per student to achieve the goals it has set forth.

    . . .the preformance measures were realistic and that failure would mean immediate dismissal of all the personnel involved.

    Do you really think this would help the situation? Study after study has shown the biggest factor in predicting a child’s success is the socioeconomic status of his/her parents. If your plan were put in place who do you think would teach at the poor kids? Who would teach the dyslexic kids, the special education kids, the abused kids?

    As for the goals of NCLB and achievement, NCLB spells out a 100% passing rate by the year 2014. There is no industry in the world that can ensure 100% perfection. Not a one. NCLB is just an excuse to label all public schools as failures so rich businesses can get their hands on the billions of dollars spent on education and make huge profits of it. It has worked wonders for Ross Perot here in Texas.

    Just like your misrepresentation of the study that kicked off this thread, you misrepresent the news story.

    I noticed how supporters of charter schools and vouchers always want to throw out the minority kids and the low socioeconomic kids when its a study about charter schools, and want to keep them in the studies about public schools. If that’s not manipulating the data then what is?

  6. Mike in Texas wrote:

    Did you read the whole story Allen?

    Sure, that’s why I can call your bluff. The researcher who put the study together admitted:

    The lead researcher said that the excised data were flawed and that she would have removed them with or without Grusendorf’s input.

    Do you really think this would help the situation?

    Oh I don’t know. Let’s examine the alternative.

    The performance measure is realistic but failure to meet the requirements results in nothing much happening to anyone who draws a paycheck but a whole bunch of kids going out into the world illiterate.

    Suprise! That’s the situation we have now. And why?

    Study after study has shown the biggest factor in predicting a child’s success is the socioeconomic status of his/her parents.

    I thought the problem was “fully funding” education? Where’s that fit in to this assertion? Will socioeconomic status of the kids parents cease to matter once “full funding” shows up?

    If your plan were put in place who do you think would teach at the poor kids?

    Oh, I don’t know. Maybe the people who are capable of teaching them?

    As for the goals of NCLB and achievement, NCLB spells out a 100% passing rate by the year 2014. There is no industry in the world that can ensure 100% perfection.

    And right now a zero percent passing rate would be just fine because there is no performance measure. Any industries you know of that could stay in business when 100% failure rate is indistinguishable from a 100% perfection rate because there are no performance measures?

    I noticed how supporters of charter schools and vouchers always want to throw out the minority kids and the low socioeconomic kids when its a study about charter schools, and want to keep them in the studies about public schools.

    Actually, that’s not what you noticed. What you noticed was that the majority of charters open in urban areas – who’da thunk? – and most of the kids enrolled are both minorities and not doing well in public schools. That’s what you noticed.

    On the evidence, most of the “cherry-picking” that charters do is to pick the squashed, bruised and discarded of the public education system. And a modest amount of reflection makes the reason for that perfectly obvious.

    If Junior’s doing just fine in the local, district-based public school then why would any parent want to go to the bother of pulling them out of that school and putting them in a charter?

    The question pretty much answers itself, doesn’t it Mike?

    And just to give you a question you can studiously ignore, if all those Texas schools are so seriously underfunded then how is it that Ross Perot and the rest of the capitalist oppressor of the proletariat plan to make billions off of them? Feed the kids gruel? Set up a work-release program with the Texas Department of Corrections for cut-rate teachers? Sell the school buildings and set up classes in abandoned crack houses?

    Cripes, do you even bother to think through this stuff or are you paid to believe it?

  7. Mike in Texas says:

    Allen wrote:

    Cripes, do you even bother to think through this stuff or are you paid to believe it?

    Unlike you NCLB is in my workplace everyday so I KNOW what its effects are.

    As for schools being underfunded, the state of Texas has admitted in court, its representatives under oath, it is only providing 55% of the necessary funding. It absolutely amazes me how much of that measly 55% is spend on consultants, unproven reading programs, etc all to feed the monster we call NCLB. My school district has several times paid $1500 a day plus expense to consultants who want us to have kids color code their sentences in essays. We once spent 3 hours analyzing (using their system) an essay on how to eat a tootsie roll. Some poor child had been forced to write this essay, managed to make up an entire page of BS and we were told this was not good enough. Of course in the real world the answer is you unwrap the damn thing and stick it in your mouth.

    You continously attack teachers for the foolishness that goes on in schools and I keep trying to tell you it is the fault of the politicians creating the rules for the systems schools use.

    How has Ross Perot profitied from underfunded Texas public schools? Let’s see, it was all his idea to begin with. He owns the companies that print the tests for the states, and he owns most of the companies that make the practice materials for the tests. One estimate, which I consider quite conservative, put the price tag for all of these practice materials and tests at $400 million. Do you know how many teachers could be hired for that kind of money? Class sizes could be reduced down to the 15 to 1 ratio that research has shown will be effective. Texas currently has a law limiting class size to 22 to 1. It looks good on paper, makes the polis look good, and accomplishes little.

  8. Mike in Texas wrote:

    Unlike you NCLB is in my workplace everyday so I KNOW what its effects are.

    Then go find a mirror to yell at because the sole reason for the existance of the NCLB is the virtual uniformity with which the NEA has prevented the implementation of accountability standards at the state level.

    As for schools being underfunded, the state of Texas has admitted in court, its representatives under oath, it is only providing 55% of the necessary funding.

    Ya know, if I had the time and the inclination I’d go and find out what all the “55%” stuff is about. I know you’d misrepresent the facts of the case with no hesitation so it’s entirely justified to assume that there’s more to this they you’re letting on.

    Let’s see, the Democrats lost control of the Texes legislature a while ago. I wonder, sort of as a way of making life as difficult as possible for the Repubs taking control and political payment to the teacher’s unions, whether the lame duck Dems didn’t pass a massive budget increase for Texas schools? That would give the misrepresentatives plenty of talking points to beat the current legislature over the head, hopefully setting the stage for a retaking of the legislature at the next election.

    How’m I doing?

    How has Ross Perot profitied from underfunded Texas public schools? Let’s see, it was all his idea to begin with.

    Well there ya go. Having the idea originally must have put billions in his pocket.

    He owns the companies that print the tests for the states, and he owns most of the companies that make the practice materials for the tests.

    Has he got some kind of a lock on the contract? Maybe Allen’s Pretty Good Printing Company has a shot if we can deliver quality goods at a lower price?

    If you’ve got evidence that the fix is in with regard to Mr. Perot’s contract then you ought scamper over to the Dallas Trib or whatever passes for news outlets in Texas. They love that kind of stuff. If not, then it looks like Mr. Perot is actually delivering the agreed upon product at the agreed upon price. It’s an interesting concept you should try to familiarize yourself with.

    Do you know how many teachers could be hired for that kind of money?

    Yeah, zero. The four hundred mill is to measure the rate of illiteracy that that’s being purchased with Texas’ state education budget. You know, accountability. The one thing the public education system doesn’t need.

  9. Mike in Texas says:

    Allen,

    By any chance are you capable of presenting logical arguements absent of any emotion? It seems to me your “logic” consists of hurling insults left and right at teachers and basically anyone who disagrees with your opinion.

    I have posted plenty of links to stories showing Texas readily admits it only provides 55% of the necessary funding to schools, it was presented in court. The state lawyers felt 55% was adequate. The judge felt otherwise.

  10. Its interesting Mike that when you get caught misrepresenting something, you decide that it was an “insult” to point that out.

    Not impressive.