June 24, 2008


Study Says Student Reading and Math Scores Are Improving (Eddy Ramírez, 6/24/08, US News)

Since No Child Left Behind took effect about six years ago, most states have found some success narrowing the achievement gap between white and minority children. Student achievement in mathematics and reading has also improved in a majority of states. But it's impossible to say how much credit the federal education reform law deserves. These are the major findings of a new report (.pdf) by the Center on Education Policy, an independent group in Washington, D.C., that analyzes education reforms.

"We cannot draw a causal connection between these results and NCLB," Jack Jennings, president and chief executive officer of the group that conducted the study, said this week. He stressed that the report's findings are good news at a time when confidence in U.S. public schools is shaky. "We are moving in the direction of improving schools," he added.

...W was personally responsible for black people drowning in New Orleans in a hurricane but not for education improving in precisely the ways he said it would since his reforms took effect?

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 24, 2008 8:42 PM

I doubt the upward trend is anything more than the tests being gamed. US high school education has not markedly improved in quality.

Posted by: Ali Choudhury at June 25, 2008 4:58 AM

"Juking the stats" as dramatized on the Wire.

Posted by: ted welter at June 25, 2008 7:00 AM

Well, at least they are paying attention to tests, not navel-gazing about self-esteem and "getting along".

Posted by: sam at June 25, 2008 7:23 AM

Sam -

As George Carlin (RIP) said, those with low self-esteem usually deserve it.

Posted by: Rick T. at June 25, 2008 7:30 AM

What Ali said. The tests have detracted from the quality of education (something that I would not have believed possible), rather than advance it.

Posted by: curt at June 25, 2008 8:51 AM

B[unk], curt. Mr. Jennings didn't finish his sentence: "We cannot draw a causal connection between these results and NCLB, because to do so would violate the Holy and Absolute Principle that George Bush must always be in the wrong." Of course in that venue he didn't need to, it being fully understood by all.

The results demonstrate that when "educators" are compelled at gunpoint to spend at least a few minutes a day teaching math and science, instead of devoting the entire effort to feelgoodism, the villainy inherent in a market economy, and the absolute moral superiority of homosexuality, surprise! -- the kids learn a little math and science.

Not nearly enough, of course, and the obvious resentment of teachers forced to actually [horrors!] teach contributes to a bad attitude on the part of the students. It is, however, something of a start.


Posted by: Ric Locke at June 25, 2008 9:54 AM

Ric. If your premise was correct -- that NCLB forces teachers to spend a few minutes a day teaching math and science -- your conclusion would be fine. In reality, the test forces teachers to spend an inordinate amount of time helping the little darlings memorize the test questions and answers.

Posted by: curt at June 25, 2008 11:01 AM

questions and answers on what?

Posted by: oj at June 25, 2008 11:07 AM

Actually Curt, memorizing test questions and answers is a huge improvement over spending all day discussing the need to respect each other's differences.

Posted by: Steve at June 25, 2008 11:08 AM

If they are teaching to the test, and the test covers subjects that the students ought to be learning, then the students are learning something. Finally.

Posted by: Mikey at June 25, 2008 11:09 AM

"the test questions and answers"

Posted by: curt at June 25, 2008 11:19 AM

The best part of all this is that we know education can't have improved because test scores have gone up. It's just rightwing derangement syndrome and the horror of government doing something well.

Posted by: oj at June 25, 2008 11:23 AM

Mikey is correct.

The test questions have math and science content. Nothing else the <sneer>Educators</sneer> are willing to present has any such content, so forcing them to "teach the test" at least exposes the kids to some minimum of math and science.

Which is the whole point. Bleating about "forced curricula" and "teaching to the test" simply emphasizes that you have no intention of teaching anything unless compelled by force.


Posted by: Ric Locke at June 25, 2008 11:24 AM

oj. See http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2008/2008016.pdf

See especially pages 47-48

Never let facts get in the way of a good "education improving" story.

Posted by: curt at June 25, 2008 2:11 PM

Yes, it's startling how much better we do than racially homogenous societies and those that don't report minority test scores.

Posted by: oj at June 25, 2008 6:07 PM
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