This Monday, the News Journal is featuring an op-ed piece by Margaret Spellings.
For the educational reformers to find anyone still naive about the manipulations of test scores, they had to go back to the Secretary of Education in 2005, and coax her to write. Back then George Bush was beginning his second term. We were all naive back then.
Her claim is that accountability is what creates good test scores, is off mark… Furthermore her claim that we need even more accountability, shows that her sensory feelers are not properly working.
First here is what we do know about PISA. There is no consistency between nations tested. How do you equivalently compare the reading of Chinese characters to the reading in the Finnish alphabet, or the Bulgarian Cyrillic style, or to a popular font in English? Of these four, who is the better reader when the structure of those languages are all drastically different? Furthermore China has been exposed as only allowing testing in its best schools. Yet, Massachusetts would be the top educational system in the world, if the US was allowed to cherry pick. Bottom line is that we don’t know how well other nations were represented. All affluent? That would impact test scores if so. All should know that in the creation of these test scores, entire nations are not tested, just a handful of student’s results from each country are how the comparisons are made.
The NAEP is a better comparison. It has more depth. Yet still it has the same faults as the PISA, in that it cherry picks who gets to take it. Want to create an educational crises? Throw more low income students into the mix.
Secondly, it sounds like Margaret Spellings is not active or currently up to date on educational issues. Accountability IS being performed, drastically so, and is aggressively performed erroneously. The fact that she appears to be unaware of the accountable flops causing the DC, Chicago, Philadelphia, Milwaukee’s school closings, makes the rest of her statements hard to take with any credibility.
She cites the standards of NCLB being waived as the culprit for these low scores, but she does not account for the fact that accountability is still going forth despite these waivers being offered. Accountability was nowhere near as aggressive during the time she mentions, from 2000 to 2009 when scores actually rose. But accountability has becomes excessive from 2010 through 2013…. far stricter than at anytime during the Bush years she worked.
It boggles the mind, how she can even make this claim: that because we are waivering states out of NCLB, our PISA and NAEP scores are flat…
In case any reader of this is not already familiar as to why this is preposterous, I should clarify that currently most research is pointing to the opposite direction: our scores flattened out because we stopped teaching interesting material to inquisitive minds and focused on hammering over and over the teaching of a test, a very horrible bad test.
Education is being dumbed down by this implementation of Common Core according to almost every expert, which actually includes public statements being made by those in the very act of creating Common Core’s standards.
The sole purpose of Common Core is to lower standards to a lower level where everyone can pass them…. Then our politicians can say look: we are graduating more career and college ready students, but which is actually only occurring because we lowered the standards so more would pass….
The statements made by Margaret Spellings are on par with ridicule as those believing that not only is Global Warming a hoax, but that it is a Socialist Hoax, or that not only is Evolution a false science, but that it is a false science being proposed by Witches trained under Snape at Hogwartz. There are so many errors. Her premise is wrong, Her axiom is wrong, Her facts are wrong. Her conclusions derived from all three of these, are also wrong.
Time forbids me to answer each of her statements with a retort. By now, you the reader should already be well versed and not need any assistance to dissect her argument and put in in the rubbish bin where it properly belongs….
But this opinion (to give it some redeeming value) is a very bad piece of journalism and should be used in journalism schools across this nation, as an example of how not to write…..