Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Words (in Journal headlines) have meaning

In the Journal this morning, link, the editors posit;

School grades show NM on track to improvement
No.  They don't.

In the first place, there isn't consensus that school grades even mean anything. There is no consensus because there is no empirical evidence in support of either the accuracy or validity of the scores.

Even if the scores were completely valid, they wouldn't "show" that schools are "on track" to improvement.  On track means; acting, or thinking, or making progress in a way that is likely to achieve what is required.

In essence, the editors argue that marginal improvement in shaky scores means NM schools are likely to start graduating, let's say 90% of students each carrying a diploma that actually means something.

Maybe on the planet Crack, not here in New Mexico and especially not here in River City.

If you're lost in a forest, taking a few steps in the right direction does not put you on track to safety.

Elsewhere in the Journal, link, in a column space that used to be for APS Supt Winston Brooks' exclusive use,  Doug Wine, the interim Executive Director of the NM Coalition for Charter Schools writes;
“The Productivity of Charter Schools” report released last week comparing National Assessment of Educational Progress scores for charter schools and traditional public schools, the return on investment of public school funding was found to be greater for charter schools than traditional public schools in every state in the country.
NAEP scores are one of those more objective and analytical measures of public school success that we never hear about; only that "graduation rates" are climbing; more kids "earning" nearly worthless diplomas.

Making diplomas easier to get has raised graduation rates.  It has not improved worth of the diploma.  It still isn't a reliable indicator that a graduate is ready for more education or begin meaningful employment.

Charter school success does not rest on marginally different approaches to educating children.  Their success flows from trying "radically" different approaches - something conventional public schools will never do. 

Because it's where the money is, "conventional" schools will continue to pound on cemetery seating, the effort to use group think to standardize individual performance.  There is never going to be profound growth using that model.

Charter schools may actually be on track to success but conventional schools are not.  There are going to blow away the Model T education models.  Even if group learning ever was the state of the art, it is not now, it will never be again. 

Journal editors should not be trying to lead people to believe otherwise.

The track to the educational salvation of children is to recognize their individual educational difficulties and address them individually.  The goal of education is or should be;
create independent life long learners at the earliest opportunity.

photo Mark Bralley


JD Robertson said...

How does this work - does a GED count the same as a diploma?

ched macquigg said...

I am going to guess yes.