Monday, August 04, 2014

Test scores plummet, graduation rates soar; oddly

Flawed as they are, standardized test scores are the most objective measurement of public school student performance.  While an individual student's performance on a standardized test sometimes does not necessarily accurately reflect that student's abilities, as an overall measure, standardized testing is the single best indicator we have, of public schools performance.

If standardized tests are not accurate indicators of student performance, why are we spending million and millions and millions of dollars every year requiring students to take them?

Either student performance is in steady decline, or we are wasting a lot of money and effort every year on testing that demonstrates that it is.

In the Journal this morning, link, (education?) reporter Jon Swedien was given a headline opportunity to inform the democracy regarding the trajectory of test scores in NM.  And, by logical extension; the opportunity to inform those in the democracy who can read between the lines, about the trajectory of public school performance in NM.

The Journal has on other occasions allowed those whose job it was to reverse that decline, to point to rising graduation rates as evidence of their apparently successful leadership.

Some one of them at some point, has to stand and defend their use of graduation rates because they look good, despite hard evidence that they are not an accurate representation of anything except their ability to manipulate graduation rates.  Add a year to high school; raise the graduation rate.  Simple.

The trouble is not one of them at any point, is going take questions.

Not the Journal. Managing Editor Kent Walz is never going to have to explain why the Journal applauds APS rising graduation rates in the face of falling test scores.  Nor will any school board member, nor any senior administrator.

Armenta continues her slander,
insisting upon police escorts
and watchers when I'm around.
Not even the APS Executive
Director of Communications
Monica Armenta, who we pay
more than a hundred thousand
dollars a year precisely to
answer questions like that,
or delegate to someone who will.

She like all the other PIOs,
is there to polish her bosses'
apples, not to inform the people
about their squandering of
the people's trust and treasure.

When questions are outlawed,
only outlaws can ask questions
It turns out that if you
want to ask a politician
or public servant even
one legitimate question
about the public interests
or their public service,
your only opportunity to
ask that question is if
you spring out of a bush
somewhere and ask it.

No guarantee, of course, that even then, they will answer.  None.

"No comment" for some reason, is an acceptable answer to legitimate questions about the public interests and their public service.

On Wednesday evening next,  the APS School Board is going to take it upon themselves to outlaw questions and the people who ask them during public forum.

Let me say that again; even if you have the floor legitimately at any public meeting of the APS Board of Education, you will be prohibited by their law, from asking them questions.

They will be sued of course, and Marty Esquivel et al. will spend another million dollars before they have to own the consequences of this, only their most recent and ongoing arrogance.

photos Mark Bralley

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