Read It and Weep: Obama Education Secretary Says State Education Departments Are Lying to Children

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Read It and Weep: Obama Education Secretary Says State Education Departments Are Lying to Children

October 31, 2009 - 15:54

Apparently it is not just a few community observers who question the work of the public schools. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan issued the following statement on Mapping State Proficiency Standards onto NAEP Scales: 2005-2007, which the National Center for Education Statistics released today:

Today's study confirms what we've known for a long time: States are setting the bar too low. In all but a few cases, states aren't expecting students to meet NAEP's standard of proficiency. Far too many states are telling students that they are proficient when they actually are performing below NAEP's basic level. At a time when we should be raising standards to compete in the global economy, more states are lowering the bar than raising it. We're lying to our children when we tell them they're proficient but they're not achieving at a level that will prepare them for success once they graduate.

Just to be clear, this is an issue distinct and apart from the problems at Isaac E. Young Middle School where wide disparities in test data on test that are and are not reported as part of determining Adequate Yearly Progress. This report shows that the districtwide 7-8% increase in test scores is a function of of lowering the bad. The 25-30% increase in test scores at Isaac Young is primarily the result of plain old fraud, with only a small percentage explained by the State creating easier tests.

The Executive Summary of the Report explains the method behind the report.

Since 2003, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) has sponsored the development of a method for mapping each state’s standard for proficient performance onto a common scale—the achievement scale of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). When states’ standards are placed onto the NAEP reading or mathematics scales, the level of achievement required for proficient performance in one state can then be compared with the level of achievement required in another state. This allows one to compare the standards for proficiency across states.

The mapping procedure offers an approximate way to assess the relative rigor of the states’ adequate yearly progress (AYP) standards established under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. Once mapped, the NAEP scale equivalent score representing the state’s proficiency standards can be compared to indicate the relative rigor of those standards. The term rigor as used here does not imply a judgment about state standards. Rather, it is intended to be descriptive of state-to-state variation in the location of the state standards on a common metric.

The irony of a school district that has plastered Obama's image in every nook and cranny of their buildings being slammed by this SecEd is rich.

The report notes that although the NAEP assessment in reading and mathematics did not change between 2005 and 2007, some states made changes in their state assessments in these subjects during the same period, changes substantial enough that these states indicated that their 2005 scores were not comparable to their 2007 scores. If you look at Page 28 you will see that for Reading New York is one of the states and if you look at Page 35 you will the same for Mathematics.

There is additional data that showed the lowering of standards in New York from 2005 to 2007 is part of a trend that has continued ever since so that future studies will almost certainly show that 2008 and 2009 test data will not be comparable to 2006 and 2007 test data.

Every presentation of state test data by Dr. Korostoff is making exactly the sorts of comparisons that the U.S. Department of Education says cannot be made because the tests keep getting easier and easier, to the extent that comparing results from one year to the next is meaningless.

There is 1 Comment

thank you bob. you have reinforced what i have said in several entries most recently dr korostoff's diatribe about people in new rochelle "just don't get it." as i said then, there are people such as you, peggy, jack, and i who certainly do get it. i am very aware of arne duncan's report; and very hopeful that the new heads of nys dept of education and regents follow up with their plans to restore some sanity to a system that penalizes and shortchanges our childrens' futures.

my main point has always been that --- stripped of all anger, vitriol, or proprietary interests, it comes down to just how much a community wants in terms of investing strongly in their children. again, you get what you deserve; if you want to stick your head in the sand and ignore reality, your children, our nation's children suffer. as i said not long ago, we now lag behind kazaghistan-- borat is likely smiling somewhere on hearing this. i am not smiling at all; not as a taxpayer, a committed patriot, and as someone who strongly believes that we can provide the best possible system for our children despite so called issues around poverty, language differences, and perhaps even implicatons that certain classes of children will not do well because of who or what they are. this is unmitigated bull --- if you are a committed, honest, and caring educator you will set in motion an educational climate and plan to make this right, you will examine best practices in the field, you will openly admit that kids from disadvantaged backgrounds can do very, very well --- check the success stories in many of the charter schools less than 45 minutes from our city boundaries.

look, it is one thing to feel threatened by a state and its testing protocol, it is quite another to mislead the voter and parent about what really is going on especially in 2008/09. you know the truth of the matter and if parents "don't get the scary mysteries of your profession" more the pity and more the shame on you for insulting them a second time by misleading them re: progress.

bob cox has once again brought light to a dark room. i pity, yes pity a board and a disrict that would not stand behind the truth and simply come out and say that there are issues and 2008/09 are not reliable, we are going to work hard to divest ourselves of the politics, enact a proper relationship with the union to protect student and taxpayer rights and expectations, redefine no child left behind to mean we will not accept any child in our city, regardless of demographics or learning challenges, not getting the best we have to offer. we will replace, reassign, or terminate all administrtors and managers who cannot translate our plans and visions into affirmative action. we will demand that our politicians partner in building a learning environment suitable for such plans and visiions and not crow about a trivial $25,000 shared technology funding grant, and so on, and so on.

"it is not so much that we are busy, it is what we're busy about." if you are educators in more than name, you know what that means.

and stop this rot about people "not getting it." we get it! we also get the fact that your profession has been hit with matters like "those who can do, do, those that cannot, teach." get off your arrogance, dr k, believe me it is easier getting into an advance degree program in education than one in many, many other fields. that is not meant to trivialize what you do, it is meant to educate you that many people in this town are very, very aware of what it really means to successfully run an enterprise.

thanks bob and it is a darn shame for me to revert back to being as negative as this sounds, but enough is enough.

parents, if any of you are out there reading this blog, don't attack or even believe the messengers. look into the matter yourselves and decide what it is that you expect for the children you nurture and love and for a city that you ought to be proud to be a resident of. I love New Rochelle and have an abiding faith in our young people. i hope you share that.

warren gross