Progress Perhaps With 8th Grade White Students in DC on NAEP After Mayoral Control?

I continue working my way through the various subgroups in DC and elsewhere, trying to see if the imposition of mayoral control back in 2007 has been a success or a failure. This post has to do with white (Caucasian) students in DC and elsewhere in the US.

What do you see:

8th grade reading, white students, naep, 1998-2017, dc and elsewhere

Here you will notice that the scores for European-American (white) students in DC are quite a bit higher than those of similar origins elsewhere in the US. For that, the explanation is relatively simple. Washington, DC is rather unique among large American cities in that virtually all of its white working class citizens moved out to the suburbs and later to the exurbs several decades ago. Even if white students in DC don’t live in luxury and wealth, a very large fraction of them have parents with graduate or professional degrees and more books around the house than the average American household — and so my own kids, who went through DCPS from K through 12, are and were quite different from the children of carpenters or mechanics that I grew up with in far Montgomery County, MD, sixty years ago. The reason that there are so many blanks in the table is that the number of white students in DC used to be so small that the statisticians at NCES could not draw valid conclusions. (My own kids graduated before 2000).

Again, this chart does not show any real signs of success for Mayoral control in DC, or for the entire ‘reform’ agenda which was supposed to revolutionize American education.


Maybe there was progress with Hispanic students in DC and elsewhere?

Continuing to look at 8th grade NAEP reading scores, I now concentrate on those for Hispanic students in DC and elsewhere in the nation. Here is the graph and the raw data, which I and other cobbled together by using the NCES website and the NAEP data explorer, and also from what I gleaned at the presentation at the National Press Club building on 14th St NW last week.


8th grade hispanic reading scores, 1998-2017, DC and US

Here, it is possible to see slight changes: NAEP reading scores for Hispanic 8th graders in DC are actually a bit LOWER than they were before mayoral control. Not better.

Just How Much Success Has There Been With the Reformista Drive to Improve Scores Over the Past 20 Years?

I recently attended the rollout of the most recent scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress for the USA, all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and a number of urban districts around the country.

The speakers tried to put a brave face on it, but in fact, the emphasis on test scores and privatizing education has been a complete and utter failure.

Don’t believe me? Look at the scores and the graphs for yourself. I will publish them as I get them done, one at a time.

I first present the progress, or lack of it, for black students in the nation, in other large cities, in Washington DC as a whole, and in the DC public school system (not counting the charters).

On this test, a student’s scale score can go from a low of zero to a maximum of 500, so that’s how I’m scaling the numbers on the y-axis. If you see any appreciable progress for black students, either nationally or in Washington DC, then you have a much livelier imagination than I do. Most people would say these scores have ‘flat-lined’.

In the center of the graph is a green, vertical, dashed line. It shows when the old DCPS school board was abolished and the office of the mayor took direct of the control, with chancellors Rhee, Henderson, and Wilson (so far). If you see more improvement after mayoral control than before, then I wonder what sort of hallucinogens you are taking.

2017 Data, esp NAEP -2

Steve Ruis asks if theists are stupid.

His answer is no: just ignorant of how the universe actually works, as gradually uncovered by millions of scientists working very hard over time. One of his better columns imho.

Link here:

Published in: on April 15, 2018 at 6:16 pm  Comments (2)  

This Writer Thinks We Are in the End Stages of the Trump Presidency

In The New Yorker:

Published in: on April 14, 2018 at 8:48 pm  Comments (1)  

Pruitt vs the Environment

This letter to the editor of The New Yorker* from the first (and fifth) EPA chief, William Ruckelshaus, describes the dangers in Scott Pruitt’s attempts at destroying the EPA, which he says will begin to take us to the bad old days when the environment was much dirtier.

The next letter, which I did not photograph, says that Pruitt is not “a science-denying Neanderthal. He is merely a servant of wealthy corporate interests.”

*4-16-2016 issue

Published in: on April 12, 2018 at 9:18 pm  Comments (1)  

Why is it that we keep on testing?

The only actual impact it’s had has been to distort education in a top-down manner, and that’s not exactly a good thing, as Peter Greene points out at Curmudgucation.

A few excerpts, concerning the reasons we were given for all this testing, and how that excuse turned out:

Address Inequity

We would find where non-wealthy non-white student populations were being ill-served. Anyone who can’t figure that out without the BS Test is a dope. And as with the last point, the problem has been that the data hasn’t so much been used to find schools that need help as it has been used to find schools that are vulnerable and ready to be turned into somebody’s business opportunity. Instead of focusing our will to address educational inequity, test-based accountability has highlighted our lack of will (and wasted the good intentions of some folks).

Informing Instruction

Teachers were going to get their data spreadsheets and figure out, with laser-like precision, who they needed to change their instruction. But right off the bat it became clear that data about students in your class would only arrive long after the students had departed for their next classroom. Then the security issue reared its stupid head– I can see student scores, but I am forbidden to see the test itself. (For that matter, students who are so inclined are unable to see their specific results to ask “What exactly did I get wrong here?”) This means I can tell that Pat only got an okayish score, based on some questions that might have asked about something about reading that Pat apparently answered incorrectly. How can that inform my instruction? It can’t. It doesn’t. The BS Tests “inform instruction” mostly by encouraging teachers to spend more time on test prep. That’s not a good thing.

Letting Parents Know How Their Children Are Doing

Under this theory, parents have no idea how their children are doing in school until the BS Test results appear. Assuming for the moment that the parents are that disconnected, the information provided is minimal, scoring a few categories on a 1-3 or 1-4 scale. A BS Test provides very non-granular data, less nuanced than a report card– and based on just one test. There is nothing for parents to learn here.”


Plagiarism in India

Apparently it’s going to be officially ok to plagiarize up to 10% of any term paper or research paper in India. I’m not making this up:

“The new policy creates four tiers for addressing plagiarism, which is defined by UGC India as “the practice of taking someone else’s work or idea and passing them as one’s own.” The first tier, for what it calls “similarities up to 10%,” would carry no penalty. The second tier, in which 10% to 40% of a document is plagiarized, would require students to submit a revised manuscript and force faculty members to withdraw the plagiarized paper. In cases where 40% to 60% of the document is plagiarized, a student would be suspended for a year and the faculty member would forfeit an annual pay raise and be prohibited from supervising students for 2 years. Students who plagiarize more than 60% of their thesis would be kicked out of the program, while the penalties for faculty members would be extended to a loss of 2 years of pay increases and a 3-year ban on supervising students. ”

These are not really penalties!


Published in: on April 11, 2018 at 4:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

Another perspective on the massive graduation fraud in DC and elsewhere

A former DCPS JHS classmate of mine sent me the link to this today. I think the author is basically correct. What do you think?

Published in: on April 11, 2018 at 1:06 pm  Comments (3)  

The 2017 NAEP Results, DC & USA

I am visiting the National Press Club building, for the first time, for the official presentation of the long-awaited results of the National Assessment of Educational  Progress which American students took TWELVE MONTHS AGO.

Let that sink in: it took almost a full school (or calendar) year for the results to be tabulated and properly massaged. (So much for having data that teachers could possibly use!)

In the morning session, presenters acknowledged that for the nation as a whole, reading scores are flat – essentially unchanged — after 25 years of various types of ‘reforms’. Panelists tried to explain why, and seemed to me to give just about diametrically-opposed solutions to the problem. The introductory presenter (whom we saw on tape), essentially blamed us adults for not letting kids see us read often and deeply enough, and said that if we just wish harder, the results will come. (not quite a direct quote, but close)

I did a quick appraisal of how Washington DC’s scores have improved (or not) before and after mayoral control, which was imposed shortly after students took the 2007 NAEP. You may recall that Michelle Rhee was imposed as DC’s first education Chancellor. She and her henchwoman, Kaya Henderson (who succeeded Rhee) predicted, in writing, all sorts of miraculous gains that would come if they were free to fire teachers en masse and subject them to rigorous numerical control via IMPACT and VAM.

None of it came to pass.

With today’s data it is even clearer than ever. I found 16 separate subcategories of students for which I could easily find data. Of them, improvements were better BEFORE mayoral control for 12 of them, and in only 4 was the improvement slightly better AFTER mayoral control.

That’s a three-to-one vote against mayoral control and the whole educational Reformster movement.

In other cities and jurisdictions, it’s more of the same. The imposition of Common Core curriculum, along with SBAC and PARCC testing and the like, has in fact made the gaps between high-achievers and low-achievers wider than ever.

The only positive thing for DC education officials is that now DC isn’t the last in the nation any more! That honor now belongs to Detroit — in a city and state where privatization of schools has run wild under the supervision of Billionaire “Christian” Betsy Devos.

Really, really sad.

Or as Peter Greene of Curmudgucation wrote earlier today,

It’s NAEP Day. Here’s What To Remember As You Peruse All the Various PIeces Offering Reactions and Analysis of the So-Called Nation’s Report Card. Really.

Posted: 10 Apr 2018 08:24 AM PDT

Even if you disagree with the valu the NAEP, it is the yardstick by which many folks, including many reformsters, choose to use in measuring educational achievement.

The 2017 tests were taken by students who have, for the most part, received an entire education shaped by ed reform.

The scores were not good.

Ed reform has failed.

Everything else is just details and noise.

Published in: on April 10, 2018 at 4:05 pm  Comments (2)  
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