Thursday, April 20, 2006

On NCLB: AP outraged in all the wrong places

AP sure knows how to tap into NCLB outrage alright but it's outrage in all the wrong places.

I think this is a seriously covert article pushing an agenda, and, hint, it's not the progressive one, folks. If you don't question their premise, boy, it's easy to fall for their propaganda.

And, look, even Alternet takes the bait, hook, line and sinker.

o AP is just plain twisted to call this a 'loophole'.

What they are describing is not a loophole. The hinted AP solution, to count all the scores in a subgroup regardless of subgroup size, would sink public school education even faster than before.

Scores of kids are placed into subgroups at a school, subgroups such as ethnicity, social-economic class (SES), English as a second language (ELL). If the subgroup size is less than a certain number of kids (this depends on what the state decides and varies from too extreme at both ends), then the scores for that subgroup are not counted. This is actually quite important statistically and for meeting the bar for AYP. If you don't have enough kids in the subgroup, then the subgroup scores are not used in figuring AYP.

The consequences are huge. If your school collectively doesn't meet AYP, then your school is placed on the 'to-be dismantled' list. If you change the law and count all the kids within the subgroup regardless of how few kids there are in that subgroup, it's likely you'll accelerate the dismantling process.

o AP blames the states and educators for this 'problem'.

NCLB is the problem, not the states. Is this part of the latest Department of Education attempt to change NCLB so that it sinks public schools faster than before?
"Is it too many? You bet," Education Secretary Margaret Spellings said in an interview. "Are there things we need to do to look at that, batten down the hatches, make sure those kids are part of the system? You bet."

o AP needs to question the validity of the basic tools used in NCLB: testing and 'standards'. Why are the kids being tested up the wazoo? Is all this testing really giving us better education? Are the 'high' standards truly indicative of good education?

o AP uses race to distort. There's something really wrong with what AP does here:
"It's terrible," said Michael Oshinaya, a senior at Eleanor Roosevelt High School in New York City who was among a group of black students whose scores weren't broken out as a racial category. "We're part of America. We make up America, too. We should be counted as part of America."
No, Michael! Your test scores actually are being counted, dear. It's just that you might not want to be part of the NCLB borg machinery.

The test scores of the little girl, Laquanya, in the AP article are also getting counted, along with the scores of her white classmate who sits next to her.

My sense is that people are genuinely outraged about NCLB but I don't like the way AP is messing with our outrage. Maybe that's the point. I don't know.

I'd love to see genuinely honest education articles. But since NCLB contains such an amazing corporate agenda, I'm thinking it's difficult for anyone in the mainstream press to write about the truth of NCLB. This means we're on our own when it comes to education articles.

I want to see our progressive groups and thinktanks to take on public education and NCLB. We need to aggressively counter things such as these AP talking points, obviously coming from the Department of Education. Else, we see things such as the Alternet blogger, who I'm sure means well, but ends up unknowingly pushing an agenda and talking points bound to hurt us.