The Facts: the Phony Crisis

Some of the additional facts regarding international comparisons need to become common knowledge–to back up the previous (below) blog. Also from Tienken article. (Anyone know how you can link into this?) Examples. .
2009 PISA. The US scores were better than 77% above of 65 OED nations. Better than you thought? BUT–and that’s where it gets interesting–Tienken documents why we’re comparing apples to oranges. “Because of (a) selective sampling on the part of some countries, (b) (the effect of) negotiating questions to align with a country curriculum sequence, and (c) lower overall child poverty in the United States” even that’s deceptive. Because, every country that outranked us had substantially lower poverty rates. If controlled for poverty we’d “be at the top.” Even without such “refinements” in fact 4th graders in the US ranked 7th out of 53 in 2011 science tests. And Mass., despite 15% poverty (vs 3% in Finland–but low for the US)) — was in 2nd and 5th place internationally on most test comparisons. So we turned, of course, not to Mass. (which at the time had no state-wide testing) but to Texas to find a solution? Thus the “Texas miracle”. Will unequivocal lies, disguised as “just the facts”, ever fade away?

In fact, of course, while tearing up our public schools and teachers, we have more than ignored the conditions of life for those in poverty–which have been declining in virtually every measurable way–more or less at the same time that we discovered the schooling crisis. And note: “we” simultaneously discovered that more money, lower class sizes, more art and music, better facilities, etc were a wasteful use of public funds–for poor children (the rich already have those). So much for worrying about the “gap”! It was an excuse from the start and remains one today. The everyday life gap between poor kids–white, back, Latino, et al–and middle and wealthy kids is what is shameful. And no, it’s not true that previous immigrants overcame such poverty and closed these educational gaps without first solving the money gap–through the rise of unions, welfare state policies, WWII, the GI Bill and more. It’s racism that kept African-Americans from catching up–and it’s still with us.

There is a crisis–in short–but not the one we’re focused on.

Yes, KIPPer friend Elliott, knowledge is powerful.

Read Tienken’s article in Kappa Delta Pi Record, April-June 20013 and Christopher Tienken’s new book with Dan Orlich, The School Reform Landscape: Fraud, Myth and Lies for more.` And David Berliner’s old book–The Manufactured Crisis needs rereading.

2 Responses

  1. We get a mixed picture for state-level poverty rates, for which the Bureau uses three-year averages. Some of the rates are higher than the official rate. Some lower.

  2. […] Meier wrote two good posts on an article analyzing international test comparisons. That article is behind a paywall, but you […]

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