October 25, 2006

I wish I could be like Mike

In this particularly inane column by Marty Solomon, we have this particularly inane analogy:
It was inevitable that the huge and largely unfair pressure placed on teachers by NCLB has left many frustrated to the point of belligerency because so many know that, while they work hard and have high expectations for all of their children, some kids will never be able to dunk a basketball. And, no matter how much punishment, pressure and demands we place on children, too many will never score "proficient," a level that in many states represents knowledge that would be nice for all kids to achieve, but a significant segment will never achieve.
Marty wants us to believe it takes a Michael Jordan to pass the NCLB state tests.

Hardly.

If you've seen any of the actual questions from these tests you know that this is more the speed he's talking about:

6 comments:

MassParent said...

If you've studied the test results across different types of districts, it's pretty clear de facto that you can't expect districts that are currently average, much less below average or far below average, to exceed the results of districts that score at the top the charts.

Add subgroups on top of that; most of the districts at the top of the charts have no ELL subgroup, no low income subgroup, etc. A school alone can't bridge those gaps. Not even a charter school, or a school run by corporate management, or a school where you fired all the staff and have the school re-staffed and run by the state.

KDeRosa said...

it's pretty clear de facto that you can't expect districts that are currently average, much less below average or far below average, to exceed the results of districts that score at the top the charts.\

We don't have to. School A might be able to place 100% of its students in the advanced category, while school B only places 10% in the advanced category with the remainder in the proficient category. School A probably is located in a high SES district while school B is located in a low SES district. Both schools may be teaching pretty much the same thing with teachers of similiar ability. The results are an artifact of IQ distribution. But, the important thing is that both schools got all their students above the minimum cut point which is all NCLB requires.

A school alone can't bridge those gaps.

Why not?

SteveH said...

"A school alone can't bridge those gaps."

What do you base this on?

Look at the tests. Look at the proficiency cut-off points. You get up in front of a group of parents, put these questions up on the wall, and tell them that they cannot expect the school to teach their kids this material.

I suppose you could argue that the schools are so horribly awful that they can't possibly fix themselves. Is this the basis of your "ruse" and "dismantling" theories. But then you go on to say that no other school, however run, can fix the problem. What, exactly, is your problem?

You still seem to think that it's about forcing schools to be as good as the best schools. The tests are simply forcing schools to meet some very minimum requirements. You don't have to be a good school to meet these minimum requirements.

We've been here before and you haven't answered many questions I posed before, but then you come back here with the same poor argument.

rightwingprof said...

"What do you base this on?"

Karl Marx, of course.

MassParent said...

Based on the distribution of scores.

The very high SES schools show up around 95% "proficient". High, around 90%. Average, around 80.

When you mandate 100, none of them are likely to make it. Not even in the high SES districts.

SteveH said...

"When you mandate 100, none of them are likely to make it. Not even in the high SES districts."


Your argument is that because the gap is large, it can't be closed.

What do you base this on?