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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Rick Scott cherry picks facts

Data Which Should Give Rick Scott’s School Reform Efforts Pause
by Umpire from

In a study that Education Secretary Arne Duncan referred to as “a very serious wake-up call,” school reformers like him probably ignored other conclusions the data provided

Duncan irresponsibly went so far as to call the Program for International Student Acheivement (PISA) a modern day Sputnik or Pearl Harbor. Too bad he – like the school reformers on Rick Scott’s education transition team cherry-picked their data. Here’s some of the other conclusions the study revealed that Ducan kept hidden:

*The best performing school systems manage to provide high-quality education to all children.

*Students from low socio-economic backgrounds score a year behind their more affluent classmates. However, poorer students who are integrated with their more affluent classmates score strikingly higher. The difference is worth more than a year’s education.

*In schools where students are required to repeat grades (such as with promotion requirements), the test scores are lower and the achievement gap is larger.

*Tracking students (“ability grouping”) results in the gap becoming wider. The earlier the practice begins, the greater the gap. Poor children are more frequently shunted into the lower tracks.

*Systems that transfer weak or disruptive students score lower on tests and on equity. One-third of the differences in national performance can be ascribed to this one factor.

*Schools that have autonomy over curriculum, finances and assessment score higher.

*Schools that compete for students (vouchers, charters, etc.) show no achievement score advantage.

*Private schools do no better once family wealth factors are considered.

*Students that attended pre-school score higher, even after more than 10 years.

These conclusions are not new to the opponents of market-based reform efforts like the one going on here in Florida. While it’s certain Rick Scott’s education transition team enjoyed Duncan’s spin on the data, they clearly don’t want to be bothered by anything contrary to their own group think.

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