Friday, March 23, 2007

Mr. Bloomberg Has Some Splainin' to Do...

Well, there are liars, damned liars, and then there's the blue ribbon panel with Rod Paige, Joel Klein, and Mayor Mike. While he hasn't gone all out and fabricated a miracle, as Mr. Paige did, Mayor Mike's figures are highly suspect.

A few months back he was failing to count dropouts among those who failed to finish high school, resulting in a discrepancy between city and state figures. However, he appears to have negotiated a more favorable interpretation, so that accountability can continue to apply only to teachers.

But despite that, there's yet more bad news for Mayor Mike, presented by the formidable Diane Ravitch, who's cast a highly critical lens on Tweed's much-ballyhooed claims about test scores:

...the first state test results that reflect the mayor's reforms were reported in 2004. Since the mayoral reforms began, there have been three state tests from 2004 to 2006. So what has happened to scores since the mayor's package of reforms was installed? Instead of a 12 percentage point gain in fourth grade English arts, the gain was 6.4 percentage points (from 52.5% meeting state standards to 58.9%). Instead of a 32 percentage point gain in fourth grade mathematics, there has been a gain of 4.2 percentage points (from 66.7% to 70.9%). Instead of an 18 point percentage gain in eighth grade mathematics, there has been a gain of 4.5 percentage points (from 34.4% to 38.9%). Only in eighth grade English was there an appreciable gain, from 32.6% to 36.6%, but the score is only 1 percentage point higher than it was in 1999.

And that's not all:

None of the gains, by the way, match the test score gains in the city schools that occurred the year before mayoral control began...

I wonder what would happen if the tabloids ever printed the truth about Mr. Bloomberg's educational revolution. I suggest we all sit while we wait to find out.
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