Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Yesterday, the Department of Education in Washington released the results of nation-wide math and reading tests for fourth and eighth graders from 2005 - known as the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

The NY Times reports that nationally math scores rose while reading scores did not, with eighth grade reading scores actually declining.

In New York State, however, students performed poorly on both the math and the reading tests compared to the nation at large.

For example, the percentage of eighth graders in New York State who are considered proficient in math decreased from 32% in 2003 to 30% in 2005 while overall nation-wide proficiency increased.

The NY Sun reports today that the discrepancies between the national test scores and the scores students receive on New York State tests, which tend to be much higher, are causing some to call for an independent audit of the state tests:

A Manhattan Institute scholar, Sol Stern, called the discrepancies a "spanking" for the New York State Education Department. "Its claims of fabulous improvements in eighth-grade reading and math scores for 2007 have proven to be just more hype," he said.


The president of the teachers union, Randi Weingarten, called the discrepancies a "cloud" on returns showing achievement overall went up nationwide.

"What these tests suggest is New York State has a very serious problem with its testing program," an education historian, Diane Ravitch, said, calling for an audit of the program.

The state education commissioner, Richard Mills, has so far rejected calls for an independent audit of the state tests.

Nobody has yet asked Uncle Joel Klein and Mayor Moneybags why the city tests scores are even better than the state test scores when the national test scores clearly show New York students lagging behind other states in achievement on the fourth and eighth grade math and reading tests.

But let's be honest here - if education experts like Sol Stern and Diane Ravitch think the NAEP test scores for NY State students call into question the integrity of the state tests, the NAEP results REALLY call into question the integrity of the city tests.

Perhaps as Moneybags continues to play coy with the national political press and flirt with the idea of running for president as the "Education Mayor" and "Mr. Competency," somebody in the national or city press can stop sucking up to him long enough to ask him some direct, pointed and knowledgeable questions about the validity of the test score increases he continually brags about and the integrity of his so-called education reforms.

In other words, how about somebody holds the "Accountability Mayor" accountable for his own horse hockey?

Let's start with an independent audit of the city tests.
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