Brilling Down

Two updates on the Steven Brill NYT Mag piece and the various fallout from it.

Old: No further word from the AFT on their claim that Brill made up quotes.  For his part Brill’s denial is here. If Brill’s right don’t they owe him some sort of apology?  And if he’s not where’s The Times Mag?

New: A lot of back and forth about some data in the Brill article.   The Washington Post published it and then published the most evasive and confusing clarification you might see all year.  I think its main point is that numbers are confusing?  Is Valerie Strauss becoming the bloggy equivalent of Mikey?  She’ll publish anything!  The school in question, NY’s HSA, disputes the claims here.

Update: More on Brill from Gotham News.

15 thoughts on “Brilling Down

  1. steve f.

    in valerie strauss’ words:

    “I appreciate the email but I still stand by my original post, which I wrote mainly to point out that public schools have to take every student who walks through the door and most charter schools don’t.”

    that doesn’t sound evasive or confusing, just inconvenient for someone of your point of view.

    guess you’ll need to attack her credibility now? oh wait, you’ve already started down that path.

  2. john thompson

    Why do you accept one set of statistics and not the other?

    I haven’t looked up either yet. I know which side I hope didn’t make a mistake, but I can’t assume.

    And why did you consider Brill’s reply to be persuasive? Again, I wasn’t in the room but you know as well as I that Brill’s article and his New Yorker article had significant factual errors regarding well-established social science.

  3. Billy Bob

    In your “Polar Bear” entry, you talk about the need to not be divisive. A week later, you call people names and act in a divisive manner. You see a hypocrite in the mirror?

  4. Billy Bob

    Wow–Strauss’ article is easy to comprehend. Not confusing at all. Doesn’t say much for UVA PhD program if you can;t read and comprehend a basic news article.

  5. edlharris

    Steven Brill wrote:
    LEP student percentage was about five times the low percentage she uses.

    Not based on the data from here, Steven:
    http://nces.ed.gov/ccd/districtsearch/district_detail.asp?Search=1&Zip=10025&Miles=30&ID2=3600169

    2 ELL out of 276 equals 0.7%, based upon the math skills I learned in Catholic parochial school

    Steven also responded:
    For starters, according to the Department of Education’s own statistics, there were about 40% more students enrolled on the charter side of the building than the numbers she cites,

    She gave no enrollment stats in the post I noted.

    So, what do we have here?
    Mr. Steven Brill has misstated “facts” twice.

  6. edconsumer

    I can’t figure out if Valerie Strauss doesn’t know what she is talking about or is deliberately disingenuous. Think it’s the former but not sure. Case in point:

    Describing the DCPS NAEP score gains, she blew off a 5 point gain as insignificant because “5 points is 1 percent on the 500 point scale.” http://voices.washingtonpost.com/answer-sheet/dc-schools/dcs-naep-scores-dont-get-excit.html

    On NAEP, 10 points is roughly a full grade level. Hence, a 5 point gain is about a half-year of schooling. Is a half-year of learning insignificant? Is it really a one percent shift? Look, I get it: Strauss doesn’t want to give Rhee any credit. Debate point. But if you’re going to write about education for the Post, even in a completely politicized way, shouldn’t you at least have some subject matter expertise?

  7. edconsumer

    Oh, and edlharris: I see you responded to a Post opinion blog that was critical of teachers unions (http://voices.washingtonpost.com/postpartisan/2010/05/is_the_public_turning_against.html) by writing:

    “I think one saw similar demonization of Jews in late 1920s and early 1930s Germany and Austria.”

    So, you think that the treatment of teachers unions (or teachers) today is similar to the treatment of Jews in the build-up to the Holocaust?

    Bizarre. But at least I know where you are coming from and can keep that in mind when I bypass your comments.

  8. Pete In Texas

    To Edlharris

    So now Andy has an obligation to publish every stupid thing someone says?

    Isn’t that what the comment section is for?

  9. edlharris

    To Pete;
    Andy likes to keep on top of what the “reformers” like Gov. Christie are up-to.

  10. edlharris

    edconsumer,
    My comment was in line with the truthfulness of Jo-Ann Armao.

    Kinda like when Andy refers to the people in the know when it comes to educational “reform.”

  11. edlharris

    Oh, edconsumer,
    to help you feel the love, check out this comment:
    Ed commented, “These ‘reformers’ seem to be imbued with some weird, perverted sickness.” I agree.
    That was in response to reformer Gov Christie who said:

    Gov. Chris Christie today escalated his war of words with the state teachers’ union, accusing union representatives of “using the students like drug mules” to carry information about whether their parents planned to vote.

    http://www.mathdittos2.com/ednews/index.html

  12. edconsumer

    I just want to make sure you are standing behind your comments. The treatment of teachers unions by Armao and others who disagree with their policies is akin to the treatment of Jews in pre-Holocaust Germany?

    Can you tease out that analogy a little more for us? Who are the reformers in your analogy? Come on, Edl, don’t mince words. I mean if you’re going to go there, go there. Then everyone reading eduwonk can decide if you are a credible commenter or not, right?

    (I don’t care what Christie said. I’m a democrat, didn’t vote for him, wouldn’t vote for him. That’s a non-sequitur.)

  13. Billy Bob

    edconsumer–actually, the change for DC was 6 scale score points, not five. And we don’t know the standard error. Or the composition of test-takers over time. Both could affect scores without a change in learning.

    And I cant find the number of test-takers over time, but their SAT scores are dropping like a rock.

    But you will NEVER, EVER see anything negative about Queen Rhee on this blog.

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