Each day ASCD puts out a small collection of the news stories of the day with a little commentary. Not infrequently it’s more the news as they wish it read, than as it actually does, but yesterday’s takes the cake for sheer detachment from political reality. Pegged to the NYT analysis about the reading scores ASCD informs us that:
The number of New York City’s fourth-graders scoring at grade level on the state’s English Language Arts exam this year rose 9.9 percentage points, while the percentage of the city’s eighth-graders meeting state standards dropped 2.8 percentage points. The mixed results complicate the re-election picture for Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who has urged voters to judge him on his school reform efforts.
Right! Complicates it like a 400 point jump in the Dow might “complicate” your portfolio…
The NYT’s own analysis (with good analysis from TC’s Jeff Henig) concluded this is a big pro-Bloomberg moment. And, per one connected Eduwonk political observer:
Every political consultant in the city (both Dem and Repub) at least privately agrees that this is entirely good news for Bloomberg, not a mixed bag, because the mayor effectively spun the 8th grade scores as victims of a bad early education. One key political operative said his advice to [UFT head Randi Wiengarten] would have been to just say nothing unless she was going to limit her comments to congratulating teachers – which even Bloomberg did. This operative thinks from a political perspective it is silly to argue the nuance of the scores, perhaps even counter-productive, because this will be viewed as a clear win for Bloomberg by swing-voters. The die-hards on each side have already made up their minds on Bloomberg’s handling of the schools.
Politically, isn’t it almost never a good idea to bet on bad news (or be seen as sort of hoping for it), particularly when the opposite good news will be welcomed by most of the public?