Determinism Dashed!

Parroting a bit of conventional wisdom that turns up in anti-reform circles from time to time, serial commenter John Thompson noted the other day that, “if scores go up for low-income students during this economy, we know those numbers are bogus. Even if classroom instruction was becoming more effective at an optimum rate, we humans don’t have the power to outrace the decline that inevitably follows economic downturns. It is not criticism of educators or any policy. It is no criticism of the best Olympic runner to say that he or she can’t win the Kentucky Derby.”

Ssshhh…nobody tell Maryland the kids can’t learn if the Dow is under 11K!

3 Replies to “Determinism Dashed!”

  1. “Fact number one is that Maryland sets the bar defining proficiency very close to the ground,” said Bruce Fuller, a professor of education and public policy at the University of California at Berkeley. “State officials are under enormous political pressure to show progress.”

    Thanks for the link, because I make the serial argument that Fuller makes.

    “Fuller added, however, that the upward trajectory on both the national and state tests suggests “that kids in Maryland are learning more over the course of the year now than they were in the 1990s.”

    Come to think of it, I also acknowledge that researchers like Fuller know much more about the national evidence, and that even state scores show that some good things are happening. But I also discuss the costs and the damage, and above all the better solutions that are available.

    Also, you should check NAEP patterns for low-income, low-performing schools and students, and even the state results in states that are not as rich as Maryland, before you bet on me winning the Derby.

  2. [quote]if scores go up for low-income students during this economy, we know those numbers are bogus. [/quote]

    How is this the case?

    Where is the PRIORITIZATION from the parents and the other managers of these education for these children which can work to isolate their academic performance from their economic situation?

    Would Mr. Thompson be relived to see more cable TV subscriptions being disconnected as parents save the $75 per month so their kids receive the nutrition that they need in these “tough times”?

    Where is the expectations from the parents to invest in this ticket to insure that their kids have a reduced chance of struggling as they did?

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