By The Numbers And Must-Read Rhames

ProPublica takes a look at for-profit higher education by the numbers.

Judging by articles over the past few weeks we seem to be moving into another cycle of ‘the schools are great (except for those kids)!’  Marilyn Rhames takes a look at all that.  I’ll be the first one to say we over-hype international test score data – but that doesn’t mean there is not a catastrophic problem here in the U.S.

6 Replies to “By The Numbers And Must-Read Rhames”

  1. I’ll be the first one to say we over-hype international test score data – but that doesn’t mean there is not a catastrophic problem here in the U.S.,

    Took you long enough to come to that conclusion after many years of insulting the hoi polloi who were saying the same thing.

  2. Hi –

    Leave aside that I’ve made that point for years (long before that January 11 column, btw) but please help me by citing examples of where I’ve “insult[ed] the hoi polloi” of those saying we should be cautious with international comparisons?


  3. But nothing to back up your and Campbell’s claim about unions protecting child sex abusers.
    Don’t ask for documentation if you won’t provide it yourself.

  4. ProPublica: investment sharks are currently converging on the fresh meat of K-12 public education “”You start to see entire ecosystems of investment opportunity lining up,” said Lytle, a partner at The Parthenon Group, a Boston consulting firm. “It could get really, really big.”

    Rhames is wrong. This comment from the EdWeek is right: “I think there are several story lines getting confused here. I expect Ms. Rhames and Mr. Lind have a lot more in common than not.

    I agree that the war on the status quo in poor schools is well justified and long over due. Anyone who has worked in urban schools knows that it is not the kids who are the problem. And we know that race has nothing to do with their potential to learn.

    But I don’t trust the current generals in this war. They are conflating the need for improving the lot of poor kids with overhauling the entire public educational model that has worked just fine for non-poor kids for decades. The ‘neo liberal’ element among the generals view market reforms and choice as the way to tackle all the challenges in education but won’t say that this means the end of public neighborhood schools nor a major change in who stands in front of our kids. By telling us that our entire education system is broken they can make compelling arguments to many people that their way is best.

    I believe this is what Mr. Lind was responding to in saying that only 35% of our system is broken, not the whole thing. I would hope that he would agree with you that the war on the status quo for the 35% is justified, though take issue with market reform tactics and choice.”

  5. Darn it, almost forgot: The National Center for the Study of Privatization of Education at Teachers College, Columbia University.

    Just happened to see this: “On average, scores at Fort Wayne’s charter schools were lower than the average scores in Allen County’s four public school districts…Scores went down, however, at Fort Wayne’s second Imagine school, Imagine MASTer Academy.”

    Is there a correlation between the dumb, condescending names for these charter schools and their academic performance? Do we have to brand EVERYTHING? Just asking.

  6. Still no evidence from Andy or Campbell?
    In other news, Iowans make sense:

    The Register editorial: Parents a key piece in school reform

    Gov. Terry Branstad has talked repeatedly about making Iowa the healthiest state in the nation. To accomplish this, he wants residents to eat better, exercise and “take responsibility” for their lifestyles. He has not suggested Iowa doctors do a better job. There have been no proposals to pay physicians in a different way or require a minimum grade-point average for incoming medical students.

    Why not? Because such proposals are obviously ridiculous. No one would lay the responsibility for the complicated task of improving the health of an entire state on the professionals working in health care.

    So why is the governor fixated on teachers when it comes to the complicated task of improving education in Iowa? His proposals to create “world class” schools are disproportionately targeted at educators. He has pushed for a new pay structure, mentors and even personality assessments for teachers. His education reform proposal would require college students to have at least a 3.0 grade-point average to be admitted to teaching training programs.

    Last week, he told educators a lack of collaboration is contributing to problems with student achievement: “Teachers still work largely in isolation … and I’m convinced this has a negative impact on classroom learning for Iowa students.” Those who agree to tackle school planning, coach peers or analyze school data could be paid more money, he said.

    The implication in these proposals is that if Iowa fixes what is supposedly wrong with teachers and teaching, we can fix what ails education in this state. If only it were so simple.

    Like a great doctor, a great teacher can have a positive impact on the lives of many people. Also like a doctor, he or she can only do so much. A teacher cannot read students a bedtime story or confiscate their video games until they finish their homework or take them to the clinic for an ear infection. Improving education is as much about what goes on in homes as in classrooms.

    Rather than so much focus on teachers, the governor and his staff should talk about the need to reduce poverty, which directly affects student achievement. They should make the connection between success in education and better-paying jobs, health care and human services. Rather than praising schools in other countries in isolation, they should acknowledge that those countries have social safety nets and universal health care.

    Though it is easier to get your arms around a group of public employees, teachers are only part of the equation in reforming education. Parents are just as critical. So are government services, including food stamps, child protection and libraries. A child will struggle to learn if he is hungry, abused or sick.

    But you don’t hear the governor talk about that.

    Branstad doesn’t suggest a “great doctor in every office” will improve the health of millions of Iowans. Yet his staff has repeatedly said a “great teacher in every classroom” is the way to significantly improve learning. That assumes teachers are doing something wrong now. And that assumption ignores the many variables affecting how well a student does in school.

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