April Fools – All Year Long

Here’s a quick encapsulation of the education debate today: Yesterday Matt DiCarlo posts an (amusing in my view) April Fools joke about all the crazy correlation/causation inferences people make from NAEP data and the way those data are abused.  Not everyone got the joke on Twitter yesterday and apparently it was too subtle – he’s since put a disclaimer in for the satirically challenged. And of course, today, here’s Diane Ravitch citing the post as a must-read because of what it purports to show.  “Don’t keep it a secret,” she tells the dittoheads.

It would be entertaining except that while it was just an April Fool’s prank this is exactly how bad information and urban myths (and study laundering) travel through the education world, are uncritically repeated, and often land in the mainstream media.

Don’t keep it a secret.

7 Replies to “April Fools – All Year Long”

  1. Looks like you didn’t get it either: Maryland trends are factual. DiCarlo is making the excellent point that interpreting these trends requires complex analysis. There are few simple causes and effects in education.

    Here’s something more basic to consider: A person who calls educators “dittoheads” is likely not an educator himself and does not value those who are.

  2. one would think that any competent person would read,

    “There’s too much at stake for policy makers to waste time worrying about trivial details, such as policy analysis”

    and go ha! it was thus a rather enlightening prank.

  3. I may be missing some subtle tactic of public relations, Phillip, but repeatedly calling people’s attention to teachers who abuse children sexually does not strike me as a particularly good way to drum up support for the profession, or for that matter for teacher unions.

  4. Well, Vandelay, maybe you are a product of public schools, considering your inability to read, (sarcasm alert-Art), but, again, Mr Rotherham joins Campbell Brown and Whitney Tilson in accusing teachers and teacher unions of preventing police from investigating child sex abusers.
    How they have this power, maybe you can explain.
    It is probably within the comprehension skills you learned while a public school student.

  5. Interjecting the Seinfeld show into a discussion of teachers’ sexual abuse of their students again strikes me as a terrible tactic. But maybe this all this will become clearer if you can point me to exactly where Andy, Campbell, or Whitney claim that teachers’ unions are preventing police from investigating sexual abusers of children.

  6. Art , you write like the blind man who walks through the room where an orgy is going on and, when asked, says he didn’t see anything going on.

    First, start with eduwonk’s search box with the terms Campbell Brown
    Find links to the places where CB accusers teacher unions of preventing the police from investigating and read where Andrew refuses to challenge Campbell. Instead he allows her to muddy things up like pea soup.
    Then head on over to Whitney Tilson’s blog and read his links that “show” the teacher unions prevent police from prosecuting child sex abuse cases.

    If that doesn’t satisfy your teenage lust,
    I will stick a pen in my heart
    and suicide right on this page.
    I know, it’s ……

    For Art

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