NAEPanic! Warm Milk And Cold Showers, Stipe On Campus Guns, College Signaling, Ted Cruz On Showers, Perry On NOLA, The Schools Case For Boaty!

“This is U.S. History, I see the globe right there.”

I know I’m supposed to freak out today about 12th-grade NAEP results. They’re certainly not great. 5-3 has your breakdown here. I don’t pay a great deal of attention to the 12th-grade test. All else equal would be better if scores were up but the sky is not falling any more than it was or wasn’t yesterday and this is mostly an exercise in confirmation bias and talking points. But, 5-3 points out a few under the topline things worth watching including the drop for low-achievers and a bump for ELL students. Everyone wants a referendum on Common Core but that means comparing non-CCSS states with strong implementers not overall scores.

Anyway, for fun there are really a few possible things happening here:

1)    The recent drops or stalling on various NAEP tests are just random and we should be leery of reading much of anything into them. Forward!

2)    The recent results indicate a problem and Common Core is the culprit. Course correct!

3)    The recent results are real and it means standards-based reform is reaching its substantive and/or political limits and we need to discuss other strategies – technology, far more student choice, some combination of the two. Panic! Or rejoice! (Depending on your perspective).

I lean toward 3 though. Update: Here’s the Ed Trust’s take:

“Simply put, high schools are treating graduation as the end goal for too many low-income students and students of color, rather than ensuring that all students have access to learning opportunities that will prepare them for college and the workplace,” said Daria Hall, vice president for Government Affairs and Communications at The Education Trust. “These results create a real urgency to build strong high schools that meet with students’ and parents’ future goal. Let’s not waste it.”

Might not be the end of the world as we know it, but having students carrying guns around campuses doesn’t seem like a very good idea. Here’s Michael Stipe on that. A lot of booze, young adults, new and sometimes stressful situations, and firearms, what could possibly go wrong?

The evidence on merit pay is not as cut and dry as you probably heard on Twitter.

Here’s one of these education articles that feels like a warm milk bath for true believers but actually makes little sense:

Want Your Kids to Get a Good Education? Support Their Teachers’ Workplace Rights

I do, I do! C’mon, who can be against that? Except the lawsuit in question, Vergara, turns on whether a specific set of policies that are almost universally regarded as problematic are, in fact, unconstitutional. Even striking them down still leaves teachers with workplace rights. At issue are specific tenure and dismissal rules around performance.

But would you go for an article that said, “If you want your money to grow fast, leave bankers alone?” Sensible personnel policies in education are no more at odds with good education as sensible financial regulation is with economic growth. (By the way, if the teachers unions in California were so concerned about stability for students and all that why did they fight the Reed case in LA to help prevent poor kids from having too much teacher turnover because of LIFO laws?)

Ted Cruz and the shower scene.

Howard University is giving students 50 percent of final semester’s tuition back if they graduate on time or early.

Andre Perry on the unfolding debate about local input and New Orleans schools. Should young farmers get enhanced loan forgiveness?

Nuance on college debt and signaling:

America’s astronomical student loan debt makes headlines regularly, but most of this debt is held by students who hold degrees and have the means to pay the debt back. Much less well-known are the many borrowers who haven’t completed their credential. Even under income-based repayment and eventual forgiveness, these borrowers can be saddled with debt for decades, diminishing take home pay, marring credit, and otherwise restricting their options. Arming prospective college students with better information about the likelihood of success can help families and policymakers better allocate resources while safeguarding open access to higher education.

The education case for Boaty McBoatface: It will get kids interested in science!

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