"The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves." -- John Adams

"No money shall be drawn from the treasury, for the benefit of any religious or theological institution." -- Indiana Constitution Article 1, Section 6.

"...no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish enlarge, or affect their civil capacities." – Thomas Jefferson

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Spellings: A liar, or just below average?

The most important qualification that Margaret Spellings brings to her position as Secretary of Education, according to her bio on the Department of Ed web site, is the fact that she's a mom. She's had kids in school...and cares so much about the children of the USA. It says that she has been involved in all levels of education policy making. For what it's worth, she does have a college degree - in political science.

So, when she talks about No Child Left Behind is she purposely misleading the American people or is she just so uninformed as to be delusional? Either way, she has not changed her tune from the mistaken statement that NCLB is "working" to the belief that the goal of 100% grade level proficiency is actually possible.

Spellings, July 23:
. . . .We still have far to go to reach the goal of grade-level success for all students by 2014. But it's achievable, and it's what this nation ought to expect from our schools and students.

Despite successes we're seeing after five years under No Child Left Behind, some would have us believe the goal of grade-level success is unattainable ― that it's unreasonable to think all of our poor and minority students can achieve at grade level. I flatly reject this notion. . . .

So who are you going to believe, the mom in charge of the US DOE who has no experience as an educator, or the former President of the American Education Research Association, Bob Linn:

"There is a zero percent chance that we will ever reach a 100 percent target," said Robert L. Linn, co-director of the National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards and Student Testing at UCLA. "But because the title of the law is so rhetorically brilliant, politicians are afraid to change this completely unrealistic standard. They don't want to be accused of leaving some children behind."
Or here:

"One hundred percent proficient becomes increasingly unrealistic as we get closer to 2014," said Robert Linn, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, University of Colorado at Boulder. "NCLB's accountability system undermines its strengths. We are likely to see all schools failing to meet AYP by 2014."

Or here:

"It's fail now or fail later," said Teri Moblo, Director of the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice. "Under the current system, schools are destined to be labeled as failing and there is no way around it. The question isn't will schools fail, it's when will they fail.

"Without increased flexibility in the AYP requirements and a focus on the underlying reasons why students do not perform well on such tests, we will continue to invest huge amounts of time and money in a system where failure is guaranteed."

Here's a little lesson in statistics for Ms. Spellings: "Reading Grade Level" is the average reading level of a group at a particular grade. Average, by definition, means that half the children are below that number and half are above. It is impossible, statistically for everyone in a group from which an average is taken, to be at or above the average. As students in a group being studied by researchers improve their reading ability the average achievement increases, however, 50% of them are still below the average!

Obviously Ms. Spellings is below average in math.

Read the Declaration of Independence From High Stakes Testing

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