Tuesday, March 16, 2010

ESEA Backgrounder on Accountability

Also, I highly recommend reading the attached "ESEA Backgrounder" that EEP and DFER put together, rebutting the lies and distortions being spread by those who want to kill ESEA, such as Ravitch (I read her chapter on this subject today; the book is now dog-eared with pages I've marked where someday I hope to find the time to rebut what she writes, as I did here http://edreform.blogspot.com/2009/12/comments-on-my-last-email-and-more.html and regarding her friend Deborah Meier here: http://edreform.blogspot.com/2009/12/more-thoughts-on-deborah-meier-and.html).  Suffice it to say, if you read Ravitch's chapter on NCLB, but sure to read the attached "Backgrounder" so you'll know not to believe most of what she claims.


For example, there are a lot of things perpetuated as "facts" about NCLB that total baloney, first and foremost that any school has to reach anything close to 100% proficiency (see the table on page 5 of the attached to learn what "real" AYP is, as opposed to what Ravitch claims it is).


Also, the "Backgrounder" presents facts that rebut Ravitch's claims that there's no evidence NCLB has worked.  In fact, it notes on page 6 that:


1)    "In most states with three or more years of comparable test data, student achievement in reading and math has gone up since 2002, the year NCLB was enacted.

2)    There is more evidence of achievement gaps between groups of students narrowing since 2002 than of gaps widening.  Still, the magnitude of the gaps is often substantial.

3)    In nine of the 13 states with sufficient data to determine pre- and post-NCLB trends, average yearly gains in test scores were greater after NCLB took effect than before."


Finally, despite hysterical and rarely challenged claims to the contrary, the "Backgrounder" also argues that "the 'curriculum narrowing' trend is miniscule or nonexistent.  The U.S. Department of Education has conducted studies of time spent on specific subjects over the last 20 years, consistently finding no curriculum narrowing, i.e., decreasing time spent on certain subjects.  In fact, slight decreases (not statistically significant) were found in both English and math instruction."

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