Continuing: There are no facts anywhere in the land!


Especially concerning the schools, Washington Post edition: The truth about our public discourse is very hard to fathom.

Consider this post by Valerie Strauss. We found it at her Answer Sheet blog for the Washington Post.

Strauss is employed by the Post as an education writer. At the start of her post, she describes a Q-and-A about public schools at a live discussion this morning:
STRAUSS (6/4/13): Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) said Tuesday that America’s educational troubles began when women began working outside the home in large numbers.

Bryant was participating in a Washington Post Live event focused on the importance of ensuring that children read well by the end of third grade. In response to a question about how America became “so mediocre” in regard to educational outcomes, he said:

“I think both parents started working. The mom got in the work place.”
Needless to say, we’re all supposed to have nervous breakdowns in response to Bryant’s answer. For ourselves, we’re more concerned about the question, which came from another Post journalist, as Strauss describes:
STRAUSS: During a conversation about what states are doing to increase reading proficiency, the moderator of the panel, award-winning Washington Post journalist Mary Jordan, asked the three governors how America got “so mediocre” in regard to reading proficiency rates and educational outcomes. Bryant answered first.
Jordan didn’t win just any award. In 2003, she was awarded a Pulitzer Prize.

(That’s when you pretty much know that you’re in major trouble.)

To hear Jordan ask her question, click here. Rather clearly, her question implies that educational outcomes are in decline in this country. But uh-oh! On domestic and international measures, the opposite is true.

How does Jordan not know that? More to the point, how does Strauss not know? Strauss is employed by the Washington Post as an expert on education. But she shows no sign of seeing the problem with Jordan’s question, or with the fact that all three governors tried to explain our ongoing decline.

According to the best data we have, we are not in a time of decline. Test scores have been rising for decades on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, the uniformly-praised “gold standard” of American educational testing. American students are also doing better on the major international tests.

Jordan doesn’t seem to know that. Incredibly, neither does Strauss. Three governors don’t seem to know either. Maybe they’ve spent too much time reading the Washington Post!

Tomorrow, we’ll see this same depressing problem in this horrifying report by Salon’s David Sirota. There are no facts anywhere in this land, certainly not concerning the schools. Beyond that, it’s very, very hard to grasp our giant cluelessness as a people.

How did we ever get this far if this is what we’re like?


  1. Can't wait to see "this same depressing problem" in Sirota's article.

    Sirota may not cite the NAEP, but he covers a lot of ground and defends both teachers and students from the "reformers."

    According to Wikipedia:

    Author and Columnist David Sirota has strongly criticized the DLC, whom he claims have sold out to corporate interests...The 2008 Democratic Primary pitted New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, a prominent DLC member, against Illinois Senator Barack Obama, who had previously stated that his positions on NAFTA, the Iraq War and universal health care made him "an unlikely candidate for membership in the DLC."[28] However, President Obama has since surrounded himself with DLC members, appointing Clinton herself as Secretary of State and another, (Tim Kaine), as chairman of the Democratic National Committee."

    1. And your point is what? Do you have one?

      The fact is – as Bob points out - that there is no educational "decline" in this country. It's a myth. A fabrication.

      The "reform" agenda is traceable to A Nation at Risk, the Reagan-era screed the decried a "rising tide of mediocrity" that "threatened" national security.

      The data have shown and continue to show that there is no general "crisis" in public education in the United States.

      The Sandia Report (Journal of Educational Research, May/June, 1993), published in the wake of A Nation at Risk, concluded that:

      * "..on nearly every measure we found steady or slightly improving trends."

      * "youth today [the 1980s] are choosing natural science and engineering degrees at a higher rate than their peers of the 1960s."

      * "business leaders surveyed are generally satisfied with the skill levels of their employees, and the problems that do exist do not appear to point to the k-12 education system as a root cause."

      * "The student performance data clearly indicate that today's youth are achieving levels of education at least as high as any previous generation."

      The critics, however, kept on with the distortions and lies. More states enacted "high standards" and forced testing. No Child Left Behind mandated even more testing, and punishments. The critics, increasingly funded by conservative foundations and corporations anxious to divert attention from their own failures and complicity in causing the near-fatal breakdown of the economy, continue today with their attacks.

      And as Bob points out, the mainstream press has been of little help.


    2. My point is, as I said, that I'm looking forward to what TDH has to say about Sirota's article.

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