AMANDA RIPLEY’S BELIEVE IT BY LAW: Let them come to Tiistila!

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2013

Part 5—A truly appalling passage: Are countries like Finland, Korea and Poland staging educational miracles?

Pretty much no—they are not. Consider one example from Amanda Ripley’s interesting new book, The Smartest Kids in the World.

In the talented Ripley’s scam-ridden book, “the Polish miracle” (Ripley’s phrase) is said to be a miracle of improvement. But from 2003 to 2009, American students showed more improvement on the PISA’s three tests than Polish students did.

(Ripley ignores results from the TIMSS and the PIRLS, two other major international tests. Results from the 2012 PISA have not yet been released.)

Next week, we’ll review Ripley’s explanation for the high test scores from Korea and Finland. In all honesty, those nations aren’t performing “miracles” either, although their test scores in reading and math frequently lead the world.

No, Virgilia! Poland, Finland and Korea aren’t producing miracles. That said, there is one true educational miracle on display in this ballyhooed book.

That miracle involves Ripley herself. We don’t mean that as a compliment.

Miraculous! As recently as 2010, Ripley was avoiding education assignments from her editors at Time. As she explains at the start of her book, she just found the topic so tedious!

But how amazing! Just three years later, Ripley is being hailed as a leading authority on the whole world’s public schools! We think that's a truly miraculous rise, and a bit of a scam on the world.

It’s clear that Ripley has done a lot of background work during this transformation. It also seems clear that her work should be regarded with a great deal of skepticism—partly due to her lack of experience, partly due to her apparent dishonesty in service to Elite Corporate Themes and the edicts of Hard Pundit Law.

Consider a part of her book which we’d be inclined to call repellent. It deals with the amazing success Finland has had with its immigrant students.

For the record, Finland doesn’t have many such students. Korea and Poland have so few immigrant kids that the PISA can’t even present any data on immigrant kids in those countries.

That isn’t the case with Finland. Finland has started permitting some immigration in recent years. The country now has enough immigrant students to generate PISA data.

Sure enough! Ripley sets out to tell the world about Finland’s astonishing work in this area. The inspiring story begins on page 158, under the eye-catching headline, “Black people in Finland.”

As she starts unspooling a scam, Ripley presents some basic data. “Kim” is an American exchange student on whom Ripley relies for anecdotes:
RIPLEY (page 158): The more time I spent in Finland, the more I appreciated the rare balance it had struck. Finland had achieved rigor [in its schools] without ruin. It was impossible not to notice something else, too: During my time in Pietarsaari, I saw exactly one black person. In Kim’s classes, everyone looked basically the same. Nationwide, only 3 percent of Finland’s students had immigrant parents (compared to 20 percent of teenagers in the United States).
In the source Ripley cites, the more precise figure for Finland is 2.5 percent.

After several pages of bashing the way American schools treat “black, Hispanic and immigrant kids,” Ripley begins to introduce the paradisical Finnish experience.

“Let them come to Berlin,” John F. Kennedy said. Ripley went to Tiistila:
RIPLEY (page 161): Finland was a homogeneous place, but getting less so. The number of foreigners had increased over 600 percent since 1990, and most of the newcomers had ended up in Helsinki.

To find out how diversity changed the culture of rigor [in Finland’s schools], I went to the Tiistila school, just outside Helsinki, where a third of the kids were immigrants, many of them refugees. The school enrolled children aged six to thirteen. It was surrounded by concrete block apartment buildings that looked more communist than Nordic.
At this remarkable school, Ripley encounters kids from an array of nations. Right on cue, she also encounters an inspiring sixth-grade teacher.

As Ripley’s story continues, Heikki Vuorinen gives his class an assignment, then steps into the hall to waste his time talking to Ripley. As if in accordance with Hard Pundit Law, he turns out to be a saint:
RIPLEY: Wearing a purple R-shirt, jeans, and small, rectangular glasses, Vuorinen proudly reported that he had kids from nine different countries that year, including China, Somalia, Russia and Kosovo. Many had single parents. Beyond that, he was reluctant to speculate.

“I don’t want to think about their backgrounds too much,” he said, running his hand through his thinning blond hair. Then he smiled. “There are twenty-three pearls in my classroom. I don’t want to scratch them.”
That was a take! As he offers his saintly remarks, Vuorinen seems to have come right out of central casting. He also seems to have walked straight out of a Standard Elite Pundit Script.

Vuorinen tells Ripley that he doesn’t want to “label” his students. He doesn't want to focus on their cultural challenges or on their relative poverty.

“He seemed acutely aware of the effects that expectations could have on his teaching,” Ripley admiringly writes, reciting a familiar point right out of the Standard Playbook. At this point, she drops an ugly, unintelligent bomb.

“I’d never heard a U.S. teacher talk this way,” Ripley inexcusably says.

At this point, Ripley launches a minor attack on Diane Ravitch. In Ripley’s view, Ravitch has overstated the effects of poverty on American students. “In Finland, Vuorinen said the opposite of what Ravitch was saying in America,” Ripley rather pointedly says.

Everything is so much better when it happens in Finland!

By now, the direction of Ripley's mini-novel is unmistakably clear. And sure enough! Eight pages into this rumination, we finally get the good news. According to Ripley, those immigrant kids at the Tiistila school have been knocking it out of the park:
RIPLEY (page 165): At Vuorinen’s school, all fifth graders had been tested in math two years earlier. It was one way that the Finnish government made sure that schools were working. Unlike in the United States, the accountability tests were precision targeted; the government tested only a sample of students. It usually took just one hour.

Compared to the rest of Finland, the Tiistila kids performed above average. That was impressive: Better than average in Finland means better than average just about anywhere else.

Tiistila students were diverse and good at math. The school was inspiring. It was also different from U.S. schools in almost every way...
Tiistila is different from U.S. schools in almost every way!

The public hanging continues from there as Ripley counts the ways this Finnish school is better than anything here. Averting our gaze from this journo porn, let’s discuss what she has already said.

According to Ripley, Tiistila’s fifth graders had tested above average in math two years before. Indeed, the brilliant little (one-third) immigrant school had outperformed the rest of Finland! Given Finland’s international status, this meant that the school had outperformed almost every place in the world!

From that claim, which can’t be confirmed, we are apparently supposed to infer that the immigrant kids in Vuorinen’s current sixth grade class were performing above the Finnish average in math too. No, that doesn’t make any sense. But that’s plainly the drift of the story.

(For the record, we don’t understand the apparent contradiction in the first paragraph we’ve presented. All fifth graders got tested, we’re told, even though the Finnish government tests “only a sample of students.” Whatever!)

The drift of this eight-page passage is perfectly clear. The Finns work miracles with their immigrant kids, unlike their ratty counterparts over here in the States.

Ripley is thrilled by Vuorinen’s sincerity and by his thinning blond hair. Indeed, she’s so thrilled that she forgets to provide the actual data about Finland’s immigrant kids! We refer to the data which aren’t anecdotal—the actual data which actually come from the actual PISA itself.

How well is Finland actually doing with its immigrant kids? According to results on the PISA, the truth is quite different from the impression conveyed by Ripley’s anecdote—and plainly, Ripley knows this. She cites the corresponding data for the United States, France, Germany and Australia in an earlier, scolding passage on page 160. But she never remembers to cite the data for brilliant Finland itself.

In fact, large achievement gaps exist between native-born Finnish students and Finland’s immigrant students. We don’t offer that as a criticism of Finland’s schools, and certainly not of those immigrant children, who face so many challenges. We offer that to suggest that Ripley is conning her readers again in that passage about Tiistila, which is so “inspiring” and so unlike the U.S.

If we review the actual data, how large are the achievement gaps for Finland’s immigrant students? You can see the large gap in Figure 5.6 in this PISA publication, which Ripley repeatedly cites in her endnotes. Or you can look at the relevant scores on the 2009 PISA by using the PISA Data Explorer:
Average scores in reading, 2009 PISA, Finland:
Native-born Finnish students: 538
First-generation immigrant students: 449

Average scores in math, 2009 PISA, Finland:
Native-born Finnish students: 542
First-generation immigrant students: 479

Average scores in science, 2009 PISA, Finland:
Native-born Finnish students: 556
First-generation immigrant students: 463
In her novelized treatment of the Tiistila school, Ripley gives the impression that the brilliant school’s immigrant kids are outperforming Finland as a whole. In fact, immigrant students in Finland scored far below the nation’s average on the 2009 PISA. They also scored below the average for the 34 OECD nations as a whole.

We don’t mean this as a criticism of Finland’s schools. We don’t mean that as a criticism of Finland’s immigrant kids. Many of them are refugees from the world’s trouble spots. They’ve all had to adjust to a new culture and language, just like so many deserving kids are doing over here.

We mean this as a criticism of Ripley, who doesn’t seem especially honest. As we read this intriguing book, its author seems involved in a series of cons as she picks and chooses her data—as she offers novelized anecdotes which seem designed to mislead.

Much more remains to be said about Ripley’s ballyhooed book. Her book is very interesting. Unfortunately, it often seems like a well-scripted con.

It may be that Ripley is so new to education that she doesn’t understand what she’s doing. It may be that she herself has gotten conned concerning the preferred talking-points of the elite pundit world.

But that passage about the Tiistila school really is a pip. The anecdote doesn’t make any sense, and Ripley ignores the relevant data, of which she is plainly aware. She offers sweeping attacks on American teachers, attacks which are utterly brainless.

It adds up to a familiar point. Those miraculous Finns have conquered the world. All the big dopes are Over Here! Why can't we have better teachers! People more like me!

That said, Ripley’s book has produced an educational miracle. Miraculously, this book has established its inexperienced author as a leading authority on the public schools of the entire world!

Next week, we’ll be moving to a new focus in our central posts. But we plan to continue offering posts about Ripley’s remarkable book.

This book is full of passages which seem designed to mislead. That said, there are two big winners from this book—Ripley herself, and a wide array of Musty Elite Talking Points.

You get ahead by pimping these lines. Ripley proves this point.

49 comments:

  1. It does seem possible that Teach for America participants might not know about expectation effects but it has been a standard part of US teacher training since shortly after Rosenthal published his original Pygmalion effect study in 1968. TFA trainees might not have had time to read it, so perhaps if she mostly interviews those teachers, she hasn't heard them talk about their students in the Finnish way. There is also a literature on whether students do better when their cultures are acknowledged and valued, compared to when the teachers pretends everyone is identical, as this Finnish teacher seems to want to do (based on the quote at least).

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  2. Finland's one-and-only high-stakes test is its college entrance exam. (Required only of those who wish to enroll in college, obviously.) Applicants are required to take a section in their "mother tongue", whatever that might be, since several languages are spoken in Finland (such as Sami and Swedish). Thus, there is an acknowledgement of people's diverse backgrounds. Presumably, this would also apply to immigrants. --Ellen

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  3. Masterful debunking of another mainstream 'corporatize education' shill.

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    1. Especially the "masterful" part. Bob only knows one way, and that is the masterful way. He rarely, if ever, repeats himself. He avoids snark like the plague even though he is a faormer comedian. Most importantly, he treats all his subject matters the same and without resort to any narratives. He never lies and he's always right.

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    2. lol!!! i rearely ever actuaslly laugh out loud at a blog comment but anon1:49 nearly had mean on the floor till i realized he was being sarcasti9c.

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    3. veryfunny, please go away and take anon1:49 with you.

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  4. As I've said before, Ananda Ripley has written some awful pieces (factually inaccurate) on American public education. Yet, at her website she has the audacity to call herself an "investigative journalist." She prominently pimps her book...click "learn more" and the reader finds that here book contains "groundbreaking research."

    http://www.amandaripley.com/

    Let's put it this way. Either Ripley herself is not very "smart" (a distinct possibility), or she is a charlatan of the first order. Whatever she is, she is not a reputable "journalist." But she's not the lone ranger, either.

    Over at The Post, there's Jay Mathews, who's deceived the general pubic for decades about the College Board's Advanced Placement courses and tests. Like Ripley, Mathews cherry-picks "data" and ignores all the research he doesn't like and that contradicts his "vision."
    Perhaps not so surprisingly (as Bob Somerby points out), Mathews calls Ripley "talented" and terms her book a "fine" one.

    Two peas in a pod. Twit and twat.

    Richard Rothstein reported some years back this important information:

    "An international reading survey of 15-year-olds, conducted in 2000, found a strong relationship in almost every nation between parental occupation and student literacy. The gap between the literacy of children of the highest-status workers (such as doctors, professors, and lawyers) and the lowest-status workers (such as waiters and waitresses, taxi drivers, and mechanics) was even greater in Germany and the United Kingdom than it was in the United States."

    Rothstein continued:

    "After reviewing these results, a U.S. Department of Education summary concluded that "most participating countries do not differ significantly from the United States in terms of the strength of the relationship between socioeconomic status and literacy in any subject." Remarkably, the department published this conclusion at the same time that it was guiding a bill through Congress -- the No Child Left Behind Act -- that demanded every school in the nation abolish social class differences in achievement within 12 years."

    Mathews thinks we just need to push more AP courses; add more "rigor." Ripley seems to think teachers are the problem, and poverty is really not an impediment to achievement.

    This song is dedicated to them:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oAKRFZQIkeA

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  5. "In the talented Ripley’s scam-ridden book,"

    I'm already sick of the commercial franchise she's created.

    Is there an adult in the room in "education reform"? For goodness sakes. The scams just keep coming. It's an ed reform bubble!

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  6. "He doesn't want to focus on their cultural challenges or on their relative poverty."

    This is the part I keep picking up about education reform, it's almost a unifying theme, how they hope to separate "children" from "the lives of those children".
    I see it again and again. I am honestly mystified. There seems to be this idea that children drop from the sky at the door of the school at 8 AM and then disappear at 3 PM. There's just no sense that they have lives outside of class, which is extremely bizarre, because it so marginalizes parents. I first noticed it in reading about the reforms in New Orleans, where there was absolutely no recognition of what effect busting up the public school system might have on the kids' lives OUTSIDE of school, where they LIVE. I saw it again in Chicago, where there were "kids" and then a separate category "their schools." I don't know any kids who think like this. Like everyone else, they have a WHOLE LIFE.
    It's downright nutty. It's like their lives have no context, no broader whole. I mean, THEY DO. It's not like the kids don't know it! They live it!
    The thing seems fundamentally flawed to me, fundamentally a lie, because of this. I don't think it can work because it's based on this strange boarding school notion of public schools.
    No one lives like that. They go home. They live in families and then neighborhoods and then communities. They have to. They don't have a choice!
    It's either boarding school or their own COLLEGE experience these people are pulling this from, but it doesn't apply to second graders.

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    1. Dead on, and one of the biggest lies that continues to be told by deformers.

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  7. OMB (Part 5: A Truly BOBtastic Post)

    We're sure Amanda Ripley's new book on education is for the most part worthless, not because we haven't read it, but because the topic is, in fact, tedious and it was written by a journalist who appears to write in a style which makes others think differently when she tackles the tedious topic.

    Thank heavens BOB isn't fooled. In fact, in just a few short posts (well, they aren't really that short) we have learned the following facts about the author:

    "Ripley is being hailed as a leading authority on the whole world’s public schools!" BOB 9/28

    "this book has established its inexperienced author as a leading authority on the public schools of the entire world!" BOB 9/28

    "she is being actively promoted as an expert on the whole world’s public schools!" BOB 9/27

    "she has been anointed by U.S. elites as an authority on the whole world’s public schools!" BOB 9/27

    Problem is, when I use a search engine to search for Ripley using those terms, it seems nobody is calling Ripley that but BOB. Fortunately, he has done so with a frequency that, given his high web readership, you will probably soon be able to google "Ripley" and get "World Education Authority & Expert" as readily as you can google "Santorum" and get "Lube and Fecal Mix!"

    Coming Soon: Part 6 (Because despite the numerical label on this post, there are already 6 parts. Like our Polish, Finnish Immigrant, and American minority friends we do math with our fingers. We say this not as criticism of anyone's standardized test scores, but as a testament to traditional values in calculation in our digital world. Besides, we knew exactly where Premont, Texas was even when BOB was telling us we never heard of it and was treating it as a side trip.

    KZ (From Doom. Just an interstellar stones throw from Box 13)

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    1. "...the topic is, in fact, tedious..."

      >>> i find the topic especially tedious bc i dont remember ever learning anything in school. as anecdotal as it gets, granted.


      "...it was written by a journalist..."

      strike two.


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    2. Another chicken-shit "anonymous" who either is afraid or won't even bother to pick a unique name for his (her) comments. Go down to "Name/URL" you idiot and just pick a name so we can follow who's saying what. "Anonymous Idiot" would do. So would "Chicken Shit."

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    3. You are right putting KZ at the bottom makes me "afraid, chicken shit, or an idiot." From now on I shall put Urban Legend, Jr. at the bottom so you will know I learned your important lesson. Then I will be known to all. Just like you.

      Urban Legend, Jr. (Previously known as KZ)

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    4. keep up the good (gods) work kz. i dont presume to always follow the preeminent somerby scholars discourse, but like a dog, i sense the dominance of your presence via the ensuing hostilities to your arguments.

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  8. Finland has less than a 5% child poverty rate while the US's child poverty rate is 23%. Added to that, Finland has universal health care including dental, many other social services we can only dream about and free university education. So being "poor" in Finland is quite different from being poor in this country.

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    1. What if Finland's great teachers taught in U.S. Schools?

      If you want an interesting take on comparing education in the US to Finland, from somebody who IS promoted as an educational expert, and whose work appeared in the gawdawful Washngton Post with nary a mention from BOB in this whole series, check this out:

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/05/15/what-if-finlands-great-teachers-taught-in-u-s-schools-not-what-you-think/

      You'll find it appeared some time ago. Perhaps BOB did not see it. Or perhaps it didn't fit the narrative. We just don't know.

      We find it insightful, particularly the commentary on testing and teacher evaluation. But what do we know.
      We have better overall academic credentials than BOB, but nothing in the field of education. Wait. BOB has no academic credentials in education in either.

      Come to think of it, this AUTHORITY I link to says some pretty nasty things about pathways to classroom teaching used by some people we could name, but due to GUILD rules, are unable to do so.

      KZ

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    2. No academic credentials? Are you sure about that KZ? Bob has presented and disaggregated the data. Has the Washington Post performed this task?

      Delete
  9. OMB (PART 6 - BOB'S RIPLEY OR NOT)

    We would like to think BOB does a very thorough job in this post debunking the faulty analysis he courageously calls a scam through
    honest representation of "real fax and figgers" as they say in my parts.
    (We just don't know, lacking proper academic credentials).

    But scratching our thinning blond hair (which, being no longer youngish, we are thrilled to still possess) we wondered why he would start out like this. What follows are BOB's words and only BOB'S WORDS.

    "In the talented Ripley’s scam-ridden book, “the Polish miracle” (Ripley’s phrase) is said to be a miracle of improvement. But from 2003 to 2009, American students showed more improvement on the PISA’s three tests than Polish students did." BOB. (This post.)

    What follows are also BOB's words and mostly BOB's WORDS. Except we changed Ripley to BOB and altered the year of test references to fit the BOB quote above. Whenever a year is changed it is highlighted.

    "But we couldn’t help noting BOB’s rather peculiar time frame.

    BOB told us how much Poland improved from 2003 to 2009. But how odd! The most recent PISA test results come from 2009. Why didn’t BOB give us the full enjoyment which would inevitably result from making a full nine-year comparison?

    Perhaps you can guess at the answer! These are Poland’s average scores in reading over that nine-year period:

    Average score, Poland, PISA reading test
    2000: 479
    2003: 497
    2006: 508
    2009: 500

    Oops! The six-year gain was 29 points—but the nine-year gain was 21! With a “miracle” to sell, Ripley disappeared the drop in scores on the most recent test." BOB 9/26


    You see dear readers, just two little old posts ago BOB was chastising the scam artiste Ms. Ripley for leaving out data from 2009. He said nine years were needed. Now, just before asking you to believe his numbers on immigration, he starts this post doing exactly what he attacked Ms. Ripley for doing. Only this time, he didn't leave out the last year, he left out the first. Read the first paragraph I cut and pasted from BOB again.

    First, it isn't true on its face. From 2003 to 2009 the US did not show more improvement than Poland on all three PISA tests, just two out of three. The US gained two more points on one test, one point on another, but was one point behind Poland in gains on the third. (He left out those actual numbers also, but they and their absence are not significant.)

    But the bigger reason is that BOB scams with the best of them. By DISAPPEARING 2000 he loses the year Poland scored the lowest and the year in which US scores were even higher on reading and math than they were in 2009. It's a two-fer. He wipes out Poland's biggest gains and erases most of the US losses. Clever. Ripleyesque.

    Remember BOB's own words and ask, why were we "denied the full enjoyment which would inevitably result from making a full nine-year comparison?"

    Because the US would not have had larger gains than Poland on all three tests from 2000 to 2009. The US would have a lost 4 points in reading compared to Poland gaining 21. The US would have lost 6 points in math compared to Poland gaining 25. And the US would have gained only 3 points in science compared to Poland gaining 25. All of those differences are statistically significant. None of them back a single point BOB has been peddling.

    Sadly none of them were necessary to debunk Ripley's sorry book. In this post BOB says and shows she should have known the numbers on immigrants tested in Finland. BOB not only should have known the numbers on Poland, he did know them. He posted them two days earlier while chastising Ripley for fudging with them before he did the exact same thing himself.

    Hey guys! The Emperor has no clothes! I know because the old guy down the street mooning the parade told me so.

    KZ

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  10. Here's the gist of what Finnish educator Pasi Sahlberg says about teachers and poverty:

    "Among 29 wealthy countries, the United States landed second from the last in child poverty and held a similarly poor position in 'child life satisfaction.' Teachers alone, regardless of how effective they are, will not be able to overcome the challenges that poor children bring with them to schools everyday."

    Richard Rothstein cited this important research a decade ago:

    "Twenty years ago, Betty Hart and Todd Risley, two researchers from the University of Kansas, visited families from different social classes to monitor the conversations between parents and toddlers. Hart and Risley found that, on average, professional parents spoke more than 2,000 words per hour to their children, working-class parents spoke about 1,300, and welfare mothers spoke about 600. So by age 3, the children of professionals had vocabularies that were nearly 50 percent greater than those of working-class children and twice as large as those of welfare children."

    He added:
     
    "Deficits like these cannot be made up by schools alone, no matter how high the teachers' expectations."

    Amanda Ripley seems to think they can, and teachers should be held accountable for it.

    But what of Ripley's education? Cornell, whose founder said it was a place where “any person can find instruction is any study.” Any person, that is, with $45,238 (in-state) or $61618 (out-of-state).

    She attended the expensive, private Lawrenceville School. Current tuition is $53,320, but only $44,100 for day students. Hold on, that’s not all. Add in “a required medical fee of $755 for boarders and $470 for day students, and a technology fee of $465 for boarders and $315 for day students.” Parents also have to buy tuition refund insurance. The Lawrenceville School suggests the tuition is really a bargain because the “annual cost to educate a student at Lawrenceville is $70,000.”

    Its campus is 700 acres. It has its own golf course. It has a 56,000 sq.ft. science building, and a music center, and a visual arts center, and a history center. Multiple dorm buildings with their own dining halls. It has a field house that includes “a permanent banked 200-meter track and three tennis/basketball/volleyball courts.” But wait! That’s not all. There are also “Two additional hardwood basketball courts, a six-lane swimming pool, an indoor ice-hockey rink, a wrestling room, two fitness centers with full-time strength and conditioning coaches, and a training-wellness facility are housed in the wings of the building as well as a new squash court facility, hosting ten new internationally zoned courts, which opened in 2003.” Not exactly cheesy.

    So, what is education like at Lawrenceville? Small classes, “intimate...with a maximum of 12 students.” The guiding philosophy is one that “values discussion and debate.” Lawrenceville claims to help its students “develop high standards of character and scholarship” and “strong commitments to personal responsibility.

    I think Amanda Ripley’s own educational past indicates two things very clearly:

    1. She really has no idea what she’s talking about when it comes to public education, and “reform.” She’s a charlatan. An impostor. A poser.

    2. EIther Ripley was a poor student at Lawrenceville, or she didn’t get her money’s worth.





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  11. Dear Bob,

    I have enjoyed your style of righteous attack writing in the past, but now that I am the subject of your rage, I am a little bummed out by how many mistakes you are making.

    Your understanding of PISA is uneven, but I can forgive that, since the data is complex. (For example, the OECD concluded that the 2009 sample of Finnish immigrant students was too small to be statistically significant. However, the country intentionally oversampled immigrant students in 2012, so we will be able to see the gap more clearly when those results are released later this year.)

    But other mistakes are more surprising. For example, I started writing about education in 2008, which is when this Time cover story on Michelle Rhee ran (cited in the bibliography and available on Time.com). So in the future, please attack me for covering education for 5 years, not 3. http://content.time.com/time/subscriber/article/0,33009,1862444,00.html

    As for the "Dance of Nations" graphic, Finland does not have meaningful test data going back to the 1950s, alas. Why? Back then, Finland had only a 10% high school graduation rate. Most kids left school after 6th or 7th grade (see Pasi Sahlberg, FINNISH LESSONS, p. 15). Going from a 10% high school graduation rate to a 90% rate in half a century seems to qualify as a rocket trip, wouldn't you say?

    I could go on, but I'm out of time. Let the attacks resume!

    Amanda Ripley

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    1. Oh, the data is complex. Is that complexity spread evenly? I would also suggest that writing about education and being an educator are not the same thing. I can write about flying a plane. but I am not a pilot.

      Your arrogance offends me and my profession. How dare you call yourself an educational expert. You haven't made education children you life'e pursuit. You haven't given the blood, sweat and tears to enter the teaching profession. You are not tasked with educating and helping to raise other people's children. You are a writer, who sometimes is charged with writing about education.

      You have been exposed Ms. Ripley. You cherry picked, or outright hid, the data which didn't confirm the preconceived narrative presented in your text. Don't whine we caught. You have been well compensated for the garbage produced. Take the blood money and run. Leave it up to us "real" education experts to clean up your mess.

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    2. I don't think writing a cover article about Michelle Rhee counts as being an education writer or "covering" education. If there were two years between that article and the next one about education, we cannot assume they were spent studying education issues, so how does that count as 5 years of experience instead of 3?

      Calling Bob arrogant without refuting his points -- just saying time doesn't permit -- doesn't rehabilitate you from his criticisms. It makes you appear even more of a dilletante. Your rebuttals should have been at the tips of your fingers were you actually expert in any of this stuff. Of course you are angry about being criticized (attacked is the wrong word), but anyone would be, right or wrong. Real experts defend themselves with facts, not complaints.

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    3. The "Talented" Ms Ripley,

      TDH has accused you of the only thing in journalism worse than plagiarism -- deliberately lying. In particular, about the successful way in which Finns educate immigrants. This is an attack on your honesty, integrity, and worth as a journalist.

      And what's your response? A complaint that you weren't given enough credit for time spent covering education, and an irrelevant note on the increase in Finnish graduation rate over the last 60 years. And then you gotta dash 'cause you're out of time?

      Unlike Teacher1, I don't think one needs to be able to play the violin to figure out the difference between Itzhak Perlman and Henny Youngman. And unlike TDH, I don't really care how much time you've spent in the trenches. I care if you're telling me the truth. Did you write an uplifting novel about the caring and nurturing Finnish way of teaching their immigrants and then fail to note that test scores don' t fit that rosy picture? If so, then you need to slink away and find another profession. If not so, I'd think you'd take all the time and space you need to rebut such charges.

      Your response is as inadequate as it is contemptible.

      Delete
    4. Concerning the above 3 rebuttals, detailed and to the point though they were, if you decode her response, it's no more than a "look over there at that" while she flips you the bird because she really doesn't care. She's the new deformer distracting, dancing under the big mirror ball at the party of money.

      Delete
    5. Lindy: "Calling Bob arrogant without refuting his points ...."

      Read comp fail while commenting on a education post - PRICELESS!

      Delete
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