What's the matter with standards: Doggone it! The Naep Data Explorer is down. That means we can't gather data for the report we'd planned to offer today.
No sense in letting the day go to waste! Let's review what Arne Duncan recently said about higher "learning standards."
On April 2, Duncan published a shocking op-ed column in the Washington Post. Amazingly, he noted the fact that American kids have shown large score gains in reading and math over the past forty-plus years.
Why was Duncan's column shocking? Rather plainly, there has been some sort of long-running agreement in which elites agreed that we the people mustn't be told such things.
To all intents and purposes, major newspapers like the Post and the Times have never reported the basic facts about these large score gains. Instead, they have promulgated propaganda favored by "education reformers," according to which nothing has worked, and nothing is working, in our public schools.
Our public schools could be better, of course. That said, our major newspapers could be much better—though in fairness, promulgation of elite propaganda of this type is their one great skill.
At any rate, there was Duncan on April 2, suddenly breaking the news—"today's kids perform as much as 2 1/2 grades higher than their counterparts from ." Luckily, no one reads op-ed columns by people like Duncan. Otherwise, citizens might have died of shock all across the land.
Why did Duncan wrote this column? We've already offered our best guess. Today, let's consider something else he said.
These score gains didn't happen by accident, Duncan said. He said the score gains have been achieved because of—what else?—education reform!
As we'll recall below, a fair amount of what Duncan wrote didn't make sense on a simple chronological basis. But for the record, here's part of what he said:
DUNCAN (4/2/18): None of our progress happened because we stood still. It happened because we confronted hard truths, raised the bar and tried new things. Beginning in 2002, federal law required annual assessments tied to transparency. The law forced educators to acknowledge achievement gaps, even if they didn't always have the courage or capacity to address them.According to Duncan, the score gains happened because "we raised the bar."
A decade ago, learning standards were all over the place. Today, almost every state has raised standards. The percentage of high school students taking college-level classes has tripled since 1990.
Not long ago, something called "learning standards" were "all over the place," Duncan wrote. By now, he said, "almost every state has raised standards."
How about it! Did those score gains occur because almost every state "has raised standards?" Please! In his column, Duncan tracked the score gains to 1971. He also said the "higher standards" started ten years ago.
So it goes when you read the work of major liberal "intellectual leaders." That said, what does Duncan mean by the term "learning standards," and how have they supposedly been improved?
By "learning standards," he simply means the various learnings and skills a student is supposed to master by the end of some specific grade. When he says that learning standards "were all over the place" ten years ago, he means that the various states had a wide array of such curricular "standards"—that these grade-by-grade curricular standards were different for every state.
That's what he means when he says that standards were "all over the place." When he says that every state "has raised standards" in the past decade, he means that kids are now expected to master more challenging material by the end of the different grades than was the case in the past.
Already, you've noticed another non sequitur! If learning standards were all over the place; and if every state proceeded to raise its learning standards; then why wouldn't learning standards still be "all over the place," except at a higher level?
You're asking a very good question! Again, you see the kind of service we get from our "intellectual leaders."
That said, it always sounds good to say that every state has "raised its learning standards." What could possibly be wrong with having "higher standards?" The question seems to answer itself!
In fact, there may be plenty wrong with having higher / tougher / more challenging standards. It all depends on who the student is.
Beyond that, it isn't clear that it makes sense to have grade-by-grade "learning standards" at all. In fact, we'd say it rather plainly doesn't make sense.
Tomorrow, if the Naep Date Explorer is up, we'll explain what we mean. Through the use of some horrific data, we'll show you why it doesn't make sense to have grade-by-grade "learning standards" at all.
Duncan reported some highly important basic facts—basic facts which have always been kept from public view. Since no one actually cares about any of this, you've seen his information mentioned nowhere else in the seventeen days since his column appeared.
Beyond that, Duncan made some incoherent remarks about those "learning standards." His statements sounded extremely good.
In fact, his statements made very little sense. Obama! Thanks a lot!
Tomorrow: Strong logic, horrific data