Concerning those international scores, Motoko Rich gets it right!


Next time, let’s get it righter: How often do we get to praise the New York Times’ education reporting?

Don’t answer that question! But this morning, Motoko Rich got it right. Some fine day, it would be great if the Times got it even righter!

Rich reports on the spreading hub-bub about the switch by many states to the new, more challenging “Common Core standards.” She discussed the recent, major confusion which has surrounded this shift in some benighted locations.

Like in the state of New York!

She doesn’t note that her own newspaper’s gruesome reporting has massively added to this confusion. But so what? No reporter is perfect!

This is the passage our analysts praised. Next time, we’ll like to see much more detail:
RICH (8/16/13): According to a report from the Center on Education Policy at George Washington University, teachers in 30 states are already teaching some lessons based on the [new Common Core] standards. But only 10 states reported that more than three-quarters of teachers had received any Common Core training in the most recent school year.

Supporters of the new standards say critics are too impatient.

“It’s going to take time, and it’s going to take a lot of work,” said David Driscoll, former commissioner of education in Massachusetts, which raised its own standards in the late 1990s and faced a falloff in state test scores before seeing them steadily climb. Today, Massachusetts leads the country in scores on exams administered by the federal Department of Education and ranks close to some countries frequently cited as world leaders in academic performance.
Can Motoko Rich say that? Are American journalists allowed to say things like that?

Presumably, Rich is referring to the performance by Massachusetts students on the 2011 TIMSS and PIRLS international tests. To cite one example, Massachusetts kids cleaned Finland’s clock in eighth grade math on the TIMSS. And every journalist knows that he or she is expected to say that Finland’s schools are the greatest schools ever devised on the planet.

Finland is tops! It’s been memorized!

The press corps has driven tons of negative propaganda about performance by American students on international tests. The New York Times should have done a detailed reported set of reports on this topic long ago.

This morning, we were amazed, and pleased, to see Rich make an accurate statement about the strong performance of some American students. This is virtually never done.

We weren’t entirely sure of this sort of thing was even allowed. Breaking every rule in the book, Motoko Rich got it right!

Bay State black kids outscored Finland too: On that eighth-grade math test, black kids in Massachusetts outscored Finland too (though not by much).

We don’t mean they outscored Finland’s black kids, of whom there are about six. We mean they outscored the whole country!

That was very good news. Why knows? Maybe the mainstream press will decide one day that American citizens have a right to hear such news.

This morning, Rich took a step in the right direction. Defiantly citing a bit of good news, Motoko Rich got it right!


  1. Golly Sarge, praising the NY Times for both healthcare and education reporting in the same week, wow.

    While these good articles take up very little of the overall NY Times word count, it is refreshing and impressive that TDH gives credit where it's due here. This demonstrates more fair-mindedness than I would have expected and will give more strength and credibility to future, far harsher reviews of the Times' coverage.

    1. Well, if you call Potemkin and Pulseless praise, yeah I guess you can say there have been two.

    2. "will give more strength and credibility to future, far harsher reviews of the Times' coverage"

      Coverage which doubtless will be Troll'd and Poo Poo'd upon notwithstanding...

    3. "Coverage which doubtless will be Troll'd and Poo Poo'd upon notwithstanding..."

      >>> hey, what about me?

  2. Did the Bay State's black kids outscore Maureen Dowd?