Fails to pursue basic questions: Yesterday was a very rare day at the New York Times’ Sunday Review.
Don’t misunderstand! The section featured its usual frippery from Maureen Dowd. In her column, Dowd was concerned about the insults the dumbasses dish at each other on Comedy Central’s roasts.
(Can we talk? They do this to garner minimal ratings from the rest of nation’s dumbasses.)
We’ll put Dowd alongside Ta-Nehisi Coates, who is concerned about the insulting things NFL players say to each other, in a situation where it’s very hard to know what’s going on.
Dowd is concerned about Sarah Silverman. Coates is concerned about Jonathan Martin. Meanwhile, in a stunning development, Nicholas Kristof was concerned about tens of millions of low-income kids! On page one of the Sunday Review!
Repeat: he was concerned about low-income kids! No NFL millionaires or cable stars seemed to be involved!
Warning! Kristof is too inclined to believe the things he’s told by the “education experts.” In her new book, Reign of Error, Diane Ravitch tackles one of Kristof’s long-running themes about low-income schools, without naming Kristof himself.
We’ve wondered about the point in question for years. We look forward to covering that material in the next few weeks.
Kristof tends to be a bit credulous, possibly somewhat lazy. That said, his front-page piece concerned itself with millions of actual kids who live in the real world.
Kristof started like this, writing from deepest red Tulsa:
KRISTOF (11/11/13): Liberals don’t expect Oklahoma to serve as a model of social policy. But, astonishingly, we can see in this reddest of red states a terrific example of what the United States can achieve in early education.How do our nation’s “achievement gaps” get so large? How do so many low-income kids get so far behind?
Every 4-year-old in Oklahoma gets free access to a year of high-quality prekindergarten. Even younger children from disadvantaged homes often get access to full-day, year-round nursery school, and some families get home visits to coach parents on reading and talking more to their children.
The aim is to break the cycle of poverty, which is about so much more than a lack of money. Take two girls, ages 3 and 4, I met here in one Tulsa school. Their great-grandmother had her first child at 13. The grandmother had her first at 15. The mom had her first by 13, born with drugs in his system, and she now has four children by three fathers.
But these two girls, thriving in a preschool, may break that cycle. Their stepgreat-grandmother, Patricia Ann Gaines, is raising them and getting coaching from the school on how to read to them frequently, and she is determined to see them reach the middle class.
In his column, Kristof describes the process as it’s commonly understood. He’s even willing to discuss the way children are raised in their homes:
KRISTOF: Research suggests that high-poverty parents, some of them stressed-out kids themselves, don’t always “attach” to their children or read or speak to them frequently. One well-known study found that a child of professionals hears 30 million more words by the age of 4 than a child on welfare.White liberals won’t talk about this—too scary! It sounds so racist, to discuss the way low-income parents may interact with their kids!
So the idea is that even the poorest child in Oklahoma should have access to the kind of nurturing that is routine in middle-class homes. That way, impoverished children don’t begin elementary school far behind the starting line—and then give up.
President Obama called in his State of the Union address this year for a nationwide early education program like this, for mountains of research suggests that early childhood initiatives are the best way to chip away at inequality and reduce the toll of crime, drugs and educational failure.
At Salon, someone might drop an R-bomb on our precious little heads! Our solution? We ignore low-income kids altogether! We focus on piddle instead!
That said, how well are Oklahoma’s programs actually working? “Teachers, administrators and outside evaluators agree that students who go through the preschool program end up about half a year ahead of where they would be otherwise,” Kristof writes in his piece.
As noted, Kristof is inclined to put too much faith in the things such people tell him. Did he examine basic NAEP scores before deciding to believe the various things he was told?
According to Kristof, Oklahoma passed a law in 1998 providing free access to prekindergarten for all 4-year-olds. The state also “provides more limited support for needy children 3 and under.” Those sound like good things to do.
That said, here’s the problem:
When it comes to basic skills, Oklahoma is a very low-performing state. And not only that! On this year’s NAEP, its relative standing is far below where it was in 1998.
On the NAEP, its white, black and Hispanic kids all scored near the bottom of the nation in reading and math this year, at Grade 4 and Grade 8. Next door, Texas kids scored very high. Oklahoma kids scored near the bottom.
We checked the state’s progress since 1998, when the preschool program went into effect. Since that year, Oklahoma’s black kids have lost large amounts of ground in reading and math, Grade 4 and Grade 8, when compared to the rest of the nation’s black kids. White kids in Oklahoma have lost a lot of ground too.
(It’s amazingly easy to check these facts; for all NAEP scores, start here. Among the nation’s “journalists,” this sort of thing isn’t done.)
Judging from our most reliable testing data, something hasn’t been working in Oklahoma. The preschool programs may be fine. If so, something seems to be misfiring somewhere else.
In his column, there is no sign that Kristof fact-checked any of this or asked anyone about it. Kristof tends to do things this way.
Noble intentions to the side, he gets a failing grade too.
The lack of the ability to identify a statistical measure of lasting improvement in student performance in the Oklahoma pre school program is consistent with the failure to identify a statistically significant long term improvement in students who participate in Head Start.ReplyDelete
I take it, then, that you would agree that there has been success in identifying significant short term improvement in students who participate in Head Start. You shall now be pleased to hear about these long term benefits found to result for Head Start students, and society-at-large, by researchers at the National Bureau of Economic Research:Delete
[QUOTE]>>>>>Previous research suggests that Head Start improves early test scores but that these improvements tend to "fade out" by third grade. It is possible however, that Head Start could improve long-term outcomes even if it did not increase test scores, since success in life generally reflects more than cognitive ability. Little evidence has been available on this important question, however, because previous studies have not followed Head Start children long enough to assess long-term effects.
In Longer Term Effects of Head Start (NBER Working Paper No. 8054), authors Eliana Garces, Duncan Thomas, and Janet Currie find that Head Start generates long-term improvements in important outcomes such as schooling attainment, earnings, and crime reduction. They find that disadvantaged whites who had been enrolled in Head Start were more likely to graduate from high school and to have attended college than siblings who did not. White children of high school dropouts also had higher average earnings between the ages of 23 and 25 if they attended Head Start. African-Americans who attended Head Start were "significantly less likely to have been booked or charged with a crime" compared to siblings who did not participate in Head Start. Finally, the authors find that male African-Americans were more likely to complete high school and to participate in the labor force if they had attended Head Start.<<<<<[END QUOTE]
Universal preschool might be great, and maybe we should all support it, but my sense is liberal ed reformers are all pushing it because they're desperate to find some way to distinguish their approach from that of conservative ed reformers.ReplyDelete
Because there really isn't a dime's worth of difference between the two camps and that makes the liberals uncomfortable.
One important difference is that liberal reformers don't tend to see teachers and their unions as the problem. Another is that liberals tend to believe that adequate funding, small class sizes and investment in school infrastructures and resources are important whereas conservative ed reformers believe that improvement has little to do with spending on education. Third, liberal reformers are dubious of the role of educational corporations in improving education. Conservatives tend to think that if corporations are allowed into the classroom that economies and efficiencies will result as well as profits. Fourth, liberal reformers believe that there is a knowledge and skill base to teaching and that training, mentoring, and supporting the professional development of teachers is important. Conservative reformers believe that if you recruit smart, well-meaning graduates of Ivy league colleges and place them in the classroom (after 5 weeks of confidence building exercises), they can do just as well as a seasoned teacher. Fifth, liberal do not see the main goal of education as job training. Conservatives believe that the schools' main job is preparing the workforce and that business should be closely involved in decisions about how to best do that. Sixth, liberals see the educational system as serving a broad range of social needs, from public health education to citizenship and social skills training. Conservatives see education as providing just the basics while leaving everything else to parents.Delete
But I know you are just another mean-spirited troll and don't really believe what you said -- just trying to get a rise out of someone like me. Even so, it may be worth answering because others may not understand these distinctions.
Bob, can you please ban these trolls?
"One important difference is that liberal reformers don't tend to see teachers and their unions as the problem. Another is that liberals tend to believe that adequate funding, small class sizes and investment in school infrastructures and resources are important whereas conservative ed reformers believe that improvement has little to do with spending on education. Third, liberal reformers are dubious of the role of educational corporations in improving education."Delete
I respectfully disagree. This may be what liberals believe but (allegedly) liberal or Democratic politicians believe none of these things, because they all back the entire conservative agenda on public schools.
I believe you as to "liberals", in theory, but IN PRACTICE there is no difference.
Either liberals aren't very powerful or liberals don't know what their elected politicians are doing to public schools.
This comment has been removed by the author.ReplyDelete
Bob, this is terrific, just terrific.ReplyDelete
White liberals won’t talk about this—too scary! It sounds so racist, to discuss the way low-income parents may interact with their kids!ReplyDelete
Kristof claims to have insight into the way "welfare" parents interact with their children and he thinks the way parents interact with their kids in their homes is somehow relevant to achievement gaps. What a reactionary moron.
As a veteran journalist, Kristof knows the rule: Check it and lose it.ReplyDelete
OMB (How do the inexperienced get hired?)ReplyDelete
"According to Kristof, Oklahoma passed a law in 1998 providing free access to prekindergarten for all 4-year-olds. The state also “provides more limited support for needy children 3 and under.” Those sound like good things to do.
That said, here’s the problem:
When it comes to basic skills, Oklahoma is a very low-performing state. And not only that! On this year’s NAEP, its relative standing is far below where it was in 1998."
Poor BOB. According to a big fan his commenters are too stupid for him to bother to read. Which leads him to write something so idiotic that even after a half a day on the net, nobody bothered to point out the little boy screaming about naked emperors and idiotic young women hired as education reporters is exactly what he says everyone else is.
BOB. If they passed the law in 1998, the first group of kids that could have taken advantage if it would have started school in Fall, 1999. That means the first kids you could begin to see any progress on were those who took 4th grade NAEP tests in 2005. Eighth graders who benefited from the law would have taken their first test in 2009. So the base year of comparison should be 2003.
That said, here's the problem.....
Next time BOB covers this: We'll tell his fans, who obviously didn't notice. Those readers who are not part of TribeBOB may have already figured out what the problem is. Yes, it has something to do with BOB's version of the miracle US win over Poland.
"If they passed the law in 1998, the first group of kids that could have taken advantage if it would have started school in Fall, 1999. That means the first kids you could begin to see any progress on were those who took 4th grade NAEP tests in 2005. Eighth graders who benefited from the law would have taken their first test in 2009. So the base year of comparison should be 2003.”ReplyDelete
Sorry, KZ, maybe it’s the cold medicine I’m on, but I’m not seeing your point. If you are arguing that the program has been successful, but you could only see that if you take 2003 as the base year rather than 1998, are you saying that scores have probably dropped substantially over those five years, so that even though current scores are lower than in 1998, they are higher than in 2003?
What is the likely cause of or evidence for such a drop?
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