In the Post, Whitmire says yes: Are children in D.C.’s public schools learning more than they did in the past?
Have their reading skills advanced? Do today’s students know more math than their counterparts from earlier years?
That’s the way it looks on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, even after disaggregation. But uh-oh! Because we liberals know as a matter of faith that such things cannot be true, Valerie Strauss invented a set of ridiculous claims to explain the score gains away.
To examine Strauss' claims, click this. As always, Diane Ravitch went farther (same link), stating that D.C. is “the lowest performing urban district in the nation.”
Plainly, that isn’t the case—but who cares? In this age of propagandization, our leaders, including our “liberal” leaders, are going to tell us various things which simply aren’t true.
What explains the score gains in D.C.? We can’t tell you that.
Do the score gains reflect additional learning and skill? On its face, that would be one obvious explanation.
Richard Whitmire believes that explanation. He believes that kids in D.C. actually are learning more. He believes they’re learning more because their schools are improved.
We don’t know enough about D.C. schools to evaluate his claims. But here’s how he started his explanation in last Sunday’s Washington Post:
WHITMIRE: (12/22/13): Allow me to flesh out this story. The first thing to know is that the rapid progress in Washington can be attributed to three school chiefs. Everyone knows about Kaya Henderson, the D.C. schools chancellor, who is so widely admired that she was approached about taking over the New York City schools. Henderson is the kinder, gentler version of controversial former chancellor Michelle Rhee. As a Rhee deputy, Henderson relentlessly championed improving teacher quality. She hasn’t changed.According to Whitmire, the lesser-known Pearson has gotten rid of a bunch of lousy charters.
Then there’s the lesser-known Scott Pearson, who oversees the city’s charter schools, which educate 44 percent of the city’s students. The important thing to know about Pearson: He has relentlessly cleaned up the mess left by the old school board, which approved too many lousy charters. Thanks to his clear accountability system ranking the effectiveness of schools, and his efforts to lure top performers, the District has moved to the top ranks of charter school innovators.
Is that true? Does it help explain the recent score gains? We don’t know. Nor will you ever see our “liberal” leaders trying to break the wall of propaganda by exploring such claims in a responsible manner. In this age of propaganda, people like Ravitch and Strauss will hand you bogus facts and ridiculous logic, playing the public in the same ways Rush Limbaugh has done in the past.
Back to Whitmire. According to his piece in the Post, “the third key player is Susan Schaeffler,” who “oversees the network of KIPP charter schools in the city, a system that has grown from 80 fifth-graders in 2001 to 3,600 students in neighborhoods that include Anacostia, Shaw and Trinidad.”
“Together, these three leaders have dug the D.C. schools out of a very deep hole,” Whitmire claims.
Is that true? We don’t know—and your various liberal leaders won’t try to help you find out. We live in an age of propaganda, an age of blatantly bogus claims and blatantly broken logic.
A few years ago, Whitmire was a highly sycophantic biographer of Michelle Rhee. We thought his work at that time was quite bad. Concerning last Sunday’s claims, he may be right.
But you will see few attempts to examine and analyze D.C.’s score gains in conventional ways. Instead, the propaganda and bogus claims will continue to flow.
Two cases in point, one from each side of the aisle:
On Friday, the Post published this op-ed column by Margaret Spellings, the former Bush education chief. Assuming even minimal competence, Spellings was clownishly cherry-picking her data—and the Post let her do it.
Due to its deceptive claims, her piece should not have appeared.
On Thursday, NPR’s Morning Edition aired this interview with Linda Darling-Hammond, the Stanford professor. The interview came straight from the land called Low IQ Nation, thanks in large measure to the work of Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep, who simply accepted everything his guest said.
Darling-Hammond made some puzzling claims and presentations. Inskeep should have pursued them.
Next week, we’ll examine the column by Spellings and the interview with Darling-Hammond. We live in a truly remarkable world, a world of bungled factual claims and thoroughly bogus illogic.
Does anyone care about the truth? Evidence of such a concern is rather hard to find, especially among the very fine people arrayed on the pseudo left.
Our leaders are all Rush Limbaugh now. We serve as their ditto-heads.
Another puzzling example: Did you see this letter from Randi Weingarten? Next week, we’ll examine it too.
We live in very strange times. We don’t mean that as a compliment.