In search of the source of those score gains: Before we say another word, let's repeat the important points we stated on Monday.
We commented on the opening paragraphs of Arne Duncan's op-ed column in the Washington Post. Those paragraphs appear below, hard-copy headline included:
DUNCAN (4/2/18): Don't believe the education naysayersSay what? According to Duncan, American public school students, in both grade levels tested by the Naep, are scoring several years ahead of their predecessors in math.
Lately, a lot of people in Washington are saying that education reform hasn’t worked very well. Don’t believe it.
Since 1971, fourth-grade reading and math scores are up 13 points and 25 points, respectively. Eighth-grade reading and math scores are up eight points and 19 points, respectively. Every 10 points equates to about a year of learning, and much of the gains have been driven by students of color.
It should be noted that the student population is relatively poorer and considerably more diverse than in 1971. So, while today’s kids bring more learning challenges, they perform as much as 2½ grades higher than their counterparts from half a century ago.
On Monday, we stated a pair of basic points about this startling new revelation. They help define our semi-Stalinist, idiocratic new world.
First point: This may be the first time this basic information has appeared in the Washington Post or the New York Times. The airbrushing of such basic information represents a major journalistic scandal—a Stalinistic scandal so vast that it begs for an explanation.
It isn't likely that you'll ever see any such explanation. Based on past experience, it's more likely that you'll never see this basic information reported again.
Here's a second point: It isn't just that you've never seen this information in the Post and the Times. You've also never been told about any of this by your favorite corporate liberals!
Rachel hasn't told you about this; neither have Chris or Lawrence. As far as we know, you haven't even been about this by Jonathan Chait!
As public schools and public school teachers have been trashed by advocates of "reform," your favorite multimillionaire liberal stars have kept their pretty traps shut. Why do you think our corporate stars have done that? Why do you think that is?
Everything we've told you so far represents a scandal. Having said that, let's also say this—unless we're mistaken, there's someone else who's never made any special effort to pass this information along. That person is Arne Duncan!
At the start of Monday's column, Duncan warns you about "the education naysayers," to borrow the language of the headline atop his column.
Is Arne Duncan one of those people? Under Obama, he was education secretary for almost seven years. Did he call attention to the long-standing test score gains which he seems to treat, in this column, as an important fact?
We don't know the answer to that. We're leaning toward a no.
We've been trumpeting those test score gains for over a dozen years now. Kevin Drum excepted, have you seen a single "career liberal" journalist respond to the long-standing war against public school teachers by citing these basic statistics?
(In fact, the score gains are even larger than Duncan's presentation suggests. We'll discuss this point, for the ten millionth time, before we're done with his column.)
Major journalists (and activists!) have kept their traps shut about these score gains down through the many long years. Therein lies a major journalistic scandal—further evidence of the fact that you live 1) under a reign or "manufactured consent" and 2) within a full-fledged idiocracy.
Today, let's raise a question for further review. Let's look again at Duncan's opening paragraph:
"Lately, a lot of people in Washington are saying that education reform hasn’t worked very well. Don’t believe it."
In that passage, Duncan suggests that "education reform" deserves credit for those score gains. Later, he basically makes a plain assertion to that effect.
Does that claim seem to be accurate? Does it even seem to make sense?
Tomorrow, let's move ahead to those questions. Does Duncan's cheerleading for "education reform" even make basic sense?