The gaps and rank indifference: In this morning's New York Times, David Leonhardt handles the gaps.
Rather, he praises New Orleans for the way it has handled the gaps. In the wake of Katrina, the city turned to charter schools. Leonhardt tells us how that has turned out—and he makes a gross misstatement:
LEONHARDT (7/16/18): New Orleans is a great case study partly because it avoids many of the ambiguities of other education reform efforts. The charters here educate almost all public-school students, so they can’t cherry pick. And the students are overwhelmingly black and low-income—even lower-income than before Katrina—so gentrification isn’t a factor.That's the way the text appears in today's hard-copy Times. Tomorrow, we'll cite an additional claim made in the column online.
Yet the academic progress has been remarkable.
Performance on every kind of standardized test has surged. Before the storm, New Orleans students scored far below the Louisiana average on reading, math, science and social studies. Today, they hover near the state average.
We support the sensible use of charters. We even support the sensible widespread use of charters, where such widespread use can be done in a sensible manner.
That said, what has happened in New Orleans? Like Leonhardt, we aren't sure.
In large part, that's because the New Orleans schools haven't surged "on every kind of standardized test." More specifically, New Orleans hasn't surged on our one reliable testing program, because it hasn't chosen to participate in those tests.
We refer, of course, to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (the Naep), the widely-hailed "gold standard" of domestic educational testing.
As of 2017, twenty-two urban districts were participating in the Naep's Trial Urban District Program (the Tuda). The Tuda records the achievement and the progress of those urban systems.
New York City participates in the Tuda. So do Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston, Boston, Atlanta, Washington D.C. and fifteen other city systems.
New Orleans has never participated. Because we read the New York Times, we have no idea why.
Has Leonhardt ever heard of the Naep? Has he ever heard of the Tuda? Because he lounges about at the Times, you shouldn't assume that he has.
Do you have to be mired in rank indifference to publish columns like this? We can't answer your thoughtful question, but the foppish Times has played it this way for roughly the past million years.
Tomorrow: A profile of rank indifference