Starting tomorrow, A Mississippi muddle: American teens outperformed from their counterparts from the vast majority of the world's nations on last year's Pisa reading test.
Indeed, if they were viewed as separate nations unto themselves, our nation's white and Asian-American kids would have rated as the highest-scoring nations in the world!
Those are remarkable facts. That said, you would have had no awareness of any such facts in reading the recent news reports on the new Pisa scores in the Washington Post and the New York Times.
In accord with standard practice, the high-profile reports in those upper-end papers were conventionally gloomy. The reports were driven by factual claims which were grossly misleading and were sometimes flatly wrong.
So it has gone, for decades now, as our upper-end newspapers attempt to report, or pretend to report, on our nation's public schools and the children within them. Below, you see links to last week's reports from the "Standard Reporting on Standardized Tests" file:
Tuesday, December 10: You got to choose between gloomy and wrong! The Times and Post toyed with the PISA.Tomorrow, we'll start a new set of reports on a related topic. Our reports will deal with striking score gains in the state of Mississippi, and with the peculiar reporting of same.
Wednesday, December 11: American kids were outscored by Macau! With other deceptions and trivia.
Thursday, December 12: (Some) American kids are the best in the world! The problem we all choose to ignore.
Friday, December 13: The Times ignores the nation's black kids! The problem we all disappear.
Here's the basic background:
Over the past ten years, Mississippi's fourth graders have recorded large score gains on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (Naep), the widely-praised "gold standard" of domestic educational testing.
The upper-end press corps has long made a point of refusing to report the large nationwide score gains recorded on the Naep over the past fifty years. In this recent opinion column, the New York Times inched toward breaking the code of silence which has long held that such score gains must never be reported or discussed.
That said, the recent column in the Times displays the peculiar ways test scores get reported and analyzed in the American press. Our press corps works on second-grade level even when it tries to deal with such basic statistics.
Mississippi's Naep scores have gone up in the past ten years—even more than that column reports! What lies behind these large score gains?
It's a true Mississippi muddle. Our reports begin tomorrow.
The opinion column in question: Far be it from the New York Times to report score gains like these in an actual news report! The opinion column to which we refer appears beneath these headlines:
There Is a Right Way to Teach Reading, and Mississippi Knows ItThe statewide score gains in question are real. Indeed, the score gains go far beyond what that column reports.
The state’s reliance on cognitive science explains why.
There's a lot to unpack in this puzzling muddle. We'll get started tomorrow.
A final observation: You'll see these topics discussed here and nowhere else. You'll see no one report or discuss the basic data from the Pisa which we presented last week.
The reason for this is blindingly obvious. No one actually cares about any of this—not Trump, not Rachel or Lawrence. When it comes to reporting on our public schools, it's fictitions all the way down.
It's preferred elite narrative all the way down. That isn't going to change. U.S. teens outscored the bulk of the world?
You aren't encouraged to know that.