MONDAY, MAY 22, 2023
Miracles claimed and ignored: It was the most unlikely Morning Joe discussion of all time.
The discussion lasted less than two minutes. Last Thursday morning, at 6:46, it started exactly like this:
SCARBOROUGH (5/18/23): I want to talk really quickly, before we go to break...
He wanted to discuss a new topic "really quickly." Promises made, promises kept!
These are the kids we don't care about. Joe's statement continued as shown:
SCARBOROUGH: I want to talk really quickly, before we go to break, about reading in Mississippi and Alabama.
I mean, you know, Mississippi—two states I love, two states I've lived in. Two states when I hear we're 49th in this, 50th in that, I roll my eyes.
Did you read about the "Mississippi miracle" yesterday? That Mississippi's reading scores have shot way up?
OFF-CAMERA GUEST: Yeah.
OFF-CAMERA GUEST: Yes.
SCARBOROUGH: The Alabama miracle? It's so heartening, and maybe offers a road map for other areas in states that may be doing better but where there are pockets of illiteracy, to do better.
In fact, there was no claim of an "Alabama miracle," heartening or otherwise, in the news report in question. At issue was a lengthy AP report, whose headline offered this:
‘Mississippi miracle’: Kids’ reading scores have soared in Deep South states
The AP report was written by Sharon Lurye. Wisely or otherwise, it posited a "Mississippi miracle," but none in some other state.
The AP report was widely reprinted. As you can see, it was reprinted by the PBS NewsHour. It was also reprinted within the (online) Washington Post, where it was strangely categorized as a Lifestyle report.
It dealt with Grade 4 reading scores in last year's administration of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (Naep), the federally-run program which is widely regarded as the gold standard of our nation's educational testing.
Last year, the Naep was administered for the first time since the pandemic disrupted many public schooling procedures. In Grade 4 reading, Mississippi had (slightly) outperformed the national average. Alabama had not.
In fairness, Alabama's public school kids were less than half a year behind the national average in Grade 4 reading. On Morning Joe, that became the "Alabama miracle" as the topic was (very) briefly discussed before a commercial break.
Our posting will be light this week, but we'll focus on this topic. To some extent, we'll talk about the AP report, and about those new Naep scores.
For today, we'll start you off with an extremely basic observation. No one actually cares about the topic which was so briefly discussed last Thursday. Also, no one cares about the kids involved, or about their parents.
On Morning Joe, the discussion began at 6:46. It ended at 6:47. As we've told you for many years:
No one cares about low-income kids, especially within our own tribe!
Tomorrow: Let's take a look at the data