It's teacher hunting season!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

NYC Parents Blog makes case: Times is biased for Bloomberg

The New York Times is doing inadequate reporting on public education in New York City. It is the equivalent of printing press releases. It doesn't quote critics; it only quotes administration employees or consultants in the pay of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration. No interviews with Leonie Haimson, Robert Jackson, Norm Scott, James Eterno or Betsy Combier.

These tests are bogus. Here's how the principals, city fix them:
1) Scrub the tests; schools grade their own tests. They should be graded outside the city.
2) Push the weak students out of being allowed into the test.
3) The tests are watered down and below grade level.

Graduation rates are not credible. The administration uses guidance counselors to weed the weaker students out of the regular population. This masks the drop-out rates. Here's a simple, but realistic assessment of the graduation rates: have state agency track the number of students entering ninth grade, and track them to 12th grade. Read Jennifer Jennings' report on graduation rates under Bloomberg and Chancellor Joel Klein; the city's public advocate office published the report on its site.

On June 12 Elizabeth Green analyzed the math scores, beyond the hype, at Gotham Schools, citing a June 7 Daily News report, "State math exam scores have risen - but it's because tests have gotten easier" (albeit a newspaper which is biased, but less biased for the mayor). Green reproduced graphics of math tests, showing that the tests have been getting progressively easier, and she noted:
"A Daily News report this week cast doubt on the validity of the state’s math scores. A major problem the News pointed to is that the math tests seem to repeat themselves, broken-record style, making it easy for teachers to coach their students on how to give correct answers — without necessarily understanding the underlying math. A second problem is that the tests may be getting easier over time, the story said."

The Times needs to expose the blatant way that quoted pundits have direct interests in charter schools: Geoffrey Canada and Eva Moskowitz being prime examples.


August 3, 2009
NY Times falls in line with the Bloomberg PR spin control

Today’s New York Times article on the Bloomberg/Klein record on test scores is incomplete, biased, and in some cases, clearly inaccurate.

1- The article falsely claims that fourth-grade reading scores rose on the national exams called the NAEPs, whereas there has been no significant gain since 2003, when the “Children First” reforms were introduced.

2- As reported in our book, “NYC Schools under Bloomberg and Klein: What Parents, Teachers and Policymakers Need to Know,” there has been no closing of the achievement gap between racial or ethnic groups in any grade or subject tested by the NAEPs, considered by experts the "gold standard" of assessments.

3- The article fails to mention that in fourth grade math, the one area that did show a significant increase in the NAEPs, the student exclusion rate was 25 percent, far higher than any other city tested.

4- The article fails to mention that in 8th grade reading, NYC made less progress on the NAEPs than any of the nine other cities tested.

5- The article fails to quote any independent experts or point to any evidence of test score inflation on the state exams, including lower cut scores, the repetition of similar questions, or the narrowing of topics covered, as revealed in articles in the Daily News and elsewhere.

Instead, the article quotes at great length their favorite expert, Howard Everson, head of a panel assembled by the State Education Department, who says that “New York’s tests were “about as good as we can build them,” as well as Merryl Tisch, the head of the Regents, and Joel Klein himself, all interested parties who predictably claim that the results indicate actual improvements in learning.

And though the system is full of teachers and even principals who will attest to the fact that the exams have become easier over time, the reporter chooses to quote not a single one.

Given the evident bias of this article, it appears clear that the Times has been captured by the Bloomberg/Klein PR machine, and can no longer be trusted to provide objective analysis of their education record.

Ask the Times for a correction; write a letter to the editor; or email the Public Editor.
Posted by Leonie Haimson at 8/03/2009 03:44:00 PM
Labels: Bloomberg, Chancellor Klein, NAEPs, NY Times, PR spin, test score inflation, test score spin

No comments:

Post a Comment