Re: "No Excuses"
- Subject: Re: "No Excuses"
- From: Victor Steinbok <aardvark69@EARTHLINK.NET>
- Date: Wed, 7 Mar 2001 10:28:30 -0400
- Organization: is the opiate of the feeble-minded
- Reply-to: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>
- Sender: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>
gerald bracey wrote:
> The critique that I wrote for CERAI is the most extensive critique of No
> Excuses aroundd (there is a shorter one in the 10th Bracey Report), but some
> additional details were provided in Richard Rothstein's New York Times
> Column of January 3. Richard found, for instance that one school served a
> population where 30% of the families had college degrees--the average in the
> nation is 25%. In another, the kids might have been economically deprived
> enough to get free lunches, but they were in part kids of graduate students
> at Harvard and MIT.
The link to Rothstein's article still works (even though NYT is supposed
to have only 14 day free archives).
Poverty and Achievement, and Great Misconceptions
I wanted to reproduce just one bit here (the 30% college degree crowd
is, by the way, at Bennett-Kew--the poster child of California
traditionalists--with Nancy Ichinaga as its principal). It's more of
Lake Wobegun effect in the Heritage Foundation world.
> "No Excuses" says its 21 schools succeed by discarding whole
> language, "new" math and social promotion. But evidence does not
> support this at several of its schools. The Amelia Earhart School
> in Chicago mixes whole language and phonics, and rarely holds back
> students who are below grade level (though it does give them extra
> Some of the schools that rely heavily on phonics have a curious
> test score pattern, with higher scores in early grades but lower
> scores later. This is true, for example, at the Mabel B. Wesley
> School in Houston, which has won national acclaim for a scripted
> program of drill in basics.
> Samuel Casey Carter, author of the report, says such score
> declines in upper grades occur at all schools. For older pupils, he
> says, exams test not just phonetic skills but also comprehension,
> and are harder.
> But that explanation makes no sense. Scores are reported as
> national percentiles. So, by definition, at every grade half the
> nation's pupils are above the 50th percentile and half below it. If
> ranks drop in a school as pupils move to upper grades, they must be
> doing worse compared with pupils elsewhere than when they were
> younger. Their school may be sacrificing comprehension to excessive
> focus on phonics.
Speaking of Heritage Foundation and its academic spawn (Accuracy in
Academia and National Association of Scholars), there was an opinion
piece on UC handling of SAT a couple of days ago in San Jose Mercury
News. The author is Jack Citrin, a political science professor at
Berkeley. To no surprise, Citrin is a long time affirmative action
opponent--one of very few at UCB--with direct ties to the NAS. No
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