Success has a thousand fathers

Last week, offering up some "First thoughts on the NAEP" (see here), we noted that "Success has a thousand fathers and many will try to claim credit" for the good news about achievement gains amongst 9-year-olds. It's been amusing this week to watch various interests tie themselves in knots to attribute the NAEP data to their particular approach, gimmick, program or conviction. Leslie Conery, of the International Society for Technology in Education, attributed gains to, you guessed it, technology in education. "If you put powerful tools in the hands of teachers, powerful results will occur," she told eSchool News. Neil McCluskey, Cato Institute scholar and author of "NCLB: Leave the Feds Behind," sniffed at the Bush administration's claim that NCLB was behind the increases in scores: "If it worked that fast, NCLB would be a certified miracle. . . . If anything, No Child Left Behind is much more likely to reverse than accelerate promising academic trends." McCluskey attributes the improvements to - one guess now - school choice. But the strangest interpretation of the NAEP long-term trend results must come from the Grey Lady herself, the New York Times, whose editorial page theorized that "the constant flow of data that shows poor and diminished performance in middle schools and high schools" is caused by school systems "placing their most well-trained and experienced teachers in the early grades, a strategy that means the teachers become less and less qualified over all as the students move up the grades." Not even a shred of proof is adduced, but hey, when you're the Times, who needs evidence?
 
"Reading, math up for nine-year-olds," by Corey Murray, eSchool News, July 19, 2005 
 
"Federal test results, NCLB link unfounded," by Greg Garner, Cato Daily Dispatch, July 15, 2005
 
"Failing to teach in high school," New York Times, July 9, 2005

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