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Teacher’s Unions Are Destroying the Minds of Your Children!

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Or, actually, not:

The nation’s 9-year-olds and 13-year-olds are posting better scores in math and reading tests than their counterparts did 40 years ago, and the achievement gap between white students and those of color still persists but is narrowing, according to new federal government data released Thursday.

The scores, collected regularly since the 1970s from federal tests administered to public and private school students age 9, 13, and 17, paint a picture of steady student achievement that contradicts the popular notion that U.S. educational progress has stalled.

“When you break out the data over the long term and ask who is improving, the answer is . . . everyone,” said Kati Haycock, president of the Education Trust, a nonprofit organization that works to close the achievement gap between poor and privileged children. “And the good news, given where they started, is that black and Latino children have racked up some of the biggest gains of all.”

Well, you can believe the actual data, or you could believe sixth-rate Hollywood movies.

The idea that American schools are a disastrous failure is like the narrative that nobody is a humanities major anymore, but much more pernicious.

..and, to clarify, these gains are not a new development, and there’s no evidence that schools subjected to Rhee-style “reforms” have better performance.

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  • Mike G

    What a remarkable coincidence that so many zombie lies perpetuate Republican fantasies.

    • sparks

      When they want to get it up, the classics always do it.

    • Incontinentia Buttocks

      Unfortunately, the cause of education “reform” (both K-12 and Higher Ed) is extremely bipartisan.

  • prufrock

    You mean that schools that don’t serve populations crushed by poverty and racist policies aren’t failing? Surely you jest!

  • Well, you can believe the actual data, or you could believe sixth-rate Hollywood movies people who are demanding cash to open a charter school, parents who can’t believe little Augustus didn’t get into an Ivy, goobers who think public schools went bad the minute they started letting the coloreds in, God botherers who hate the fact that creationism and Bible study aren’t mandatory in all public schools…

    I’m out pretty out of touch because I don’t have kids, but it seems the number of people who want U.S. education remade in their image has increased markedly with in the past decade, and the people in this shouting match don’t give half a flaming damn if the kids are functionally literate, have decent written communication skills and can perform basic math when they’ve done their time. No wonder the wee mites just want to play Angry Fruit or whatever it’s called.

    Meanwhile, we can’t listen to the teachers on this topic because they’re unionized greedheads who actually expect to be paid for privilege of teaching children. The nerve.

    • somethingblue

      Also they only work forty minutes a day, two months a year (well, the handful that aren’t in “rubber rooms, anyway) and get enormous pensions starting at age 12, plus free abortions.

      This will all be explained in David Petraeus’s upcoming seminar.

      • Linnaeus

        Heh, I never understood why, if teaching is such a cushy job that apparently anyone can do with the best pay and benefits in the world, why folks aren’t beating down the doors of our schools to teach in them. Funny, that.

        • sparks

          I’m good at it, and I sure didn’t want the job. I get conscripted now and then to tutor, but conditions like pay were such that even in the late ’80s I wanted nothing to do with education as a career.

        • Mike G

          It’s amazing how few conservatives go into teaching, given their whining that it’s so luxuriously overpaid and amenable to union-protected goof-off mediocrity.

        • Sly

          Actually people are beating down doors to teach… but because state and local austerity has been crushing district budgets for the past four years, putting the lucky ones into attrition mode and the less lucky ones in the position of letting go a significant portion of their faculty. Two years ago a high school about fifteen miles from me laid off 25% of their staff, and haven’t hired anyone back.

        • The point isn’t to say “Hey, there’s a great job, how can I get it?” The point is to say “Hey! Someone has a great job and I don’t. They suck!” Then work to harm people in that industry because having a great job is unMrkn.

          • JKTHs

            Notably, that logic doesn’t apply to rich people who crash the economy.

  • Karen

    I have two kids in public school, and I can vouch for the fact that instruction is enormously better than it was 35 years ago when I was in high school. Further — and I’m sure there is some variation between schools on this — but there is actually strong peer pressure in favor of making good grades. The nerds run things these days. I doubt that much of that is caused by public policy, but quite a bit comes from kiddo pop culture, which is just flat better than anything from the 70s. (Except Schoolhouse Rock. “We the People, In order to form a more perfect union . . . “)

    • Linnaeus

      Except Schoolhouse Rock. “We the People, In order to form a more perfect union . . . “

      And, in two days or so

    • Thlayli

      “We the People, In order to form a more perfect union . . . “

      That’s wrong, you know. The preamble actually starts: “We the People of the United States, in order to …”

      Pet peeve.

      • Karen

        The Preamble starts that way, but the song started the way I wrote it. (A fact you knew, obviously.) teachers have been known to deny credit for quoting the song instead of the document.

  • mch

    To his credit, Bob Somerby has been making this case since forever.

    • witless chum

      Yup. Somerby’s been on this since the early aughts.

  • Aaron B.

    Wait, are you know a proponent of the validity of standardized test scores as a measure of achievement?

    • Aaron B.

      *Now. Bah.

    • Kurzleg

      Doesn’t matter. All that matters is that the “education reformers” are, and by their own standards there is no problem.

  • Sharculese

    If I had more money than I knew what to do with, I would scoop up the rights to a Won’t Back Down sequel where everyone from the first movie slowly realizes the don’t actually have any idea how they think a school should be run, and that most of their ideas are totally contradictory, and everything breaks down into petty squabbles and backbiting while the kids sit in rooms without teachers, books, or supplies.

    • Mike G

      And after teatards get their dream Supreme Court repeal of the ban on school prayer and religious content — a subplot involving endless parent-meeting screaming matches demanding the teaching of creationism, and which version of creationism; and religious denominational wars over the exact words to be used in the compulsory school prayer.

      • daveNYC

        It’d be easier and more fun to pop The Road Warrior in the DVD player. Just call it a metaphor.

    • A documentary of what is already happening in D.C. would be far cheaper to produce.

      • sharculese

        There was that episode of Frontline about it. Does that count?

        • Didn’t see it. Was it any good?

  • cpinva

    if the charter schools are only at, or near the same level of competency of comparative public schools, they have no legitimate reason for existing, and siphoning out much needed funds from the public school systems. the claim was that they would, from the start, be a huge improvement over the public schools. it’s time they had their feet held to the fire, and were shut down as the money bleeding scams that they are.

  • Pingback: Good Report Card | Bark Bark Woof Woof()

  • Yeah. This is confusing. Can’t you just devowell her?

  • Tom M

    there’s no evidence that schools subjected to Rhee-style “reforms” have better performance

    Well, it works for her!

  • RepubAnon

    On the other hand, it’s important for all those teachers to be packing concealed weaqpons to defend the school and their students from angry and/or deranged people with guns… Isn’t it odd that we feel firearms shouldn’t be regulated, but schoolbooks should?

  • witless chum

    The thing that seems to me often left out of these discussions is that we’re taking on a much more ambitious project these days in education, trying to get everyone a high school diploma, (this wasn’t ever seriously tried back in the day because the availability of relatively well-paid factory work that didn’t require a diploma) while at the same time attempting to raise the standards for getting a high school diploma.

  • Clearly with all the pancake references I missed some fun before the inevitable deletion

  • J R

    MMMMM, Pancakes!

    I make them with corn meal and yeast… let it start to work, and the big bowl of batter won’t empty, no matter how many pancakes you make,

    The amazing thing about cornmeal pancakes is that they’re light and crispy, unlike flour pancakes… The Joy of Cooking has a good baking powder recipe, and I just do that, and add yeast and let it sit for 30-45 minutes.

    MMMMMM Pancakes!

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