Monday, August 23, 2010

Tim Burgess in Crosscut

Tim Burgess has followed up on his guest column in the Times with another ill-informed and ill-advised piece in Crosscut.

Won't somebody either set him straight or stop him?

9 comments:

Eric M said...

Oustandingly committed to cluelessness.

"An independent organization, the National Council on Teacher Quality"...

What a tool.

Sahila said...

Crosscut has been recipients of more Gates money recently - another $400,000 of it...

And see what other media we have trusted to be independent gets Gates money....

http://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/blog/2010/07/gates_foundation_quadruples_grant_to_seattle_blog.html

Anonymous said...

I thought this comment was one of the best things I've read about the whole issue:


If we substitute the word "neighborhoods" for the words "public schools" and the words "police officers" for the word "teachers," then by your logic, we should should be using crime statistics in given neighborhoods to determine the salaries, job security, and bargaining power of our police officers. After all, if crime goes up, aren't they accountable? I mean, the numbers don't lie, do they?
...
— ivan


It's a great analogy.

-John

Charlie Mas said...

The Ivan who wrote that is a big player in the Democratic party in West Seattle. Mr. Burgess should pay attention.

For those who don't know, Mr. Burgess is a former police officer, so the choice of profession was meant to be personal.

Sahila said...

Mr Burgess is a member of the Our Schools Coalition... of orange T-shirt fame...

zb said...

I read the two papers that Burgess links to. They're nice summaries.

And, I'm finally getting why Ravitch has done an about face. The reform people (and I'm talking about the academics, like Kane) are supposed to be in favor of evidence based decision making. But, in both manuscripts, I detect distinct unwillingness to accept the evidence when the evidence doesn't agree with what was a cool hypothesis. For example, the evidence that small schools, of vouchers, or charters improve education is vanishingly weak, but all three are cast in the most positive light possible. Evidence based decision making is supposed to mean that you give up an idea when there's no evidence for it, regardless of the striking beauty of the idea.

In the paper on "identifying effective teaches", the authors dismiss a 1% gain in scores-measured student achievement that can be correlated with credentialing of teaches (they don't like credentialing) while a few paragraphs later they support a VAM based hiring/tenure process that would produce a net benefit of 1.2%. If 1% is a significant difference for hiring methodology, why isn't it for credentialing?

Except for Ravitch, I'm seeing scant evidence that the authors of education reform papers reflect real evidence based decision making.

seattle citizen said...

Tim Burgess IS a member of the recently created astro-turf organization "Our Schools Coalition."

OSC Burgess, four or five business groups, and about twenty minority groups. It's quite obvious to me that Burgess has struck a deal with these groups (with the Alliance and/or LEV the broker: The connection is the survey which was first published by A4E or LEV, then passed to the new OSC)

As noted in the past, OSC is not a fan of data: The survey methodology they have posted on their sparse website has had data changed three times: The first time it said it got the names for those to be surveyed from Seattle Public Schools. Then, when this was found to be fishy by the public, it added "and King County Voter roles" to where it got the names. Then it deleted both SPS and KC, leaving us to wonder where it got the list of names.

OSC has also changed its contact information on its website. The "contact link" used to connect to Karen Waters, of Strategies 360, a local PR and messaging group that has done business with all sorts of politicos and companies, including Gates. Now, the "contact" link connects to "info@ourschoolscoalition.org"

Guess they didn't want us to know where they got the list of names, nor who runs OSC.

I wonder if that deal with Gates, the Alliance, LEV, Strategies 360, Our Schools Coalition, and the twenty or so minority groups pays off for Burgess come election day?

Josh Hayes said...

An excellent observation, zb, and one which strikes a lot of people as counter-intuitive: the BEST scientist - and I'm counting researchers on academic performance as scientists - is the one who doesn't care what the answer to the research question is.

Yes, no, I don't care. I just want to know which it is.

Trouble starts when researchers slide into advocacy. When they fall in love with their theoretical framework. From there it's a quick slide down the slope to obfuscatory statistics, to arbitrary deletion of contradictory data because they, uh, have "problems" (i.e. they don't comport with your preconceived notions), and eventually, to throwing out data altogether, because dammit, I'm RIGHT. I don't NEED data.

And that's where we sit now: hostages to True Believers.

dan dempsey said...

"Hostages to True Believers"

Where is our rescue team?