Sunday, November 03, 2019

NAEP, Part Two

My first thread explained how the results from the 2018 National Assessment of Educational Progress were flat and not inspiring.  The key takeaway - aside from not much improvement - is that the gap between students at the top and those at the bottom is growing (even as those at the bottom are doing better).

Let's see reactions from other public education outlets, keeping in mind that Bill Gates led many reforms like Common Core and Race to the Top.


At their website, they have a handy interactive tool where you can compare scores by demographics and, as well, compare Washington State to other states.  For example, Massachusetts is at the top for reading and ranked second for math while WA state is in the middle, ranked 27th for both reading and math.

From Superintendent Reykdal:
“For example, almost the entire nation saw 4th grade reading scores dip this year,” Reykdal continued. “While it’s comforting to know we aren’t the only ones facing this, it’s tough to draw conclusions about what’s causing that trend.”

“Our students face systemic barriers to their success related to income and poverty,” Reykdal said. “This is evidenced by the fact that our wealthier students are ahead of their peers nationally, while our students experiencing poverty are near the national average.”

“A prime example of this inequity is in our school funding system. Two years ago, the Legislature added a ‘regionalization’ factor to the school funding model – providing enhanced funding to school districts with higher property values in order to adjust educators’ salaries for the higher cost of living in those areas.”

“This was an important step to ensure educators can afford to live in the communities where they teach,” Reykdal continued. “An unintended consequence of adding this factor to the funding model was the creation of a model where districts with the most wealth receive even more from the state on a per-student basis.”

“The primary way we work to eliminate barriers based on poverty and provide equitable opportunity is by asking the Legislature to invest in supports that we know move the needle for students – and to prioritize limited funding to serve students experiencing poverty first.”
Also, FYI from OSPI via Twitter:
We want your feedback! A workgroup created to determine appropriate staff-to-student ratios is finalizing their report to the Legislature. Provide your input on their recommendations today! Take the survey: bit.ly/2PJVHKV

Betsy DeVos
From US News & World Report
Betsy DeVos on Wednesday slammed the K-12 education establishment for allowing students to fall behind in math and reading without fully taking advantage of the types of "education freedom" at the heart of the Trump administration's agenda.
"The numbers are reason for deep concern," she said at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. "This country has a student achievement crisis."

In her 10-minute speech, DeVos placed the blame squarely on the backs of education policy experts and those among the so-called education establishment, like teachers unions and advocacy organizations, for failing to sound the alarm and embrace more radical changes, like her school choice agenda, to move the needle.
DeVos also bemoaned the increase in funding for K-12 education, which she said has done nothing to benefit student improvement.

"It's way past time we dispense with the idea that more money for school buildings buys better achievement for school students," she said. "No amount of spending can bring about good results from bad policy."

Instead DeVos instructed people to look at states like Florida, where lawmakers have introduced an array of school choice programs that allow parents options other than their residentially zoned traditional public schools.

"Doing better began with introducing education freedom," she said. "Public charter schools, tax-credit scholarship programs, education savings accounts, vouchers – students in Florida have more mechanisms for education freedom than anywhere else in the country."
Disputing DeVos
Schools have seen a decade of disinvestment since the Great Recession. Even by 2017, education spending in almost half of states had not yet climbed back to prerecession levels. Today’s fourth and eighth graders directly experienced this disinvestment through their entire time in school.  Is it any wonder that outcomes for these students are not at the level of those who experienced years of greater investment in their schools during the boom times of the early 2000s?
There’s no doubt that if the NAEP results were good, DeVos’ response would have been that recent expansions of school choice and private school vouchers in places like Florida and Indiana are the reason. But despite adding more than 90,000 students to private school choice programs since 2009, Florida’s NAEP results have not improved at all over that time frame, except in fourth-grade math. Indiana, which has the nation’s second biggest enrollment in private school voucher programs with around 46,000 students, saw no improvement in NAEP scores in any grade or subject between 2009 and 2019. 
Diane Ravitch
“After a generation of disruptive reforms — No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top, VAM and Common Core — after a decade or more of disinvestment in education, after years of bashing and demoralizing teachers, the National Assessment of Educational Progress for 2019 shows the results,” wrote Diane Ravitch, the education activist and historian.
Gadfly on the Wall blog by Steven Singer
They’re standardized test scores. They’re terrible assessments of student learning.

If test scores have any meaning at all – it’s parental wealth. Rich kids tend to score higher than poor kids. That’s partially because of the inequality of resources each receive, but also because of racial, cultural and economic bias embedded in the questions.
So the NAEP shows us what any study of parental income would show. America has a lot of poor kids and underfunded schools. 

DeVos proposed we improve test scores by cutting $4.8 billion from public schools in 2020 and instead pumping $5 billion to a tax credit school voucher scheme that props up private schools.

Other big stats noted:
A study by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities concluded that 29 states spent less per student in 2015 than they had before the Great Recession.
And the federal government has done little to help. Since 2011, spending on major K-12 programs – including Title I grants for underprivileged students and special education – has been basically flat.
According to the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, today’s public schools employ at least 250,000 fewer people than they did before the recession of 2008–09. Meanwhile enrollment has increased by at least 800,000 students.


Stuart J said...

I would like to know what tutoring is going on, with a focus on direct instruction, for math in the groups of students whose scores are improving. A hypothesis worth a look is whether the lower performing groups are only getting common core, while the upper performing students have outside help or a lot of help from parents to compensate for the short-comings of Common Core. Maybe also a state by state breakdown of how common core is implemented would be helpful. Maybe Massachusetts didn't totally abandon its previous standards for example.

Stuart J said...

We can expect to see more research and more data and more pundits weighing in. But, I think the key thing for parents is getting outside resources if / when needed. Those resources can be as simple as a supplemental traditional book, or tutoring, or extra time on homework. At what point should our country pull the plug on Common Core? At what point do parents go outside the system? Those are some key questions.

In April 2019, there was a study released about the outcomes of Common Core. The study used the 2017 NAEP data. This report was discouraging. Here is a story from May asserting students would have been better off without common core.


The source document is here.


But amid the fierce debates, there has been virtually no research on whether the standards were actually accomplishing their goal of improving student learning.

Until now. A new study, released in April through a federally funded research center, shows that states that changed their standards most dramatically by adopting the Common Core didn’t outpace other states on federal NAEP exams. By 2017 — seven years after most states had adopted them — the standards appear to have led to modest declines in fourth-grade reading and eighth-grade math scores.

Stuart J said...

Another study, from the Hoover Institution, in May 2018 talks about California's experiences and decline as a result of using Common Core. There has been a decline in students taking advanced math. It is sad to read how certain socio economic groups have been more impacted than others.



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