Test Data Help Cloud Duncan’s Legacy as Chicago Schools Chief

Nick Anderson:

Soon after Arne Duncan left his job as schools chief here to become one of the most powerful U.S. education secretaries ever, his former students sat for federal achievement tests. This month, the mathematics report card was delivered: Chicago trailed several cities in performance and progress made over six years.
Miami, Houston and New York had higher scores than Chicago on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Boston, San Diego and Atlanta had bigger gains. Even fourth-graders in the much-maligned D.C. schools improved nearly twice as much since 2003.
The federal readout is just one measure of Duncan’s record as chief executive of the nation’s third-largest system. Others show advances on various fronts. But the new math scores signal that Chicago is nowhere near the head of the pack in urban school improvement, even though Duncan often cites the successes of his tenure as he crusades to fix public education.

3 thoughts on “Test Data Help Cloud Duncan’s Legacy as Chicago Schools Chief”

  1. It seems Anita did not read through the articles she cites — but that’s pretty much par of the course in almost all debates.
    As for Arne Duncan’s Skelton, the article cited was supposedly by Gerald Bracey, the recently deceased educational statistician, whose critiques and books on the matter of good experimental design and well-reasoned statistical arguments have always been welcome and enlightening.
    In Bracey’s article he is citing to a 2006 newspaper article about the alleged fraud by Save A Life Foundation. In this newspaper article Arne Duncan is paraphrased saying:
    “Schools CEO Arnie Duncan says it seems unlikely that Carol Spizzirri’s organization could have taught the number of students they claim, and it’s not free to the taxpayers, who give Save-A-Life more than $1 million a year through the Homeland Security department, Centers For Disease Control and the State of Illinois.”
    The allegation is that at some point, the Chicago Public Schools were charged substantial amounts by SALF for teaching the Heimlich maneuver to school kids, but no such training took place, at least at the level CPS was charged.
    In any case, the directly cited article does seem to be a character assassination of the head of SALF, Carol J. Spizzirri, which might be appropriate, but Bracey seems to be pulling out a 30 year-old conviction for shoplifting that Spizzirri had plead guilty to, and some affidavits from her ex-husband (what the court case these affidavits were for is not shown) claiming that a psychologist had labeled Spizzirri a pathological liar.
    There are statements that Spizzirri claimed nursing degrees which she did not have, and the SALF was pushing the Heimlich maneuver which the Red Cross and some medical authorities claim is not in fact good medical procedure, with some attacks on Heimlich, himself.
    There is also statements that Duncan was used by SALF in advertizing to promote SALF.
    But, it does seem from reading the articles that, if SALF was in fact committing fraud, both CPS and Duncan we’re taken in by SALF, and neither CPS or Duncan themselves had a hand in committing the fraud but were victims of it.
    How this constitutes a Duncan skeleton is quite beyond me, and quite irrelevant to the original article indicating that CPS kids were not doing well on standardize math tests.
    The article allegedly by Bracey, was to be posted to Huffington Post, but his death intervened, is a quite sad piece of work. Instead of being a well-reasoned argument (or even relevant) (as I had come to expect from Bracey), it is the standard claptrap which doesn’t even try to mask itself as anything more than the rants of a Neanderthal.
    I will now have to re-evaluate the writings of Gerald Bracey, for instead of being a person who kept things together and coolly knew good arguments from bad, I now find a someone, who underneath the facade, was just as moronic as those he criticized.

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