Monday, August 30, 2010

Selective Data Analysis

I’ve seen so much pole dancing on the Los Angeles Times’ article regarding public information on teachers that it is starting to become nauseating.  The latest op-ed that I read came from the San Jose Mercury News, which wonders “what there is to hide” from teachers opposed to the article, and feels that the information “helps broaden our understanding of what ails public schools”.  

I’m wondering when San Jose Mercury News is going to actually go find all the statistics that go into what “ails public education”.  So does the Merc have the balls to go to San Jose Unified and ask for the attendance figures for each and every student?  Seriously.  If we are going to really go after the major problems within education, grow a pair and make a public demand for the names of the students and parents with piss poor attendance.  Compare the attendance figures with the test scores of the students and make those scores public.  As the article said, “disclosure may be painful”, but hey, a little humility to solve educations ongoing ills might be just what the doctor ordered.  Right?  In fact, how about we release all the student grades publically so we can actually show how serious we are about education.  That way, brilliant “policy-makers” can see that when a Second Language Learner is failing English, Math, Social Studies, and P.E., and is not showing up for school, it is probably still the teacher’s fault. 

Then I would like the demographics of each and every classroom made public too, because that Advanced Computer Graphics teacher in Tiburon should be judged on the exact same level as the Special Needs teacher in downtown Oakland.  Oh wait, my wife taught Special Needs kids for years in a Special Day classroom.  Almost no kids passed the standardized tests, but she actually got emotionally disturbed kids to take the test, work hard on the test, and more importantly, become functioning members of society.  But the value added data says that she’s fucked.   I’m safe though because I can get Advanced Placement students to kick the shit out of standardized tests.  I mean, my data is so damn good that the next step for me is sainthood in the cathedral of St. Angeles, the patron saint of ass-kissing society for subscriptions. 

No one is yet brave enough to reveal the real statistics though because that would actually mean self-criticism.  It would mean that accountability for kids would first rest with the parents before it rests with anyone else.  It would mean that all parties; teachers, administrators, policy-makers, parents, and students would be expected to educate society at a higher level. 

And it would mean that newspaper reporters would actually do research on societal problems because they would be more educated to do so, instead of whoring to populist crap.  

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