Monday, June 23, 2008

Great, We All Suck

I think I know what MY is getting at with his PPT Presentation here about failing math rates in big cities vs. the national average, and I think his interpretation is correct. But what sorta irks me is the fact of how ambivalent he seems about the numbers on their own, an ambivalence he shows in his conclusion:

"So to make a long story short, when talking about this issue it helps to be precise. All across the United States we have a problem with kids from disadvantaged backgrounds doing poorly in school. We also see kids from disadvantaged backgrounds overrepresented in urban school systems. Consequently, average results from city school systems tend to be below average. But when you use appropriate demographic controls you see that there's huge city-to-city variation and also a huge amount being determined by the demographics.

"Some cities -- i.e., Washington DC -- really do have sub-standard school systems and would do well to implement reforms that made DCPS get results more like what you see in Boston or New York. But even if all cities did get the level of performance that you see from the best cities, there would still be a problem insofar as poor kids tend to do badly even in "good" schools in the United States. "

I feel like I guy listening to a joke right before the punchline, "so now what?" Is it enough to say well they suck, but not in the way you think they suck? And really has he done anything to change the idea that poor kids don't do well in schools?

Instead of blogging from this POV he'd do more of a service to his readers to tell us how we can change the stats rather than making excuses for the stats.

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