ED WEEK RATING REFLECT BIAS TOWARDS RADICAL REFORMS
Date sent: Thu, 7 Jan 1999 18:05:35 -0500
From: "Richard G. Innes" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: [education-consumers] Caution -- Quality Counts 1999 Is Out
Send reply to: "Richard G. Innes" <email@example.com>
Education Week's annual report on US education has just had its 1999
incarnation. There are a number of problems with this report.
1. The bias of the writers toward a radical education reform model for
schools is obvious. That is not a surprise because the Pew Charitable
Trusts funds at least part of the report. Pew is at the very cutting edge
of foundations trying to foist their ideas of an ideal education program
upon American society. The problem; I find scant evidence that the Pew
model for schools is effective. For example, in Kentucky, which scores
very highly in many of QC99's tables (and where Pew has spent millions),
there is absolutely no concrete evidence of anything notable happening.
So, QC99 largely degenerates into a cheering section for programs that
may, or may not, be worth anything.
2. QC99 continues to cite limited NAEP 1996 results. No surprise there,
NAEP has generally only tested in even years. What is interesting is that
QC99 continues to use NAEP "achievement level" scores instead of the far
more accurate "scale scores." NAEP admitted in the 1996 Math Report Card
that the achievement levels were so controversial that they had to be
considered as "developmental" and "not statistically conclusive." In
other words, they're unreliable. QC99 ignorantly presses on with the
bogus achievement levels, anyway.
3. One interesting part of the report is a survey done by Public Agenda
which is called a "Reality Check" in QC99.
One finding: parents are pleased with schools!!! I'll bet that elicits
some comments in this forum!
Actually, this part of QC99 is worth a look. You can go right to it on
the web at:
4. QC99 babbles a lot about the evolving state standards movement.
However, they don't cover this controversial topic nearly well enough.
For example, in last year's report, QC98, EdWeek used two separate
agencies to grade various state standards: The American Federation of
Teachers and their Making Standards Matter report and the Council for
Basic Education, which also did a report. Since then, the CBE has dropped
out of the standards rating arena, but the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation
has weighed in with the most extensive and rigorous reviews so far.
However, QC99 never even mentions Fordham and falls back to using what has
become a rather watered down rating set from AFT. As a result, Kentucky
gets a B+ for standards from QC99 while Fordham grades Kentucky with "D"s
and "F"s (which seem more in line with a number of recent reports that
have found the state's standards are lacking).
(As a note, the former head honcho for AFT's standards rating group has
moved on to other pastures. He was pretty sharp -- too bad he's gone).
Anyway, you can bet radical reformers will be quoting from QC99 ad
Just keep in mind, if you develop a rating system that looks only at
inaccurate and highly limited academic data and at how well a state
conforms to the radical view of education, you will only see high scores
for states that are radical.
But, this has absolutely no relationship to whether those states are
Too bad QC99 spends so much money and provides so little.
The entire report can be located at
Just click on the special reports button.
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