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Quotes: NAEP Progress Slower In Obama/Waiver Era

image from scholasticadministrator.typepad.comFor the first nine years [of NCLB], the average gains were six points annually for African-Americans, five points for Hispanics and three points for whites... Annual gains [in the Obama/waiver era] have been limited to one-and-a-half points for blacks and to three points for Hispanic students.  - Paul Peterson in the WSJ (The Obama Setback for Minority Education)


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Such math doesn't work. What Peterson meant was the nine year Clinton-Bush era outperformed the Obama waiver. Peterson must know that that is intellectually dishonest. In a sleight of the hand he adds"Some might argue that this comparison is unfair to the Obama administration, as the 1999-2008 data cover nine years ...as opposed to Obama's shorter period. That allows him to pursue a straw man.

He must know that it is intellectually dishonest to give Bush and NCLB credit for the big pre-NCLB gains under Clinton. But, for the last few years, that has been the conservative "reformers'" soundbite and they are sticking to it.

Professor Peterson's opinion piece showed surprisingly poor reasoning, and is a classic example of the post-hoc fallacy, which claims that because b followed a, a caused b. Wrong (this is commonly pilloried as the rooster claiming credit for the sunrise). The phenomenon of test scores rising initially as teachers steadily become more skilled at beating a test (thereby invalidating it) has been witnessed around the world, and may be confidently predicted with respect to the Common Core tests that are currently so hotly debated here on the East Coast (where I'm sweating through a couple of days), if such are not derailed. Teachers will steadily get the hang of what's expected, and will improve their ability to help students gain higher scores; but the real question is, will students' lives be better in the long run for their teachers' efforts?

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