Friday, August 25, 2006

Batting Cleanup

I've got some cleanup to do as I may be away for a little while. A number of policy developments this week including:

PDK/Gallup issued its annual poll results this week on the state of education and found that NCLB support appears to be down, while respondents claiming to know more about the law increased. 69 percent of respondents said a single test will not provide a fair picture of whether a school needs improvement, and 81 percent said they believed students should be tested in subjects beyond just reading and math. For my money these seem to be reasonable attitudes. It's tough to get too excited however over what people say about a law as complex a NCLB, but if negative attitudes change to outcry it could precipitate some change in the law--like growth modeling.

The Times' coverage of the NAEP assessment broo-haa of charter school performance can be found here. It all comes down to needing longitudinal data for individual students. Without knowing anything about improvement over time, or a baseline of achievement, (hierarchical liner modeling de damned) groups who want to poke holes in studies will be able to.

My favorite led of the week comes from the Arizona Republic where "Gov. Janet Napolitano wants Arizona teenagers to stay in school until they are 18 or until they graduate"--whichever comes first I presume. Hmmm, staying in school until you graduate. Now there is an idea. Good thing "or until they graduate" is in there.

Otherwise Arizona's mandate would be to stay in school until you are 18. Imagine, Arizona the first state to mandate kids stay in school even after they graduate. You're an Arizona 17 year-old. You've graduated. And in August you go back to high school not college. I cannot tell you how many dreams I've had of being back at high school since I graduated. Sweet dreams for all you Arizona graduates. Don't let the boogeyman get you.


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