School Reform From the Cherry Orchard – Reading John Hood’s Latest

When John Hood pens an op-ed that touts how well school reform in North Carolina has served our state, one should start looking for the cherry pits being spit out because such op-eds tend to be nothing more than cherry-picking at best.

Consider his latest from the Carolina Journal and reprinted in EdNC.org entitled “North Carolina excels in school value” (https://www.ednc.org/2018/07/13/north-carolina-excels-in-school-value/).

I invite you to take a look at it. He claims that NC has a “top-ranked system.” In no place in this missive does the word “teacher” ever appear.

Again, the word “teacher” never appears.

The underlying presumption is that the  “reforms” put into place by the current NCGA have allowed for this “top-ranked” moniker to be placed on NC’s crown.

And Hood talks about delineating along the lines of student backgrounds and social variables.

With that definition in mind, here’s one piece of evidence I’ll cite for my factual claim. Every two years, the National Assessment of Educational Progress tests a representative sample of students across the country in 4th- and 8th-grade reading and math. Using the Urban Institute’s handy tool for adjusting the 2017 NAEP results for age, race or ethnicity, native language, disability, and poverty, I determined that only four states ranked in the top 10 on all four tests: Massachusetts, Florida, New Jersey, and Indiana. Three other states — Virginia, Georgia, and North Carolina — were in the top 10 on three of the four tests.

So age, race, ethnicity, native language, disabilities, and poverty have something to do with results? And they can be used to weigh in on “achievement?”

That’s actually nice to hear from Hood – that he would consider those factors in measuring student and school achievement. But it begs another question? Would John Hood allow for those “adjustments” in results to be used for the other metrics that are used by the very NCGA he praises to measure public schools?

Just consider the poverty factor. That alone seems to account for a lot when it comes to measuring schools.

PSFNC2

Can we use Hood’s “analysis” to adjust for “age, race or ethnicity, native language, disability, and poverty” in school performance grades that are being used to fuel the false narrative that NC needs vouchers?

Can we use Hood’s “analysis” to adjust for “age, race or ethnicity, native language, disability, and poverty” in identifying low-performing schools that are being used to fuel the false narrative that NC needs an Innovative School District?

Can we use Hood’s “analysis” to adjust for “age, race or ethnicity, native language, disability, and poverty” in school performance grades that are being used to fuel the false narrative that NC needs municipal charters?

Can we use Hood’s “analysis” to adjust for “age, race or ethnicity, native language, disability, and poverty” in school performance grades that are being used to fuel the false narrative that NC needs more charter schools?

Because he’s sure as hell using them to talk about how great our public schools are. And if Hood is going to use factors like poverty and disabilities in proving that they have an effect on school achievement and scores on tests, then he is doing nothing more than showing you that the NCGA is not really addressing those factors in their other policies.

Think of the Voter ID amendment, the not expanding of Medicaid, and the fact that over a fifth of our students actually live below the poverty line, and you can see how Hood’s op-ed is nothing more than a exercise in cherry-picking.

But if you really want to see how cherry-picked Hood’s assertions really are, then just read this Twitter thread that an actual budget and policy analyst provides in response to Hood’s assertions.

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That last tweet says it all:

isn’t broken, but it’s being broken by incompetence/malfeasance, and students of color and students from low-income families are disproportionately paying the price.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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