Monday, March 24, 2008

Schmidt on Russo, Social Promotion and More

I asked George Schmidt to comment on work Alexander Russo did on social promotion - which we're calling "test-based retention" - in Chicago. Everytime I start to read someone's blog, George trashes them. I can't keep track of which status quo the Education Wonk crowd is defending. Or are they attacking the status quo? No. I get it. They are attacking the old status quo and defending the new (corporate-style mayoral control) SQ.

I'll keep reading Russo's blog anyway. (Has anyone seen Russo and Rotherham in the same place? I'll check out their workshop with Jenifer Medina of the NY Times at AERA on Thurs. and report back.)

Excerpts from George (he is referencing this piece by Russo):
What Russo is doing is recycling conservative talking points, then dressing them up with some twists as "fact." Note that he never actually talks about numbers, but froths into metaphor and some quips. The reason is that at every point, the numbers are nasty. The kids who are kept back are screwed -- just as the data showed from as far back as the New York Gates programs -- for life. The schools don't improve, either. What happens is a massive triage, with the minority of better scoring children (usually, middle class) slowly being siphoned off into magnet, charter and selective enrollment schools, while the remaining public schools receive the "leftover kids" (as they have been called in New Orleans, and in some schools here).

Russo has a way of dodging facts and ignoring data, except when he is cherry picking to fit his conservative biases.


What's amazing about Russo's piece is that he can ignore what now amounts to more than ten years of history and information, then spin out the same lies about "ending social promotion" that were being served up by right wing pundits a decade ago, when Chicago was in the vanguard of test-based "standards and accountability" long before No Child Left Behind.

George's full piece with some Russo quotes is over at Norm's Notes right here.
And some responses to Russo's piece from Leonie Haimson here.

1 comment:

  1. Alexander Russo said [on the Norms Notes blog]..

    please note that schmidt, ever a stickler for accuracy, somehow fails to realize throughout this entire post and his addendum that the article he's reading is from early 2005.

    for all his length, he also fails to find any major substantive errors in the piece, and fails to note that the piece was critical of the student retention policy as a get-tough measure.

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