Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Juking Police and Ed Stats

A NYC teacher at Perdido Street School blog has two recent posts that form a perfect square. He breaks down Obama's rewrite of the No Child Left Behind law, which is even worse than the George Bush version:

One section of the current Bush-era law has required states to certify that all teachers are highly qualified, based on their college coursework and state-issued credentials. In the Race to the Top competition, the administration has required participating states to develop the capability to evaluate teachers based on student test data, at least in part, and on whether teachers are successful in raising student achievement.


Educators who have talked to the administration said the officials appeared to be considering inserting similar provisions to the main education law, by requiring the use of student data in teacher evaluation systems as a condition for receiving federal education money.

I don't have the time to pin it down now, but I think I read somewhere that Randi Weingarten said the Obama NCLB modifications were heading in the right direction. Figures. For the Mulgrew fans, keep an eye out for any response from him. Silence means.... well you decide.

In today's post PSS deals with a related item: Bloomberg's NY: Cops Manipulate Crime Stats

Bedford-Stuyvesant's 81st Precinct recorded felonies as misdemeanors and refused to take complaints from victims - all in an effort to drive down the crime rate, sources said.

A man who said he was beaten bloody and robbed - and then told by cops he was the victim of a "lost property" case because he didn't get a good look at the suspects.


That is what you get when the data munchers get going. As long as measured outcomes as determiners of success are used, people will discover ways manipulate data. The Wire so aptly pointed this out when a former cop went into teaching and when told all about the testing game made an instant connection: juking the stats.

PSS jumped on the story in early January when it was announced that NYC had the lowest murder rate in history in 2009, in essence predicting the current scandal of police precincts juking the stats:

...New York City has the most edumacated kids in the country even though many can only pass the dumbed-down, in-house graded state tests but not the more rigorous federal tests and graduation rates have been massaged by a credit recovery program that offers failing students a semester credit for reading a Spiderman comic book.

Just as schools are forced to show improved test scores and graduation rates every year or be closed down and replaced by charters, police precincts have to show improved crime stats every year or the city fires the existing brass at the precinct and brings in new brass.

Given the ease with which schools use Klein-metic to massage stats, I just have to wonder if police precinct captains aren't doing the same thing.

You know, like declaring a guy with four bullet holes in his back an "accident victim" ("We think he accidentally shot himself in the back four times...") or just miscounting the number of dead bodies at the end of every week to keep the math nice and neat (i.e., at zero.)

Ed Notes also blogged on the same story on Dec. 29 and just plain accused Bloomberg of being a body snatcher:

NYC Murder Rate Down? Where Did Bloomberg Bury the Bodies?

Today's good news was that this year NYC will have the lowest number of murders since record keeping began. Bloomberg is crowing. But those of us in education who know how Bloomberg jukes the stats, cannot help but be skeptical.

But how can he juke the number of murders, you might ask? When you're dead, you're dead.

If you are a fan of The Wire, you will remember how Marlo Stanfield's hit crew somehow managed to do over 20 people and leave no bodies by sealing them up in abandoned housing? Don't bet against Bloomberg's having a couple of hundred missing persons being "housed" on empty city property.

Marlo Stanfield and his crew Chris and Snoop hired as consultants by Bloomberg to "keep" murder rate down.

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