School Defense Worthy of O.J.

20 10 2006

So O.J. Simpson is penning a confession in which there’s no admission of guilt? And the many millions he’ll make peddling it won’t go to his victims’ families per the civil judgment against him, because he can remain bankrupt as he rakes it all in?

Just more evidence that true details can paint a false picture, or true pictures we reject as unreal, anyway.

Public education research most days isn’t much more useful or definitive than our so-called justice system. Maybe money and power are always the same old story. Maybe breaking news is just broken, and good news isn’t any more real than bad until we somehow get wise enough to face up to the difference.

AS a longtime subscriber, I have this Kappan in hard copy if anyone wants context (or cartoons!) to go along with this —Kappan cover Oct 2006

The 16th Bracey Report on
The Condition of Public Education

When political considerations define the agenda for or shape
the findings of research, the results can seem frustrating or silly —
but often the losers are students and teachers.

BY GERALD W. BRACEY
GERALD W. BRACEY is an associate for the High/Scope
Foundation, Ypsilanti, Mich. His most recent book is “Reading Educational Research: How to Avoid Getting Statistically Snookered” (Heinemann, 2006).

Bracy book cover

“Is this the way the world ends, not with a lie believed but truth disbelieved?”

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2 responses

20 10 2006
misedjj

Worth keeping around for future statistical reference, though my conclusion would be different —

“Over the years, I’ve named laws for other people, but now I’ll risk naming my own: Bracey’s Law of Statistical Longevity. The law says that any statistic or statistics-based contention that reflects badly on American public schools, whether true or not, will enjoy a long life. For instance, George Will’s mutant 1993 creation — “Nationally, about half of urban public school teachers with school-age children send their children to private schools” — lives on and
usually appears with the word “urban” deleted. The real figure is 21.5% for urban teachers, 10.6% for all teachers (compared to 12.2% for all families).”

20 10 2006
misedjj

More (think of it as seasoning if nothing else, for our school-is-to-food analogy) —

“When I first started writing these reports, neither I nor the Kappan editors were certain that sufficient data would arrive each year to justify an annual publication. Each year, though, an increasing abundance of information has presented a different problem: with a relatively fixed amount
of space, what to cut? George Kaplan’s 1982 observation that education’s story doesn’t break, it oozes, is no longer
true.

To cope with all the information, we’ve decided to place a number of additional segments on my website, EDDRA. . .
If you visit the EDDRA site, expect segments on Harvard or Bust, the desperate quest for a “brand” university; Whatever It Takes, programs to reconnect youths to schools; Errors by Testing Companies; The Constricting Curriculum; What Doesn’t Work in the What Works Clearinghouse; some updates on topics covered here; and, of course, the Golden Apples in Education Awards for 2006.

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