Thursday, September 06, 2007

Setting Up An Outside Independent Auditing Bureau That Is None Of Those Things

The Daily News reports that Chancellor Klein has been shamed by reports the score increases made on the 2005 fourth grade math test were phony into making the tests and the methodologies of city tests available to an "independent outside audit bureau" -- but there's a catch:

Schools Chancellor Joel Klein will give math and reading test scores and other school documents to a new audit bureau being set up to verify the crucial data, the Daily News has learned.

In an exclusive report this week, The News showed that fourth-grade math exams administered by the state each year may be easier in some years than in others.

The findings led several education advocates to call for audits of school data, including standardized test scores.

An Education Department spokesman said Klein will turn over the test scores and troves of student data to a new organization called the Research Partnership for New York City Schools.

So what's the catch?

Klein himself will sit on the audit bureau and the rest of the board members will be Klein cronies with vested interests in the outcome of the findings!!! UFT president Randi Weingarten (in many ways also a Klein crony and also with a vested interest in the findings) will sit on the bureau board as well.

In other words, the fix is in. Chancellor Klein's independent outside audit bureau will be neither independent nor filled with outsiders without vested interests in the outcomes of the investigations.

What do real experts without vested interests in Klein's "reforms" think about the announcement of the audit bureau?

Not much:

Sol Stern of the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank, said, "The whole thing is a fraud.

"Every one of these people has a stake and an interest in what the research will show," he said.

Stern is among those who have called for an independent auditing bureau.

"This is not what I had in mind," he said. "This could turn out worse because it will have the illusion of objectivity."


The worst part about it is, the news media will uncritically report whatever the audit bureau says without reporting that each person on the bureau has a stake in the results.

Or if they do note the vested interests of the audit bureau members, it will be in paragraph 12 well below the headline.

You can be sure the findings of the audit bureau will be as phony and trumped up as the test scores Klein and Bloomberg trumpet.

I just ran across an interesting thought in an article in the AARP Magazine, written by a man who had attended his 55-year high school reunion. He attributed the relative success of his class to the quality and dedication of their teachers. Many of their teachers were women of dediction and ambition who had few other choices for employment in the era, the forties and early fifties.

I was in schools just shy of ten years later, and certainly could see remnants of that era. If my teachers were any example, teaching was a lifetime profession almost universally undertaken by dedicated individuals. By the time my own kids were in school, such professionals were far fewer in number, with many taking up teaching only until something better came along, and some of those who had been around for years, there only because they were unfit for the 'real world'.

I have no idea what the situation is today, now that my grand-daughter is of that age, but I suspect societial conditions have a lot to do with who is entering teaching, and how well they accomplish what we need them to.

I would appreciate your ideas and those of other teachers.
Kicksiron, one of the best blogs by a teacher that really gives insight into the professionalism of teachers is Check his blog out.

I started this blog initially as an education blog, but obviously the topics broadened out to politics, business and other things. You are right to say that the quality of teachers has something to do w/ the way kids turn out. But the bigger mitigating factor, I think, is the qulaity of the parents and the family the kids come from.

Unfortunately in this day and age, Americans expect teachers to do for their kids what many of the parents and the families are no longer able to do. On top of that, we're also supposed to raise test scores, help them read and write, learn ethics, etc.
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