Skip to main content

Apple with big red letter F
Michelle Rhee continues her descent into parody. You might have thought that teaching students to read would be a good way to evaluate educational performance, but no. Rhee's StudentsFirst organization has released a report card grading states—on their education policies, not their educational results. In fact, not one of the states StudentsFirst ranks in the top five is in the top half of states on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, "the nation's report card," when it comes to eighth grade reading scores, and only one is in the top half when it comes to eighth grade math.
  • Louisiana is the top-rated state, according to StudentsFirst. It ranks 49th of 51 on eighth grade reading scores and 47th of 51 on eighth grade math scores.
  • Florida is StudentsFirst's second-best state according to ideology. According to educational results, Florida is 35th on reading and 42nd on math.
  • StudentsFirst says Indiana is third. The "nation's report card" says it's 30th on reading and 23rd on math.
  • The District of Columbia, where Rhee had her way from 2007 to 2010, comes in fourth according to Rhee's ranking system. According to the NAEP? Dead last.
  • Rhode Island is fifth in Rhee-land. It's 29th in both reading and math on the NAEP.

By contrast, of the 11 states Rhee rates as having the worst policies for education, three are in the top six for eighth grade reading scores on the NAEP, and four more are in the top 20. Another contrast: The three highest-scoring states on reading are Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Rhee scores them 14th, 21st and 18th.

Bear in mind that this complete disregard for educational results as measured by the gold-standard standardized test comes despite the fact that the StudentsFirst report card ranks states more highly for relying on standardized testing in teacher evaluations. (One reason the NAEP is the gold standard, by the way, is that it's less likely to be the subject of the kind of cheating that seems to have happened in D.C. under Rhee's leadership since it's not high-stakes so the incentive to cheat is low.)

And complacent reporters will aid StudentsFirst in spreading its grades without questioning their basis. In the New York Times, for instance, Motoko Rich notes only that "The ratings, which focused purely on state laws and policies, did not take into account student test scores," and not the upside-down relationship between the ratings and the scores. The Washington Post's Valerie Strauss is much, much better, as usual.

I've lost count of the times I've pointed to some egregious action by StudentsFirst or Rhee herself and said "if you needed proof it's not about putting students first, here it is." But if you still need proof of that, the fact that StudentsFirst is grading states not on how the students in those states are doing but on a set of corporate-backed policies that are at best unproven, and that the StudentsFirst results are actually negatively correlated with the best national measure we have of student achievement ought to do the trick.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Mon Jan 07, 2013 at 12:31 PM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Meteor Blades, sdf, bink, RakDaddy, DeminNewJ, vicki, sny, Jeff Boatright, teacherken, Linda Wood, peggy, bosdcla14, sphealey, genethefiend, eeff, devtob, elfling, pollyusa, hnichols, bookbear, hubcap, RumsfeldResign, Silverleaf, whenwego, ask, stevej, chuckvw, shanikka, otto, chimpy, TampaCPA, fumie, Texknight, TexDem, 2laneIA, Eyesbright, BMarshall, zerelda, Sembtex, mungley, vacantlook, Skennet Boch, Desert Rose, maybeeso in michigan, marina, denise b, Ckntfld, lilypew, Tonedevil, democracy inaction, irate, Simplify, bleeding blue, freemark, Burned, Sandino, bookwoman, mightymouse, xaxnar, twoducks, Orinoco, detroitmechworks, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, Clytemnestra, gooderservice, blueoregon, bartcopfan, BeerNotWar, cpresley, BeninSC, Loudoun County Dem, gailwax, karmsy, Liberaltarian, semioticjim, Matt Z, gustynpip, Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle, aliasalias, Aunt Martha, cyncynical, Bronx59, hopi13, Chico David RN, TDDVandy, South Park Democrat, chujb, condorcet, La Musa, Sixty Something, Cassandra Waites, Gemina13, BYw, Ellinorianne, dmhlt 66, statsone, WhizKid331, DontTaseMeBro, LinSea, ewmorr, cantelow, petral, papahaha, joe from Lowell, deviant24x, Govinda, Railfan, Just Bob, commonmass, emptythreatsfarm, FogCityJohn, piers, Hoopgreen, DiegoUK, ericlewis0, catlady, annieli, Barbara Marquardt, Colorado is the Shiznit, kerflooey, firemage, susanala, sethtriggs, Yogurt721, tardis10, Marihilda, Vatexia, dradams, big mouth, Auriandra, Azazello, Laurel in CA, Talking Union, Mindful Nature, IndieGuy, LefseBlue, a2nite, JGibson, Mr Robert, MilitantRabbit, burnt out, arizonablue, AverageJoe42, Glen The Plumber, Kayjay, CleanSlate, Lily O Lady, remembrance, georgelshea, rosarugosa, northerntier, ET3117, Ishmaelbychoice, NH LABOR NEWS, OceanDiver, Halfton81, Guile Of The Gods, IowaNiceinDC, Chas 981, dannyboy1, teacherjon, Capt Crunch

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site