Education policy

Mandates don’t matter; power does

One more short piece on the midterm elections. I do not care whether a 4% (or 8% or 12%) margin of victory in a 25% (or 35%) turnout translates into something pundits love to call mandates. That’s a foolish concept for a number of reasons, but most importantly is this: elections are not designed to […]

Election results and education (brief version)

A few cynical thoughts after the 2014 election, focusing on education politics: Get ready for Higher Ed Act and ESEA reauthorization! Er, or not. Wasn’t happening before the election, likely won’t happen in the next two years, either. Ignore “the decline of” chatter, all of which is post-election punditry equivalent of a November 1 candy binge. […]

Zombie stats: “dropout rate” as a case in point

Education has a whole host of statistics that are unreliable, that have been unreliable or unnecessary or off-target for years, and that continue to be created, published, and reported on. “Dropout rate” is one of those. It’s been around for more than forty years, crafted in the late 1960s when there was no way to […]

Can sampling save high-stakes testing?

m4s0n501 Over the weekend, the Washington Post‘s Valerie Strauss described one Colorado school district’s proposal to test a sample of children for accountability purposes. Proposals something like this float up occasionally: let’s not test all children in all subjects but a sample. Sometimes the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) sampling plan is used as […]

Three book recommendations et alia

I haven’t gone this long without a blog entry in … hmmn. Don’t know how long, maybe not since 2003. My wife was hospitalized in late August, and until she came home last Wednesday, I have been juggling essential tasks like mad and jettisoning whatever was absolutely unnecessary for the time being.1 She’s much better, thank you, and […]