Monday, December 06, 2010

Prichard Committee challenges the CJ on the facts about Louisville schools

The Prichard Committee is calling the Louisville Courier-Journal on the carpet for factual inaccuracies in its editorial last week attacking the Jefferson County School Board for firing Superintendent Sheldon Berman. Prichard apparently thinks the CJ has some obligation to truth in its editorials.

We're not sure where Prichard got that idea.

The CJ, which on education issues plays Charlie McCarthy to the Jefferson County Teachers Association's Edgar Bergen, had stated that "percentages of students testing proficient in basic academic skills have risen steadily." Not so, says Susan Weston at Prichard:
I respectfully submit that since 2007, proficiency levels in Jefferson County Public Schools have risen steadily only in high school writing. In every other tested subject at every level, proficiency declined in one or more of the last three years.
And that's not all:
I turn to another claim in the same editorial, this time the one that says "students rated novice have dropped sharply."

For that statement as well, I respectfully submit that the editorial has not accurately described the facts.

Far from dropping sharply, the percent of Jefferson students scoring at the novice level increased from 2007 to 2010 at every level in reading, mathematics, science, and social studies and at the elementary level in writing. The only novice results that have a net three-year decline are middle and high school writing, and while the 14.5 percent decline for high schools is a large one, the 0.24 percent shift for middle schools is not a drop to which the modifier "sharp" can reasonably be applied.

This is interesting (and a little ironic), since, in the old days, it was the Prichard Committee who played the role of Tokyo Rose in the war on ignorance in Kentucky. When I was the one battling Prichard on education issues, they were the ones misleading the public on education issues, trying to conceal problems in the implementation of the Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERA) and actively trying to suppress the public release of important information showing problems with the state tests.

Could it be that they have now come over fully from the Dark Side?

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