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Wish #5: Education Policy Based on Averages, Not Outliers

To celebrate this week’s historic inauguration, skoolboy and I are going to take a step back and make some big wishes – or at least predictions - for education policy in the next four years.

And I want to start this wish in an unlikely place - with a man in a Speedo. Let’s talk about Michael Phelps. Who wasn’t astonished by his eight golds, including that insane race where he touched out his competitor by a hundredth of a second? All over the country, there are age group swimmers, probably some of them putting laps in as you read this, who want to swim as fast as Phelps. Perhaps some of them will emulate his breakfast diet after practice today: three fried-egg sandwiches loaded with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, fried onions and mayonnaise, two cups of coffee, one five-egg omelet, one bowl of grits, three slices of French toast topped with powdered sugar, and three chocolate-chip pancakes.

Americans love outliers. The quick, the talented, the beautiful – we like to read stories about them, watch them on TV, and aspire to be like them. Up to a point, that’s all for the good.

But education policy has taken this fawning adoration to a new level. Rather than appreciating the good work outlier schools do but realizing that public policy must be crafted for mere mortals, some hold up outliers as evidence that all schools can reach a particular standard. Consider Joel Klein and Al Sharpton’s remarks in a recent Wall Street Journal piece:
Dismissing the potential of schools to substantially boost minority achievement, as is now fashionable in some Democratic circles, is ultimately little more than a recipe for defeatism….High-performing urban charter schools such as the KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program) schools are showing that minority students can close the achievement gap if given access to high-quality instruction.
So what are Klein and Sharpton saying here? Their argument is essentially: 1) Some schools with high concentrations of minority and poor students are getting exceptional results, 2) If some schools with high concentrations of minority and poor students are getting good results, poverty must not affect academic achievement - at least not in ways that can't be overcome by good schools, and 3) If some schools can get exceptional results in spite of the challenges their students face, all schools should be able to.

I won’t belabor how flawed this logic is - because at the end of the day, it is just crazy talk. We don’t expect the other 99.9% of swimmers to be able to do what Michael Phelps can, and a swim coach that set out to reach that goal for his swimmers would be sorely disappointed. And we don’t infer that disabilities like Phelps’ ADHD can be overcome by all because one man did so. Few would disagree with the previous two sentences. But it seems that when we step into the education policy arena, we too often check our brains at the door.

So Wish #5 is a simple one: Please, dear policymakers, don’t craft your policies – or your expectations about the effects of policies – based on outlier schools or teachers.

Your logic is flawed.

The KIPP schols are not Michael Phelps. Not by any stretch. Phelps is one of a kind who comes along every 40-50 years. KIPP is one of many such schools in this country that achieve similar end results every year. KIPP represents a realistic, achievable goal....not some kind of super-human performance beyond our reach.

The KIPP schools take the very same kind of students that go to public inner-city schools. KIPP shows us what is possible to achieve with these kids. These results are what we should expect from all of our public schools.

Making excuses for our poorly performing schools has become a cottage industry. KIPP removes all these tired excuses.

Cody is exactly right. The fact that the common sense methods of KIPP can be considered outliers by anybody is just evidence of how pathetic the average is. While the very best KIPP schools might qualify as outliers, the average KIPP school is merely competent at educating its students - not Michael Phelps, but simply someone who can swim. Most district schools, of course, can't swim, but that doesn't mean we have to look with awe at those who can.

If KIPP is a Phelps-like unreplicable anomaly, how do you explain the dozen or so other CMOs that have copied their methods to similar effect? I know how to explain it: rather than making excuses like the district is permitted (by you, apparently, among others) to do, charter operators just look at what works and try to replicate it. Maybe we should encourage that behavior rather than sighing about the impossibility of it all.

Well, the thought that occurred to me has already occurred to others: What on earth is the evidence that KIPP represents not just a 1-in-a-million outlier, such that 99.9% of the schools that educate black kids will never be able to do a competent job at anything?

Take out the "not just" in that sentence, and it will read just fine.

Hi everyone, Off to the races so will respond later - but re what fraction of high poverty schools are consistently "high flyers", see below.

The identification of especially "effective schools" for poor and minority students dates back to Ron Edmonds' work in the late 1970s. The Education Trust (1999, 2001) and Heritage Foundation (1999) have carried the Edmonds flag since then. Both have published reports on schools that are high poverty/high minority, but are "beating the odds."

What does it mean to be "high-flying" or "beating the odds?" The 2001 Education Trust report defined high-flying schools as those schools in the top 1/3 of their states' test scores that are also “high-poverty” (more than 50 percent of students eligible for free or reduced price lunch). Over 3,500 schools were identified. According to Ed Trust, if this many schools can make it happen, all schools should be able to.

It turns out that a school could make the Ed Trust's list if it posted high achievement in only one subject, in one grade, for one year. Doug Harris, an economist at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, reanalyzed these data (paper here), and found that the number of high flyers was, unfortunately, too good to be true. In his analysis, the Ed Trust definition classifies 15.6% of high poverty schools as “high flyers.” Requiring high performance in two subjects, for two grades, for two years reduces the number of high-flying schools to 1.1% of high poverty schools.

The KIPP schools, or other less well-known examples of high poverty, high minority schools scattered throughout the country, can hardly be considered "outliers," when you consider that the basis for such ratings is generally a minimum competency test.

While Michael Phelps may be able to score gold multiple times, seemingly at the drop of a hat, what we are measuring is the ability of schools to ensure that every kid can swim a couple of laps, at any speed. The consequence of our failure to do so is an unacceptably high rate of drownings (to carry the metaphor a bit further).

Assuming arguendo that Harris' criteria are suitable/valid, even if only 1.1% of schools make the cut, this still represents a z-score of 2.29 standard deviations. Calling this an outlier is a bit controversial. I don't believe that most researchers would exclude such a data point from their data sets.

Re: Margo/Mom

Saying that we're just asking that kids be able to "swim a couple of laps, at any speed" just begs the question at hand, namely, "How hard is it to teach kids to swim a couple of laps?" (Well, you see the limits of the metaphor, here.)

Also, note that many KIPP (e.g.) advocates do not want to say that KIPP schools just teach kids to swim a couple of laps; they want to say that KIPP schools teach kids to be like Michael Phelps. If the standard for most kids is, as you put it, to get kids to be much inferior to Michael Phelps (i.e., "swim a couple of laps"), well, that standard's already being met.

The goal is making the outliers the average. Education research ideally identifies the effective practices in high-flying schools and then education policy replicates them in other schools.

That quote by Klein and Sharpton is misleading unless the definition of "instruction" is expanded to include "consequences." A big part of KIPP's success is due to their emphasis on consequences for misbehavior, including demands for parent conferences and promotion/failure policies.
People like Klein and Sharpton should stress that in their statements.

Public schools should be encouraged to adopt these policies, in addition to learning from the KIPP methods of instruction.

Requiring high performance in two subjects, for two grades, for two years reduces the number of high-flying schools to 1.1% of high poverty schools.

The level of current performance doesn't tell us much about whether higher performance is possible.

An analogy: It seems to me that a majority of the American public is overweight, and an overwhelming majority are out of shape. If you can run 3 miles without stopping, you're clearly an "outlier" as things currently stand. But that tells us nothing about whether the average person could run three engaging in just a moderate amount of physical activity. (And they most certainly could: Humans evolved in an environment where the average person was covering 9-12 miles per day).

The reason that running three miles makes you an outlier right now is not because running three miles is a heroic feat; it's because most people are currently performing so far below their potential.

Once again, I edited a sentence into incoherence:

But that tells us nothing about whether the average person could run three miles just by engaging in a few months of a moderate amount of physical activity.

You said it so well when you wrote:

"I won’t belabor how flawed this logic is - because at the end of the day, it is just crazy talk. ... But it seems that when we step into the education policy arena, we too often check our brains at the door."

But somehow we all seem to be speaking past each other. Think of the stereotypical thought (or worse) that goes into the idea that all poor kids are the same. By the comments logic, those exceptional students and parents did nothing; it was the heroism of the teachers as opposed to the slovenliness of the rest. But when a student acts out his pain by assaulting a teacher or a classmate, what happens in KIPP as opposed to neighborhood schools WHERE WE AREN'T ALLOWED TO ENFORCE OUR RULES? And regular schools are supposed to get the same results with less time and little control over our policies?

But we've heard both sides of the arguments before. Maybe its a mistake for me to reinterate them.

BUT, we should all agree with your following statement. If we want to help kids, as opposed to argue, how do you disgree with your last staement that:

"So Wish #5 is a simple one: Please, dear policymakers, don’t craft your policies – or your expectations about the effects of policies – based on outlier schools or teachers."

Would we drive over a bridge with no redundancy built into it?. Would we build all skyscapers with the thinnest possible foundations? In engineering, would we trust in outliers, and have everyone cut it so thin? If we are talking sustainable improvements we need to get away from education's version of Voo Doo Economics.

There's a difference between Phelps being an outlier and his performance being an outlier. He has a unique body, governed by genetics, that has been fine tuned through training. Obviously, it would be next to impossible to change most people's bodies into Phelps'. However, average schools are much more malleable, and can be changed in important ways that the so-called outlier schools suggest get better results for poor minority students. Longer school days, regular use of formative assessment, power to hire and fire teachers, etc. are changes that can be made to average schools and can improve performance. Perhaps not all schools, even with these changes, will succeed with their students, but there is nothing preventing them from trying but political will.

Paul says, "If the standard for most kids is, as you put it, to get kids to be much inferior to Michael Phelps (i.e., "swim a couple of laps"), well, that standard's already being met."

Au contraire, Paul. The success standard on which every one of those high performing, high poverty schools (at least the studies that I am familiar with) is judged is the state level proficiency test. These tests do not aspire to greatness. They aspire to set a "grade level" standard of minimum competency and hold schools accountable for this minimum. Compared to other available measures (NAEP, PISA, TIMSS) these state-level accountability tests, albeit a mixed bag, do not approach anyone's definition of outlier expectations. The most common criticism is that they represent a "race to the bottom."

As a general rule of thumb, a fifth grade reading level is considered minimal for such activities of daily living as reading directions, understanding how to take medications, etc. In many high poverty schools most fifth graders do not demonstrate this level of literacy.

It's very clear to me that Michael Phelps' coaches were practicing their craft to perfection and that they were 100% responsible for his achievements.

The fact that his mother had the insight to firmly guide Phelps to the sport of swimming, made tremendous sacrifices herself and didn't ruin him emotionally, had little effect on his outcome. Phelps' success had nothing to do with his intense competitive drive and sense of discipline, nor his unique set of physical gifts. His sustained, daily access to high-end swimming facilities didn't play a part in developing his speed, either.

It's obvious that the other swim coaches in the world are just clinging to the status quo and don't truly believe that any of their trainees can succeed. Most of them are lazy and ineffective, and all they want is to collect pay and benefits from rec centers and swim clubs.

Our nation's swim coaches are also responsible for the swim gap (a study in 5/08 showed that 58% of African American children can't swim, for whites it's 31%). The intolerable truth is that most pools where young people swim are simply "failure factories."

We are way overdue for reforming them.

"One that can swim need not despair to fly,
to fly is but to swim in a grosser fluid,
and to swim is but to fly in a subtler....
Animals swim by nature, man by art."

Samuel Johnson

Of course, Sam could have been writing about most institutional schooling, too.

"Apes don't swim because they possess enough reason to know they could drown. But humans have enough imagination to overcome that reasonable fear."

I recommend "Swimming to Antarctica: Tales of a Long-Distance Swimmer"
by Lynne Cox. Well worth $.01 + shipping. Wonderful memoir. While Cox is also a freak of human nature, she had the benefit over Michael at the time of her writing, of more education. And then, there's the benefit of free-water swimming, too. Literally outside the box.

Eduwonkette's link to the Harris paper doesn't appear to have taken. It's here:
We also published a recent piece by Professor Jeff Henig about the research on KIPP schools: http://epicpolicy.org/publication/outcomes-of-kipp-schools

Interestingly, I think the take-away msg from both of those papers is that we as a research community need to be more cautious in our claims about breakthroughs -- a msg pretty consistent with the one Eduwonkette is making here (although, to be best of my recollection, neither paper references swimming).

There is good news for education today because Barack Obama is a man of considerable intelligence. He understands that those of you who propose better schools are right; but he also knows that the family is the key to a child's education. Simply put, the school usually cannot do a good job of educating a child without the support of the family, although there are always exceptions. In his memoir entitled "The Audacity of Hope" Obama wrote these words when describing our failing schools: "I don't believe government alone can turn these statistics around. Parents have the primary responsibility for instilling an ethic of hard work and educational achievement in their children. But parents rightly expect their government, through the public schools, to serve as full partners in the educational process -just as it has for earlier generations of Americans."

This is exactly what I believe: it takes a partnership between home and school to provide every child with an equal educational opportunity. Schools CAN do better, and perhaps KIPP schools have made a big difference; but to expect them to make the WHOLE difference is to negate the critical role of the parents. Why would we even want to do this? I just don't get it.

Sometimes it's easier to understand a complicated problem when looking at a small part, instead of struggling to grasp the whole picture. Let's consider a child in a low-performing school. I am thinking of a student I had several years ago. This child had a severe case of asthma. Her parents did not follow up with doctor appointments or medications. Although the school tried to intervene, the parents would always return to their pattern of neglect. Social Services was involved but decided that the child was best off at home. As a result, this child missed about a third of the school year. KIPP advocates are basically saying "No Excuses, this child can learn just as much as her privileged peer if she attends a good school." The rest of us are saying, "This child can learn just as well as anyone else if you give her a good school AND medical care." Those of us who work in urban schools know that there are many children with problems that severely impact learning. To ignore these problems is to deny these children their right to a good education.

Hopefully, with our new leadership we'll all find a common ground: All children can learn with good teachers AND social supports. It's time to work together. We can do it. Yes, we can!


In the spirit of "yes, we can," let me offer some thoughts. In my work with groups of children, I cannot count the number of times that I have served as mediator, sitting down with two or more parties to bring about some change that will enable them to avoid coming to blows or other unseemly behavior.

There is always a point of determining what each is willing to do--and a point that must be gotten past in which each one points out that they will do A--conditioned on the guarantee that B will do thus and so. This is always a trap--leading to "gotcha" behaviors that place responsibility on someone else's choices.

For every sad story of parental neglect, or refusal to do what schools think that they should, I can guarantee you that I can bring one in, equally sad, about a parent's struggle to get a school or teacher to do what they are supposed to do. I fully understand the need for affirmation (although in many years of observing wrong things within schools, I have never gotten it).

But, working together means acknowledging, a la Bronfenbrenner, our need to align the culture and standards of our school and out-of-school communities. We cannot continue to see schools as places of rightness placed like islands within seas of wrongness. Begin by seeking out the things that parents in each school community really possess and bring to the table--right now. Not the things that we wish they had, and could have if only they would listen, and attend our parenting classes and do what we wish. Find out what is driving the passion of every angry parent who comes into a school. Consider the possibility that there is more than one "right" way to do things, and acknowledge that many thing we have been doing--whether right or wrong, have not been working for us.

Linda--I know that you are retired from teaching--perhaps this gives you a unique opportunity now to look at schools from the outside, and examine their relationship to the communities in which they are located. I applaud your willingness to consider ways in which we can work together.

Pondoora: Love your tongue-in-cheek analogy (above).. well said.

Poondora, loved your comment.

Yeah Pandoora, great comment, except you missed the part about everyone not needing to learn how to be Phelps - we just need everyone to learn how to swim. Or even to not drown.

So maybe, other than some particularly gifted natural swimmers, we can't expect schools to reliably churn out one Michael Phelps after another, but we sure can expect any swim coach to teach any swim student how to tread water and do the doggy paddle.

Yes, Pandoora's analogy is priceless. If you consider just one skill, such as swimming, it's easy to see how many factors are involved. The coach is very important, but he's part of a team. Most important are the individual's personal traits and the sacrifices made by a parent or caregiver.

Margo, I want to respond to you as another mother. Believe me when I say I know exactly what you are talking about. Once I wanted to "kill" my son's math teacher when he gave the whole class demerits for attendance because my son was absent (He had an insulin reaction - Yes!). Another time, my younger son's teacher told the class that she had a gun in her desk drawer! (She didn't.) I raised hell with the first son's school and got an apology from the principal. I pulled the other son out of his school that very same day. So I know that such things happen. I was fortunate because I had lots of choices but I know that some parents do not. I also know that many districts hate special education because they are just given a fraction of the money that it costs. My own district went to great lengths to "hide" services from parents but advocates like you never let them get away with it. When you fight for your own child, you can help other children at the same time, as you probably know. When I was teaching, teachers were repeatedly told not to tell parents about available services, such as psychological testing. Of course, this isn't right and you are correct in demanding more accountability.

But doesn't the above just demonstrate how important parents are? In suburban schools, isn't it so that teachers and administrators are more sensitive to parent concerns? That's how I saw things at my sons' schools. School people almost seemed afraid of parents. I found them usually very responsive to concerns.

Now I have my "retired teacher" hat on again. As a teacher I saw the "whole picture." By and large, the children who had educated and involved parents did well at school and the children who were neglected at home did poorly at school. Of course, there were exceptions, especially in special education. That said, you are still correct in saying that the school can do more. Of course it can, and it should. Hopefully in the years ahead we'll see better schools and better health and social services for children.

I want to make a comment that has nothing to do with the above: I do not believe in the validity of the test scores reported by KIPP schools or any other public schools. Please forgive my cynicism, but this view is based on things that I observed in my many years of teaching.

Socrates: How on earth can you accept that some kids should be limited to knowing the doggy paddle when we all know that others can do lap-after-lap of the breast, back, butterfly and free?


You're missing the point. The question is whether all schools can be expected to be as good as KIPP schools. I likened KIPP schools to coaches who teach the doggy paddle because I don't think what they're doing is all that elite. I agree that we should shoot for great swimmers, but since so many people believe that's impossible, let's start with shooting for competence. Right now, the majority of our public schools don't come close to achieving competence.

Pondoora -- your clever comment rests on the view, which I think completely mistaken, that academic achievement of the normal variety (learning how to read, how to do basic math) is so superheroic that it can only be compared to one of the greatest Olympians of all time.

So yes, you're clearly right that for a Michael Phelps to exist, a million things have to be perfectly in place: genetic ability, parental involvement, personal drive, thousands of hours of deliberate practice, great coaching, etc.

But I don't see any reason -- even after asking for one -- that learning how to read and do basic math is anything even remotely like that. I think learning how to read and do basic math -- something that some students fail to do -- is much more like just learning how to swim, period. And, lo and behold, there are swimming pools all across the country that manage to teach average kids how to swim even if they're nothing like Michael Phelps. And if it turned out a given pool was turning out swimming students half of whom later drowned, it would be perfectly appropriate to wonder what had gone wrong with their instruction, and to expect that the norm should be that people who take swimming lessons for 10-12 years are actually able to swim at the end of all that.

Socrates - the kids who can't swim can't just learn to do the doggie paddle - they must learn to do it at "high levels." And if they don't - then as Pondoora says, it is the fault of all the adults involved, except the parents, of course.

That is the fantasy of school reform in Washington, DC.

William Saleton at Slate http://www.slate.com/id/2208429/
has noted that 8% of major league baseball players now have medical approval for their use of stimulants to address their ADHD. Who knew baseball, like swimming in a pool, had become so boring? (Or have performance incentives just become so large?)

Getting back on EW's point -- really --
In Michelle Rhee's DCPS, students are being pretested four times this year, all in preparation for the late Spring DC CAS, in which the kids --were it not for promised pizzas and iPods etc, have no stake.
Oh, but are their teachers and principals under NCLB and Rhee ever stakeholders. Can anyone believe that a school year organized around five administrations of the SAME tests and the shadows to predict the school's progress toward THE REAL THING is about anything but that test?
Ritalin and Adderall, for change and focus we can believe in (together with 4 practice test administrations, and attention to the kids on the cusp of mattering to how the adults get measured.)
THAT's what thousands of educators do in one small school system playing to national media markets. Next year's B-school case study?

Testing four times a year with the exact same test invalidates the results. Why do so many people take these scores seriously?

incredulous and Linda: the baseline tests (DC-BAS) given throughout the year are not the same as the DC-CAS, nor are the different iterations the same as the others.

Socrates and Stuart Buck: Actually the kids who are "failing" are often doing fairly well in the context of their world. They are often clever, highly social, and use creative ways to get all kinds of things they need. They might not be able to swim in water, but they know exactly how to survive in hell.

By the time middle school approaches, they have tuned out your nice and comfy bourgeoisie world, and are well on track to another.

If they happen to have the sort of parent who has hunted down a school like KIPP, and if they have a nature that makes them sufficiently compliant with its rules, they'll stick at the school, and of course, learn. Plenty of the others can't be bothered w/the irrelevance and foolishness of school. Chanting out times tables and studying for SAT's? Right.

Explain to me, exactly, just which jobs will these masses be able to get w/their high school diploma? Will each one be provided with health insurance, and enough pay to buy a home, support a family, and build a middle-class life?

Or are you in the fantasyland that thinks that every single kid in the US going to get a bachelor's degree at least? What will be the relative worth of that degree then?

One problem with your type of rigid "blame teachers"/education talk nonsense is that you conveniently ignore gobs and gobs and gobs of important information. Subtle changes happen to the brain from living in deprived and abusive homes and neighborhoods. Look it up online.

For a start, hang out at a real inner-city school for seven years, watch what goes on, and read "Code of the Street" by Elijah Anderson, and then we'll talk again.

Yeah, some teachers are crappy, but so are some bus drivers, some doctors, some accountants, some plumbers, and some of everybody else. You can blasting teachers all you want but it isn't going to "fix" any problem.

Pondoora: Interesting comment. From my experience as a former teacher, I agree with you that "failing" students are often doing well socially and do not consider their academic problems to be very important. This is probably one of the reason they have academic problems. As you noted, students with the right family support and motivation often can and do succeed at school.

"Testing four times a year with the exact same test invalidates the results. Why do so many people take these scores seriously?"

You mean we cannot even manage to teach kids to memorize the test? It's not like those scores give the appearance of bias in the direction that would be indicated by multiple iterations of the same test. But maybe things in DC are worse than we all thought.

Margo: No, the kids cannot memorize the test; and yes, things are much worse than you thought. Here's an example of what is happening at high poverty schools:

Because many children in high-poverty schools are two or more years below grade level, they are unable to read the test. It takes a lot of drill on "easy" items (i.e. parts without much reading) just to get decent scores. The teacher might feel that her only option is to drill on lower-level skills such as word recognition, phonics and simple computation so that her students will show some progress on the test. If there is a writing section, she might give the children a writing frame and drill them over and over again to fill in the blanks. She might show them how to use the words displayed on bulletin boards to do this. Believe me, it's an art form.

You might be interested in the book "Tested" by Linda Perlstein. It's a good example of how improved test scores do not necessarily equate with improved learning.

I think the important thing about comparing Michael Phelps to KIPP schools is to remember what he is doing for competitive swimming. He has set a new standard for excellence and the difference between him and his nearest 1,000 competitors is only a few seconds. All schools need to strive for excellence. We cannot all be the best, but we can and should be striving for the best. KIPP schools are showing us what we should striving to be, regardless of whether or not we have the natural talent to be the absolute best.


Or--the teacher could teach them to read? I have avoided "Tested" by Linda Perstein, although I am aware of it and have read some excerpts and a whole lot about how wonderful it is.

See--the drill and kill method has several drawbacks. One, it doesn't do much to improve scores. Two, to the extent that it does, it violates the intent of the tests, which is to measure what/how much kids know. Third, it guarantees that next years' teacher will receive kids even further behind. Last--it doesn't measure up to any kind of moral or ethical standard--something that teachers want to be acknowledged as having--in addition to being competent and capable of self-accountability.

Margo: When children are reading two or three years below grade level, it is very difficult to teach them to read well enough to take a grade-level test. A third grade child could make over a year's progress in reading, but if he tests at a low second grade level in May, he will not be able to read a third grade test. That's essentially the challenge for many children and their teachers.

Of course teaching to the test is wrong and teachers are wrong to be doing it but there is so much pressure on them to do it that many start to rationalize and defend it (As in "How can we test the children on the specific item if we haven't taught it?") I am not defending this practice but it is happening and it does invalidate the tests. I feel certain that what I have described is widespread.

Comments are now closed for this post.


Recent Comments

  • Linda/Retired Teacher: Margo: When children are reading two or three years below read more
  • Margo/Mom: Linda: Or--the teacher could teach them to read? I have read more
  • DW: I think the important thing about comparing Michael Phelps to read more
  • Linda/Retired Teacher: Margo: No, the kids cannot memorize the test; and yes, read more
  • Margo/Mom: "Testing four times a year with the exact same test read more




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Jonah Rockoff
Kevin Carey
KIPP and boys
KIPP and gender
Lake Woebegon
Lars Lefgren
leaving teaching
Leonard Sax
Liam Julian

Marcus Winters
math achievement for girls
meaning of high school diploma
Mica Pollock
Michael Bloomberg
Michelle Rhee
Michelle Rhee teacher contract
Mike Bloomberg
Mike Klonsky
Mike Petrilli
narrowing the curriculum
National Center for Education Statistics Condition of Education
new teachers
New York City
New York City bonuses for principals
New York City budget
New York City budget cuts
New York City Budget cuts
New York City Department of Education
New York City Department of Education Truth Squad
New York City ELA and Math Results 2008
New York City gifted and talented
New York City Progress Report
New York City Quality Review
New York City school budget cuts
New York City school closing
New York City schools
New York City small schools
New York City social promotion
New York City teacher experiment
New York City teacher salaries
New York City teacher tenure
New York City Test scores 2008
New York City value-added
New York State ELA and Math 2008
New York State ELA and Math Results 2008
New York State ELA and Math Scores 2008
New York State ELA Exam
New York state ELA test
New York State Test scores
No Child Left Behind
No Child Left Behind Act
passing rates
picking a school
press office
principal bonuses
proficiency scores
push outs
qualitative educational research
qualitative research in education
quitting teaching
race and education
racial segregation in schools
Randall Reback
Randi Weingarten
Randy Reback
recovering credits in high school
Rick Hess
Robert Balfanz
Robert Pondiscio
Roland Fryer
Russ Whitehurst
Sarah Reckhow
school budget cuts in New York City
school choice
school effects
school integration
single sex education
small schools
small schools in New York City
social justice teaching
Sol Stern
Stefanie DeLuca
stereotype threat
talented and gifted
talking about race
talking about race in schools
Teach for America
teacher effectiveness
teacher effects
teacher quailty
teacher quality
teacher tenure
teachers and obesity
Teachers College
teachers versus doctors
teaching as career
teaching for social justice
teaching profession
test score inflation
test scores
test scores in New York City
testing and accountability
Texas accountability
The No Child Left Behind Act
The Persistence of Teacher-Induced Learning Gains
thinktanks in educational research
Thomas B. Fordham Foundation
Tom Kane
University of Iowa
Urban Institute study of Teach for America
Urban Institute Teach for America
value-added assessment
Wendy Kopp
women and graduate school science and engineering
women and science
women in math and science
Woodrow Wilson High School