It’s election season, which means that we’re being inundated with polls. The reporting of poll results drives statisticians nuts, because the press often reports the percentage of those surveyed who favor one candidate or another, without taking into account the poll’s margin of error. The margin of error is a way of quantifying the uncertainty in the poll numbers, because even a well-designed poll that surveys a random and representative sample of the population is going to generate an estimate of the true proportion of those in the population who favor a particular candidate. The general rule ...

Rest assured that this blog will not run out of troubling things to write about anytime soon....

I'm knee deep in old NCLB documents, and ran across the Department of Education's NCLB song. NCLB represented not only a major shift in federal education policy, but an embrace of policy/PR boosterism that's enough to make all of us giggle (Remember Armstrong Williams?). Back from 2002, here are the NCLB lyrics:We're here to thank our president,For signing this great bill,That's right! Yeah,Research shows we know the way,It's time we showed the will!No matter how catchy the ditty, a song can't carry a fundamentally flawed law. That's where Tom Toch and Doug Harris ...

Betsy Gotbaum is the Public Advocate for the City of New York. The Public Advocate is an independently elected citywide official who serves as a public ombudswoman.Six years ago, Mayor Michael Bloomberg accomplished what those before him could not: he gained control of New York City public schools, a fragmented, famously troubled bureaucracy that now has about 1.1 million students, 80,000 teachers, 1,450 schools and a budget that, at more than $21 billion, is larger than that of several states. When the New York State Legislature authorized mayoral control in 2002, it added a sunset provision, ...

This week's COWAbunga Award, aka the "comment of the week award," goes to Citizen X, who let loose on Roland Fryer's experiments that pay kids for their test scores:The soul-crushing aspect of Fryer's theoretical that it lets the curriculum and the teacher and the school entirely off the hook. It's not a matter of creating learning experiences that connect with a child, her culture, her community; or creating curriculum that intrigues her or teaching that respects her and her family; or about creating schools where families and communities can find support and education and develop skills of ...

We know that the average African-American student lags behind the average white student. But until recently, we did not have a clear portrait of the differences between black and white high-achievers in elementary school - a critical pipeline issue in shaping inequality in access to the most coveted colleges, graduate schools, and jobs. Thanks to Sean Reardon, a Stanford sociologist of education who studies school segregation and the sources of racial/ethnic achievement gaps, we've come a long way.How does the progress of initially high-achieving black and white students compare as they progress from kindergarten through 5th grade? It ...

1) My Kingdom for a Parking Space: On top of everything else, NYC teachers like Mimi are without parking. As always, she has some funny and insightful things to say about it:Sometimes it feels as if the forces in the universe are alligning to make this job as difficult as possible, just to see if I have the balls to stick with it. Other times, it feels as if teachers (as people) are the absolute last priority on everyone's list...that we will just suck it up and deal with ridiculous situations "for the kids."If one more person ...

eduwonkette and I have been blogging about the School Progress Reports released last week by the New York City Department of Education. We’ve shown that, although the performance and environment scores of schools were pretty consistent from last year to this year, the student progress scores were virtually unrelated—knowing a school’s progress score from last year didn’t predict which schools would demonstrate a lot of progress this year. This, we argued, demonstrated that the progress part of the School Progress Report—representing 60% of the letter grade each school received—wasn’t really telling us which ...

Today marks the one-year anniversary of eduwonkette's bold entry into blogging about education. A lot has happened here over the past year, across 487 different posts, and thousands and thousands of comments. (Heck, back then, eduwonk and eduwonkette were BFF.) eduwonkette has tackled a remarkably diverse set of education policy issues: teacher quality, No Child Left Behind, gender differences in academic performance, myths about small schools, New York City's School Progress Reports, the "it's being done/no excuses" argument, the achievement gap and "acting white", value-added assessment, choice, incentives, unions ... the list goes on and on. And she's done it ...

Daniel Koretz, a professor who teaches educational measurement at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, generously agreed to field a few questions about educational testing. He is the author of Measuring Up: What Educational Testing Really Tells Us. EW: What are the three most common misconceptions about educational testing that Measuring Up hopes to debunk? DK: There are so many that it is hard to choose, but given the importance of NCLB and other test-based accountability systems, I'd choose these:* That test scores alone are sufficient to evaluate a teacher, a school, or an educational program.* That you can trust ...


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