Saturday, September 11, 2010

What story is told in school statistics

The June 11, 2005 editorial in the Times&Transcript mut have had a different writer from the ranter who did the back to school eidtoral that attacked everybody but parents for the performance of New Brunswick schools.  At least, so I would guess from a writing style that didn't involve foaming at the mouth. This time, we got to see a worm wriggling on a hook.

The editorial takes a a piece of news that was surely a superbly good piece of news that NB high schools have the lowest  drop-out rate in Canada.  (Canada as a whole has a lower drop-out rate than the US). Then the editoralist says "well, yeah,  but, uh, like, what if, maybe, you know, it could be the kids are just sitting there, like, you know,,,,,,I mean, it just shows how much we have to change our schools, like....

The summary next to the editorial - it's ititled "We Say" - thunders "Rather than worry about statistics that make them look good, our schools need to focus more on the needs of all students." It would be hard to match that statement for sheer blandness, incomprehensibility, contradicttion and near-idiocy.

Why would any school "worry" about statistics that make it look good? Why take good news and treat it as though our schools have publicly wet their pants?

Why say statistics don't matter when the T&T has been supporting the  standardized testing and public ranking imposed by AIMS which is based entirely on statistics? Worse, AIMS depends on entirely statstical work while disregarding all other research that has been done on education.

The CEO and President of AIMS,and the man in charge of its education project is Charles Cirtwill. He's primarily a statistician with no trainiing or significant experience (if any at all) in education. Letting him set the standards for public education is like calling in the guy who shovels your snow to do brain surgery on your child.

Alll of this rasises a bigger question. Is there a problem in our journalism schools?

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