Peter Greene Eviscerates the New York Times’ Editorial on Education

I wrote the last entry before I saw Peter Greene’s razor-sharp evisceration of the New York Times’ editorial praise for high-stakes testing and the Common Core. The editorial cited a number of spurious sources, all of them from cheerleaders for the Common Core.

 

I took on the general point that the Times makes: that high-stakes testing produces higher achievement. Surely after 15 years of NLB and Race to the Top, and five years of Common Core, no one believes that unless they are paid to do so or are hoodwinked by the former.

 

Peter looks at the underlying sources for the Times’ editorial and identifies each of them as fraudulent. For example, the editorial cites Education Trust for its claim that one of every five high school graduates were rejected by the military, but Greene finds this response from the Department of Defense:

 

For the military, the largest single disqualifying factor is health, including such problems as obesity. The estimate for those who are disqualified only because of aptitude is about 2 percent, said Lt. Cmdr. Nate Christensen, a Pentagon spokesman. That includes not just people who failed the test but also those with other academic deficiencies, such as failure to get a GED.

 

The editorial claims that high school graduates in South Carolina won’t be prepared for the jobs available at automakers in the state.

 

But, writes Peter, this is not true.

 

Five minutes of googling indicates that they can be less worried. BMW appears ready to add more jobs in South Carolina, and these jobs include Forklift Operator and Production Associate. Production associates must have a year of steady job experience and be able to pass a drug test; they must also be willing to work any day they’re called, for a 10-12 hour shift. Forklift operators must have experience operating a forklift. Clearly more AP math courses would help graduates be better-prepared for these jobs.

 

How could the New York Times get everything so wrong? Peter says it is because they relied for their “data” on organizations funded by the Gates Foundation to promote the Common Core standards. Are these trustworthy sources?

 

He writes:

 

I suppose they are “bi-partisan” in the same way that The Tobacco Institute and most lobbying groups are “bi-partisan.” In that sense, the NYT board just stopped short of flat out lying by saying that these two groups are impartial or unbiased. But the Education Trust is a Gates-funded advocacy group from the earliest days of the Core. And Achieve is the organization that “helped” the CCSSO and NGA write the Common Core to begin with– no organization is more highly invested in the continued support and push of the Core Standards and the tests that are welded to them. And they earlier this month released a report that says– well, it says pretty much exactly what this editorial says.

 

In short, the NYT board has done the opposite of journalism here. This belongs with such classics as “Cigarettes Are Totally Good For You” or “US Must Solve Critical New Car Gap.” This is endorsing one political candidate without ever actually talking to any of the others.

 

The problems that face public education are complicated. In fact, right now they’re more complicated than ever because we have a muddy mix of actual problems (e.g. poverty, refusal to fully fund), created problems (e.g. charters stripping public schools of resources), and made-up problems (e.g. Oh Nos! Our students aren’t taking enough standardized tests!). All of these problems exist at the intersection of larger national issues such as income inequality, systemic racism, and the proper relationship between corporate and citizen interests.

 

What would help? Information. Correct, well-researched, thoughtful information. If you want to find one of the problems getting in the way of finding a remedy for everything that ails education, a good first step would be for journalists to stop uncritically running the PR of the people who want to dismantle public education and sell off the parts. The NYT did not solve any problems today, and they didn’t identify any, either. But they surely provided an example of one of them. Come on, New York Times– do journalism better.

 

 

 

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New York Times’ Editorial Defends High-Stakes Testing and Common Core

The New York Times published an editorial (“The Counterfeit High School Diploma”) today lamenting the poor preparation of high school graduates. The Times enthusiastically supported No Child Left Behind and applauds the continued federal mandate for annual testing. The editorial is a caricature of the criticism of high-stakes standardized testing. The editorialist believes that opposition to high-stakes testing was cooked up by teachers’ unions to protect their members, ignoring the parent-led opt out movement and the solid research base for opposing such testing (including statements by the American Statistical Association, the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Educational Research Association).

 

 

The Times’ editorial says:

 

 

Teachers unions and other critics of federally required standardized tests have behaved in recent years as though killing the testing mandate would magically remedy everything that ails education in the United States. In reality, getting rid of the testing requirement in the early grades would make it impossible for the country to know what if anything children were learning from year to year.

 

 

The statement above is sheer nonsense. The loudest criticism of “federally required standardized tests” has come from parent groups, not teachers unions. No one has ever said that “killing the testing mandate would magically remedy everything that ails education in the United States.” And it is beyond ridiculous to state that without the testing requirement it would “impossible for the country to know what if anything children were learning from year to year.”

 

 

Note to New York Times editorial writer from Planet Reality: There is a federal testing program called the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) that reports on what U.S. students are learning every other year. NAEP has been testing students since the 1970s and reporting on states and individual districts since 1992. The scores on NAEP have steadily increased until the adoption of NCLB in 2002, when progress slowed. Test score gains came to a crashing halt in 2015, as NCLB, Race to the Top and Common Core converged in a frenzy of exactly what the New York Times wants.

 

 

If students are graduating with empty high school diplomas, it cannot be because there wasn’t enough testing. We have had a federal policy of high-stakes testing, and students are graduating unprepared for college and careers. So the New York Times’ solution: keep on doing what hasn’t worked for 15 years. Keep high-stakes testing and add Common Core so that standards are higher.

 

 

The New York Times blames states and teachers unions for the failure of high-stakes testing. It bemoans the loss of enthusiasm for the Common Core standards. Maybe the editorialist should do some research and learn that high-stakes testing creates perverse incentives to game the system, teach to the test, and cheat. Maybe he could start by reading Tom Loveless’s prediction in 2012 that the Common Core would make little or no difference in test scores, because the test-score differences within states (with exactly the same standards and curricula) are as great as differences between states. Test scores reflect demographics, not curricula, standards, or teacher quality. Anyone who believes that the Common Core standards will magically improve achievement and close achievement gaps has not been paying attention to research, evidence, NAEP, or reality.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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FIG Partners Served As Sole Placement Agent In $14 Million Private Stock Offering For CalWest Bancorp

This Transaction Marks The 10th Equity Capital Raise For FIG In 2015
Totaling More Than $250 Million Of Equity Capital Raised

ATLANTA, Dec. 31, 2015 — CalWest Bancorp (OTC: CALW), the holding company of South County Bank N.A., has completed a $14 million private stock offering.

FIG Served As Sole Placement Agent In $14 Million Private Stock Offering For CalWest BancorpThe Southern California-based company will invest $6.7 million of the proceeds into South County Bank. The balance will be used to retire $4.9 million in Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds received in January 2009. The company will also pay the deferred interest associated with its outstanding trust preferred securities and retain excess capital at the holding company after paying transaction-related expenses.

FIG Partners served as Sole Placement Agent to CalWest Bancorp. The FIG Partners team included Greg Gersack, Senior Managing Principal and Co-Head of Investment Banking; Lozan Aleksandrov, Senior Vice President and Deputy Head of Capital Markets; and Patrick Nicolini, Senior Vice President.

“This successful recapitalization will allow the Bank and the holding company to increase their respective capital and capital-related ratios to levels well in excess of regulatory requirements,” said Glenn Gray, President and CEO of CalWest Bancorp and South County Bank. “Furthermore, this capital raise is expected to satisfy the remaining requirement of the Bank’s Consent Order. This additional capital, combined with our low cost-of-funds, reduced operating expenses, and performing loan portfolio will restore the Bank’s competitive position in one of the most robust business communities in the country.”

More information from CalWest Bancorp is available here.

To learn more about FIG Partners, visit www.figpartners.com.

The post FIG Partners Served As Sole Placement Agent In $14 Million Private Stock Offering For CalWest Bancorp appeared first on FIG Partners.

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Long Island Person of the Year: Jeanette Deutermann, Opt Out Mom

Many articles about the remarkable Opt Out movement claim that unions started the movement. But parents in New York don’t take orders from the union. They listen to their peers. The unions did not support opting out. Only a few weeks before testing began, the president of the state union NYSUT endorsed opting out. 
The leader of the movement on Long Island began her work three years earlier. Jeanette Deutermann was just named person of the year by a Long Island newspaper. She is a concerned mother and a dedicated activist. She founded Opt Out Long Island. In 2015, fully half the eligible students on Long Island opted out. Albany got the message. 
Congratulations, Jeanette.

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Top 50 Books on Amazon: How The Poor Can Save Capitalism

HTP Book

I just wanted to thank everyone over these holidays, for choosing my most recent bestselling book, “How The Poor Can Save Capitalism: Rebuilding the Path to the Middle Class,” as a gift to yourself, a loved one, or a business associate.  The result of which has once again confirmed that our message resonates with a national (and indeed global) audience.

The hardback book is now Top 50 in all its categories.

The paperback book is now Top 25 in all its categories.  This is particularly gratifying, as the paperback version of the book just came out this October, 2015.

The Kindle version of the book is now Top 20 in all its categories.

The book has also met the Amazon.com ‘Most Wished For’ List in several categories as well, and has remained on this list since it was published in June, 2014.

A special thank you to my publisher, Berrett-Koehler Publishing, for such strong support of me and the book.

Thank you all. I hope the book ‘added’ to your thought leadership, your chances and your choices.  This is the silver rights movement, made real.

Let’s go…

John Hope Bryant

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