Monday, July 14, 2008

Speaking of Measuring

Andrew Wolf just responded to our comments on Mayor Mike's poverty measuring, and he told us: " Meanwhile he can't measure kids reading and math grades right. Who is he to lecture on how to measure poverty?" Which brings us to Sol Stern's column on reading in today's NY Post.

Stern's piece is in response to the Obama flap over immigrants learning English-how the real problem is that Americans can't speak other languages. As Stern points out: "What should embarrass him is that, in the communities he claims to know so much about, schools are failing to teach black and Hispanic children how to read English - the prerequisite to all other learning. Two-thirds of black children in urban US school districts can't read at the minimally appropriate level by fourth grade - a failure that is at the heart of the "racial achievement gap."

And this serious problem is still endemic to our NYC schools, where the Kleineman botched the reading challenge by allowing the so-called progressive educators to hold sway: "Mayor Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Klein deserve credit for talking of ending the racial achievement gap - but they made the mistake of relying on the wrong "experts." In 2003, they entrusted most instructional decisions to educators who deem it a crime to teach children how to read through scripted phonics lessons."

And what are the results of this error? According to Stern (and Wolf for that matter): "Six years later, we're seeing the fruits of that tragic decision. On the federal NAEP tests, known as the "nation's report card," New York City showed no improvement from 2003 to 2007 in both fourth and eighth grade reading." But Bloomberg and Klein continue to crow about the results from watered down or doctored tests that fail to disguise, in our view, the failure of this version of a mayoral control experiment.