When it comes to education we parents have to trust that the teachers and education administrators in our public school systems won’t do anything that will harm our children. While I think most of our classroom teachers have our children’s best interests at heart, I doubt everything I hear from the education administrators & bureaucrats.
I’m sorry to say that, but I have seen far too much evidence that the education administrators at the local, state, and federal level are corrupt and will willingly and knowingly lie or distort facts, to trust a word they say anymore. Unfortunately, debunking their lies usually requires a degree of professional skepticism coupled with a willingness to dig into and understand details, something our elected officials are unwilling or unable to do.
The net effect is that the corrupt liars are setting education policy in this county, state, and country and our children are suffering because of it.
Here’s the latest in a long string of examples.
Educational Malpractice For the Sake of Reform Math, is the story of Professor Milgram’s experience in preparing and publishing a critique of a study done by Jo Boaler (Stanford) and Megan Staples (Purdue). Boaler and Staples’ study claimed that students taught Algebra under the Interactive Mathematics Program, a reform math program, learned more math than students taught under more traditional instructional programs. Because Boaler and Staples study indicated that everything being taught in US schools was wrong, the US Dept of Education asked Dr Milgram to review the study. Dr Milgram and his colleagues determined that Boaler and Staples study wasn’t worth the paper it was written on. In fact, the actual results showed the exact opposite of the conclusions reached by Boaler and Staples. Dr Milgran hesitated to make his study public because he believe that doing so would make it “impossible for me to work with the community of math educators in this country”.
So not only are the education administrators / bureaucrats liars, but they’re also bullies. And they’re the ones our clueless politicians trust.
Dr Milgram, as quoted in the article linked above, states the following:
“This seems to be a very common occurrence within education circles.
For example, the results of a number of papers with enormous effects on curriculum and teaching, such as [Boaler and Staple’s paper] and [J. Riordan and P. Noyce’s paper, “The impact of two standards-based mathematics curricula on student achievement in Massachusetts”] have never been independently verified. Yet, [Boaler and Staple’s paper] was the only independent research that demonstrated significant positive results for the Everyday Math program for a number of years. During this period district curriculum developers relied on [Boaler and Staple’s paper] to justify choosing the program, and, today, EM is used by almost 20% of our students. Likewise [Riordan and Noyce’s paper] was the only research accepted by [the U.S. Department of Education’s] What Works Clearinghouse in their initial reports that showed positive effects for the elementary school program “Investigations in Number, Data, and Space,” which today is used by almost 10% of our students.”
“Between one quarter and 30% of our elementary school students is a huge data set. Consequently, if these programs were capable of significantly improving our K-12 student outcomes, we would surely have seen evidence by now.”