Job One For Rupert Murdoch At WSJ

Blogs, Letters & Testimonials

September 28, 2007

(Warning: Potential sexism ahead. Proceed with caution, unless you work at Bloomberg LLP, where reading this kind of post may be applauded.)

Mr. Murdoch, you clearly know what I’m talking about here. Can you please ask the folks who create the trademark mug shots to draw in Margaret Spellings eye glasses?

You can take the girl out of the SLG’s, but you can’t the SLG’s out of the girl.


Oh yeah, and the WSJ has an editorial today on NCLB which makes a point that we made here yesterday about the Bush administration’s bizarre enforcement of NCLB:

NCLB stipulates that school districts set aside funds for private tutoring and transfers, but if that money goes unused it is rolled back into their general budget. Obviously, this is a huge incentive for school administrators to do as little as possible to avail parents of these options. And Ms. Spellings has done next to nothing to stop districts from all but ignoring the law, either by granting exemptions or looking the other way. Around 2% of children eligible to transfer out of failing schools have exercised the option. Fewer than one in six students who qualify for tutoring are getting it. The one part of NCLB that allows a role for the private sector has gone unenforced. Against this poor track record, the secretary’s complaints ring hollow.

The Education Department’s oversight has been derelict on the teacher-quality front as well. NCLB ostensibly guards against minority and low-income students getting stuck disproportionately with instructors who are inexperienced or teaching out of their field. Yet that’s exactly what has happened while federal officials stood by, issuing an occasional stern warning to districts when the mood hit them.

NCLB is designed to help close racial and ethnic learning gaps. But schools have even been allowed to monkey around with disaggregating their AYP data by race and ethnicity. States have allowed schools to omit significant numbers of low-performing students by setting large minimum sizes — known as N-sizes — for calculating a subgroup’s test scores. If a state has an N-size of 30, for example, it means that a school has to have 30 black kids taking the third-grade math test in order for their disaggregated scores to count toward AYP. The games being played here are outrageous. Ohio set an N-size of 45 for kids with disabilities. California’s N-size is 100. These are telling shenanigans for a law meant to Leave No Child Behind, and the Bush education department has abided them.