Behind the Headline: Spinning America’s Report Card
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Spinning America’s Report Card
11/8/13 | Wall Street Journal
Behind the Headline
Revelation from the TIMSS
Spring 2013 | Education Next
While Education Secretary Arne Duncan is trumpeting gains made by U.S. students on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), Paul Peterson and Eric Hanushek note that most of these student gains happened under the Bush administration, thanks to the enforcement of NCLB as well as various other state accountability systems.
None of this should come as a surprise to those who have observed this White House’s fitful stops and starts in education. Instead of working with a divided Congress, as President Bush did to enact No Child Left Behind in 2002, the Obama administration has submitted the vaguest of legislative plans. The administration declined to renew or strengthen Mr. Bush’s law and stopped enforcing most of it, instead dumping more than $100 billion dollars from the 2009 and 2010 stimulus packages into an inefficient, stagnant education system. Washington has now granted waivers to 37 states exempting them from nearly all of the provisions of No Child Left Behind.
In an Ed Next article published earlier this year, Paul Peterson also noted that not all of the gains showing up in NAEP scores are real. He writes
NAEP has been identifying gains that are somewhere between two and three times as large as those recorded by two respected international testing agencies that do not have a political stake in showing rising levels of student achievement in any particular country.