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Correcting Anti-Reform Spin On Latest NAEP Scores

It’s only been a day since the National Center for Education Statistics released the results from the latest round of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), and it seems everyone has already lost their minds.

Only few hours after scores were released, the Connecticut Education Association was calling for the dismantling of recent reforms.

“Scores provide evidence of the failure of the corporate reform agenda based on the very outcomes their reform movement sought to affect,” said CEA president Shelia Cohen in a press statement.

She’s not alone. Nationally, NAEP scores have declined slightly across the board, except for in fourth grade reading, and Connecticut was no exception.  Anti-reformers across the country have seized this opportunity to gain political traction.

But they’re wrong.

As Education Post writer Eric Lerum points out, the NAEP reality doesn’t fit into the narrative that Cohen and other anti-reformers have created.

If reforming our education system caused NAEP score stagnation, let me ask this:

Why did Washington, DC, which has seen significant education reform over the past few years, show signs of dramatic improvement, while California, where reform has been stifled, show declining scores?

That’s not the only reason the conclusions being made about the NAEP are completely absurd.

As Acting Commissioner of the National Center For Education Statistics Peggy Carr put it in a conference call with the Hartford Courant, “one downturn does not a trend make.”

This is the first time scores have been stagnant in over a decade. I thought the union was against using one test score to make important decisions?

Executive Director at the Connecticut Council for Education Reform (CCER) Jeffrey Villar echoed Carr’s sentiments.

“What we need to remember is that our state is on a path to making a long-term change in the way public education works for our students,” said Villar. “This is just one data point along the way.”

“These aren’t the types of changes that happen overnight, so we can’t expect scores to improve immediately. Proper implementation will take time.”

 

 

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