Interesting testimonies as New Orleans schools celebrate 10 years of post-Katrina recovery. Charter schools played a big role, as you will hear from these students and young adults who were caught in the chaos of Hurricane Katrina 10 years ago.
The Economist has published an interesting article, “Try Again,” about the generally unreliable quality of many research papers in the psychology area.
The problem is that many such papers get only a “peer review.” No one actually tries to replicate the research to see if the results can be reproduced, which is the way real science is conducted.
Thus, in a study of the studies, the Economist article says many psychology findings could not be solidly duplicated.
Writes the Economist:
“In truth, these results will surprise few of those involved in research, for whom bias at the heart of academic publishing is an open secret. High-profile journals are more likely to accept articles that show new, positive results than ones which demonstrate no correlation or effect. Since the careers of researchers depend on getting their work published, the temptation to, for example, massage things by removing inconvenient outliers which those concerned persuade themselves are freak results, can be overwhelming.”
I bring this up here because education research is predominantly pursued in the same manner as psychological research. In fact most studies in education get published with only a peer review, at best. Replication efforts are rare. Indeed, because many education studies fail to identify the schools and districts where they are conducted, true replication is often impossible.
This flawed research process leads to a lot of ineffectiveness as we struggle to improve our education system. We are hearing calls today to use radical education ideas that Kentucky already tried in the early days of KERA, ideas that never worked.
For example, “Fuzzy Math” ideas are back, again. The Internet is alive with examples of crazy math workbook and assessment questions. Parents are bewildered about how – or if – this stuff really works and why it is even worth the confusion. Teachers don’t really seem to know, either, because they can’t explain it to parents.
We hear – again – that “research shows” we need advanced assessment elements like performance events to adequately test science. Researchers have either forgotten or are choosing to ignore brutal lessons learned in Kentucky in the early 1990s that such expensive items are not sustainable in assessments. The “Performance Events” in the old KIRIS assessments expensively crashed in just four years. Still, “research” keeps appearing touting the value of such failed ideas, and more kids are put at risk as a result.
This isn’t the way good science gets done, but it is the way too much “science” is being done. That’s bad for the field of psychology, and it’s bad for education, too. Buyer, and parent, beware.
The Kentucky Department of Education has announced the names of the finalists in the running to be Kentucky’s next commissioner of education. The full release follows. I would appreciate any feedback on any of the candidates.
KENTUCKY DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
No. 15-093 August 27, 2015
MEDIA CONTACT: Nancy Rodriguez
Office: (502) 564-2000, ext. 4610 | Cell: (502) 330-5063 | E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
CANDIDATES NAMED IN COMMISSIONER SEARCH
(FRANKFORT, Ky.) – Today, the Kentucky Board of Education announced the names of the five candidates it is currently considering for the position of commissioner of education.
The five are:
• Kathleen M. Airhart, Ed.D. – Airhart currently serves as the deputy commissioner, chief operating officer for the Tennessee Department of Education, a position she has held since January. She has primary responsibility for the divisions of state finance, federal programs, audit, information technology, and human resources. Prior to that she was deputy commissioner, chief academic officer with the Tennessee Department of Education and provided direct oversight to the divisions of curriculum and instruction, career and technical education, special populations, audit and consolidated planning and monitoring. Airhart’s previous experience includes: teacher; compliance consultant; special education supervisor; and superintendent for the Putnam County school system in Cookeville, Tennessee. She earned a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and educational specialist degree from Tennessee Technological University and a Doctorate of Education from Tennessee State University.
• Buddy Berry, Ed.D. – Berry is in his sixth year as superintendent of Eminence Independent Schools in Eminence, Kentucky. Berry’s previous experience, all in Kentucky, includes: mathematics teacher and head football coach at Owen County High School and Jeffersontown High School; guidance counselor at Shelby County High School; mathematics teacher at Eminence Ind. High School; and Highly Skilled Educator with the Kentucky Department of Education. Berry earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Kentucky; a master’s from Bellarmine University; a superintendency certificate from Eastern Kentucky University; and a Doctorate of Education from Northern Kentucky University.
• Christopher A. Koch, Ed.D. – Koch (pronounced cook) currently is the interim president of the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), a position he has held since May. Prior to that he was Illinois State Superintendent of Education from December 2006-May 2015. Koch’s previous experience includes assistant superintendent, chief education officer, and director of special education with the Illinois state education agency; education program specialist with the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Vocational and Adult Education; and special education/vocational teacher in four states and in various settings including an Outward Bound program, college preparatory school, youth detention center and psychiatric hospital. Koch earned a bachelor’s degree from Southern Illinois University and a master’s degree and Doctorate of Education from The George Washington University.
• Lloyd D. Martin, Ph.D. – Martin is currently the chief executive officer for Universal School Solutions, LLC, an education consultancy firm that he founded in 2010 in Jacksonville, Florida. Martin’s prior experience includes: superintendent of Mansfield City Schools in Mansfield, Ohio; executive director of K-9 education – cluster 1, and regional director with the Duval County Public Schools, in Jacksonville, Florida; executive principal with the Dayton Public Schools in Dayton, Ohio; and principal, assistant principal, leadership trainee, and social studies teacher with the Columbus Public Schools in Columbus, Ohio. Martin earned a bachelor’s degree from Ohio State University; a master’s degree from the University of Dayton, where he also earned a Doctorate of Philosophy.
• Stephen L. Pruitt, Ph.D. – Pruitt is currently senior vice president at Achieve, Inc., an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit education reform organization, where he has served since 2010. Pruitt’s prior experience includes chief of staff, associate state superintendent, director of academic standards, and science and mathematics program manager with the Georgia Department of Education; and high school chemistry teacher in Fayetteville and Tyrone, Georgia. Pruitt earned a bachelor’s degree from North Georgia College and State University; a master’s from the University of West Georgia and a Doctorate of Philosophy from Auburn University.
“The pool of candidates for this position was excellent because of the extensive outreach and Kentucky’s strong history as a progressive leader in public education,” said Kentucky Board of Education Chair Roger Marcum. “Narrowing the pool has been difficult, because of the wide-ranging and vast experience the many candidates would bring to the job. We continue to focus on the characteristics for the commissioner’s position that the board agreed upon and on which Kentucky educators, partner groups and the public provided input early in the search. The board looks forward to continuing exploration of each candidate’s thoughts, ideas and views this weekend.”
The board will meet tomorrow and Saturday in Lexington to conduct second interviews with each of the five candidates.
During the search, the board and search firm, Greenwood/Asher and Associates, Inc. made more than 330 contacts, reviewed detailed information on more than 44 individuals and interviewed 13 candidates.
The new commissioner will replace current Commissioner Terry Holliday, who is retiring next week.
The board has selected Associate Commissioner and General Counsel Kevin C. Brown to serve as interim commissioner starting Sept. 1 until a new commissioner can begin.
Bluegrass Institute staff education analyst Richard Innes will be live talking about the new ACT scores with Mandy Connell tonight on her 6 pm (Eastern Time) show on WHAS NewsRadio 840 AM. If you live outside the WHAS broadcast area, you can listen in on the web here.
The new Profile Report about Kentucky’s 2015 high School Graduates from the ACT, Inc. along with earlier reports from 2014 and 2013 provide data to create a series of graphs that explore the achievement gaps between Kentucky’s whites and blacks. These cover a period where the results have been consistently reported as an average of scores for students who took the ACT in the standard time allowed plus scores for students who got extra time but still could have scores reported to colleges.
Here is how this looks (Note: the first five graphs are for all students, public, private and home school combined. The last graph looks at public school only data).
In ACT English, the white minus black score gap was slightly reduced between 2013 and 2014, but the new results show all that improvement and more was lost and the gap is now the largest ever for the past three years. Also, white scores have increased more than those for blacks. By the way, that 2015 score for blacks of 15.5 is associated with a college readiness rate for English of only 32 percent.
Click the “Read more” link to see the rest of the graphs.
Now that I have explained why you have to break the ACT data out by race before you start ranking against other states, let’s look at how Kentucky’s white high school graduates of 2015 (includes all school types: public, private and home school combined) stack up against whites in other states that tested all their 2015 grads with the ACT. This graph shows the story.
Tied for bottom of the heap! That isn’t what we want!
Note that a number of Southern states including Louisiana, Tennessee, Mississippi (Yikes!) and North Carolina all bested us.
So, while Kentucky made a little progress, other states still scored better for the racial group that makes up the vast majority of all Kentucky 2015 high school graduates (73 percent according to the ACT).
The scores and remarks above are based on data from Table 5 in each state’s ACT Profile Summary Report for the Graduating Class of 2015. Get those here.