Trying to Educate the Education Reformers, Without Success


Peter Cunningham, former deputy to Arne Duncan, accused Carol Burris and me of "attacking" Campbell Brown. He says we "attack" anyone who disagrees with us. Peter now runs a website called Education Post, where he received $12 million from various billionaires (including Walton and Bloomberg) to defend the corporate reform movement of high stakes testing, evaluating teachers by tests scores, and privatization of public schools.

Anyone who reads my post about Campbell will see that there was no attack. I was doing my level best to educate her about what grade level means and why NAEP proficient is not and should not be used as a "passing mark." Campbell mistakenly said that 2/3 of American students were "below grade level." What the national test calls "proficiency" is equivalent to an A. No one expects the majority of students to score an A; if they did, we would call it grade inflation.

Carol Burris, executive director of the Network for Public Education and a former award-winning principal, tweeted with Campbell, hoping to set her straight. So did Tom Loveless of Brookings, who told her that she was wrong and urged her to correct her error. For some reason, Peter Cunningham did not include Tom in the list of people who were "attacking" Campbell.

Obviously, neither she nor Peter bothered to read the links to scholarly studies and government websites included in my post. They should. They might learn something and stop bashing American public schools and their teachers. I served seven years on the NAEP governing board. I could help them if they are willing to learn.

As for calling Campbell "telegenic," that's no insult, that's a compliment. If you call me telegenic, I would say thank you.