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Wonder Wonk Unmasked

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Eduwonkette vs. Educrats
Who gets a gold star?

City Claim #1
Chancellor Joel Klein said that carving large high schools into smaller ones raises graduation rates from 30 percent to upwards of 80 percent.

Eduwonkette says: Students admitted to the smaller schools were of a higher caliber to begin with, with fewer in special ed or behind in reading and math than in the original, larger schools. Meanwhile, the kids who did not make it into the smaller schools ended up in other sprawling schools.

City says: She’s not comparing “apples to apples.” DOE spokesman David Cantor contended that graduates Klein celebrated were doing only marginally better than their peers in reading and math when they entered the small schools as ninth graders, but clocked spectacular graduation rates.

City Claim #2
The achievement gap is closing between black and Latino students and their white and Asian counterparts.

Eduwonkette says: Comparing average scores on state tests last week, she found widening gaps among fourth and eighth graders in all but one category—eighth-grade English. And when compared to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, which is given to students in all 50 states, the picture is worse.

City says: Cantor acknowledged that the national assessment offered “a much less positive picture for us.” Still, when the shares of students achieving proficiency in reading and math are compared, the gap is shrinking on the state test. Klein has argued that the gap matters little if test scores are rising for all groups.

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