Monday, August 3, 2009

NY Times falls in line with the Bloomberg PR spin control

This New York Times article on the Bloomberg/Klein record on test scores is incomplete, biased, and in some cases, clearly inaccurate.

1- The article falsely claims that fourth-grade reading scores rose on the national exams called the NAEPs, whereas there has been no significant gain since 2003, when the “Children First” reforms were introduced.

2- As reported in our book, “NYC Schools under Bloomberg and Klein: What Parents, Teachers and Policymakers Need to Know,” there has been no closing of the achievement gap between racial or ethnic groups in any grade or subject tested by the NAEPs, considered by experts the "gold standard" of assessments.

3- The article fails to mention that in fourth grade math, the one area that did show a significant increase in the NAEPs, the student exclusion rate was 25 percent, far higher than any other city tested.

4- The article fails to mention that in 8th grade reading, NYC made less progress on the NAEPs than any of the nine other cities tested.

5- The article fails to quote any independent experts or point to any evidence of test score inflation on the state exams, including lower cut scores, the repetition of similar questions, or the narrowing of topics covered, as revealed in articles in the Daily News and elsewhere.

Instead, the article quotes at great length their favorite expert, Howard Everson, head of a panel assembled by the State Education Department, who says that “New York’s tests were “about as good as we can build them,” as well as Merryl Tisch, the head of the Regents, and Joel Klein himself, all interested parties who predictably claim that the results indicate actual improvements in learning.

And though the system is full of teachers and even principals who will attest to the fact that the exams have become easier over time, the reporter chooses to quote not a single one.

Given the evident bias of this article, it appears clear that the Times has been captured by the Bloomberg/Klein PR machine, and can no longer be trusted to provide objective analysis of their education record.

If you’d like to chime in, you could ask for a correction at; write a letter to the editor at, and/or email the public editor at