Only 15% of fourth graders are proficient in reading.CNBC's Larry Kudlow, yelling at the great Leonie Haimson like a mental patient:
15% of fourth graders are proficient in reading.Amy Payne at the Heritage Foundation:
Among other demands, the Chicago Teachers Union had asked for a 30 percent pay increase—despite the facts that just 15 percent of fourth graders are proficient in reading and just 56 percent of students graduate in the district.That's just a small sampling from the wingnut sector of the blogosphere. Where is this coming from? Well, David Applegate at the Heartland Foundation gives a source:
Led by the feisty Karen Lewis, the 25,000-member strong Chicago Teachers Union claims it’s all about the students, but of course it’s not – it’s about the teachers and their union. If it were about the students, more than Chicago’s current fifteen percent of fourth graders would be proficient in reading and more than 56 percent of entering freshman would ultimately graduate from high school. (Thanks to National Review Online’s John Fund for the proficiency and graduation figures.)
Oh, it's from wing-nut welfare queen John Fund!
No source - I'm just shocked.
Perhaps Mr. Fund got this bit of datum from the Illinois Department of Education:
Oh, dear: this shows that 62% of Chicago's fourth graders meet or exceed expectations in reading. It also shows a small but steady increase in math, science, and reading, with the percentage of students meeting or exceeding standards at its highest point in years. Huh...
Well, perhaps self-proclaimed education expert Fund went straight to the National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP), generally considered the gold standard of assessment for research purposes. Here's Chicago's profile:
"Aha!" yells the wingnut. "Look at that! OK, Fund was off a little, but not much - 18% of Chicago's 4th Graders are proficient at reading! That means 82% can't read at grade level, right?"
From Diane Ravitch's Death and Life of the Great American School System (which, Mike, you really should read):As real experts like Dr. Ravitch and Ed Fuller and Gerald Bracey have written many times, "proficiency" on the NAEP does not mean "achieving at grade level." It is a much higher bar; everyone who knows anything about education statistics learns this early on.
The term "proficiency" - which is the goal of the law - is not the same as "minimal literacy." The term "proficiency" has been used since the early 1990s by the federal testing program, the National Assessment of Education Progress, where it connotes a very high level of academic achievement. (p. 102)
Are Chicago's deserving children doing well enough in reading? Of course not. But they perform better on tests than conservative pundits do on fact-checking.
ADDING: Can I just say it makes me absolutely crazy that not one of these people will bother to correct their claim, let alone go back and give any context to it?
But I'm the crazy, untrustworthy blogger..