The New York Times, The Atlantic, and The New Yorker vs. Science

Screen Shot 2015-08-04 at 7.03.28 AM

There are things we do not know: for example, can the New Orleans education reforms work in other cities at scale?

There are things we do know: for example, that scientific research shows that the New Orleans education reforms signficanlty increased student achievement.

____

Here is what Doug Harris, an education researcher, found when studying the New Orleans education reforms:

For New Orleans, the news on average student outcomes is quite positive by just about any measure. The reforms seem to have moved the average student up by 0.2 to 0.4 standard deviations and boosted rates of high school graduation and college entry. We are not aware of any other districts that have made such large improvements in such a short time… Given the large improvements in average outcomes in a district that is almost entirely low-income and minority, and the mixed evidence on other equity indicators, it would be hard to say the outcomes from the New Orleans reforms are inequitable relative to what came before them.

Here is what Andrea Gabor, a journalist writing in the New York Times, found when studying writing about the New Orleans reforms:

For outsiders, the biggest lesson of New Orleans is this: It is wiser to invest in improving existing education systems than to start from scratch. Privatization may improve outcomes for some students, but it has hurt the most disadvantaged pupils.

Here is what Brenton Mock, a journalist writing in the Atlantic, found when studying writing about the New Orleans reforms:

This system-wide charter-ization of public schools in New Orleans is a project that has yet to be replicated at the same scale in any other American city. So far, the experiment has produced mixed results at best.

Here is what Malcolm Gladwell, a journalist writing in the New Yorker, found when studying writing about the New Orleans reforms:

Ten years in, the results of the experiment have been mixed. Test scores have not risen anywhere near as much as had been hoped, and dozens of problems have had to be solved on the fly.

____

I don’t really know what to say anymore. John White summoned up the energy to respond more gracefully than myself. You should read his piece.

All I can do is articulate a third category of knowns and unknowns:

There are things many journalists do not know but we do know: for example, that New Orleans education reforms increased student achievement.

3 thoughts on “The New York Times, The Atlantic, and The New Yorker vs. Science

  1. Pingback: Weekend Reads: New Orleans schools 10 years after Katrina | Chalkbeat

  2. Pingback: Weekend Reads: Why Chicago parents are on a hunger strike to get their school revamped | Chalkbeat

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s