Of course, this all began with a bombshell announcement from the Reagan administration: A Nation at Risk.
So it started with a lie.
As governor of Texas, George W. Bush, and superintendent of Houston schools, Rod Paige, the Texas “miracle” led to the presidency of the U.S. and Secretary of Education.
But it was all a lie.
While Secretary of Education following Paige, Margaret Spellings proclaimed the federal legislation, NCLB, modeled on the Texas “miracle” a success.
But that too was a lie.
As the founder of the Harlem Children’s Zone, Geoffrey Canada was lionized as “Superman.”
But it was at best half-truth, if not a lie.
Creating a culture of fear herself, Michelle Rhee turned her role as Chancellor of DC public schools into a glorifying Time cover and story.
But it was all a lie, built on cheating no less.
Arne Duncan, credited with the Chicago “miracle”—see the Paige path above—was appointed Secretary of Education.
But, another lie.
Maybe some will find the word “lie” too harsh because most of the examples above (except for the Rhee tenure that did appear to be built on test cheating) and most of the “miracle” claims are misrepresenting data, manipulating data, or presenting partial data.
The media is eager to cover these claims, but nearly silent in covering the debunking—and there has always been debunking.
So I am now baffled about a truly important question: Why is (some) cheating wrong (for example, Atlanta), but “miracle” school lies (and SOE misrepresentations) are OK? No only OK, but those lies appear to be very lucrative for the liars (all of the people identified above have continued to prosper—not suffering significantly or legally for their false claims).
Anyone have a credible answer?
“Miracle”School and Data Distortions: A Reader
Stop Counting on Education ‘Miracles,’ Elaine Weiss
Education at Risk: Fallout from a Flawed Report, Tamim Ansary
We’re a Nation At Risk (Happy April Fool’s Day), Gerald Bracey
A Nation at Risk Revisited, Gerald Holton
The “Texas Miracle,” Rebecca Leung
The Myth of the Texas Miracle in Education, Walt Haney
Just How Gullible Is David Brooks?, Aaron Pallas
Taking the Fall in Atlanta, Richard Rothstein