J. Gordon Wright

This Guy Sums Up How I Feel About All These Poll Results

It’s edu- poll season, everyone. Peter Cunningham already summed up the most pertinent conclusion from these competing polls: It’s all how you ask the question. On the flip side, as Harvard professor Paul Peterson revealed to NPR, “The first thing you learn is that there is no right way to ask a question.” By far my favorite recap of the recent poll bonanza, though, comes from #EdTech guru Justin Reich. In typical techie fashion, he took to Twitter to make essentially the same point, but in an epic series of 20 tweets. (Hat-tip to @Ed_Realist.) Reich starts by setting the scene: https://twitter.com/bjfr/status/635635409826017280 https://twitter.com/bjfr/status/635635620816232449 https://twitter.com/bjfr/status/635635754648121344 First he looks at annual standardized testing: Do we love it or hate it? https://twitter.com/bjfr/status/635636284334211073 https://twitter.com/bjfr/status/635636948514832388 Hmm, so it’s a draw on the tests. Well, then how do we feel about parents opting their kids out of those tests? https://twitter.com/bjfr/status/635637571201167363 https://twitter.com/bjfr/status/635637884368879616 https://twitter.com/bjfr/status/635638185213730821 Aha! So apparently it’s okay to opt out of standardized tests, as long as they aren’t math and reading tests. (Good thing those are the only ones required by the federal government.) But this is the easy stuff. Let’s get into a dicey issue like merit pay for teachers: https://twitter.com/bjfr/status/635639229620592641 https://twitter.com/bjfr/status/635639596718653440 Fair enough. When I think back to the bubble-tests of my youth, I understand why people wouldn’t think that was a useful metric for gauging teacher performance. Fortunately, standardized tests are getting much, much better. But let’s stop beating around the bush. What’s the scoop on Common Core? https://twitter.com/bjfr/status/635640164010840064 https://twitter.com/bjfr/status/635640638487285760 Um, I was frankly surprised that these results on Common Core came out so differently. But as Cunningham points out, apparently PDK’s use of the word “guide” implies some sort of nefarious meddling in the teacher’s classroom autonomy. If so, then respondents may intuitively understand the true intent of the standards—to provide a meaningful benchmark while still empowering school leaders and classroom instructors to choose what’s right for the kids in their community. But let’s not get too upbeat, a bit of cynicism is appropriate here: https://twitter.com/bjfr/status/635640965915656192 https://twitter.com/bjfr/status/635641086560575492 Here’s a great takeaway: https://twitter.com/bjfr/status/635641488924364800 Here’s the CYA: https://twitter.com/bjfr/status/635641831078936576 https://twitter.com/bjfr/status/635642137699336192 Some more smart takeaways: https://twitter.com/bjfr/status/635642664357097472 https://twitter.com/bjfr/status/635642931370659841 And then a great finale: https://twitter.com/bjfr/status/635644040793468932 If you know of any other good polling recaps, or have any strong opinions on all this edu-data coming out, let me know in the comments, or find me on Twitter at @jgordonwright.
J. Gordon Wright
Gordon has been at brightbeam since its founding in 2014 as Education Post. He is currently the Chief Program Officer, owning the oversight of all brightbeam platforms, including editorial content and digital activism. Previously, he served as Communications Director for Future Is Now, a nonprofit that ...

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