Tuesday, September 9, 2008

88% of DC's Eighth Graders Can't Read?

That was the crawl across my screen as I browsed the CNN website last night looking for some actual news. I wasn't aware of any studies or recent test results that used that figure. Moreover, school has just begun here and it seemed like an awfully negative statistic to be throwing around if the information was dated. But it turned out to be a slightly twisted headline. CNN "ripped the headline" from an interview with Michele Rhee. The interview was focused on the major reforms to the District of Columbia Public Schools the chancellor is in the process of making. So far I support all her work to consolidate schools and labor as well as add accountability and attract and keep quality teachers and staff.

The Rhee quote is actually "...for our eighth graders, only 12% of them are proficient in reading according to the NAEP exam." NAEP is the National Assessment of Educational Progress. In my opinion, that is a troubling statement, but I'd never summarize it with a sentence (or headline) stating that 88% of DC eighth graders can't read. But I know headlines create traffic.

Education Week recently produced a fairly balanced view of Chancellor Rhee's first year in the position with reaction from teachers, education experts and others. Its a lengthy article, but good. Here's the CNN interview: