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|Who believes in gravity?|
What scholars of mental ability know, but have never successfully gotten the media to understand, is that a scientific consensus, based on an extensive and consistent literature, has long been reached on many of the questions that still seem controversial to journalists. [emphasis added]I went back and forth on whether to use the word consensus to describe that set of views shared by nearly all cognitive psychologists. In the end I went with it, because the word carries a certain resonance with my intended audience. It was an appeal to those on the Left who are accustomed to hearing consensus thrown around in the context of global warming, second-hand smoke, same-sex parenting, and so on.
|Read pp. 21-22 !|
That’s the strange thing about the preschool movement. It mixes scholarship and advocacy in a way that leads some academics to put themselves far out in front of what the evidence supports. Preschool advocates inundate their audiences with long and authoritative-looking lists of academic citations, but they rarely seem troubled by the rigorous gold-standard evaluations that generate contrary results. Healthy skepticism—which is crucial to a good scholarly mindset—is too often absent among the preschool movement’s most vocal leaders.Download a pdf of the article here.
One of those nuggets is what Eric Hanushek calls "input-based schooling policy." It's the idea that public schools can be improved with more inputs: more teachers, more administrators, more licenses, more certifications, more classrooms, more textbooks, more computers, and more and more and more spending.
Glancing at the list of the best-performing countries, the editors tell some just-so stories to explain the PISA rankings. They start with Finland, which is said to have strict teacher-training requirements. Is that a lesson for education policy that, in the Times’ words, “can no longer be ignored by the United States”? While it’s true that education training in the U.S. generally lacks the rigor of other college-level programs, there is little evidence that increasing formal entry requirements – e.g., creating a “teacher bar exam” – will ultimately improve teacher effectiveness....Read the whole thing here.
The Times editors have engaged in what education scholar Jay Greene calls the PISA Rorschach test. The rankings are like an inkblot, and what people see in the inkblot is not a new insight, but rather a reflection of their preexisting preferences. To glean any real lessons for education policy from the PISA data, the Times’ editors will need to look somewhere other than deep within themselves.
Who else sees class-size reduction here?