Marc Tucker and Diane Ravitch, Please Contact Santa

As I’ve written before, every stripe of education charlatan has been cherry-picking PISA data to support whatever policies he or she prefers.  From Diane Ravitch’s obsession with imitating Finland to Marc Tucker’s divining of lessons from the “top performers,”  we’ve seen a host of causal claims attributed to the relationship between PISA results and particular practices or policies that are not causal at all.

Over on the Education Next blog, Matt Chingos has a brilliant piece demonstrating the relationship between Christmas spirit and student achievement. Matt even runs some regressions to “prove” his point — something that Diane Ravitch, Marc Tucker, and most other “best practices” gurus can’t or don’t bother doing.  Apparently, spending more on Christmas shopping “predicts” higher student achievement, controlling for some demographic factors.  Clearly, we don’t need smaller classes or better teacher-training to make schools better, we just need more Christmas spirit (or at least consumption).

This is why random-assignment and other research designs that more strongly identify causation are so important.  And this is why we should focus on random assignment research on private and charter choice  rather than the results of weaker research designs on those questions.

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6 Responses to Marc Tucker and Diane Ravitch, Please Contact Santa

  1. Duncan Frissell says:

    Why spend time on hopeless Ed Reform. People have been doing it since 1850 or so and have not improved student performance. (As proved by the reading level of the Lincoln-Douglas debates.) Wouldn’t it make more sense to run screaming “Get Out! Get Out! Save your children!” Classical Ed worked pretty well.

  2. […] policy debates. Jay Greene yesterday dispatched a message to Marc Tucker and Diane Ravitch, urging them to contact Santa Claus. (As a small aside, let me make the point that contacting the big jolly man in the red suit can be […]

  3. MOMwithArain says:

    Tucker tells us that he wants our kids to compete internationally then supports dumbed down Common Core standards!! One thing is for sure, elitists like him will make sure their kids avoid the career path to flipping hamburgers. They will choose the private elite schools for their kids while they TRACK the others to where the STATE would like them to end up.
    Tell TUCKER: NO to workforce development. Moms want better than his dumbed down workforce training!!

  4. jean sanders says:

    you are mis-reading Diane; she is giving examples of how other people are obsessed with comparing the U.S. with nations; but it is not the nations that compete it is the corporations who compete and they keep dragging the schools into the mix because they are scapegoating schools , teachers, students etc… for their poor policies. As Bernie Sanders says, it is not the poor who write the tax codes. And, we see it is the corporate powers benefiting the 1% who are writing the tests (NAEP,etc)

  5. […] Brilliant, writes Jay Greene. And the reason why “random-assignment and other research designs that more strongly identify causation are so important.” […]

  6. […] Brilliant, writes Jay Greene. And the reason why “random-assignment and other research designs that more strongly identify causation are so important.” […]

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