Hitt, McShane and Wolf Meta-Analysis leads to a call for humility

March 19, 2018

(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)

My favorite quote from Hitt, McShane and Wolf’s new study:

Even with these caveats in mind, the policy implications from this analysis are clear. The most obvious implication is that policymakers need to be much more humble in what they believe that test scores tell them about the performance of schools of choice. Test scores
are not giving us the whole picture. Insofar as test scores are used to make determinations in “portfolio” governance structures or are used to close (or expand) schools, policymakers might be making errors. This is not to say that test scores should be wholly discarded.
Rather, test scores should be put in context and should not automatically occupy a privileged place over parental demand and satisfaction as short-term measures of school choice success or failure.

P.S. Letting parents take the lead on which schools expand and/or close can work out fine on the types of tests schools have almost no ability/incentive to game:

The implications of this meta-analysis of the research literature could stretch far beyond the choice sector in time. If test scores continue to show a weak and inconsistent relationship with long-term outcomes, broad rethinking will be required. Let’s see what happens next.

Union Lobbyist Goes Down Hard

May 3, 2010

The unions talk tough. So did Michael Spinks.

(Guest post by Greg Forster)

Collin Hitt of the Illinois Policy Institute just sent me this wonderful nugget, pulled off the official recording of the proceedings of the Illinois House Executive Committee last week.

Dramatis personae: Illinois Education Association thug lobbyist Jim Reed, and Rep. Daniel Burke.

Reed: I think the question to the downside [of the school voucher bill] is the fact that while you may think that you’re helping these 24,000 kids, the fact that you’re diverting funds from public schools means that the kids who are left in those existing public schools are going to have fewer resources. So there is a downside in terms of those students who are actually left in our public school system. That’s the downside.

Burke: Could they do any worse than what they are doing now, whether they’re funded or not?

Reed: You mean our public schools generally?

Burke: No. These schools that we are discussing, that are going to be affected by this legislation.

Reed: Probably not. They are the lowest of the lowest.

Wow! I bet Reed is still digging his teeth out of the carpet.

That’s quite a trick – I’ve never seen checkmate in one move before.

Unofficial transcript of what Rep. Burke said next

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