Has the Washington Post lost their BS detector?

January 21, 2011

(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)

Valerie Strauss over at the Answer Sheet put up a guest post from a fellow Arizonan, Michael Martin, who is a research analyst at the Arizona School Boards Association, about the “real” source of Florida’s education gains.

I’ve never met Martin, but was taken aback a few years ago when he authored a column in the Arizona Republic claiming that the state ought not to take over the Roosevelt School District, one of the worst in Arizona. Martin made this claim based on the assertion that there was a massive incidence of lead poisoning in the district.

I thought that this was an extraordinary claim to make that ought to be incredibly alarming to parents in the district. I spoke to local health officials, who assured me that there was zero evidence to support such an irresponsible claim. I called on Martin to provide evidence to support the notion that South Phoenix kids had been turned into uncontrollable lead poison zombies.

Strangely enough, I never heard back from him. But other than that, I’m sure he is a swell guy.

Now in the WaPo blog, Martin spins a yarn about Florida NAEP scores which is far beyond absurd. The first clue that something is wrong here comes in the fact that the Arizona School Boards Association disavowed the “analysis.”

Good move on their part.

So go read the thing for yourself. People in the comments section began to decimate the Martin analysis, but the comments section is now closed. When they were closed, no one had yet made the most obvious possible criticism.

I’ll give you a hint: according the the National Center for Education Statistics there are 4,491 district run schools in the state of Florida.