Bruce Baker has this habit of introducing facts, evidence, and sharp analysis–as well as humor–to controversial issues.

Here is take on PISA Day (drum roll, please). It begins like this:

“With today’s release of PISA data it is once again time for wild punditry, mass condemnation of U.S. public schools and a renewed sense of urgency to ram through ill-conceived, destructive policies that will make our school system even more different from those breaking the curve on PISA.

“With that out of the way, here’s my little graphic contribution to what has become affectionately known to edu-pundit class as PISA-Palooza. Yep… it’s the ol’ poverty as an excuse graph – well, really it’s just the ol’ poverty in the aggregate just so happens to be pretty strongly associated with test scores in the aggregate – graph… but that’s nowhere near as catchy.”

Read the whole post.

Today, he posted again, this time to chide Mike Petrilli of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute for discounting the importance of poverty. Petrilli referred to Occam’s Razor to explain relatively poor math performance by U.S. students. Occam’s Razor is the proposition that ““among competing hypotheses, the hypothesis with the fewest assumptions should be selected.”

Relying on Occam’s Razor, Petrilli writes:

“So what’s an alternative hypothesis for the lackluster math performance of our fifteen-year-olds? One in line with Occam’s Razor?
Maybe we’re just not very good at teaching math, especially in high school.”

Baker invents a new principle: Petrilli’s Hammer. Or in other words, when you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Read the post. It is vintage Bruce Baker.