Laura Chapman read Stephen Dyer’s post about Ohio’s ranking on Education Week’s “Quality Counts” and called for skepticism:

She writes:

“The Quality Counts reports in EdWeek are representing the data that the Gates Foundation wants to see publicized along with mandated reporting from USDE. These data systems have been jointly funded by USDE and Gates since 2005.

“This is to say that every reader of this annual dedicated report on education in the United States should pay attention to what is NOT reported, including, for example, cuts to studies in the arts, physical education, studies in the humanities, foreign languages. The continued use of flawed measures for teacher evaluation, including VAM and versions of SLOs.

“In addition, EdWeek gets editorial support from 18 foundations, and their support is targeted so that, for example, the headlines and prime editorial space this week is devoted to teacher education programs and why so few have been shut down.

“The topical coverage of teacher education is funded by the Joyce Foundation. This reporting is parallel to the launch of full scale attacks on the absence of a national passion for firing teachers…with absurd discussions of the potential benefits of firing 25% in order to raise test scores.

“In other words, what counts as “quality” is determined by those who get to decide, and on what criteria.

“I live in Ohio where charter corruption is rampant, where few voters bother to examine the views of candidates running for the State Board of Education, where there is a data warehousing program that rarely makes the news that it deserves. There are many reasons to question whether education in Ohio is better or worse than last year, or the year before, and so on. Putting too much emphasis on stacked ratings among states, from year to year, is a version of the stack ratings within each state imposed on schools.”