One of the regular commenters on the blog signs in as NYC Public School Parent.

She wrote the following:

The ed reformers have set up a game with rules in which they always win.

If 100% of students in public schools are meeting standards, then the standards are too low.

If 50% of students in public schools are meeting standards, then the schools are terrible.

If a charter comes in and cherry picks from the 50% of students who meet standards, then the charter is performing miracles because 100% of their students meet standards.

If a public magnet comes in and cherry picks from the 50% of students who meet standards, then the public school is wrongly cherry picking students and look, the 50% who are left are still not meeting standards.

If a charter has 100 students in 9th grade and 4 years later only 60 of them make it to 12th grade, the charter has a 100% graduation rate because all 60 seniors graduate.

If a public school has 100 students in 9th grade and 4 years later has 90 students and “only” 70 of them graduate, the public school is a failure.

The ed reformers could not get away with this if the education reporters at major newspapers did not demonstrate their incompetence every single day when they accept every press release and study put out by ed reformers as the gospel truth. Too many overprivileged education reporters are so terrified of numbers that they cannot even envision that a charter that starts with 100 students in 9th grade and graduates 60 is not performing the miracles in which 100% of their students are high performing scholars. It is beyond their very limited ability to take a deep dive into numbers. These reporters write as if they were simply acting as stenographers for the PR groups. Their stories are as ridiculous as if a medical/science reporter kept reporting: “This brand name cough medicine cures 100% of the children with serious coughs, as proven by this never peer reviewed study which started with 100 children taking this brand name cough medicine in which 50 children disappeared from the study. We know that the number of kids who disappeared from this brand name cough medicine study is irrelevant because the people at the brand name cough medicine company explained to us that all those children who disappeared had parents who – once they saw that their child would be miracle-cured – decided that they would rather see their children suffer.”

Would science reporters simply report that the cough medicine had 100% cure rates because they accepted as gospel that there were large numbers of parents who had enrolled their kids in that study and then decided they’d prefer their child suffer and stop taking this miracle medicine? Would science reporters say “it doesn’t matter if 25% of the kids disappeared, if 50% of the kids disappeared, or if 80% of the kids disappeared from this study because the people running it told me these missing kids’ parents wanted them to suffer with coughs once their kid started experience the miracle of our cure.”

Would science reporters ignore all the parents publicly explaining how their kids were pushed out of these studies? Would science reporters say “we already know from the cough medicine maker that you just wanted your child to suffer from the cough so we are still going to report that this medicine miraculous cures 100% of the kids who take it.” Or would they listen to parents and say “hey, it’s clear something very fishy and corrupt is going on”.

Would a science reporter make that judgement based on the race and class of the children who leave the study, and if their parents are white and middle class, then reporters are skeptical of the cough medicine company’s claims that they want their children to suffer more instead of being cured. But if those parents are African-American, do those science reporters simply accept as gospel what the cough medicine company tells them is true, that those parents prefer to see their children suffer than be cured and that’s the only reason their kids disappeared from the study?

It seems like education reporters don’t feel the need to ask any questions when the kids who disappear are African-American and Latinx with few other resources. They accept as gospel that their parents prefer to see them suffer, and it never occurs to those white education reporters that perhaps their parents are pulling them BECAUSE the charters are making their kids suffer. I have no doubt that those white education reporters would ask a whole lot more questions if all the missing students were white.