Saturday, May 16, 2015

How Big Is The Honesty Gap

Sooo many folks are Deeply Concerned about the Honesty Gap. Just check out twitter

Oops! That last tweet was apparently about some other Honesty Gap.

The Gappers are repeatedly expressing concern that parents need to know the truth about how their children are doing, specifically whether or not students are ready for college. Apparently everyone in the world is lying to them. Schools and teachers are lying when they assign grades. Even college letters of acceptance are Big Fat Lies. Everyone is lying-- the only possible way to know how your child is doing is to have that child take a Big Standardized Test, and not just any BS Test, but one from our friends at PARCC or SBA. Only those profoundly honest tests will do.

I got into a twitter discussion about this because I asked why, if NAEP is the gold standard by which state tests can be measured, why do we need the state test? Because the NAEP only samples, and we need to test every single child so that parents can get feedback. Okay, I asked-- doesn't that mean that the tests are for two different purposes and therefor can't really be compared? No, they can be compared if NAEP disaggregates well. So then why can't we-- well, I don't blame the person on the other end. Trying to have a serious conversation via twitter is like having sex by semaphore.

I gather that proof of state honesty would be more students failing, because once again we have an argument that starts with, "We know states suck at education and that students are doing terribly, so we just need to design an instrument that will catch them sucking." It's so much easier to design the right scientific measure if you already know what the answer is supposed to be.

So where is the actual honesty gap?

Is it where Common Core promoters claim that the standards are internationally benchmarked? Is it when CCSS fans suggest that having educational standards lead to national success? Is it when they decry low US test scores without noting that the US has been at the bottom of international test results as long as such things have existed?

Is the honesty gap in view when these folks say that parents need transparent and clear assessments of their children's standing, but what they mean is the kind of vague, opaque reports proposed? You know-- the report that basically gives the child a grade of A, B, C or D on a test whose questions nobody is allowed to see or discuss? Is the honesty gap cracking open even wider every time somebody suggests that a single math-and-reading test can tell us everything we need to know about a child's readiness for college and career?

Are we looking into the abyss of the gap when advocacy groups fail to mention that they are paid to support testing and the Core, or that they stand to make a ton of money from both? Does the honesty gap yawn widely when these folks fail to state plainly, "We think the world would be a better place if we just did away with public education, and we work hard to help make that happen." Is Arne Duncan's voice echoing hollowly from the depths of Honesty Gap Gulch when he suggests that telling an eight-year-old that she's on the college track either can or should be a thing?

It is ballsy as hell for the reformsters, who have been telling lie after lie to sell the CCSS-testing combo for years (oh, remember those golden days of "teachers totally wrote the Common Core"?), to bring up concerns about honesty.  I admire their guts; just not their honesty.

They have a hashtag (because, you know, that's how all the kids get their marketing done these days) and I encourage to use it to add your own observations about where the #HonestyGap actually lies.


  1. Yeeaah, where is the honesty gap really? And why couldn't the NAEP be given to everyone? Or what about the Iowa and California tests, for example, if you really had to have tests?

  2. Eliminate this so-called "honest gap" completely. Here's how: Fire Arne Duncan. Expand and test everyone with NAEP in grades 4 - 11. Get rid of all of the Pearson et al nonsense, save tons of money, and preserve sanity in our schools.