Detroit, Education, Media — June 19, 2014 at 7:13 am

MLive erroneously reports that EAA student MEAP scores “showed improvement”


I don’t normally hammer on the mainstream media journalists in Michigan. The job they do is very difficult and they are doing it with fewer and fewer resources all the time. I also try to cultivate a reasonably positive relationship with them because I know the relationship between full-time journalists and bloggers is often contentious.

That said, when a journalist perpetuates something as “fact” that is actually untrue, particularly if it helps to support something I disagree with, I feel compelled to point it out and that is why I am writing about this post at MLive.

The article is about the person chosen to be the interim Chancellor for the Education Achievement Authority, Governor Rick Snyder’s failed education experiment on Detroit children. Her name is Veronica Conforme and she is a former New York City schools administrator. She’s also been an EAA adviser since January.

In the article, the reporter Khalil AlHajal makes this statement:

The most recent MEAP scores at the 15 schools run by the EAA remained extraordinarily low, but did show improvement, most significantly in reading.

“Our students made good progress in their first year as part of our intensive, student-centered learning approach, designed for long-term, sustainable student achievement,” Covington said in February.

This statement suggests that MEAP scores for EAA students are on the rise, albeit very slowly. However, as analysis by Dr. Tom Pedroni showed, the amount of “improvement” is infinitesimal. In fact, for the most part, students either didn’t progress at all or actually showed DECLINES in specific areas. Even the linked article in AlHajal’s piece shows that there was essentially no progress by EAA students and that any “improvement” was unacceptably miniscule.

These results do not show “improvement”. They show a continuing failure to educate students in the EAA schools. The promises of rapid improvement using a new, untested education model have not only not materialized, the results show that the model is ineffective at best and even harmful at worst. What’s more galling is that EAA administrators continue to say that, despite what the MEAP scores show, their own internal testing is showing students making gains of a grade level and a half to as much as two grade levels in a year. This unsubstantiated claim – what many think is a bald faced lie – is perpetuated by AlHajal’s article.

That’s not journalism. That’s propaganda.

[CC photo by albertogp123 | Flickr]