Educational Reform Assumptions Challenged

The Huffington Post has an article challenging conventional educational reformer wisdom about causes of the achievement gap.

The Huffington Post has an article challenging conventional educational reformer wisdom about causes of the achievement gap.

I recently wrote on my local Nextdoor.com site about the problems with polling research in our 2016 election, and those caveats (see * below) apply to the article above.  Whenever social science “research” conflicts with common sense, there should be a heavy burden of proof placed on the “research.”

However, near the end of the Huffington Post article, a plausible explanation for the achievement gap is hypothesized to be the student’s home environment before entering school, e.g., the effects of growing up in poverty.

 


*  On our local Nextdoor.com site I mentioned that the commonly cited 3-4% margin of error in national polls is based on the critical assumption that the sample of people polled is a random and representative cross-section of the entire U.S. population.  However when 9 out of 10 people contacted by researchers refuse to be interviewed, as recently cited by a leading pollster for NBC and the Wall St. Journal, the error margins may be much greater.

Unfortunately, not only does the news media rely on polling, but so do our local school officials when deciding on ballot measures to put in front of the public!!  Paying pollsters may not be worth as cost effective as devoting resources to a great promotional campaign!

 

Author: David Kristofferson

Retired scientist, teacher, bioinformatician, IT director, software product manager, AAAS Fellow, avid cyclist (7690 miles and 724,300 feet of climbing in 2015), backpacker, you name it! Current avocation is tutoring high school students near San Mateo, CA in mathematics, physics and chemistry. Please see the Bio link in the right sidebar for my detailed background information.

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