Wednesday, January 30, 2008

NCTQ Should Know Better

The National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) – a “nonpartisan research and advocacy group committed to restructuring the teaching profession” – publishes a monthly bulletin on, what else, teacher quality issues. (And, no, I will not get drawn into questioning how an organization run by Kate Walsh, affiliated with the Fordham Foundation and the author of “Teacher Certification Reconsidered: Stumbling for Quality” can truly call itself nonpartisan”.)

In the most recent bulletin they pick up the Jay Greene “research” about ed schools teaching more multiculturalism than math. Sigh. See my recent post.

I really, yes really, do get some good information from NCTQ sometimes. They provide a good antidote to over-the-top left-wing teacher education arguments. But what is really silly and amateurish is how they defend Greene. They link to a so-called “exhaustive review by the AERA” that they claim proves that diversity training doesn’t work. But that link simply goes to an AERA presentation by a professor at San Jose State University of a sample 120 students in 2 marketing classes. Hello? They then link to a Washington Post article that supposedly discusses a “recent study of diversity training in the private sector” that shows the same thing. But if you actually read the article, the third paragraph states:

“The analysis did not find that all diversity training is useless. Rather, it showed that mandatory programs -- often undertaken mainly with an eye to avoiding liability in discrimination lawsuits -- were the problem. When diversity training is voluntary and undertaken to advance a company's business goals, it was associated with increased diversity in management.”

Oops. I’m not sure that even counts as a good try by NCTQ, much less a good faith effort.

Such tactics are really sub-par and need to be called out. There is good research on such issues, and Greene’s is not it. Moreover, and the point of this posting, is that, to be generous, these are embarrassing and amateurish mistakes. To be less generous, NCTQ is being disingenuous and politically destructive, fabricating and biasing data. It should know better.

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