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Old 02-26-2012, 04:03 PM
 
20,274 posts, read 17,952,423 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MathmanMathman View Post
But are the NAEP tests basically the same? Even the SAT has changed over the years.
The link I provided above discusses this a bit. NAEP does different tests, one of which is the "long-term trend" test. Its only major format change was in 2004, when both the new and old tests were performed (allowing for assessment of the effects of the format change). The 2004 changes had the effect of slightly lowering scores, so the upward trend in the 2008 scores relative to the old-format scores was slightly understated.
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Old 02-26-2012, 04:26 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh
1,567 posts, read 846,940 times
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Just as a casual observer, it seems like Pittsburgh has been moving in the right direction with school mergers to address costs. Maybe a little too slow to close some schools down as the population changed, but it's happening now and that should have benefits for the future. I never considered them to be any less stable than other large urban districts, and probably in better shape and more proactive than some smaller suburban districts that desperately try to hang on, e.g., Duquesne (even though Duquesne is technically a city).

I don't have any kids and don't really keep up with education trends. Does anyone know if schools generally offer more practical education options these days, which would presumably improve their sustainability by producing more employable and capable graduates? I vaguely recall a vo-tech option available, and in retrospect it seems like a good idea to introduce kids to practical, useful trades like plumbing, auto repair, electrical work, etc., but it seemed like the kids who participated were held in low esteem at the time.

The other tracks were basically traditional academic subjects of varying complexity. Has that changed much? For instance, can kids now learn computer programming in high school, or are there philosophy and critical thinking courses instead of additional training about how to diagram sentences or another superficial history class?

Intro to Customer Service? Retail Science & Cash Register Operation? Basics of Fast Food?

Last edited by Clint.; 02-26-2012 at 05:24 PM..
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Old 02-26-2012, 05:19 PM
 
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BrianTH, you really aren't arguing that the quality of education has improved, or remained the same, since the 1960's, are you? I mean there are reams of studies and articles in the popular press over the years showing exactly the opposite.

Test scores in the Atlanta school district have improved over the last 10 years. lol. Have you read about that scandal and the one in Texas? Teachers just change the answers to show continuous improvement.
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Old 02-26-2012, 06:45 PM
 
20,274 posts, read 17,952,423 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goinback2011 View Post
BrianTH, you really aren't arguing that the quality of education has improved, or remained the same, since the 1960's, are you? I mean there are reams of studies and articles in the popular press over the years showing exactly the opposite.
Show me the studies you have in mind.

In advance, I will note the point made in the article I linked about NAEP scores is a very important one: we know there are correlations between NAEP scores and ethnicity, and it turns out that every ethnic subgroup has seen increased scores since NAEP first started testing in the 1970s. The reason the overall scores look relatively flat is that the mix of those ethnic subgroups in the total has changed over that time.

The "popular press", and various interested parties, don't always grapple with those observations (in fact that is how that article started, by noting how various popular media outlets were treating the latest NAEP score release), but they are really quite crucial to understand.

Edit: The key charts:





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Old 02-26-2012, 07:05 PM
Status: "Fall is in the air-too soon!" (set 28 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
68,669 posts, read 57,369,711 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Caladium View Post
Agreed. It would be a huge mistake, giving Pittsburgh a black eye as far as the rest of the country is concerned. It would be interpreted as "backwards behavior" and Pittsburgh would become the endless butt of jokes.
I don't think it would be possible to "privatize" the public schools and let the school system fail. There are compulsory school attendance laws in Pennsylvania, as in every other state. There have to be schools for the kids to attend.
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Old 02-26-2012, 11:32 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, USA
3,134 posts, read 5,588,798 times
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How compulsory is home attendance schooling?
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Old 02-27-2012, 06:26 AM
 
5,284 posts, read 1,665,791 times
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I see your study goes back to 1975.

Test scores started falling around 1972-3 as I recall. If you compare test scores from anytime forward of 1975 to earlier times, you see the decline.

I'm not an educator and don't follow the details of this subject, but I know the SAT scores fell continuously until they changed the scoring sometime in the 1990's to hide the embarrassing fact.

I also know that there have been quite a number of embarrassing scandals in the past decade where school districts have been faking test score improvements in big districts. Atlanta and Houston were among them, as I recall.

You're a font of propaganda, BrianTH.
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Old 02-27-2012, 06:32 AM
 
1,053 posts, read 941,640 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goinback2011 View Post
I know the SAT scores fell continuously until they changed the scoring sometime in the 1990's to hide the embarrassing fact.
Would love to see documentation of this "fact."

Quote:
You're a font of propaganda, BrianTH.
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Old 02-27-2012, 06:53 AM
 
20,274 posts, read 17,952,423 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goinback2011 View Post
I see your study goes back to 1975. Test scores started falling around 1972-3 as I recall. If you compare test scores from anytime forward of 1975 to earlier times, you see the decline.
If you have a source for the data you are describing, I will be happy to look at it.

I might note that particular author was using 4th grade reading scores, and I am fairly sure those increased between the first such NAEP test (1971) and 1975.

Quote:
I'm not an educator and don't follow the details of this subject, but I know the SAT scores fell continuously until they changed the scoring sometime in the 1990's to hide the embarrassing fact.
Again, SAT scores are in part a function of who takes the test, and the group of students taking the test was expanding during the period in question.

Quote:
You're a font of propaganda, BrianTH.
Just because I relate truths that call into question your talking points doesn't mean I am engaging in "propaganda".
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Old 02-27-2012, 06:57 AM
 
Location: ɥbɹnqsʇʇıd
4,337 posts, read 2,927,685 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by happywithbraddock View Post
There are many developing nations without public schools and their accompanying taxes. People aren't flocking to them. Why do you think people would flock to a Pittsburgh without public schools?
Exactly.

I don't want to sound too "if you don't like it then leave" but if people have certain US issues that they feel they can't get away from there are many countries worldwide they can move to. China and the UAE are viable options and I'm not joking.
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