Math and NAEP Scores

Parents of Hispanic and Black students need to revolt against the state’s education–labor union political machine, as the latest student achievement data show that many of their children have little chance of competing for a job that requires math or technical skills beyond basic arithmetic. Yes, it is that bad, it is getting worse over time, and chronic teaching failures within the public school system are a major reason why these kids are being left way behind. Just how bad is it? The average eighth-grade Hispanic or Black student in California demonstrates mathematical competency that is below the fourth-grade level and just slightly above the third-grade level. And if you are wondering about the level of mathematical understanding expected of a third-grade student, it includes being able to perform and memorize simple multiplication (e.g., 2 x 11 = 22), and understanding the relationship between fractions that have the number “one” in the numerator, as in knowing that ½ is bigger than 1/3.    This gross failure to educate our kids in mathematics, as well as in other technical and scientific fields, has been going on for decades. And for decades, more money has been thrown at the state’s public K–12 schools, which in turn have made a cornucopia of promises while implementing new, game-changing teaching methods and curricula that were virtually guaranteed to raise learning outcomes. Yet, time and again, all of these changes failed, leading more kids to fall behind, never catching up, and doomed to an adult life with limited occupational choices, many of which pay poorly. No STEM careers, no finance careers, no accounting or auditing careers. No careers that require the ability to think logically and abstractly, both of which are by-products of mathematics training. Einstein described insanity as the process of repeating the same action time and again and expecting a different result. It is time to stop the insanity in California’s public K–12 math education, time to stop accepting decades of excuses for teaching failures, and time to demand better performance and accountability. But if California educators get their way, math education will be watered down even more than it is now by eliminating Algebra II as a state requirement. The state has proposed that students can take a “data science” course as a substitute for Algebra II. The sales pitch for this is that (1) students are failing algebra because of “outdated teaching methods” and “antiquated curricula,” and (2), learning “data science” will help students identify “truth from lies” on social media websites. After failing to adequately provide a quality education for about the umpteenth time, the same education and political groups who have presided over decades of teaching failure are asking you to trust them. Again. But now, they are asking for your trust to create students who will be “informed consumers of social media,” who can identify “lies from truth.”   Pause for a moment and think about what such a taxpayer-funded educational objective means for our children, and the agendas of those who would use these kids as pawns in political, cultural, and social controversies. This is a dangerous and disturbing idea, irrespective of one’s political leanings. This idea should never have seen the light of day, but instead, it is a key argument supporting this curricular change. Is this how you want your tax dollars used? It seems that California’s Department of Education thinks you will be OK with the travesty of teaching kids the absolutely lowest level of statistics so that they can read social media the way the system wants them to. There is an important, long-term loss that kids will suffer if they do not take Algebra II. Data science is in no way a reasonable substitute as a math class for algebra. Understanding the foundations of data science, which are statistics and probability, requires an understanding not only of algebra but also of calculus, which in turn requires algebra as a prerequisite. Should students be allowed to pass on algebra, then their chances of pursuing STEM careers become even slighter than they are today. And you know which kids will be shepherded over to the data science class, away from algebra.    And what of the idea that kids are failing algebra because of “outdated teaching methods” and “antiquated curricula”? The idea that data science will be more accessible and fun for kids to learn has no basis in fact. Without understanding the deep principles of the mathematics behind data science, our students at best will be able to understand statistical data at only the most simplistic level, and at worst will make gross errors when trying to interpret data without having anything close to an adequate background in statistics, probability, and causal inference. This is not to say that students shouldn’t learn about probability and statistics, and how to sensibly apply them. They should. Courses in biology and life sciences offer ample opportunities to do just this. Do you remember your own experiences in bio class, planting seeds in two groups, a control group and a treatment group that gets extra water or extra sunlight, and then testing whether the time to germinate was different between the two groups? This type of “data science” is interesting and teaches valuable lessons. But it is not the “data science” that some want today to help students separate “lies from truth” on social media sites. This proposal is actively opposed by 250 California STEM professors at four-year colleges and universities in California, representing all the UCs, the Cal States, Stanford, Cal Tech, USC, and others. Signatories of a letter explaining why the proposal is deficient and should not be pursued include professors in not only mathematics but also computer science, physics, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, software development, economics, medicine, chemistry, biology, materials science, astrophysics, planetary sciences, and many other fields, including professors in . . . data science departments. If such a proposal were to be adopted, students will be at a substantial disadvantage for any STEM major. And being entirely candid, few who skip algebra in high school will realistically be able to pursue a technical major in college. They will simply be too far behind. California’s latest math proposal effectively gives up on educating our most vulnerable kids. Armed with the math skills of only a primary school student, these students will face adulthood lacking the technical competency to qualify for many of the best jobs that society will create. This is soul-crushing, not only for the at-risk students and their families but for all of us.___________________________________________________ We’re Rewriting the Most Important Educational Test You’ve Never Heard Of BY: CHESTER E. FINN, JR.,The HillApril 25, 2022 Thousands of fourth and eighth graders have just completed a pivotal test that few Americans know anything about: the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also called the “Nation’s Report Card.”  How they fared in reading and math will yield the most definitive data about learning losses caused by COVID-forced school shutdowns. NAEP is also how we gauge achievement gaps between student groups and whether they’re widening or narrowing over time. It’s how we know whether kids in Maryland are doing better or worse in key subjects than their peers in Virginia and Washington, D.C.     NAEP is America’s indispensable testing program. Yet it’s almost unknown outside policy and research circles.  Funded by Congress at almost $200 million a year, it’s been around since Lyndon B. Johnson was in the White House. Today, NAEP tests school children in grades four, eight, and 12 in 10 subjects. For reading and math, it delivers results every two years, producing data for every state and more than two dozen cities as well as the country as a whole.  NAEP is how, for example, we see that the reading and math prowess of high school seniors has flatlined for decades even as graduation rates have risen. It’s how we know that 44 percent of white eighth-graders were “proficient” in math in 2019 while just 14 percent of Black students reached that level.   But you’re not the only one who’s barely aware of this vital testing program. Few practicing educators know much about it, either.  How is that possible when testing is such a battlefield and everything Uncle Sam touches draws instant unrest in Twittertown?  One key: NAEP tests a random sample, just enough to yield valid data. That means about 100 schools per state and 50 students per school. So it doesn’t touch most kids or schools.    What’s more, it’s a low-stakes test. Nobody gets promoted or graduated — or held back or denied a diploma — based on their NAEP score. No school gets rated on its NAEP results. No teacher gets evaluated based on her pupils’ NAEP scores.  Yet those scores do have consequences. They can tarnish or vindicate a governor’s education strategy. Al Gore once tried to use NAEP results to boost his run for the Oval Office, and George W. Bush supporters cited Texas’s NAEP gains and gap closings as evidence that he should beat Gore. On the ground, however, NAEP scores don’t affect anyone in particular. So there’s no reason to “teach to” these tests.   Yet much rides on their results. NAEP has become an essential tool for pursuing both excellence and equity in American K-12 education. Its “achievement levels,” dubbed basic, proficient, and advanced, are the closest the U.S. has ever come to national standards. Its reports function as audits of claims — and exaggerations — made by state leaders.  Over the decades, however, the Nation’s Report Card has grown creaky, stodgy, and pricey at more than $400 per test taker. Federal contractors still haul the testing gear from school to school. Little use is made of artificial intelligence. Reports emerge slowly. Key data gaps remain, such as state-level scores at the end of high school and reading results in the early grades. Civics and history are tested infrequently — and only in eighth grade — and decisions about what to test are roiled by political schisms now creeping into the assessment’s 26-member governing board.  Can NAEP be modernized? That’s the challenge posed in a recent review by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), which made 21 recommendations that would push a leaner, nimbler NAEP into its second half-century.  Besides multiple moves to contain costs, they would change how achievement trends are reported, merge assessments so that a student might take a combined test of history, civics, and geography (or reading and writing), revamp how test items are created and tests scored and develop a “next-generation technology platform” for the entire venture.  The panel could have gone farther, pushing harder on the oligopolistic behavior of NAEP’s outside contractors, pressing for those 12th-grade state-level results, and more. But just operationalizing the changes it outlined will be a heavy lift. Authority over NAEP is split between its governing board and the federal Education Department. Budgets get set at the White House. The contracting process is rigid and half-hidden. And Congress both micromanages and neglects NAEP. (Its core statute hasn’t been touched in decades.) Then there’s the caution and inertia that ensnare any federal program that’s been around so long.   The risk, as always, with reports like the Academies’, is that the status quo will prevail. This time the risk is heightened by fears that “opening up” NAEP will expose it to today’s culture wars. The governing board nearly came to blows last year over how to test reading. It’s now embarking on a science update and touchier subjects lie ahead. Can the board update those tests without coming apart over racism and patriotism? Can it maintain rigorous benchmarks when some view the mere documentation of learning gaps as racist? Can NAEP stay focused on academic achievement when many educators seek more attention to students’ social-emotional well-being and many policy leaders want K-12 education to refocus on career readiness? Can the secretary of Education refrain from naming activists and ideologues to the board? Can NAEP control its costs even as it takes on more challenges?   We must hope so. Half a century in, the test you never heard of is a resource that the United States needs both to modernize and preserve.    Chester E. Finn Jr. is a senior fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution and president emeritus of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute. His forthcoming book is Assessing the Nation’s Report Card: Challenges and Choices for NAEP. ___________________________________________________ KNOWLEDGE IS POWERwith 2nd Opinions for the PandemicResponse from Esteemed Doctors & ScientistsPart 10 By Madelyn GreenbergApril 26, 2022                    As has been done previously with this series, there is another Primary Presenter from the January 24, 2022 US Senate hearing, “Second Opinions” concerning “Pandemic Responses”, Dr. Ryan Cole, who gave an interview on Epoch Times TV- “Facts Matter”, on April 21, 2022, that is interrelated to the present subject.  The facts that Dr. Cole revealed in the interview, will be rather disturbing, but of which we must be aware.           In referring to Pfizer and Moderna and speaking about the COVID-19 vaccines, the interview began with Dr. Ryan Cole stating, “We also know a lot of people have been forced to take an experimental shot, which has an adverse outcome.  Nobody in the world got Informed Consent, because nobody in the world, got a full list of ingredients before agreeing to get a shot.  Because, NOBODY, was given that information.”          He continued, “Did we get the truth with these companies? NO Were they transparent?  Were our government agencies transparent?  ABSOLUTELY, NOT!  Any medical product or any vaccine needs an independent outside Review Board that has no government interest and no industry interest.  To be the truth-teller from the outside looking in.  An independent non-biased third party. The scientific field and the medical field, this broke, and this corrupt, and lying this much, not only to the American people but to the people of the world- -something IS GREATLY WRONG!”                 The host interviewing Dr. Cole stated, “Recently, data came out of the CDC, showing that the mortality rates across the board for prime-age Americans, people between 18 to 49, 50- that NON-COVID related deaths, among that age group, has gone UP SIGNIFICANTLY, after the year 2020.”  The host then asked Dr. Cole, “Why do you think that is?”           The Doctor said that he thought that was “multifactorial”.  Cole then described, “We have created a condition of despair within our society, by draconian measures we DIDN’T need for a virus that was not deadly to that age group for the most part.  So, we know statistically, one of the great things, was, unfortunately, that number that we are seeing is overdosing.  We’re in a condition of despair.  We know suicides are up, but we also know there have been a lot of people who have been forced to take an experimental shot that has adverse outcomes.  So, if you look at those age brackets, you are seeing deaths and conditions you would not expect in those cohorts.  Has there been some death from COVID?  Sure, but the statistical increases with all those other factors, INCLUDING, the adverse outcomes from these shots, ABSOLUTELY.  So, it is multifactorial.  My observational opinion, I think those are contributing factors.”             The discussion, continued about natural or normal mRNA, which is in your cells and they are making messages all day long, but breaks down though, within minutes or as they described maybe an hour or two. Dr. Cole said, “mRNA should NOT persist.” The synthetic mRNA from the vaccine was described by Dr. Cole, as “The body doesn’t know what to do with it.  It looks at it and says, ‘Huh, I don’t know what to do, so I’m NOT going to break it down.’  So, it evades that breakdown process and it also evades an immune response.  It also, TUNES DOWN OUR IMMUNE SYSTEM. This is not a good thing because other things, like, CANCER, VIRUSES- – get to WAKE-UP!  We have NO idea, how long that synthetic sequence is persisting.  We know in the Stanford Study…at least sixty days. That’s when they stopped their study.  We know in the Journal of Immunology study, four months.  We know, Dr. Bernhart out of Germany’s autopsy studies, in the vessels of the body, at least 128 days.” “A long-time, and the spike that it’s making, induces pathological changes in the body. It can cause clotting.  We hear about these young people dying.  Clots, micro clots, not normal types of clots.  These are a unique type of clot that persists.  Chocks off the body of oxygen.  Chocks off body parts.  Inflames the heart, causes heart attacks and causes strokes.  Causes cancers in young age groups.” He continued, “I just talked to a nurse right now, who has a young patient, got their shot, got COVID and is dying of stage four cancer now!  Unusual things that shouldn’t be happening and likely related to a genetically modified sequence that we are putting into the bodies of billions of people.”           Dr. Cole clarified, “We know that the spike protein can get into the DNA of our circulating T-cells.  Our cells have little rips and tears all day long.  We have little zippers that repair them and repair mechanisms, DNA repair mechanisms.  The spike can get into the nucleus of our T-cells.  A study out of Sweden shows this. Now the cell, the DNA, can’t repair itself.  So, the cell is going to do one of two things.  It’s either going to blow itself up.  That is called apoptosis, or it’s going to mutate and now it becomes an atypical MALIGNANT cell…The immune suppression, because of that spike…changes patterns because of the receptors on the cells…if this is on, we have all these little T-cells that fight off viruses.  All sorts of viruses… But the shots we know are suppressing these little poll-like receptors…now the immune system is like, ‘I don’t have anything to fight off these viruses.  For example, there are these little poll receptors that say all day, ‘okay we are going to fight off cancer’, it will kill one or two cells, hundreds of cells, or whatever.  It is doing its job.  These shots…Now you DON’T HAVE A DEFENSE SYSTEM. Now, this cancer cell can invade over the wall and this pathogen can invade over the wall!  Because your immune system has been suppressed to the degree that allows that to happen.  When does this stop?  We don’t know. How do we reverse it? We don’t know.  Is it happening to everybody? No, thank heavens.  Is it happening, to an alarming degree? YOU BET!”           When Dr. Cole was asked if this was known by Pfizer or if the FDA knew about this before it was approved, (for Emergency Use)?   Dr. Cole said this was known “as far back as 2006 at the very least”.   He also said there was a reason why Moderna never brought an mRNA vaccine to the market. This was because there were always too many animal-model side effects.  “They knew about this. Did Pfizer know about this? Yes… This isn’t new and they knew about it…These risks were known and yet they have given it, billions upon billions, upon billions of times, knowing the risks.”           In this Epoch Times TV interview with Dr. Cole, it was brought out that in the recently dumped Pfizer documents, they found that soon after a person gets vaccinated, they were more prone to getting sick.  Dr. Cole responded, “Absolutely!”  As the host doing the interview mentioned, this was NOT communicated to the general public. He said to that, “I would like to see one person in the world that got Informed Consent, before a shot. Nobody in the world got Informed Consent. Because nobody in the world got a full ingredients list before agreeing to get a shot.”           Dr. Cole made another interesting point, referring to the Emergency Use Authorization, but as to the supposed “approved” shots, he called that a “shell game”.  He brought out, that they did not count those vaccinated people as vaccinated, because they waited to count them as vaccinated, until so many weeks after the second shot.  One could conclude, that they were deliberately playing with the numbers and making it look like the unvaccinated were getting more COVID than the vaccinated.   Dr. Cole said, “It was the vaccine, screwing with the immune system, allowing them to get infected.”  They were deliberately ignoring that people were getting infected with COVID, AFTER the vaccinations.  He explained that for those with co-morbidities and that already had suppressed immune systems, post-vaccine, when they were exceedingly vulnerable due to the vaccine, in all probability, their vulnerability lasted much longer.  Because they already had immune suppression and you already wiped out what little bit they did have.  So that explains why we had such huge upticks after shot programs around the world.  Which could have also led to not only contracting the illness but also death.”  As Dr. Cole stressed, “They knew, Period!”           To make matters worse, when asked by the host whether they knew if it would cause, “infertility”, Dr. Cole’s response was immediate, “They knew!”  Apparently, from the discussion, what was not known, yet, and never told to those getting the shots- – is how it would affect unborn children and other material things for pregnant women that were vaccinated, even in the trials.  Irrespective of that, the shots were approved for use! The media narrative was, it was fine, not to worry about it and not question it.  Dr. Cole agreed that this had and is still taking place.             As to whether CDC and the FDA have our best interests at heart.  Dr. Cole said, “We know the CDC has been corporate captured.  Almost half of the FDA’s income and ingress from revenues comes from Pharma. So, they have a revolving door if you look at who sat on the Boards at the large pharmaceutical companies and sat on the Board of the FDA.  It’s a revolving door back and forth.”   “It is an intertwining corporate interest with government.  So why?  Well, FOLLOW THE MONEY.  Two, the CDC has, but fifty-seven, fifty-eight vaccine patents.  Where does their revenue come from?  From billions every year on vaccines.  Do you think they have any interest in speaking ill of any vaccine?  Of course, NOT! The NIH holds the patent to the spike protein and the sequence and they license that to Moderna. Every billion that the Moderna coffers get so does the NIH!  Is that an intertwining government interest?  YOU BET!”           “So, if you follow the money, instead of what should have been done for humanity, there should have been…Truth, plus Transparency, equals, Trust.  Did we get the truth from any of these companies? NO. Were they transparent? Were our government agencies transparent? ABSOLUTELY, NOT.  Now that we see that data rolling out…we see how much they lied to us in the truth and transparency category.”           As Dr. Cole rightfully concluded, “What they are doing is they are destroying the public’s trust.  Not only now, but into the future.  These agencies all need to change.”          The point is, that according to Dr. Cole, the mRNA vaccines, which are not natural, but synthetic mRNA, produce these persisting proteins, that are causing blood clots, heart inflammations, cancers, and much more!  How much worse can things get than those revelations?            Also, all along in this series, readers should notice, that there have been no real consequential studies about safety and efficacy that come out of the USA.  Why is that?   We should be the first Nation to have had investigations, and studies, with data revealed to the public and, most of all, stopped this, as soon as we found out! Not, a Nation that is ignoring the truth.   The current Regime in the White House, instead of with the help of their partisan and corrupted agencies, along with their cohorts, Big Pharma, are paying off news media, some doctors and nurses, to PROMOTE, MANDATE, and IGNORE the facts!             Back to the US Senate hearing where we left off in Part 9 with Dr. Bhattacharya.  What Dr. Cole discussed recently and what was brought out at the Senate hearing, are intertwined with each other.  The remainder of Dr. Bhattacharya’s statement at the Senate hearing is very important.  What he said, may appear tame at this point, after learning what was just revealed. The lockdowns that Dr. Bhattacharya discussed are just as dangerous.  The terrible consequences that resulted from them, cannot be understated.            Dr. Bhattacharya continued at the January 24, 2022 US Senate hearing, “If you put these two facts together, what you have is a vulnerable population, an older vulnerable population, do, and did, need protecting from the virus, because they face such a high risk of death if were infected.  At the same time, the rest of the population, WERE HARMED MORE BY THE LOCKDOWNS, than they were by the virus itself.” “The Great Barrington Declaration that I co-authored…proposed to PROTECT THE VULNERABLE, through a policy of focus protection, including a suite of strategies to protect older people living in nursing homes and older people and other vulnerable people living in the community at large.” Dr. Bhattacharya declared, “The lockdowns needed to be lifted then and the CONTINUING RESTRICTIONS on populations need to be restricted now.  Because they impose more harm than good.  They do NOT stop the disease from spreading! As we can see during this current wave, (the hearing took place January 24, 2022, during the outbreak of Omicron).  The disease spreads via regional and seasonal patterns.”   “We have maintained this illusion of control, over the path of this disease and attributed to regional and seasonal influences to our actions, which are not particularly affecting the path of the disease.  While at the same time, wrought enormous harm on the population at large.”   “Lift the lockdowns and engage in extensive focus protection of vulnerable populations.  We wrote that in October of 2020 and now, we have even better tools to protect vulnerable populations now than we did then.”  Dr. Bhattacharya in January of 2022, was in favor of vaccines for the vulnerable elderly.  He also said, “we have better treatments” available currently, and that we need to, “have treatments everywhere, where vulnerable, especially, gets sick.”   Dr. Bhattacharya concluded, “If you put these strategies together, our society can continue to function in a much more, healthy way, than we have functioned these past two years.  By ignoring the possibility of early treatment.  By not focusing on the vulnerable populations.  Worst of all, these restrictions on human behavior, on the human connection, have reeked enormous damage! It is far past time that we stopped those policies and instead followed an alternate plan.” Much more to come as this series continues to reveal, expose and inform. Fasten your seatbelts, because you will get jolted around quite a bit as this series continues.   ___________________________________________________If you do not take an interest in the affairs of your government, then you are doomed to live under the rule of fools.Plato


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