The Case of the Disappearing Data

Louisiana’s Nancy Drew gets her hands on those elusive ACT scores…

Nancy_Drew_80_211EduShyster: Let’s get right to the question that’s on all of our minds. Is that John White as handsome as he looks in his pictures?

Mercedes Schneider: Well, it depends on how you define handsome. I personally find honesty to be an attractive trait…

EduShyster: You broke a big story over the weekend. Somehow you managed to get your hands on Louisiana’s 2014 ACT scores, which the state Department of Education didn’t seem to want to release. What do the numbers tell you?

Schneider: They’re terrible. I go over them in more detail here, but what you need to know is that the composite ACT score for the schools in New Orleans’ Recovery School District dropped from the year before, and that for individual high schools the scores are in the 13, 14 and 15 range. For comparison’s sake, to get into Louisiana State one needs an ACT score of 22—a minimum of 19 in math and an 18 in English. But what really stands out to me is that the students in New Orleans who took the ACT in 2014 were in 3rd grade when Katrina hit. Even if you have students who didn’t return to the city for two years, that means they’ve been attending these charter schools since 5th grade. That’s how long they’ve been subject to this experiment. You look at these numbers and it’s clear why John White didn’t want them to be made public. Continue reading →

Happy Birthday, Mercedes

In which I sit down with wonder-blogger Mercedes Schneider to talk about her life, her blog and a whole lot more…

On a recent trip to Louisiana I got to spend some time with wonder-blogger Mercedes Schneider, whose blog on education reform turned one year old this week. (If you don’t know it, you should). In my interview with her, Mercedes opens up about her personal story, including the correct pronunciation of her name (hint: it’s not Mercedes like the car…), how she got so smart, and what motivated her to become a powerful (and prolific) voice against the corporate education reform movement. And don’t miss the part where I ask her what she’d really like to say to AFT President Randi Weingarten! 

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