Monday, November 06, 2006

The state of Edjucamation in crAZy: Tom Horne

This is semi-old news, but I'm still appalled more isn't being made of it. Tom Horne, AZ Education guru, has been accused of illegal campaigning. Of course, his Demo opponent has been accused of laziness, by not finding out who the emplyers of some donators are (a 25 dollar plus donation apprently triggers this need for info... Go figure.)

Horne is a bug to me, not only for the illegal campaign issues for which the AEA has filed suit, but because in response to Arizona's dead last finish in a nationwide poll of education he opined:
Horne cited a report issued earlier this year by the RAND Corp., a non-profit "think tank,'' which says that when family background is factored out, Arizona scores above the national average in the National Assessment of Educational Progress test. "So on the real test of education, which is test results, Arizona's above the national average on every conceivable measure,'' he said. And Horne said one of the things that proves "is that Morgan Quitno's a stupid company, and I would estimate they have no employee with an IQ over 90.''

The real test of an education is the result of a test? (AFTER factoring out family influence-- how do you do THAT?) My failing students can pass tests well enough with coaching in test-taking skills, while some students who are brilliant lack the nerves or other things to pass the AIMS, SAT, or whatever. In several states, passing the HS graduation tests means you can read at a 9th grade level, NOT the grade at which one passes out of high school, as far as I can tell. This is what the testing of students has wrought.

What is seems to have wrought for Tom Horne is an inability to say "you know what? We fucked up." And it is true, in this state. We are now dead last in funding, BELOW Mississippi (which most couldn't spell without the "crooked letter" mnemonic). I have heard such excuses as "we don't have enough land revenue"-- well, hell with that. I came from a pretty dumb state back in the seventies, survived a piss-poor public ed system, which still serves my family, and I made it out not because of the school, but because of myself. HOWEVER- Texas is HIGH above Arizona in state funding and achievement.

In case anyone cares, (and I don't, but HE brought it up) since Tom Horne is all about tests, here's a rough guide to IQ according to researcher Linda Gottfredson in "Scientific American":
"Persons of average IQ (between 90 and 100) are not competitive for most professional and executive-level work but are easily trained for the bulk of jobs in the American economy. By contrast, individuals in the top 5 percent of the adult population can essentially train themselves, and few occupations are beyond their reach mentally."


89 to 100 IQ score-- 25% of population score this, 50% score below 100
Grade equivalent is: 8th-Grade to 1-2 years of College.
100 to 111 IQ score-- 50% of pop score this, 1 in 2 above 100
Grade equivalent is: 12th-Grade to College Degree

Under these ideas, many of my students would be sub-average becasue they cannot read or do mathematics at a college level. YET-- they passed AIMS!

So even if Morgan Quitno had people with 90 IQs there, they'd still be perfectly qualified--just not probably running the show.

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