Saturday, July 22, 2006

Don't Tell Me (What I Don't Want to Hear)

I don’t know why one might think that the Dept of Education would be less prone to intellectual dishonesty – but under this administration they certainly aren’t
[SusanG] Showing up this past Tuesday to pitch a $100 million school voucher program to Congress that would allow students in underachieving public schools to transfer their bodies - and taxpayer-provided $4,000 per pupil - to private schools, [Margaret Spellings, head of the U.S. Department of Education] admitted she hadn't read a report issued by her own department the previous Friday that found little difference between student performance in public versus private schools. . .

[USAT] She also would not comment on the long-awaited public/private study, saying she hadn't read the report in full and only learned of its release by reading about it in newspapers Saturday. The department on Friday morning had sent the results to about 11,000 people who subscribe to an Internet e-mail list. . . . Russ Whitehurst, director of the department's Institute for Education Sciences, which oversees research, said it had been made available to Spellings two weeks earlier, but that he hadn't talked with her about it.

Spelling also refused to comment on whether, under the proposed voucher plan, private schools would be held accountable under the same rigorous testing guidelines that No Child Left Behind policy requires of public schools. It's tempting to suspect she was dodging the question, but given her lamentable lack of familiarity with research for her own department, it's entirely possible that she simply doesn't know.

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