Wednesday, January 30, 2008

NCTQ Should Know Better

The National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) – a “nonpartisan research and advocacy group committed to restructuring the teaching profession” – publishes a monthly bulletin on, what else, teacher quality issues. (And, no, I will not get drawn into questioning how an organization run by Kate Walsh, affiliated with the Fordham Foundation and the author of “Teacher Certification Reconsidered: Stumbling for Quality” can truly call itself nonpartisan”.)

In the most recent bulletin they pick up the Jay Greene “research” about ed schools teaching more multiculturalism than math. Sigh. See my recent post.

I really, yes really, do get some good information from NCTQ sometimes. They provide a good antidote to over-the-top left-wing teacher education arguments. But what is really silly and amateurish is how they defend Greene. They link to a so-called “exhaustive review by the AERA” that they claim proves that diversity training doesn’t work. But that link simply goes to an AERA presentation by a professor at San Jose State University of a sample 120 students in 2 marketing classes. Hello? They then link to a Washington Post article that supposedly discusses a “recent study of diversity training in the private sector” that shows the same thing. But if you actually read the article, the third paragraph states:

“The analysis did not find that all diversity training is useless. Rather, it showed that mandatory programs -- often undertaken mainly with an eye to avoiding liability in discrimination lawsuits -- were the problem. When diversity training is voluntary and undertaken to advance a company's business goals, it was associated with increased diversity in management.”

Oops. I’m not sure that even counts as a good try by NCTQ, much less a good faith effort.

Such tactics are really sub-par and need to be called out. There is good research on such issues, and Greene’s is not it. Moreover, and the point of this posting, is that, to be generous, these are embarrassing and amateurish mistakes. To be less generous, NCTQ is being disingenuous and politically destructive, fabricating and biasing data. It should know better.


A. G. Rud said...

That is just astonishing to me that a conference presentation at, presumably, AERA, is considered an exhaustive review by the organization itself. Good for you Dan.

philip said...

Kieth Mooney calls this "political science abuse," and it has been the focus of my work for the past year and a half.

There are dozens of institutes engaging in the practice, and we need to counter these disinformation campaigns publicly. We should be cultivating relationships with reporters so when we call B.S. on these reports we aren't preaching to the choir.

That being said, thanks Dan, I'll add this report to my list...I'll bring it up in our session at AERA :).

Sherman Dorn said...

The Think Twice think-tank review project addresses a small slice of the pie on this. I've done a review for them, but there are too many pieces to respond to each of them.

philip said...

the problem with the Think Twice project, as well as the Think Tank Review Project, is that they are not marketing their reports...Greene gets his "work" into mainstream newspapers because he targets reporters and issues press releases...we should be doing the same...

unrelatedly, am i the only one being assaulted by pop up ads on this site?

Sherman Dorn said...

I know Molnar and Welner put resources into distribution, but they don't have the funding for publicity that think-tanks do, and it's not going to be as efficient for making news as for encouraging reporters to do more than reprint press releases.

Think Twice is the Think Tank Review Project (rebranded on the Northwest Center site).

James Horn said...

If you think this is an affront to scholarly integrity, how about the bought and paid for Echo Chamber of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas, headed by none other than Dept. Chairman, Jay Greene. Anyone for a Distinguished Chair of Educational Choice?

philip said...

Sherman, while I agree that Molnar and Welner don't have, and in the near future aren't likely to have, the same financial resources as neoliberal/neoconservative think tanks, we (scholars?) could help them disseminate their work by cultivating relationships with the press and selling these stories.

There could be a nationwide network of "foundations" scholars working together to make this happen.

I didn't realize the organizations were the same...cheers!