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Bail Me Out!

Bail Me Out!
Handling Difficult Data and Tough Questions About Public Schools

April 2000 | 224 pages | Corwin

"Gerry Bracey cuts a useful trail through the thicket of educational change that is beset by irresponsible research and highly questionable measurement of learning. By offering examples of misused data and tests, he builds a way to better understanding of these realms by the public."
Harold Howe II, Former high school principal
Hanover, NH

"An American treasure! Bracey sometimes seems to be a modern Don Quixote, fighting lonely battles against the enemies of public education. In this book he explains how to examine anti-school propaganda, spot distortions and inaccuracies, and determine what's really true. It's necessary knowledge for anyone who believes in public education."
Ron Brandt, Former Executive Editor, ASCD

"A skeptics joy! Bracey offers straightforward examples and hard-hitting prose that teach the intricacies of interpreting educational data."
David C. Berliner, Dean and Regents' Professor
College of Education, Arizona State University, Tempe

Interpreting what research data REALLY tells us.

Learn to effectively navigate the maze of competing agendas for public education from Gerald W. Bracey, nationally known policy analyst, researcher, and author of the periodic Bracey Report on the Condition of Education. He demystifies the educational data surrounding America's public schools, providing the guide to help educators become better, more critical readers of facts, figures, charts, and graphs.

In this handy question-and-answer format, Bracey looks at nine tough questions and backs up answers with thoughtful explanation. A brief historical look at America's loss of confidence in public schools in presented to show how data have been used to create half-truths and erroneous positions. In addition, the most common test forms are analyzed, illuminating their strengths and weaknesses.

Key issues include:

Interpreting educational research data
Exploring and understanding tests
SAT facts and fictions
Private schools vs. public schools
Teacher and administrator accountability
This guide is a must-have for educators to better understand and respond to tough questions asked by parents, students, and the community about public school education in America today.

Why You Need a Book Like This

Beware of Averages
Follow the Money
Beware of the Uncritical Acceptance of Convenient Conclusions
Watch for Selectivity in the Data
Show Me the Data!
Beware of Nostalgia
Beware of Causal Explanations from Correlational Data
Be Aware of Whether or Not the Statistics Used Are Numbers or Rates (Percentages)
Know Whether You're Dealing with Ranks or Scores
Make Sure That the Statistic Used Is the Right One
Ask How the Variable Is Defined
Ask How the Variable Is Defined, and Then Ask What the Criterion Measure Is
Differentiate Practical and Statistical Significance
Look for Trends, Not Snapshots
Beware of Trends
Ask What the Consequences Are Even if the Interpretation of the Data Is True
Beware of Changing Demographics
Try to 'See Through' Graphs
Beware of Big (Small) Numbers
Beware of Generalizations
The Rise of Testing
Types of Tests
Other Indicators of Achievement
How Come American Students Fall Farther behind Their International Peers the Longer They Stay in School?
Why Are Test Scores Falling?
How Come Private Schools Do So Much Better Than Public Schools?
Why Don't We Have Vouchers So That the Money Could Follow the Child?
Why Don't We Use Charter Schools as Laboratories for Innovation for the Rest of the System?
Why Are We Throwing Money at the Schools?
Why Are SAT Scores Still Falling?
Why Don't Bright People Go into Teaching?
With All the Talk about Standards and Accountability, Why Aren't Teachers and Principals Held Accountable?

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ISBN: 9780761976035