Op-ed page flimflam

Last week, we wrote that Bob Herbert's New York Times columns are "either off-base or banal." He repaid us by referring to our new study, The Proficiency Illusion, in an off-base manner, as part of his banal October 9th piece "High-Stakes Flimflam." Herbert's title referred not to his own writing, but to the k-12 tests that have "largely failed to magically swing open the gates of successful learning." He argues that because, according to Harvard's Daniel Koretz, it's difficult to trust that high-stakes tests aren't being gamed, and because Fordham found that "proficiency" cut scores vary from stateto state, we should quit testing. "It's time to rein in the test zealots who have gotten such a stranglehold on the public schools in the U.S.," Herbert writes. Can Gadfly be quoted yawning? Too bad Herbert took the least intellectually rigorous approach to our report's findings (as others have done differently with similar criticism). Instead of considering improving the tests, or perhaps suggesting the implementation of a national assessment, our fearless columnist took the boring and uninformed road most traveled: scrap the whole thing. Oh well.

"High-Stakes Flimflam," by Bob Herbert, New York Times, October 9, 2007  

"Why Bob Herbert is wrong," Thomas B. Fordham Institute, October 9, 2007