Home Education Times Dispatch leadership tosses Top columnist under the bus. Here’s why

Times Dispatch leadership tosses Top columnist under the bus. Here’s why

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“A mind is a terrible thing to waste” is what the United Negro College Fund has been saying for years. Except, apparently, if you are a kid from a family with very modest incomes in Richmond.

By Paul Goldman

Why did the RTD leadership throw its top columnist – Michael Paul Williams –  under the bus this morning? As we say in the South, if it talks like a duck, walks like a duck, and ducks like a duck, then…well, you be the judge. I report, you decide, as Mr. Ailes might say.

Yesterday, Michael Paul Williams wrote on this subject:

The Richmond school system needs to stop perpetuating the charade that its ranks include the Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School. On its website…, [the] Richmond school district also use[s] the 2009-10 SAT results for the school at Lombardy and Leigh streets in calculating its district mean scores…[This] is misleading, disingenuous and wrong. The school district should immediately place an asterisk by Maggie Walker and note that it is a regional school. And Walker’s scores should not be used in calculating the school district’s mean score.” [Emphasis added].

In fact, the true mean SAT scores in Richmond would be several hundred points LOWER if the politicians and their appointees had to tell the truth and not claim the achievements of students they don’t teach — in a school they don’t run, no less. Indeed, they’re counting the scores of students WHO CAN’T EVEN ATTEND A RICHMOND CITY PUBLIC SCHOOL, because they live don’t live in Richmond!

How big is this difference between the true SAT mean score and the phony one?  

Put it this way: If the true SAT mean score were ever posted, it would show that all the other things claimed by the pols and “education” leaders at the state and local level regarding Richmond – super graduation rates, fully accredited scores, ramping SOL scores, etc. – were a complete charade, given what the SAT scores reveal about true learning in the schools on average.  

Exposing this data manipulation opens up the door to an honest discussion about what is really happening on the learning front for this reason: if the true statistics showed what educators and politicians knew the people expected, THERE WOULD BE NO REASON TO MANIPULATE ANYTHING!

This is why the SAT manipulation in Richmond has forced the pols and their appointees to lash out at anyone who dares expose the truth.  

To be fair, this is a statewide problem, not just in Richmond. Indeed, the real developing issue is whether the state educational website is making claims about diplomas in Richmond/elsewhere which are considered flat out not true by even Virginia educators (note: it is; this is huge story getting ready to be told.)

Instead of backing Williams’ attempt to reach the soul of a soulless city, the RTD decides to alibi what Richmond does by pointing out that “Richmond may not be alone” in how it manipulates the District SAT mean scores.

Sorry, but “two wrongs make a right” is an odd mantra for an allegedly conservative newspaper claiming to speak fearlessly.  Instead, the RTD points out that Fairfax County schools may do the same thing with Thomas Jefferson, counting it among the county’s regular high schools even though it is a regional school like Maggie Walker. (I intend to check this on Monday.) Petersburg rejects the Richmond approach. Why didn’t RTD use that example, since Richmond kids go to the Appomattox Governor’s School, while none to go the Fairfax school?

But to be fair, the RTD does do the politically correct weasel by saying that “data from the governor’s schools probably should not be accorded to their host divisions…” (emphasis added)

I guess that means they would also agree the better slogan for the UNCF would be “A mind is probably a terrible thing to waste.”

  • NWVirginian

    I read the op/ed in question expecting to see some type of criticism of MPW.  There was none.  This was hardly throwing anyone under the bus.  In fact, the RTD doesn’t even say whether they agree or disagree with the issue – they merely point out that it’s a statewide issue.

    I’m usually not one to defend the RTD. In fact, this op/ed is not well written and doesn’t really make any point – in other words – a run-of-the-mill RTD editorial.  I agree with Morrissey and MPW and you in that this is an important issue and the scores should not count. However – I think your reaction to the editorial is a bit hyperbolic.