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

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A brief historical look at America's loss of confidence in public schools is presented to show how data have been used to create half-truths and erroneous positions.

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Overview

A brief historical look at America's loss of confidence in public schools is presented to show how data have been used to create half-truths and erroneous positions.

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Editorial Reviews

Choice Magazine
"An indispensable resource for those interested in making sense of the conflicting claims of both the political right and left. His chapters on ‘seeing through graphs’ and ‘other indicators of achievements’ as well as his discussion of the Simpson paradox, are essential reading for both consumers and producers of educational research. Recommended for graduate students, researchers, professionals, and general readers."— F. Galloway
Ron Brandt

"An American treasure! Necessary knowledge for anyone who believes in public education."

Choice Magazine - F. Galloway

"In this methodologically insightful book, Bracey provides a statistical roadmap for interpreting the data pertaining to the achievement of US schools. It should serve as an indispensable resource for those interested in making sense of the conflicting claims of both the political right and left."

Roland M. Smith

"Bracey provides readable review of how basic statistics are used in measuring student success. {He has} an uncanny ability to discover misinterpretations of public school achievements {and} gives practical advice on how educators can be both responsive and pro-active."

David C. Berliner

"A skeptics joy! Bracey offers straightforward examples and hard-hitting prose that teach the intricacies of interpreting educational data."

From The Critics
Gerald Bracey's Bail Me Out!: Handling Difficult Data And Tough Questions About Public Schools is presented in a question-and-answer format as it surveys nine basic issues stemming from the public education systems of today. Bracey examines the interpretation of educational research data; exploring and understanding tests; SAT facts and fictions; private schools vs. public schools; teacher and administrator accountability. Bail Me Out! is informative and recommended reading for parents, students, teachers, administrators, education reformers, school board members, as well as educational policy makers at the local, state, and federal levels.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761976028
  • Publisher: SAGE Publications
  • Publication date: 4/19/2000
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 10.30 (w) x 6.96 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction
Why You Need a Book Like This
PART ONE: PRINCIPLES OF DATA INTERPRETATION, OR, HOW TO KEEP FROM GETTING STATISTICALLY SNOOKERED
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
PART TWO: ASPECTS OF ACHIEVEMENT
The Rise of Testing
Types of Tests
Other Indicators of Achievement
PART THREE: HANDLING THE TOUGH QUESTIONS
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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