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If the shoe fits . . .

In the past, when educators pointed to the social conditions that contribute to school failures and argued that the challenges facing public schools in disadvantaged areas are aggravated by such factors, their claims were met with derision and disdain by conservatives and the fans of charter schools, choice and private enterprise solutions.

"Excuses, Excuses, Excuses!" went the cry.

Until the shoe is now on the foot of the critics. Weak performance on NAEP tests, first hidden, then revealed by the AFT, was explained away by the charter school fans who were quick to claim that they were getting all the difficult students.

Note: Not only is the data about charter school performance embarrassing, the American Federation of Teachers, which released the analysis, claims in "First-Ever NAEP Charter School Results Repeatedly Delayed" that the Department of Education tried in various ways to withhold the data until it could manufacture an explanation (spin) to excuse away the results.

Excuses, Excuses, Excuses

Long heralded by right wing advocates of free enterprise solutions to educational problems, charter schools scored poorly on the 2003 NAEP tests in comparison with their public school counterparts.

The Ed Department, an avid proponent (and funder) of charter schools, sat on the information for months rather than disclose it along with the rest of the findings at the normal time.

Data driven policy? Hardly. It seems that data and science are welcome only when they appear to support the policy in favor, the trend in fashion and the suit of clothes worn by the education Emperor.

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