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Education Letter to the Editor

Success for All Criticism Seen as ‘Unprofessional’

December 19, 2006 1 min read

To the Editor:

Stanley Pogrow should be ashamed of himself. In his slander against Robert E. Slavin and Success for All (“A 10 Percent Solution?,” Letters, Nov. 29, 2006), he has acted in a most unprofessional manner.

Mr. Pogrow writes that “the Atlanta public schools relied on Success for All to raise the performance of the system’s predominantly African-American schools. The result, on the latest National Assessment of Educational Progress, was that Atlanta had a black-white achievement gap in reading of approximately four years at the 4th grade level. (This is not a misprint).”

The clear implication is that Success for All caused this huge gap at an early age. In fact, it is not a misprint, but it is the worst example of “How to Lie With Statistics” that I have seen in years. Mr. Pogrow does not tell the reader that Atlanta’s white students scored the highest of the 11 participating cities, 253, fully 25 points, or about two years, ahead of the national average for whites, which was 228.

Atlanta’s black students scored 194, only 5 points below the national average for blacks. In Washington, white students scored 1 point lower than whites in Atlanta, while black students scored 7 points lower. Both cities have few white students in public schools. Mr. Pogrow must know that to compare two extreme samples as if they represented blacks and whites generally is completely irresponsible.

Finally, he neglected to mention that Success for All is used by only 25 Atlanta schools, about 40 percent of all elementary schools.

Gerald Bracey

Alexandria, Va.

A version of this article appeared in the December 20, 2006 edition of Education Week as Success for All Criticism Seen as ‘Unprofessional’