Opinion
Equity & Diversity Letter to the Editor

Readers Respond to Data Omitted in Diplomas Count

July 17, 2012 1 min read

To the Editor:

In your article “A ‘Demographic Imperative': Raising Latinos’ Achievement” (June 7, 2012), you presented graphs that illustrate scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, among white, Latino, and black students, but you exclude Asians and Native Americans from the discussion completely. As an Asian-American and an educational professional, I feel that this was irresponsible reporting on your part.

While Asian-American students’ trends may differ from that of Latinos and blacks, they should not be excluded from the discussion. All groups should be part of the discussion.

Nadia Alam

Belmont, Mass.

To the Editor:

Your Diplomas Count report (June 7, 2012) on Latino students published disaggregated race data for only white, Latino, and black students. No effort was made to explain why other race groups were excluded (Asian and Native American, in particular). When we have a conversation on the achievement gap, all these groups belong in the discussion, not just white, Latino, and black students. You failed to treat your readership as intelligent and discerning, and I am disappointed in your selective reporting.

As a statistician and an educator, this data-driven era has repeatedly taught me an important lesson: Ignoring subsets of data will only paint an inaccurate picture of the trends underlying the numbers.

Liam Honigsberger

Boston, Mass.

Editor’s Note: The 2012 edition of Education Week’s Diplomas Count report was meant to be a close-up look at the educational progress of Latino students, rather than a broader story about overall achievement gaps between all of the various student subgroups. Thus, most of the graphic illustrations zero in on the three largest student racial or ethnic subgroups.

Even so, it would have been difficult to include all five of the major racial or ethnic groups in every chart. In some cases, we lacked adequate sample sizes for one or more of the smaller subgroups. In others, there was insufficient trend data going as far back as the chart depicts for every subgroup.

The report also strived to maintain some uniformity in presentation of the charts and to keep them easy to read.

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A version of this article appeared in the July 18, 2012 edition of Education Week as Readers Respond to Data Omitted in Diplomas Count

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