This is from a respected blogger on PA. educational issues.
Excerpt. The whole thing is worth reading:
"PA. Education Secretary Ron Tomalis just got caught telling a whopper. He claimed that cheating caused the drop in standardized test scores all across Pennsylvania. Those scores, released a few weeks ago, show a steep decline and mean that 665 fewer schools in the state met education targets. Sec. Tomalis refused to admit that massive budget cuts could possibly have anything to do with the decline, and laid the blame on 100 teachers who remain under investigation for things such as unusual marking patterns on their students’ exams.
...Yet we now have extensive evidence of just how bad Gov. Corbett’s gutting of the education budget has been for our kids. All across the state school districts have been forced to increase class sizes, eliminate tutoring and summer school programs, and lay off teachers. In the past two years, Pennsylvania school children have lost over 18,000 of their teachers and educational staff. And we’re supposed to pretend this has had no impact on their learning?
Tomalis boldly proclaimed that the state’s technical advisory committee reviewed the test scores and was asked, “Could budgets have impacted them? They said no.” In fact, Marianne Perie, a senior associate at the Center for Assessment in Dover, N.H. who facilitated that committee, said no such thing happened. They apparently talked about funding briefly but did not analyze its impact on test scores. “We walked out of there not feeling satisfied we had come up with a solid explanation for the drop,” she said. “As a technical advisory committee, we do not typically comment on policy issues. Funding is a policy issue. We had no data with which to make any analysis of the relationship between the decrease in funding and the drop in scores.” "