Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Obama Effect

Emerging from eight years of the second coming of 'The Dark Ages', our nation has hope. But the information in the article "Study Sees an Obama Effect as Lifting Black Test-Takers" in the New York Times, is misleading. The article doesn't provide enough information for us to know the circumstances that surrounded the exams, let alone how educators might use the study to help close 'the achievement gap' in schools.

The Obama effect:
"Now researchers have documented what they call an Obama effect, showing that a performance gap between African-Americans and whites on a 20-question test administered before Mr. Obama’s nomination all but disappeared when the exam was administered after his acceptance speech and again after the presidential election."
For example, were the researchers comparing students from the same neighborhood, with the same family income, whose parents had the same level of education? In other words, are all variables the same except for the fact that Barak Obama is now President of the United States?

The educators and teachers, who I know, are working overtime, on their lunch hour, after school, and in the evenings, to help close the 'achievement gap'. It would be a miracle if all that were required was for the teacher to march around the classroom with a placard of Barak Obama, chanting "remember our President", and presto! no 'achievement gap'.

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