It didn’t take long for the media call Rick Scott on one of his education claims from his State of the State address yesterday. In his attempt to take credit for “four schools in the nation’s top ten” PolitiFact responds:
We sent Scott’s claim to several education experts to ask their opinion on the Newsweek and U.S. News rankings. None of them embraced these rankings, and they offered several criticisms and caveats.
Matthew Di Carlo, an education policy at the Albert Shanker Institute, cautioned that Newsweek’s data from schools is self-reported and only takes into account a small portion of the nation’s high schools. The indicators measured such as graduation and college acceptance rates are predominantly a function of student background.
Jeffrey Henig, a Columbia education professor, said that the Newsweek rankings don’t control for certain factors such as socioeconomic status and whether the schools have competitive entry requirements — as does the school from Miami on the list.
“All ‘best school’ lists have flaws and most have serious ones,” Henig said. “Ranking systems that look at test scores or graduation rates or similar outcome measures, without considering the characteristics of the student populations they serve, tell us little about whether listed schools are good ones, and tell us absolutely nothing about the quality of the state systems in which they are located.”
Well, that was easy.
PolitiFact charitably gave Scott a “Half True.” It will be interesting to see if he trots that one out again.