Quiet week in NYC? Head down to D.C.: Tomorrow morning, Mayor Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Joel Klein will address a House panel on progress in urban education, along with D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, Klein protegee D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee and public school leaders from Chicago and Atlanta.
We bet we'll hear about test score gains and closing the achievement gap -- but we doubt the conversation will include troubling nuances, like the fact that race-based gaps between brighter kids widen over time, even as they narrow for kids with lower skills. And we bet we won't hear the nitty-gritty on why level 4 test scores have dropped for middle schoolers this year: Will anyone ask about the price bright students pay in a system so focused on raising low-level student skills?
We'll likely hear about charter schools and merit pay, about leadership pipelines and increasing accountability. We'll hear about rising grad rates -- but bet the numbers they cite will be based on old data, as the newly calibrated scores are yet to be made public.
Will we learn anything new? We doubt it, but we'd love to be wrong. As it stands now, though, our bet is on celebration over substance, and photo-ops over hard questions.