Mike Petrilli (Fordham) is concerned about grade inflation.
His concern, as expressed in a recent piece at Education Next, is hung on the hook of a recent-ish survey by Learning Heroes, a new group sponsored by the same old folks (Gates Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Helmsley) that has partnered with some other outfits funded by the same people, like Great Schools (funded by Gates, Bloomberg, Helmsley, Walton) to help sell the notion that Big Standardized Testing is Really Important and we should care about it.
The Learning Heroes survey found that 90 percent of parents believe their child is performing at grade level or better. As you might expect, I don't put a lot of stock in what Learning Heroes have to say, but I can believe that their finding on this point is not far off the mark. Setting aside the construct of "grade level" (as Petrilli also does), I'm not sure that this finding doesn't say more about parental love than parental academic acumen. Sometimes we lose sight of how a poll actually works, but I ask you to imagine for a minute-- a stranger calls you on the phone and asks you to say how smart and accomplished your child is. What do you say? "Yeah, my kids kind of slow and behind," probably isn't it.
But for Petrilli, this feeds into a narrative that reformsters have been pushing for over a decade-- the public schools are lying to parents about what is being accomplished.
Providing a more honest assessment of student performance was one of the goals of the Common CURMUDGUCATION: Grade Inflation?: