Latest News and Comment from Education

Saturday, July 23, 2016

WikilLeaks Common Core Email: DNC Believes It’s a “Political Third Rail” – Missouri Education Watchdog

WikilLeaks Common Core Email: DNC Believes It’s a “Political Third Rail” – Missouri Education Watchdog:

WikilLeaks Common Core Email: DNC Believes It’s a “Political Third Rail”

wikileaks 1

Twitter’s abuzzing about the thousands of The Democrat National Committee Wikileaked emails.  There were allegations that Twitter suppressed the hashtag #DNCLeaks and removed it from the trending bar:
Friday afternoon, users noted, “#DNCLeaks” was trending, with more than 250,000 tweets about it on the platform. By Friday evening, it vanished completely from the site’s “trending” bar for at least 20 minutes. It returned as “#DNCLeak” after users erupted, though it was too late to quell their rage.
The modified hashtag was pulled from the trending bar, too:
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You can access Wikileak’s database of emails here:

Search the DNC email database

Today, Friday 22 July 2016 at 10:30am EDT, WikiLeaks releases 19,252 emails and 8,034 attachments from the top of the US Democratic National Committee — part one of our new Hillary Leaks series. The leaks come from the accounts of seven key figures in the DNC: Communications Director Luis Miranda (10770 emails), National Finance Director Jordon Kaplan (3797 emails), Finance Chief of Staff Scott Comer (3095 emails), Finanace Director of Data & Strategic Initiatives Daniel Parrish (1472 emails), Finance Director Allen Zachary (1611 emails), Senior Advisor WikilLeaks Common Core Email: DNC Believes It’s a “Political Third Rail” – Missouri Education Watchdog:

Tim Kaine Loves Public Schools. So Does His Wife Anne, Who is Virginia’s Secretary of Education | Diane Ravitch's blog

Tim Kaine Loves Public Schools. So Does His Wife Anne, Who is Virginia’s Secretary of Education | Diane Ravitch's blog:

Tim Kaine Loves Public Schools. So Does His Wife Anne, Who is Virginia’s Secretary of Education

Hillary Clinton’s choice for her running mate is Tim Kaine, Senator from Virginia. Tim Kaine is one of the few people in American politics who has been elected mayor (of Richmond, Virginia), governor, and senator.
He is also a steadfast supporter of public education, even though he graduated from a Jesuit high school. His own children attended primarily black schools in Richmond. His wife is now Secretary of Education for the Commonwealth of Virgina.
This is what he wrote three years ago about his life as a public school parent in Richmond.
Anne and I are now empty-nesters. Combined, our three kids spent 40 school years in the Richmond Public Schools. While we both interact with the school system in our professional lives, we’ve learned even more from back-to-school nights, parent-teacher conferences, attending school events and pulling crumpled notes to parents out of our kids’ backpacks. The lessons learned as parents have made me think about what works and what doesn’t work in Pre-K-12 education. Here are seven changes I’d like to see:
It’s about the individual!
Most policy debate these days seems to be about charter schools or high-stakes testing. But I’m convinced that the most important reform has been under our noses since 1975, when legislation was passed to guarantee children with diagnosed disabilities receive individualized learning plans tailored to meet their specific needs.
Each child brings a mix of strengths and challenges to the classroom. Let’s use the insight gained through advances in educating kids with disabilities to leverage new technologies and teaching methods that can individualize learning for each child.
Early childhood education works
My daughter was able to attend a year of high-quality pre-K in our city schools. This experience made me a believer, and it’s one of the reasons why I greatly expanded pre-K for at-risk 4 year olds when I was governor.
The research is powerful — if you invest in high-quality programs that coordinate with K-12 curricula and have mandatory teacher standards, the gains from early education are lasting. It’s also important that we focus on coordinating investments made in early childhood programs — such as Head Start — to ensure we are effectively using our funding, eliminating any waste and bolstering the structure of our education system.
The article goes on to add other recommendations, including the importance of arts education and the necessity of reducing testing.
His article ended like this:

Cultural Violence in Our Schools - Living in Dialogue

Cultural Violence in Our Schools - Living in Dialogue:

Cultural Violence in Our Schools

Attorney, activist and Selma survivor, Faya Rose addresses the Save Our Schools Rally at the Lincoln Memorial.

Cultural Violence in Our Schools - Living in Dialogue:

Seattle Schools Community Forum: Washington State History about Public Education

Seattle Schools Community Forum: Washington State History about Public Education:

Washington State History about Public Education

From Robert Cruickshank of Democracy for America this story fromHistoryLink:

History matters. This article tells the story of the so-called "Barefoot Schoolboy Act," passed in 1895. It was the first time the state of Washington attempted to fully fund our public schools, and it was thanks to the work of Populist progressive and future governor John Rogers. The article shows how the "paramount duty" language was created in the first place, and why it is so important that our state live up to that promise and fully fund our schools.

This was one of the core promises made when Washington became a state. It is time the legislature followed in John Rogers' bold footsteps and once again ensured all public schools in this state, and every child in this state, gets a fully funded and equitable education.
 From the article (some content will sound very of the minute to our current situation):

On March 14, 1895, the Washington State Legislature approves what is commonly called the "Barefoot Schoolboy Act," which for the first time provides a uniform means of producing recurring income for the state's public schools by imposing a direct tax. 

Prior to the act, educational funds were derived from a welter of sources, none of which were very predictable and some of which, due to circumstance, tended to favor a few districts over others. 
The bill requires the state to impose an annual tax on the value of property sufficient to provide, in combination with other available funds, a minimum of $6 per year for each school-age child in the state. The Barefoot Schoolboy Act is largely the Seattle Schools Community Forum: Washington State History about Public Education:

Former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke to Run for US Senate; Says Trump Acceptance Speech Inspired Him | deutsch29

Former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke to Run for US Senate; Says Trump Acceptance Speech Inspired Him | deutsch29:

Former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke to Run for US Senate; Says Trump Acceptance Speech Inspired Him

The 1992 Louisiana governors race put former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke against known crooked former Louisiana governor, Edwin Edwards.
Edwards was known for lining his pockets with public money, but the prospect of Duke as governor was just plain scary.
Knowing Edwards would rip off Louisana, and familiar with the political catch of really wanting neither candidate but knowing one must be elected, people circulated bumper stickers that read, “Vote for the crook. It’s important.” (Indeed, Edwards ended up serving eight years in federal prison, 2002-2011, for corruption.)
I was thinking of that 1992 Louisiana governor’s race today as I read yet another piece (I have read many) that offer concern of Donald Trump in the White House as frightening.
And wouldn’t you know, even as I was thinking of the similar current of fear shared by the Trump for Prez and Duke for Gov campaigns, David Duke was registering to run for the US Senate seat vacated by Louisiana Senator David Vitter.
And guess what? Duke said his entrance was “inspired” by Trump, whom Duke views as “a man embracing the core issues I’ve fought for my whole life,” as the July 22, 2016, Monroe News Star reports:
BATON ROUGE — Former Klansman David Duke emerged from a 17-year political hiatus here Friday to qualify for the U.S. Senate race in a state already roiling with racial tension…
“The climate in this country is moving in my direction,” he said, also saying he “won’t apologize for my past.”
Duke said he will fight to end what he believes is “massive racial discrimination” against whites and called Black Lives Matter “a terrorist organization.” …
“There is massive racial discrimination going on against European Americans,” he said. “They’re seeking to cleanse European Americans from their own country.”
Duke said he was inspired by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s acceptance speech, noting Trump discussed immigration and equal rights among other issues.
“I thought, wow, here’s a man embracing the core issues I’ve fought for my whole life,” he said.

Cartoons on Schooling and Reform | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

Cartoons on Schooling and Reform | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice:

Cartoons on Schooling and Reform

The batch of cartoons I have collected for this month are about schooling, reform, and counter-reforms in the second decade of the 21st century. I hope you smile, chuckle, and grin. Or maybe, grind your teeth or slap your brow. Whatever your reaction, enjoy!merit+pay



CURMUDGUCATION: What David Coleman Doesn't Know

CURMUDGUCATION: David Coleman (7/23):

David Coleman

I am on a two-week vacation, driving cross-country with my wife to spend time with family in Seattle. In my absence, I have dug into the archives and pulled up some reruns for you. Though what I most suggest is that you check out the blogroll on the right side of the page. There are some outstanding bloggers, and if there are some folks you've never sampled, there's no day like today.

Why is Coleman one of my least favorite reformsters? It could be that it's my subject area that he saw fit to clobber with his big fat amateur hands. It could be his astonishing hubris; not many people feel entitled to rewrite an entire nation's education system (even though nobody asked them to) and to do it without ever acknowledging anyone else's work. Or the way he's taken the SAT and made it even worse. Of course, nobody really gives a shit what I think anyway.

David Coleman Is Superman

Coleman goes to Aspen to explain how awesome he is!

What David Coleman Doesn't Know About Literature

In his essay "Cultivating Wonder," Coleman provides some terrible advice and examples for actual teachers of literature.

David Coleman To Fix Inequality in America

That time Coleman announced that he would use his gig as big boss of the College Board to end social injustice, because he's just that good (and not because he's marketing a test).

Coleman's Double Disconnect

Getting at what exactly seems so off about Coleman's approach to ELA

Coleman's Master Plan

In a 2011 speech, Coleman laid out where he thought he was headed with all this reform stuff.

Coleman's CCSS Writing Style

Coleman explains how to write. It's not pretty.

David Coleman Speaks Out (sort of)

When launching his new SAT, Coleman did plenty of press, so I thought it would be fun to just hear him explain the whole mess himself. Well, almost his own voice. I might have paraphrased a little.

CURMUDGUCATION: David Coleman (7/23):




Nashville has, for the last several years, been an under-the-radar playground for the education reform movement. People may be familiar with the stories of New OrleansNewarkLos Angeles, and lately, Denver, but the battles have been just as fierce in Nashville. Things ratcheted up in 2008 when Karl Dean was elected mayor. Dean fancied himself as a bit of the next coming of Michael Bloomberg when he opened up the doors wide to the education reform movement and invited them in with open arms.
Those were the salad days for the reform movement in Nashville. Nobody could really predict the unintended consequences of many of the policies, and they all sounded so great, there was little opposition. Teach for America was invited to town with full mayoral support along with the New Teacher Project. Dean set up the Charter Incubator, which was designed to help grow more charters faster. Next thing you know, Ravi Gupta and Todd Dickson showed up in town to great fanfare with their charter school models. Life was good for the reformers. Then came the overreach.
In 2012, Great Hearts Academy was invited by a group of wealthy charter school advocates to open a charter school in Nashville. One that would be located in an affluent part of town but wouldn’t offer a transportation plan. The proposed school was also lacking a diversity plan. That’s when the battle lines began to be drawn. Previously, charter schools were something that happened to those “other people,” but now they were coming to middle class neighborhoods and people were starting to question why. Great Hearts’ application was denied TELL ME AGAIN HOW IT’S ABOUT THE KIDS – Dad Gone Wild:

The Test Made For White Kids, Not Black Kids – Exceptional Delaware

The Test Made For White Kids, Not Black Kids – Exceptional Delaware:

The Test Made For White Kids, Not Black Kids

I get it now.  A few months ago I was discussing parent opt out with an African-American friend of mine.  He explained to me that African-American students don’t do well on standardized tests because they’re written for white kids.  I disagreed with him.  I couldn’t grasp what was right before my eyes.
The Smarter Balanced Assessment was made for white kids.  Civil rights groups, usually backed by the Gates Foundation and other corporate education reformers, claim high-stakes standardized tests are important.  They say they need to understand where African-American students rank compared to their peers.  This only perpetuates the myth that these tests are necessary.  These groups vehemently opposed parents opting out of these tests because they claimed it would only continue pathways to discrimination.  Instead, the reality is staring them right in the face.  Standardized tests do show achievement gaps.  But not because they offer any solutions on how to close those gaps, but because they were written for a specific audience.
These tests fail to understand different minorities or cultures.  They were created from a white culture perspective.  They ask students to push themselves based on standards that don’t address poverty, low-income, special needs, violent environments, discrimination, segregation, or equity.  Even for white students, many who also deal with issues of low-income in our country, don’t perform well on these tests unless they are from more affluent areas.
Charter Schools were supposed to be the savior of education.  They were supposed to offer unique new ways of educating students and be models of innovation.  Instead, at least in Delaware, they have served as incubators of discrimination, segregation, and racism.  We can’t ignore this fact any longer.  We have to address this as a state, head-on.
In all likelihood, our charters are merely copying what happens in our regular districts.  We see that African-Americans in our traditional school districts do not fare any better on these tests.  Charter schools and districts with higher populations of white students do better on standardized tests.  This fact hasn’t escaped those who create these tests.  They know this.  Our politicians and The Test Made For White Kids, Not Black Kids – Exceptional Delaware:

AFT BAT Caucus and NEA BAT Caucus Support Florida Parent Lawsuit Against 3rd Grade Retention Badass Teachers Association

Badass Teachers Association:

AFT BAT Caucus and NEA BAT Caucus Support Florida Parent Lawsuit Against 3rd Grade Retention


The members of the AFT BAT Caucus and NEA BAT Caucus would like to express their solidarity with the Opt Out Florida Network and the brave parents who are filing a lawsuit on against the Florida Department of Education. The families of third grade students in several Florida counties have received notice that their children will be retained, based not upon past classroom performance, but solely because they opted these students out of the Florida Standards Assessment. The ultimate goal of this lawsuit is to have the statute that claims 3rd grade retention is allowable under these circumstances deemed unconstitutional and unenforceable.

From Opt Out Florida Network:

Accepted research has shown that:

  • Retention is one of the most powerful predictors of high school dropout.
  • Retained students are 2 to 11 times more likely to drop out of high school than peers.
  • Retained students have lower levels of achievement in 11th grade.
  • Retained youth receive lower educational and employment status ratings.
  • Retained students are paid less per hour at age 20.
  • Retention may cause permanent or long-term psychological harm.
  • Short-term improvements in test scores following retention are outstripped by long-term damage from ensuing deficits resulting from retention.
  • The cost of retaining a single third grade student in Florida is $11,000 in tax dollars.
We stand in solidarity with The Opt Out Florida Network and the brave parents who are standing up for their children.  We strongly support their efforts and will be donating to their cause.  Please join us in doing the same. You can donate here

Becca Ritchie, Chair NEA BAT Caucus

Marla Kilfoyle, Chair AFT BAT Caucus

BATs Recommendations to USDOE on ESSA Accountability Regulations Badass Teachers Association

Badass Teachers Association:

BATs Recommendations to USDOE on ESSA Accountability Regulations

The Every Student Succeeds Act was written with the intent to recognize that the Federal Government has had a recent history of overstepping their authority in regard to the oversight of public education.  The spirit and intent of ESSA is to return control of education BACK to the states because they know what is best for the children in their care.  

It is the job of the USDOE and Sec. John King to implement and write regulations that meet the spirit of the law.  As we suspected, Sec. King is doing just the opposite with some of the regulations.  The USDOE is taking public recommendations on the regulations they plan to write according to ESSA.  We have done the best we can, as public school teachers, to go through these regulations and advise what WE should recommend.  

YOU NEED TO SEND IN YOUR COMMENTS TODAY (They are due August 1). Go to this website    You can copy and paste our suggestions below on a word document (the box only allows 5000 characters so use an upload document).  After you are done attaching your document, fill out your info, press continue, and submit.  We will guarantee you that all the corporate reform organizations have submitted their comments that seek to dismantle public education and deprofessionalize the teaching profession.

After you submit your comments to the USDOE you can also submit comments to NEA about how they should frame their response to the Department of Education.

Here are the USDOE regulations recommendations if you would like to read them

We also invite you to use the recommendations of NPE here

Our HUGE concerns are:  Punishing districts that have HIGH opt out rates, making sure that teachers/states understand CLEARLY that test scores DO NOT have to be used for rating teachers, massive over-identification of schools by the USDOE, the USDOE is rushing this and needs to slow down, and the USDOE is not holding to the spirit of ESSA which is to return education BACK to the states.    

HERE ARE OUR RECOMMENDATIONS YOU CAN COPY AND PASTE ONTO A WORD DOCUMENT. If you see anything we missed or did not clarify ADD IT TO YOUR DOCUMENT! Save the document and upload for submission. Once again go here to submit your recommendations


Elimination of § 200.7.  We feel this will  take away the ability of the states to individually identify the subgroup size for identified students. The removal of such ability neglects the fact that our state's deal with different populations of students and a norm subgroup size should not be arbitrarily assigned for all states.

Recommendation:  Do not eliminate § 200.7.  States deal with different populations of students and the federal government should not arbitrarily assign one for all states.

§ 200.12
These proposed changes deny the responsibility that a school has towards responding to the needs of all students in areas other than academic achievement.

Recommendation: This regulation needs to be amended. Regulatory language needs to include language that incorporates all subject areas.

§ 200.13
The proposed interim progress requirements for all subgroups of students indicate a reporting of progress in the academic areas of mathematics and language arts. This language needs to be removed and other areas of academic learning need to be included in reporting. Emphasis on only two academic areas will create a system in which it no longer becomes feasible for all students to have access to all learning, especially the arts and music. The result of such a narrowing of focus will not assist schools with the well-rounded development of children. Proposed recommendations also include the provision that identified subgroups are expected to show growth improvement at a greater percentage relative to all students over that time frame. This narrative negates the fact that education is not a cure for a disability or that all students progress at individual learning rates.

Recommendation: This recommendation should be amended. Reporting systems for academic areas that incorporate subject areas other than just language arts and math should be included. Growth percentage rates for identified subgroups should not have the expectation of being higher than any other subgroup.

§ 200.13

Recommendation: This recommendation should be amended. Timelines for goals for English Language Learners need to be extended to accommodate the validated length of time necessary for mastery of a language, seven years at a minimum and up to ten years at maximum.   

§ 200.13

Proposed recommendations speak about reporting of students performance at grade level indicators. We maintain that all children learn at different rates and a better indicator should be inserted instead of grade-level. The individual growth rate of a student is a better measure and helps schools identify what areas need to be addressed with a holistic whole-child approach. Additionally the use of graduation rates as a cut-off limits the responsibility that a school needs to develop towards implementing programs that work towards a student’s ability to remain in college or career training beyond the first year.

Recommendation: This recommendation should be amended. The use of grade-level indicators should be substituted with growth indicators that remain consistent at an individual level to accommodate learning needs. A recommendation for states to implement programs that build a student’s ability to remain in a college or career training program should be made for states.

§ 200.14
The proposed regulatory changes lack mention of holding schools accountable for providing access to programs that address additional needs of students, access to creative arts programs, music, and World Language programs. The proposed amendment mandates a specific number of indicators that must be measured, once again overstepping the authority of the federal government.

Recommendation: This regulation needs to be amended. The USDOE needs to include language that will hold states accountable for including accountability language that will hold schools accountable for providing access to services to improve whole child development.

States should not be held accountable to the 95% participation rate as directed by proposal  Parents have the right to refuse the test for their children, as directed by the 14th amendment. To punish schools that do not meet this participation rate is to deny the rights of parents as well as falsely hold accountable schools that have no right to dictate these choices. Furthermore, language that emphasizes the push for improved academic achievement neglects the responsibilities that schools have to facilitate and coordinate services that will work towards meeting the needs of students and families in other areas. Once again, this will strengthen the current test and punishment system that governs our schools today. The system that the intent of ESSA sought to condone.The statutory requirement that outlines the provision that public charter schools will be governed under state charter school law upholds the segregation that is occurring with our charter school systems and does nothing to call for the equality in transparency and accountability that is necessary to ensure that charter schools become responsible for educating all students.

Recommendation: The USDOE allows states to determine their own system for informing parents of their right to refuse the test for their children and how those students will be provided with alternative educational opportunities.  This regulations should be deleted.

§ 200.18
Proposed regulatory changes overemphasize the use of academic measures that will again force schools to allocate resources to subject areas that are measured by the testing accountability system.

Recommendation:  This recommendation needs to be amended to include all subject areas; including the arts.

§ 200.34
The proposal to standardize criteria for children with disabilities, English Language Learners, Homeless children, and children within foster care. These subgroups of students all deal with individual circumstances that prevails over the application of any standardization. To ignore that fact negates the intent of IDEA as well as denies research that shows how trauma can impact learning.

Recommendation:  This recommendation needs to be amended so that it recognizes the individual nature of children, their circumstances, and respects the intent of IDEA   

 Badass Teachers Association:

Clinton-Kaine: Allies in the White House - Lily's Blackboard

Clinton-Kaine: Allies in the White House - Lily's Blackboard:

Clinton-Kaine: Allies in the White House

Hillary Clinton has made her pick for vice president: Tim Kaine, a U.S. Senator who has been a city councilmember, mayor, lieutenant governor, governor, fair housing lawyer, part-time college teacher and – for a brief time – a principal.

Clinton’s choice for running mate tells us her administration will be about bringing Americans together and giving educators a seat at the table. That’s a far cry from the divisiveness and exclusion we can expect fromDonald Trump and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, and an education agenda that will focus on expanding voucher programs and charter schools.
NEA members are with Hillary because she’s devoted her career to advocating for children and public education. With Kaine as her vice president, we know that when it comes to decisions about what’s best for our students, our experience and perspectives will matter.
Who is Tim Kaine? First of all, he’s someone with a long and consistent record as a champion for public schools.Kaine fights for the principle that all students, regardless of ZIP code, deserve the opportunity for a great education. He says our focus on testing has taken precious time away from teaching and student learning.
“I often wonder whether testing is really about kids or about the testing companies’ bottom line,” he wrote in Education Week a few years ago. In another interview he said: “I think too much of K-12 education has been about standardized testing. The test is a means to an end, not the end in itself.”
Here are some highlights from his time so far in the U.S. Senate:
  • He voted for the Every Student Succeeds Act, writing that reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act “must recognize the leading role of teachers, school leaders, parents and local districts” in preparing children for the 21st century.
  • He insisted that the ESSA include ongoing professional development opportunities for educators and invest in services, such as health and nutrition, to meet students’ needs both inside and outside of the classroom.
  • He founded and co-chairs the Senate’s bipartisan Career and Technical Education (CTE) Caucus to promote integrating CTE into the academic track and to raise its profile among lawmakers.
  • He introduced the Middle School Technical Education Program Act to provide introductory courses and hands-on opportunities in CTE to students before high school.
  • He cosponsored the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2015 to protect and broaden the right to vote.
  • He’s called for an end to the immigration raids targeting families and unaccompanied minors; Mike Pence, on the other hand, joins Trump in calling for an immigration ban.
Kaine shares our belief that a good education should inspire students and provide them with the tools to reach their full potential. As governor, Kaine expanded pre-kindergarten because he believes that investing in young children is the smartest thing we can do. He also started the Governor’s Career and Technical Academies (now STEM Academies), partnerships bringing together schools, employers and postsecondary institutions to prepare Clinton-Kaine: Allies in the White House - Lily's Blackboard:

Genetic Analysis Predicts Academic Achievement For The First Time

Genetic Analysis Predicts Academic Achievement For The First Time:

Genetic Analysis Predicts Academic Achievement For The First Time
Don’t worry, we’re not on our way to a “Gattaca”-style society.

Teachers and parents may one day be able to use a genetic test to predict whether or not a child will excel at or struggle with academics in the future, based on new research pioneered by scientists at King’s College London.
While the prospect may present a frightening vision of a future in which ability and potential will be determined by one’s genetic makeup, and indeed is tainted by a history of eugenics and racist science, the researchers say the tests will help identify, early on, the children who are at risk academically and help educators create special interventions for them.
Saskia Selzam, lead author of the study, explains more in the video above.
“By using these polygenic scores, it is actually possible to identify those for example who are maybe at heightened risk for a learning disability, for example,” she said. “So imagine a scenario where we could use a polygenic score very early on to give us information about whether someone might have some learning problems later on.”
But other experts who have also mined genetic testing to predict behavioral outcomes warn that we have a long way to go before genetic testing can predict individual educational achievement, and that research is the genetic tool’s primary utility. 

How genetic scoring tool works

Scientists use a special kind of DNA analysis called a genome-wide polygenic score. It aggregates the tiny effects of hundreds of thousands of genetic variants to create the scale that can predict academic achievement. In this case, the researchers from King’s College London borrowed the formula for a polygenic score that others had already used to predict academic attainment (the number of years of formal education a person completes).
They then applied the polygenic score to a population of 5,825 unrelated children to see if they could predict how those kids would score on tests.  
The King’s College researchers looked back at students’ academic scores at ages 7, 12 and 16 and found that genes alone accounted for a growing variance in grades that grew as the kids got older. At age 7, genes accounted for about 3 percent of grade differences. By age 12, the number was up to about 5 percent. By Genetic Analysis Predicts Academic Achievement For The First Time: