Limbaugh, Beck Leave Out Context On Test Scores To Smear Wisconsin Teachers
Research ››› ››› SEAN EASTER
Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh have both misled listeners about Wisconsin students' performance on national reading tests in order to smear union teachers. In fact, Wisconsin public school eighth-graders' reading test scores surpass national averages.
Beck And Limbaugh Suggest Wisconsin Teachers Are Doing A Bad Job
Beck And Co-Host Insinuate Wisconsin Teachers Have Done A Bad Job Because Of Purportedly Poor Student Reading Performance. From the February 23 edition of Beck's radio show:
BECK: By the way, let's ask the teachers this. There's research out that shows that two-thirds of all eighth-graders -- two-thirds of all eighth-graders cannot read.
PAT GRAY (co-host): Proficiently. Two-thirds.
BECK: Only 32 percent of Wisconsin public school eighth-graders earned proficient rating while another 2 percent earned advanced. Another 66 percent of Wisconsin eighth-graders earned ratings below proficient, 44 who earned a rating of basic and 22 who rated below basic. Well, you guys are sure doing your job, aren't you now?
GRAY: Give 'em a raise. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Glenn Beck Program, 2/23/11]
Limbaugh: "If You Or I Failed At Our Jobs As Badly As" Wisconsin Teachers, "Not Only Would We Be Fired, We Wouldn't Be Talking About Lifetime Pensions And Health Care Benefits." From the February 22 edition of Limbaugh's radio show:
LIMBAUGH: Now, if you or I failed at our jobs as badly as teachers in the public school system clearly have failed, not only would we be fired, we wouldn't be talking about lifetime pensions and health care benefits paid for by somebody else. We might be put in jail for fraud for taking money under false pretenses.
"What are you talking about, Mr. Limbaugh?" This. Two-thirds of the eighth-graders in Wisconsin public schools cannot read proficiently. According to the U.S. Department of Education. Not according to me, not according to Sarah Palin, but according to the Obama administration. Two-thirds of the eighth-graders in Wisconsin public screw-els cannot read proficiently, despite the fact that Wisconsin spends more per pupil in its public schools than any other state in the Midwest.
In the National Assessment of Educational Progress Tests administered by the Department of Education in 2009 -- that's the last year available -- only 32 percent of Wisconsin public school eighth-graders earned a proficient rating, while another 2 percent earned an advanced rating. The other 66 percent of Wisconsin public school eighth-graders earned ratings below proficient, including 44 percent who earned a rating of basic and 22 percent who earned a rating of below basic.
They're not even being taught to read. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 2/22/11]
FACT: Wisconsin Eighth-Graders' Reading Scores Are Above National Average
Wisconsin Public School Eighth-Graders' 2009 Reading Scores Are Above National Averages. According to the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP):
- 78 percent of Wisconsin public school eighth-graders scored "at or above Basic in NAEP reading," compared to 74 percent nationwide. [Page 64]
- 34 percent of Wisconsin public school eighth-graders scored "at or above Proficient in NAEP reading," compared to 30 percent nationwide. [Page 65]
- 22 percent of Wisconsin public school eighth-graders scored "below Basic," compared to 26 percent nationwide. [Page 66]