Cheating fears cast doubt on Rhee’s legacy in DC public schools

Michelle Rhee, former chancellor of public schools in Washington, D.C., became a conservative star of sorts for her willingness to take on the teachers’ union and the education establishment, among other things by firing teachers whose students did not improve on standardized testing. As chancellor, Rhee also instituted a lucrative bonus program for teachers and principals at schools that did show significant improvement.

The policy change had an effect; standardized scores rose significantly during Rhee’s three-year tenure. Eventually, however, her brash, combative style contributed to the re-election defeat of her most important champion, Washington Mayor Adrian Fenty, and last year Rhee was forced to resign as DC chancellor.

However, that career setback conferred martyr status on Rhee, who launched a nationwide speaking tour to spread her message of reform. Earlier this year, she was welcomed at the Georgia Capitol with a hearing in her honor in the Legislature and a private session with Gov. Nathan Deal.


However, as USA Today reports,
the claim of sudden, significant improvement in DC schools might not bear close scrutiny. Consider, for example, Washington’s Crosby S. Noyes Education Campus, which was lauded by Rhee and others as a shining illustration of what her new approach could accomplish. In 2006, only 10 percent of Noyes students tested as profiicent or advanced in math; two years later, that number had jumped to 58 percent.

A USA TODAY investigation, based on documents and data secured under D.C.’s Freedom of Information Act, found that for the past three school years most of Noyes’ classrooms had extraordinarily high numbers of erasures on standardized tests. The consistent pattern was that wrong answers were erased and changed to right ones….

In 2007-08, six classrooms out of the eight taking tests at Noyes were flagged by McGraw-Hill because of high wrong-to-right erasure rates. The pattern was repeated in the 2008-09 and 2009-10 school years, when 80% of Noyes classrooms were flagged by McGraw-Hill.

On the 2009 reading test, for example, seventh-graders in one Noyes classroom averaged 12.7 wrong-to-right erasures per student on answer sheets; the average for seventh-graders in all D.C. schools on that test was less than 1. The odds are better for winning the Powerball grand prize than having that many erasures by chance, according to statisticians consulted by USA TODAY.

Is any of this beginning to sound familiar? How about this part?

“In 2008, the office of the State Superintendent of Education recommended that the scores of many schools be investigated because of unusually high gains, but top D.C. public school officials balked and the recommendation was dropped.

After the 2009 tests, the school district hired an outside investigator to look at eight D.C. public schools –– one of them was Noyes, USA TODAY learned — and to interview some teachers.

John Fremer, president of Caveon Consulting Services, the company D.C. hired, says the investigations were limited. The teachers were asked what they knew about the erasure rates but not whether cheating had taken place, Fremer says. They told Caveon that they “did what they were supposed to do and they didn’t do anything wrong,” he says.

Henderson, the D.C. chancellor, says D.C. educators interviewed by Caveon “gave specific reasons for high erasure rates. … Some emphasized to their students that (they) … should always go back, review their answers and make corrections, if needed.

“Other teachers,” she says, “encouraged students to eliminate wrong answers in the test booklet by marking an ‘X’ next to wrong answers, which could account for an unusual number of erasures if students marked their ‘X’ on the answer sheet instead of the test booklet.”

School district officials would not release the reports Caveon compiled. Caveon has been hired again to investigate the results of 2010 tests in which 41 DCPS schools, including Noyes, had at least one classroom flagged for high erasure rates. USA TODAY could not determine which schools are being scrutinized.”

Like Superintendent Beverly Hall, her counterpart in Atlanta, Rhee put great stress on standardized testing results. In fact, Rhee offered both more severe consequences for failure and more lucrative rewards for success than Hall has. And as in Hall’s case, she apparently showed little curiosity about how those results were being achieved. Pushing the story about reform became more important than pushing the mission of reform.

– Jay Bookman

322 comments Add your comment

Mick

March 28th, 2011
8:00 am

Thanks jay, this lady has been on oprah, consults with governor rick disaster in fla and now georgia? What these right wing hacks should do is consult with real teachers like josef who bring it day in and day out. There is audio tape of michelle rhee admitting to putting duct tape on her students mouths to keep them quiet. She admitted having poor management skills when she started teaching. A stunt like that today would get any first year teacher terminated. She is the republican soup de jour, her relevance is simply overblown…

Normal

March 28th, 2011
8:06 am

Remember this bumper sticker?

it will be a great day when our schools get all the money they need and the air force has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber. …

Still believe it.

Normal

March 28th, 2011
8:07 am

Have to repeat my post below…

Today this the anniversary for Three Mile Island…funny how history repeats itself, ain’t it?

Funny for the day…

http://news.icanhascheezburger.com/2011/03/25/political-pictures-village-people-pope-benedict-idiot/

and…

http://news.icanhascheezburger.com/2011/03/27/political-pictures-bill-clinton-gilbert-sullivan/

Aquagirl

March 28th, 2011
8:08 am

The same people who will defend her wouldn’t hesitate to call for Beverly Hall’s head on a stick. The problem with low test scores isn’t the method of instruction or lazy teachers. It’s parents, both liberal and conservative, who will blame anyone but themselves and their children.

Common Sense isn't very Common

March 28th, 2011
8:13 am

the only answer is Charter Schools :-)

cosby smith

March 28th, 2011
8:17 am

Ahh….attack conservatives…but it points out that the Government run Schools are out of wack. they serve primarily as a baby sitting service. Bush’s no child left behing put the system on a fast track to complete melt down. Teachers Union’s pour gas on the fire and do not give a rats rear end about education. The problem is not just one person but the way the system has been taken over by the Federal Government. It is time to pick on parents and hold them responsible…it is time to put local control back into the mix…it is time to quit testing and start teaching..sure Jay, pick on a so called conservate and ignore the total situation..typical of journaliasm these days..beat the Government Socialist drum, show conservatives they are stupid and say look at me…gee another product of Government Schools

Mick

March 28th, 2011
8:18 am

Charter schools? I think not, they are another panacea for the quick fix. Statisically, they perform no better than public schools and many times – worse.

stands for decibels

March 28th, 2011
8:23 am

What’s this? another telegenic Gooper hero(ine) might turn out to have been a fraud?

knock me over with a feather.

Mick

March 28th, 2011
8:23 am

Teachers as babysitters…let’s see..how much do you pay your babystitter? Let’s say $5 per hour for arguments sake. If a teacher has 25 students in a class that would be $125 an hour times seven for the day, we should be paying our teachers roughly $875 per day if you want to consider them babysitters….

Keep Up the Good Fight!

March 28th, 2011
8:24 am

Possible cheating that would not suport the Republican premise…..why that does not matter unless of course the cheating is in a city like Atlanta which is under Dem control. Now Jay, quit bringing up things that do fact fit into our rage and anger. Why that just makes me want to come back daily and rant at you about how no one should be reading newspapers. [snark!]

Chaps

March 28th, 2011
8:25 am

Rhee was fired because she was the wrong race in DC. But the left-wing media will find, or create, something to discredit anyone who doesn’t worship at the union altar.

TnGelding

March 28th, 2011
8:26 am

Winners never cheat and cheaters never win.

larry

March 28th, 2011
8:30 am

Lets get rid of the CRCT and get rid of no child left behind. Teachers are just teaching to take these tests and are willing to do anything to improve scores and our education system should not be like that.

Call it like it is

March 28th, 2011
8:32 am

“What these right wing hacks should do is consult with real teachers like josef who bring it day in and day out.”

Right……….Because when Ga was a blue state it was in the top tier of public schools.

Common Sense isn't very Common

March 28th, 2011
8:33 am

It seems as if the stigma of being held back a grade has disappeared.
Now it seems like with No Child Left Behind some teachers will ‘teach to the test’ so as not to traumatize a child by actually getting them to learn the subject matter. The parents and school boards along with some teachers are failing in their responsibilities.
But the main problem is the kids don’t seem to GAS about education. Maybe they don’t see a future in getting one as a lot of decent jobs held in the past have now been transferred to other countries.

Keep Up the Good Fight!

March 28th, 2011
8:33 am

Chaps, was Rhee hired because she was the wrong race in DC too?

carlosgvv

March 28th, 2011
8:34 am

Then Gov. Perdue appointed a commission to investigate the cheating scandal some time ago and we are still waiting for the results. This delay shows what a witches brew of race, politics and money the CRCT scandal is. Maybe someday we will get the results of this investigation.

larry

March 28th, 2011
8:37 am

Instead of a test based education, maybe kids would respond better to a more well-rounded education. All a test will do is give overpaid adminstrators something to crow about .

godless heathen

March 28th, 2011
8:38 am

Keep: So the schools in DC aren’t under Dem control?

ty webb

March 28th, 2011
8:38 am

Seems some here are confused. Rhee is a democrat. Rhee was appointed by a democrat. That is all.

Ponder

March 28th, 2011
8:38 am

All I can say is my wife and I are fortunate to be able to pay for private school for our children!!!

Common Sense isn't very Common

March 28th, 2011
8:39 am

The problems at APS seem to be along the same lines as DC.

Incentives to ‘cook the books’ leading to bonuses etc. are widespread in the public sector just as they are in the corporate world.

ty webb

March 28th, 2011
8:40 am

oh yeah…DC is also under Democrat control.

poison pen

March 28th, 2011
8:41 am

I know, let’s keep throwing more money at it, that will surely fix it.

lovelyliz

March 28th, 2011
8:44 am

Like the Houston, TX Education miracle that never was and while a conservative darling was at the helm too!!!!!!!!!!!!

godless heathen

March 28th, 2011
8:45 am

“Seems some here are confused. Rhee is a democrat. Rhee was appointed by a democrat. That is all.”

Now Ty, don’t be throwing water on this morning’s GOP bashing party.

TnGelding

March 28th, 2011
8:48 am

We need to eliminate all these clueless local school boards and adopt a system that has been proven to work statewide if not nationwide.

ty webb

March 28th, 2011
8:48 am

Godless,
Yeah, I don’t know if it’s wishful thinking or just plain dishonesty by the peanut gallery. It seems Jay did a hell of a job with that first sentence.

larry

March 28th, 2011
8:48 am

Incentives to ‘cook the books’ leading to bonuses etc. are widespread in the public sector just as they are in the corporate world.

Interesting observation, Common. Overpaid superendents and adminstrators with underpaid teachers and parapros.

Overpaid CEO’s and COO’s with underpaid workers. Interesting isn’t it ?

Call it like it is

March 28th, 2011
8:51 am

Always love, well if we pay our teachers better they will perform better. So I guess we are to understand they are holding back on their teaching skills due to their pay, because it was a complete shock to them in regards to what they would be making while going to college.

Taking that into account the same people who are holding back their skills due to pay, might be inclined to cheat, when money is involved. Hmmmmmmm…………

kayaker 71

March 28th, 2011
8:52 am

Is there any proof that Rhee was complicit in those erasures or that she had knowledge of them? Was this just an attempt by teachers to gain high scores to be eligible for bonuses or other incentives? Is there any proof that Beverly Hall was complicit in Atlanta’s fiasco and had knowledge of these attempts to cheat?

Jay

March 28th, 2011
8:52 am

Right, Ty.

Because liberal educators from DC often get invited to speak by Republlicans at a special legislative hearing on their behalf, along with a private audience with Gov. Deal. They often get lauded by the conservative Georgia Public Policy Institute as “education reform’s rock star. She’s Madonna, never afraid to be out front, never afraid to speak her mind, never afraid to confront status quo….”

that's just goofy

March 28th, 2011
8:53 am

Common Sense isn’t…: @8:33 “Now it seems like with No Child Left Behind some teachers will ‘teach to the test’ so as not to traumatize a child by actually getting them to learn the subject matter”

Schools and teachers are graded and judged on the outcome of the test. They are not graded or judged on the student learning anything that isn’t on the test – it has nothing to do with trauma.

The test is the benchmark for success why wouldn’t teachers teach to the test?

Bosch

March 28th, 2011
8:54 am

“It seems as if the stigma of being held back a grade has disappeared.
Now it seems like with No Child Left Behind some teachers will ‘teach to the test’ so as not to traumatize a child by actually getting them to learn the subject matter.”

I think to a certain degree that is true — but NCLB puts that pressure on administrators to do so because under the law, you can not have any kids “fail.”

Jay

March 28th, 2011
8:54 am

No, kayaker, there’s no evidence of either.

However, there is a lot of evidence that they were, shall we say, incurious about how the results were being achieved.

Redneck Convert (R--and proud of it)

March 28th, 2011
8:55 am

Well, it’s time for a public hanging of this Rhee and Hall too. Us rednecks need somebody to blame (besides us) for how dumb the students are, and they go cheating on the tests we made the students take. To quote a RINO President, this won’t stand. We need about 8 ft. of rope and a platform. Here we send them a bunch of super-smart redneck kids and they don’t even pour the learning in. If they can’t run the schools the way WalMart runs stores, then hanging is the only answer. Who’s with me?

And don’t give me this junk about josef nix. All the guy does is blog all day.

Have a good Monday everybody.

Independent

March 28th, 2011
8:56 am

Why do people still have a problem with “teaching to the test”? If the test measures basic skills, then that is exactly what teachers should be teaching. Isn’t that what we want out students to graduate with?

Peadawg

March 28th, 2011
8:57 am

“Like Superintendent Beverly Hall, her counterpart in Atlanta, Rhee put great stress on standardized testing results.”

And both of them, along with others who have love affairs with standardized test, are complete morons. Period.

that's just goofy

March 28th, 2011
8:58 am

Call it like it is:

Better pay would not make teachers better – but it might bring in better teachers.

There should be differential pay for subjects, grade level and schools. If the test is the indicator of success – test students at the beginning of the year and the end of the year to see if there is improvement. Setting a benchmark that all students must meet is goofy.

TnGelding

March 28th, 2011
8:58 am

We want our students to graduate being able to think and communicate.

Bob

March 28th, 2011
8:59 am

What these right wing hacks should do is consult with real teachers like josef who bring it day in and day out. Beverly Hall agrees, rightwing hacks cheat on testing. If Michele Rhee brought it like the left wing hacks running APS, she would be in jail for fraud by now.
What’s GA in ranking, 48 or 49 ? Can’t we get back the lofty position we held ten years ago after dems had run the state for about 130 years or so ?
Glad Jay is onto this cheating story in DC.

poison pen

March 28th, 2011
8:59 am

It is ironic that several people will post today and blame one party or the other for this country’s decline in education. Our decline has been happening under both parties and the sooner you partisan hacks realize this the better off everyone will be.

No amount of Bitching or money will solve the problems that evolve from the homes of these children, especially in the Majority of inner cities. We need to look at what other countries are doing to educate their children, pick the best ones and maybe try their system.

I think as a whole most teachers are doing a good job with the system that they have to work wiith, the problem is much deeper than the teachers and this is what we need to focus on.

Deep Throat

March 28th, 2011
9:00 am

I wish I was half as smart as the people on this blog think they are.

TnGelding

March 28th, 2011
9:00 am

Joe Nix for Secretary of Education!

Bosch

March 28th, 2011
9:00 am

“Better pay would not make teachers better – but it might bring in better teachers. ”

Or keep the good ones from leaving.

“There should be differential pay for subjects, grade level and schools.”

Oh hell no.

“Setting a benchmark that all students must meet is goofy.”

Exactly.

TnGelding

March 28th, 2011
9:01 am

We aren’t smart, just opinionated.

ty webb

March 28th, 2011
9:02 am

Jay,
so the closed minded republicans invite a liberal,minority,democrat(isn’t that the progressive’s “holy triad”) to speak at hearings led by their party…and that’s a bad thing? Now now, that doesn’t seem to jibe with the whole GOP as an intolerant, “party of no”, group of “partisan hacks” argument…does it? I mean come on…Rhee did get the Oprah seal of approval, and what has she ever been wrong about?

Bosch

March 28th, 2011
9:02 am

“No amount of Bitching or money will solve the problems that evolve from the homes of these children,”

But taking that money AWAY and then bitching that things suck is well, as someone has pointed out here, just goofy.

Redneck Convert (R--and proud of it)

March 28th, 2011
9:02 am

No amount of Bitching or money will solve the problems that evolve from the homes of these children, especially in the Majority of inner cities.

What a bunch of bunk! Our kids know all the NASCAR car numbers by the time they’re 4. If that ain’t smart, I don’t know what is. We send them a bunch of smart kids and these teachers dumb them down.

Bosch

March 28th, 2011
9:03 am

Oh ty, good Lord, not everything in the world is black and white, liberal v. conservative.

Deep Throat

March 28th, 2011
9:04 am

Granny, that the smartest thing you’ve ever said.

TnGelding

March 28th, 2011
9:04 am

You’re actually right, Redneck. The teachers can’t keep up with technology and meet their teaching requirements.

that's just goofy

March 28th, 2011
9:05 am

Bosch

I taught PE, 1st grade, 5th grade and middle school math – yes, there should be differential pay. The jobs and the demands are not the same.

efavorite

March 28th, 2011
9:06 am

Michelle Rhee is extraordinarily skillful, but not at managing a school system. She has a rare talent for temporarily getting smart people to believe in her and support her fervently and unconditionally. These smart people wouldn’t necessarily describe their support in these terms. It’s unusual for them to get pulled in emotionally, so they don’t reflect much on the possibility that their good sense has been compromised. Journalists who are excited by the chancellor’s vision and determination reflexively and repeatedly sing her praises in the press. Other smart people leave their jobs to go to work for her. People who change their lives for a cause or publicly put their credibility on the line have an especially hard time noticing any negative reality that might interfere with their glowing first impressions.

Being smart people, however, they eventually re-engage their analytical skills and swallow their pride. They recognize that their unconditional support is not warranted. While mourning the lost of a miracle cure for the schools, they begin to curb their unwitting complicity in further injuring an already ailing system. That is the phase we’re entering now.

—–
I first wrote this 2 years ago as a comment in the Washington Post. Hopefully, I’m finally right. I keep hoping that journalists will start to see that they’ve been duped and will want to start writing the the real story about Michelle Rhee.

poison pen

March 28th, 2011
9:06 am

Redneck, are those the cars that go Zoom, Zoom?

Mary Elizabeth

March 28th, 2011
9:07 am

First some data. And then a few comments.

(1) On Georgia’s new statewide mathematics tests 52% passed Math II (AJC, 1/21/11), and on the statewide science tests for 4th and 8th grade students, 27% of both grades were deemed “proficient” (AJC, 1/26/11). This means 48% of Georgia’s students failed Math II, and that 73% of Georgia’s students were not deemed “proficient” on the those science tests.

(2) When we tested all incoming 9th grade students, for over a dozen years, on a national standardized reading test, half of the 9th graders (or 300 students, yearly) tested below 6th grade level. The range of scores for those 300 9th graders, in reading, was from 4th grade to grade level 16.

——————————————————————————————————————————————-

Most teachers did not know what their individual students’ reading scores were until we informed them. Standardized scores (and students’ skills) will not improve until teacher teach students on their individual functioning levels – not by blanket curriculum mandates to all children, without variance.

You cannot teach any student on his correct instructional level until you test – to know – what that functioning level is. Standardized tests are being used in the wrong way. But they should not be eliminated.

A few words of mine published in another paper:

“The main purpose of standardized testing should be to assess the yearly advancement (or lack thereof) of individual students, not to punish teachers.”

Standardized tests should be used as diagnostic instruments only. They are being used for political purposes, and not to aid teachers in teaching students. The answer is not to stop all standardized testing. That would be equivalent to “putting one’s head in the sand” in terms of knowing students’
progress.

The powers-that-be should stop scapegoating teacher for political purposes. The reason for poor test scores is poverty. The focus should be on eliminating poverty, not on punishing teachers. (See data in next post.)

Common Sense isn't very Common

March 28th, 2011
9:07 am

I have seen teachers pass a student with a failing grade in their other class scores when they pass the EOC test. That either means that the student was lazy or didn’t really learn the subject matter.
It could also mean that they are wizards at taking standardized tests.
NCLB has skewed the education system in a way it may take years to undo.
As to teachers ‘teaching to the test’ if a student truly knows the subject matter the probability is that they will pass the EOC test instead of during the semester teachers being forced to teach what is on the EOC test.

Mary Elizabeth

March 28th, 2011
9:08 am

Data From Kyle Wingfield’s Blog by JW

JW
March 4th, 2011
7:41 am
Here is another little piece of statistical information that is not often seen or heard because it doesn’t fit the political agendas of many folks when it comes to our “failing” public schools/teachers and school “reform.”
“To justify their campaign, ed reformers repeat, mantra-like, that U.S. students are trailing far behind their peers in other nations, that U.S. public schools are failing. The claims are specious. Two of the three major international tests—the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study and the Trends in International Math and Science Study—break down student scores according to the poverty rate in each school. The tests are given every five years. The most recent results (2006) showed the following: students in U.S. schools where the poverty rate was less than 10 percent ranked first in reading, first in science, and third in math. When the poverty rate was 10 percent to 25 percent, U.S. students still ranked first in reading and science. But as the poverty rate rose still higher, students ranked lower and lower. Twenty percent of all U.S. schools have poverty rates over 75 percent. The average ranking of American students reflects this. The problem is not public schools; it is poverty.”
Room for improvement? Certainly.
Failing? Hardly
Who is to be held accountable for the continuing high poverty levels in the U.S. that are negatively influencing the performance of our public school students?

ty webb

March 28th, 2011
9:08 am

Bosch,
hello, and I didn’t bring “party” up first. I just felt the need to sort of correct the record. Afterall, seems many on here get their news from Jay…Good lord.

Bosch

March 28th, 2011
9:08 am

that’s goofy,

I disagree — if the demands weren’t the same, that’s your principals’ fault, they should be. And all teachers these days have tons of extra work they have to do. Like your name though!!

Bosch

March 28th, 2011
9:10 am

Mary Elizabeth,

Thank you — yes, it isn’t politics, it’s poverty.

larry

March 28th, 2011
9:10 am

While throwing money at it, as some as said on here, may not solve the problem but taking over 4 billion out of the system , as the state has done over the last 8 years, will not help either.

kayaker 71

March 28th, 2011
9:11 am

Granted, whatever happened on Rhee’s watch is her responsibility. Same with Hall. However, bashing her style of reform or condemning either Hall or Rhee for the actions of the teachers appears a bit disingenuous. Innuendo is a powerful way of condemning someone’s actions when the whole picture is not presented. Perhaps a disclaimer….. “There is ample evidence that erasures occurred on test papers which ultimately raised test scores, however there is no clear evidence that Rhee or Hall had any prior knowledge of the event or condoned it in any way”. There,….wasn’t that easy?

Ex-DCer

March 28th, 2011
9:12 am

Alright, this is at best a hit and run piece by someone with very little context of the situation. Typical cut and paste job by the AJC crack team.
First off DC schools are several notches below Atlanta. Corruption amongst the teachers union has been pervasive. Just a few years ago the President of the Union was convicted of embezzling around 2 million dollars and spending it on furs and verious luxury items. Other members were also convicted for involvement and cover up. This is just one example of the high ethics of DC Teachers, there are many others but you can Google them yourself.
Adrien Fenty was/is a Democrat. He is very liberal and I’d say much farther to the left than Kasim Reed. Michelle Rhee is a Democrat, she has even been praised by Obama. Race or Ethnicity nor even cheating had anything to do with her leaving the DC School system. Her greatest Sin (according to the teachers Union) was to evaluate the Teachers and Administrators and fire the ones who were performing poorly. That is what set off the firestorm. Because we know that once in a Union it’s members don’t ever expect to be evaluated, what a crazy idea!
For this the Teachers Unions propped up a candidate for mayor and rallied support behind him. He eventually won. Of course in true DC style he is already under Federal investigation for paying (with donations from the Teachers Union) another Council Woman to publicly attack mayor Fenty. Apparently that’s a no-no and he might have to spend some time in the Marion Barry suite of the local Fed Pen.
Maybe she pulled a ‘Beverly Hall’ I really don’t know. I don’t really care because I’d never send my kids to Public Schools in Atlanta or DC (trending to anywhere in the US). But I think your readers should get a little more context.

Mick

March 28th, 2011
9:17 am

**Because we know that once in a Union it’s members don’t ever expect to be evaluated, what a crazy idea!**

We also know that false sterotype has been picked to the bone by the voracious buzzards of the anti union species…

that's just goofy

March 28th, 2011
9:19 am

Bosch –

Guessing we will disagree. However, I was moved to math not by choice – but because I was certified and capable.

In most careers different jobs require different skills and result in different pay. Pay also increases for jobs in high demand. (We are short of good math and science teachers)

kayaker 71

March 28th, 2011
9:19 am

Ex-Dcer,

Many are good at telling half of the story to make their point and ignoring those facts that tend to invalidate that which you would rather not mention. It seems to happen a lot when partisan people are trying to make someone look bad.

Normal

March 28th, 2011
9:19 am

I love me some unions! Wait! Are we talking sexual or political unions?

Bosch

March 28th, 2011
9:19 am

Not to pat myself on the back or anything, but I think this makes a good T-Shirt or Bumper Sticker:

“It isn’t politics, it’s poverty”

Del

March 28th, 2011
9:20 am

One word, supposition.

Jay

March 28th, 2011
9:21 am

kayaker, I’d agree up to a point. And that point is the moment at which serious questions are raised regarding statistically improbable improvements and statistically impossible wrong-to-right erasures. At that point, it is incumbent upon leaders who place such great stress on testing results to ensure that those results are accurate and fair.

I see no sign that Hall or Rhee responded in such fashion.

To ExDCer: The context you cite is for the most part accurate, as far as I can tell. I don’t question that Rhee took some difficult but necessary steps in DC, just as I’ve repeatedly given Hall credit for real improvements in the Atlanta school system implemented under her watch. But again, if you’re going to use test results as the primary basis for hiring, firing, promotion and bonuses, you have an obligation to ensure those results are accurate.

getalife

March 28th, 2011
9:23 am

cons don’t fix.

They take.

Bosch

March 28th, 2011
9:23 am

“In most careers different jobs require different skills and result in different pay. Pay also increases for jobs in high demand. (We are short of good math and science teachers)”

that’s goofy,

Yes, I agree with that, but I guess my defenses come from people I hear that think for some reason High School teachers should be paid more simply because they think the subject matter is harder. To an adult, yes, high school math is harder than 4th grade math or 1st grade math (well, to most adults anyway) but it doesn’t mean that 1st or 4th grade teachers work any less harder or have to actually DO less work.

“Pay also increases for jobs in high demand. (We are short of good math and science teachers)”

And considering I’m married to a fantastic math teacher, I could actually get behind that. :-)

Jonas

March 28th, 2011
9:24 am

Wow- 3 years ago I fired all my employees and bought a beach side mansion on a Carribbean island. Incredible- simply soak up the sun, drink martinis, and call my goldman sachs broker to ask how much money I am making.

I am stopping back in Atlanta and noticed we are invading Libya and gas prices are through the roof-

Did Bush and Cheney somehow win a third term?

Call it like it is

March 28th, 2011
9:27 am

Okay this is going to sound bad no matter how I say it, but lets throw it out anyway. Not every kid is going to college, not every single kid should be taking these tests. I’m sorry but these kids parents don’t care, therefore the child doesnt care, so our teachers end up teaching down, instead of up.

Some kids are not going to go past highschool, some will go to tech school and learn a trade and do very well, and others will move on to higher learning. Its just like the HOPE grant here in GA. All of a sudden every single kid became qualified to go to college. People its nature, strong will move on, the weak will not. Quit asking our teachers to teach down so the weak will feel better about themselves.

Karl Childers

March 28th, 2011
9:30 am

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Normal

March 28th, 2011
9:30 am

Off topic:

The last Republican I admired died today, 1969.
Wish there were more out there like him…

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/eisenhower-dies

jm

March 28th, 2011
9:31 am

Well, two thoughts.

1. Good grief. You’d think independent testing would become implemented nationwide very soon since….
2. Apparently teachers, when any pressure is actually applied, tend to cheat rather than improve their teaching and actually help their kids.

I know not all the teachers are implicated obviously. But it makes you want to say, are there any honest teachers out there????

Mr_B

March 28th, 2011
9:32 am

Kayaker: The fault lies not with Ms Rhee and Ms Hall, but with a society that feels that it has to produce identically educated individuals from a pool of students whose life experiences and abilities are as varied as the shapes of snowflakes.The failing of these two educational leaders is in the perpetuation of the myth must meet the same set of standards to be successful.
When I went into the classroom, I believed that teaching was an art. I certainly regarded the teachers who inspired me as artists. I don’t remember anyone demanding that Van Gogh, Michelangelo, or Cezanne that they must paint the same painting every time.

Adam

March 28th, 2011
9:32 am

Reform based on test scores is doomed to failure. Reform based on privatization is ALSO doomed to failure. Best chance? Starting kids early on the basics, including reading (with phonetics), math, science, and so on. Give them a good foundation and then keep reforming up through the years on the EDUCATION aspect, not the test scores aspect, and you will see improvements.

Southern Comfort (aka The Man)

March 28th, 2011
9:33 am

SInce we’re human, there’s good and bad amongst us. We won’t like everything that everyone does. Teaching is one area where we shouldn’t have this left/right divide because our future is dependent upon the next generation getting a solid educational foundation. It’s quite disturbing, but not surprising, that there are cheating allegations following Rhee, just as they’ve followed Hall.

Why do people still have a problem with “teaching to the test”? If the test measures basic skills, then that is exactly what teachers should be teaching. Isn’t that what we want out students to graduate with?

“I” have a problem with “teaching to the test” because that is not a way to learn. If we teach children how to learn, they will pass any test that measures their basic skills. We’ve become too damned dependent on “test scores” when there is no test that can show a child’s thought process. It’s time to get back to the basics, people. Look at what NASA accomplished in the 1960’s, and they were not the product of modern teaching-to-the-test type instruction in school. Basic skills, when taught well and enforced, will carry a child farther than any other skills will.

Ex-DCer

March 28th, 2011
9:34 am

I totally agree that if cheating happened it falls on her, the Principals, and the Teachers who cheated. I’m just trying to build the context that DC Public Schools are a total mess. Lying, Stealing, and Election Fraud are all part of the norm. Why not throw in Cheating too?
I’m not a huge suporter or detractor of Rhee but anyone who tries to go against the system in DC for better or worse is going to be attacked, villified, demagauged, publicly berated, etc… Why is that? The schools are absolutely terrible there and nobody seems to even care except when someone came in and tried. If she came in and did nothing, just didn’t even lift a finger, and accepted the same old sorry status quo we wouldn’t be having this discussion.
I may have been generic in my earlier comments but they’re accurate. I’m not trying to threadjack this message board, again anyone can Google.

David White

March 28th, 2011
9:34 am

atlmom

March 28th, 2011
9:35 am

If you are in short supply of something (math and science teachers) you pay more, in order to attract people away from something else. It’s very simple. Are there not enough elementary teachers? then pay more to get more.
There have been charter schools in really really poor areas that show that those children are not ‘lost’ – those schools are doing well with good teachers and good administrators. We have a responsibility to all kids to give them a good education. the problem is, the people in charge (in DC and most state capitals) think that more administrators and more testing is the answer. it is not. we know who are the good teachers. we know where the good schools are. it’s not rocket science…

Bosch

March 28th, 2011
9:37 am

“2. Apparently teachers, when any pressure is actually applied, tend to cheat rather than improve their teaching and actually help their kids.”

You are working on the assumption that is the norm and not the RARE EXCEPTION.

WOW

March 28th, 2011
9:39 am

Jay, nothing on GE not paying taxes?

Nothing on Robert Gates saying that Libya posed no threat to the US?

jm

March 28th, 2011
9:39 am

SoCo 9:33 – I disagree. Testing is the best tool available. Of course, the quality of the test matters, a lot.

Jonas

March 28th, 2011
9:39 am

we know who are the good teachers. we know where the good schools are. it’s not rocket science…

Just can’t be that simple atlmom- are you suggesting the common man and woman knows the answer and that they should be held accountable? can’t be- the answer has to come from the gov’t or this whole liberal thing simply doesn’t work.

Southern Comfort (aka The Man)

March 28th, 2011
9:39 am

Apparently teachers, when any pressure is actually applied, tend to cheat rather than improve their teaching and actually help their kids.

That line of thought isn’t just teachers. Athlete’s use performance-enhancing substances. Accountants have cooked the books at companies. It’s human nature, and not something that’s just specific to teaching. The best way to solve that is, when applying pressure, also provide a means of meeting the goal to reduce the pressure.

Bosch

March 28th, 2011
9:39 am

“Jay, nothing on GE not paying taxes?

Nothing on Robert Gates saying that Libya posed no threat to the US?”

Blogger.com is ready when you are.

Deep Throat

March 28th, 2011
9:40 am

Back in the day, we didn’t have teachers Unions, we had teachers doing a job, not so much for the money, or the pensions, but because it was their passion, they really cared.
That passion is gone for the most part, the question is how do we get people to have teaching as a passion.
Also back in the day, parents took interest in what their children were doing in school, I remember my parents sitting down with me and my brothers and reviewing our home work and TALKING TO EACH OF US about school and be a part of the teaching process. How many house holds is this happening in everyday ? I dare say not many.
Back in the day we as children or students were held accountable, if your school grades fell below an accepted level, we new we would be penalized IE. being grounded, not being allowed to play outside with our friends etc. Now most, ask what is playing outside.
The short of it is we as a society have lost our core values, to fix a system or improve it perhaps we should begin by looking inward, rededicate ourselves to our children, spend quality time helping educate them,setting goals for them and holding them and ourselves accountable.

Bosch

March 28th, 2011
9:41 am

“Back in the day, we didn’t have teachers Unions,”

Actually, Deep, back in the day, you did.

Mary Elizabeth

March 28th, 2011
9:42 am

If test results are the primary reason for firing and hiring teachers, schools will have become a places of fear and tension, not only for teachers but for students.

Again, the main purpose for standardized testing should be for diagnostic purposes. Cheating – to whatever degree it is happening – should stop, altogether, to ensure valid test results for instruction.
Tying the test results to hiring and firing creates a climate for cheating. Train teachers how better to teach through using test results; don’t threaten them with dismissal. One way creates growth; the other way creates fear. Schools should be places of growth, not of fear – for students and teachers.

Southern Comfort (aka The Man)

March 28th, 2011
9:42 am

jm

I disagree on blanket testing. Not all kids learn the same, and they do not respond the same when testing. If we actually taught to the kids instead of teaching to the test, maybe kids would respond much better.

Not all kids are going to be college material. Where does vocational training fall in a standardized test? You may have a kid that’s dumb as a brick in algebra, but he could completely strip down and rebuild a Chevy 327 small block. How do you help that child by failing him on tests that he will not pass?

WOW

March 28th, 2011
9:43 am

“Pushing the story about reform became more important than pushing the mission of reform.”

Bottom line: Jay doesn’t have a solution to the education problem and therefore diverts to attacking Rhee.

Nice job, Jay.

jm

March 28th, 2011
9:43 am

Bosch 9:37 – No. What I’m saying is: when held to account at underperforming schools, teachers tend to cheat. At those schools that were already doing fine, teachers don’t have the incentive to cheat. Since the vast majority of schools do “ok” because the test is skewed such that most schools “pass”, the only significant pressure is applied to underperformers. And that is where all the cheating has shown up.

If the “good” school teachers were dumped into the “bad” school, I wouldn’t be shocked to see the cheating continuing to occur.

My faith in most of the public schools is beyond thin. There are a few good teachers out there. They ARE THE EXCEPTION, not the rule.

And I know, I went to a public school.

Bosch

March 28th, 2011
9:45 am

“What I’m saying is: when held to account at underperforming schools, teachers tend to cheat.”

Well, jm, I’d say that’s a little on the broad brush side of thinking, so in my opinion, what you say is wrong.

jm

March 28th, 2011
9:46 am

SoCo 9:42 – put him on an alternative track. But don’t stop testing. As they say: you can’t improve (ever) what you don’t measure.

Bosch

March 28th, 2011
9:46 am

“And I know, I went to a public school.”

So, jm, you think that qualifies you to judge or evaluate all teachers in public schools now?

Did you sleep at a Holiday Inn Express last night too?

Deep Throat

March 28th, 2011
9:46 am

Bosch as usual you think you know all, but when I attended school that one day we did not have teachers unions.