The New More ‘Transparent’ ASD

TFA leaders have been dropping like flies.  First there was Michelle Rhee ‘resigning’ as chancellor in DC and then, more recently, ‘stepping down’ as CEO of StudentsFirst.  Wendy Kopp resigned her post as CEO of TFA to lead the international Teach For All.  Then there was Kevin Huffman in Tennessee, Cami Anderson in Newark.  Now that there is a new Governor in Louisiana I am certain that John White will soon be ‘opting to spend more time with his family’ and then that will be it for the first generation TFA system leaders.

Of all the fallen TFA leaders, however, the one who I have spent the most time covering is the Tennessee Achievement School District’s (ASD) superintendent Chris Barbic.  I suppose this is partly because I was, at one time, fairly good friends with him and still have a cordial relationship with him.  Of all the reformer leaders, I’ve felt that I could ‘crack’ Barbic since I think he has some morals and just needs to snapped out of his reform trance with some extreme ‘Deer Hunter’ therapy.

I don’t know if the reformers had planned out this strategy in advance, but it seems that what happens is that one of them gets the reins of a big school system and shakes things up, shutting down schools, opening charters and, ultimately, alienating the community.  Then, once they’ve gotten the wrecking ball rolling, they ‘voluntarily’ step down and get replaced by some kinder, less threatening, version of themselves.  So Arne Duncan was replaced by John King.  Michelle Rhee was replaced by Kaya Henderson.  Wendy Kopp was replaced by two people, Matt Kramer and Elisa Villanueva-Beard.  And it was recently announced that Chris Barbic will be replaced by Malika Anderson.

The ASD is one of the biggest disasters in ed reform.  They started about four years ago with the goal of taking over schools in the bottom 5% in terms of test scores and getting them, in five years, into the top 25% of schools in Tennessee.  In my analysis I found that of the six schools that have been in the ASD since the beginning, four remain in the bottom 5% while the other two are still in the bottom 6%.

In her letter introducing herself, Anderson shows that she has been briefed about how to spin their data.  She writes:

After only three years, we’re excited to say that half of all Priority Schools in the state are now receiving some form of significant intervention. The bar for the bottom 5% has increased nearly 10 points—over a 50% increase—and students in Priority Schools are growing 4 times faster than their statewide peers

Since they cannot deny that their schools are still in the bottom 5%, they say that ‘the bar for the bottom 5% has increased by nearly 10 points — over a 50% increase.’  So what this means is that there is some metric, I think it is called the School Success Rate or SSR.  It is calculated every year for every school, but only released every four years or so.  So the bottom 5% school evidently used to score only 20 ‘points’ on this metric and now they’ve gone up by 10 ‘points’ to 30, which is a 50% increase.  But apparently the other schools that were not in the bottom 5% have also increased by 10 points so that the bottom 5% schools have not overtaken anyone as they were supposed to.  Also there’s this stat that students in priority schools are ‘growing 4 times faster than their statewide peers.’  Basically this means that there is some metric on which the statewide peers got a very low growth number, something very close to zero.  And when you multiply something very close to zero by four you still get something very close to zero.  It’s like if I go on a diet and lose one pound, I lost four times as much as a person who lost just a quarter of a pound.  It is meaningless to talk about comparing growth rates this way when both numbers are so low.

In the future, Anderson promises some improvements:

Going forward, we will continue to hold ourselves and our school operators accountable to the highest levels of student achievement and growth. We will continue to go where need is concentrated, ensuring every Priority School in Tennessee is improving because we believe that families and students in these schools deserve nothing but the best. And we will continue to ensure that the power in our district is placed in the hands of local parents, educators and leaders in the neighborhoods and communities we serve because they are the ones who best know how to serve our students. We will do so with even greater transparency and deeper levels of partnership than during the ASD’s initial years.

Now the ASD has been known for alienating communities, taking over schools, holding meetings at times that interested community members are unable to attend.  So to say they will ‘continue to ensure that the power in our district is placed in the hands of local parents, educators, and leaders in the neighborhoods’ is something I find puzzling.  And in reading this letter, she’s not off to a good start with doing so ‘with even greater transparency’ as she parrots the typical misleading, albeit creative, statistics that try to paint the ASD as some sort of success.

I’ll admit I was hoping that Chris Barbic would have held on for five years so he would have had to hold some kind of press conference after the five years to say “We failed.”  Having a different leader in place at the end of the five years will definitely change that dynamic.  No, by the time that it becomes clear that all these reform leaders were a type of grifters, they will all have safely disappeared leaving their marks trying to figure out how they fell for such a clear long con.

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For TFA is it worse to be a charter critic or a Tea Party member?

In my last post ‘Tea F A?’, I speculated that the former executive director of TFA Nashville was fired after a video surfaced of him saying some pretty disgusting things at a Tea Party Rally.  This was just speculation based on a tip I received.

Now after putting this theory out to the public, much more information about this story has surfaced.  If this information is accurate, it suggests something a lot more disturbing about TFA than that they hired someone who has disdain for students who get free lunch or whose parent are illegal immigrants.  If this new information is accurate, it means that to TFA it is more of a sin to be a skeptic of the ‘no excuses’ charter model than it is to be a member of the Tea party.

First there was this comment left on Diane Ravitch’s blog post about this:

There’s actually more to this story. Adnan Barqawi cancelled the TFA Nashville contract with RePublic (no excuses) charter schools because of abusive treatment of teachers. Without TFA, RePublic can’t function. So, because RePublic and its leader, Ravi Gupta, are so well-connected and powerful in the charter movement, Mr. Barqawi was removed from his post and the TFA contract reinstated. Caution is advised here – attacking Mr. Barqawi will likely give TFA and RePublic cover to say that the abuse of teachers wasn’t real and allow them to conceal the real reason he was let go.

Then, I received an email from someone who wished to remain anonymous saying something similar:

Adnan came in in January 2015.  Saw how many charter school teachers were responding to the high pressures of their schools.  Working 80-90 hour weeks, even hospitalized bc of stress.  He decided it wasn’t healthy and wanted to let corps members transfer to a different school if they wanted to.  Some corps members immediately put in for a transfer.  Supposedly, Wendy Kopp heard about this and called Adnan immediately from India and put him on administrative leave.

Well, if all this is true, I suppose I owe Barqawi a partial apology by suggesting he got fired from TFA for something he deserved to get fired from TFA for, but perhaps really got fired from TFA for actually trying to do something good.

This new theory about the short lived tenure at TFA of Adnan Barqawi is definitely interesting and maybe even more information about the situation will come from people responding to this second post about it.

Teach For America has never been flexible about teachers requesting transfers.  They are very controlling so even letting one person transfer, they seem to fear, will lead to everyone wanting to transfer so they rarely approve of one.  An extreme example happened last year when a corps member named Spencer Smith got into a life threatening car accident.  Doctors thought he may never recover from traumatic brain injury, but somehow he did.  He wanted to return to teaching but needed a transfer to be closer to his doctors, and they denied him this request.  He wrote about the ordeal here.

So I’m not surprised if an executive director would get fired for being too permissive with transfers, particularly ones from ‘no excuses’ charter schools.  It is just ironic that the Tea Party stuff may have had nothing to do with the decision.

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Tea F A?

Adnan Barqawi was a TFA 2009 corps member who was warmly received at a TFA event in Nashville in July of 2014.

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TFA hired him to be the executive director of TFA Nashville in January of 2015.  He is still listed on the TFA website as a staff member.  He left four months later.

Perhaps the mystery of his sudden disappearance four months after taking the TFA job was the discovery of this YouTube video recorded in July of 2009 during his TFA summer training.  It turns out that Barqawi is a proud member of the Tea Party.

Here is a quote from the video about his feelings about the free lunch program in schools:

“I discovered that, um, I worked so hard earning close to minimum wage so that I can provide for the free lunches and breakfasts of others who don’t necessarily want to work as hard or have just used the system in such a way that to me is not America.”

And here is is on his students who were illegal immigrants:

“The majority of the students I taught were illegal immigrants.  Who’s paying for that?  The taxpayer.  Who’s paying for their breakfasts and lunches?  The taxpayer.  And, you know, when I asked those children, because I was so curious, I never heard of the notion of free breakfasts and free lunches and I’ve lived all around the world.  And they have no idea why they get free lunches and free breakfast.  It’s just an expectation.  It’s almost like “Well, the governments gonna take care of me”, you know, and so it’s so sad no wonder, you know, I thought to myself, that the poor keep getting poorer because there’s no one to show them empowerment and independence and self-reliance rather than depending on a failing welfare system.”

OK, so TFA hired a Tea Partier and fired him four months later.  Didn’t they correct their error?  Well, yes, it was wise to fire him, but I think that the fact that someone with these views could rise so high in the organization is symptomatic of something that has plagued TFA for a while.  Hiring this guy is yet another example of what sloppy decision making this organization continues to make on a daily basis.

Watching this guy speak his opinions, there is no way that he was able to fake his way through an interview saying just the things that he would think that TFA wanted him to hear.  He does not seem capable of keeping these thoughts to himself.  I think this also shows that they are being forced to hire people like this since people who have a clue are now staying far away from the organization.  If you think this guy is scary, think about the five people that he beat out for that job.

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Louisiana Makes Big Gains* On AP Tests

To education ‘reformers,’ test scores are the ultimate measure of success.  Test scores are the evidence that the country’s education system is broken.  Test scores of certain charter schools prove that most teachers in this country have low expectations and don’t try very hard.  Schools have been shut down over test scores.  Teachers have been fired over test scores.

Contrary to the narrative of common core proponents, there are currently many national tests that can be used to compare test scores of different states.  There’s the NAEP, the ACT, the SAT, and, probably the highest quality of all of them, the Advanced Placement exams.  Though I’m not a huge fan of a lot that The College Board does, I find the tests that I’m knowledgeable about, AB Calculus, BC Calculus, and Computer Science, to be good tests.

Education ‘reform’ leaders use low test scores as a way to justify their radical policy changes.  “Kids can’t wait,” they say.  They promise that they know what works and that they just need some time for their changes to take effect.

As someone who has been tracking the ed ‘reform’ movement for nearly 5 years now, I notice that they have not delivered on their promises to raise test scores.  A prime example is in Louisiana where state superintendent and two-year Teach For America veteran, John White, has been celebrating Louisiana’s progress on the Advanced Placement tests for the past three years.  Even though their percent passing continues to be near the bottom of the nation, they celebrate the fact that their ‘participation’ has increased.  And with that increased participation, this is not surprising, their percent passing has dropped from 43% down to about 30%.

In September 2012, I first blogged about this.  Then in August 2013, it came up again, this time with a Twitter exchange between White and me.  And then last year, October 2014, I found all kinds of reports from The College Board demonstrating the Louisiana continues to be second to last in the country in AP achievement.  And here were are again, my fourth annual post about the stagnant AP scores in Louisiana.

In the August 5th, 2015 Times-Picayune, there was an article called ‘In AP test participation, Louisiana records big gains’.  But making kids take the test, and getting tax payers to pay for kids to take those tests, is meaningless.  Looking at the newly released data from The College Board, I see that Louisiana has the third lowest percent of passing scores in the country.


So the ‘reformers’ answer to this is that they’ve increased participation so it is possible for percent passing to go down while the number of passing scores can still go up, which is true.  But the thing I looked into was how their amazing increased participation compares to the participation in other states.  I suppose if Louisiana had some of the highest participation in the country, it would be unfair to compare their very low pass rates with the pass rates of other states that have very low participation.  Fortunately the College Board keeps track of this too.  It seems that even with this increased participation, Louisiana has the twelfth lowest participation in the country so it is actually more than fair to compare their very low percent passing to the percent passing in other states.


I even tried to make a metric that combined these two numbers by multiplying the percent participation by the percent passing for each state and this resulted in Louisiana still being very close to the bottom of the country.


The College Board will soon release slick summary reports with even more useful information.  I’ll surely write about that when it comes our.

In addition to the state-by-state data released by the College Board, the state of Louisiana, a few months ago, released AP data for their districts and their schools.  These numbers are shockingly low and certainly seem to be something that ‘outcome driven reformers’ want to ignore.  Sci Academy, which is one of those New Schools For New Orleans schools touted on Oprah, for example, had over 110 students take an AP exam while less than 10 of them passed one.  Out of about 500 students who took an AP in the entire Recovery School District, only 27 students, or 5.5% passed one.

‘Reformers’ like to say that they get increased freedom in exchange for increased test score accountability.  They are truly running out of time to deliver on their promises.

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When You “Got To Go”, You Got To Go

The New York Times recently published a blockbuster report about a leaked sixteen student “got to go” list created at a Success Academy school in New York City.  The school, Success Academy, Fort Greene opened in September 2013.  In a press conference, Eva Moskowitz apologized for the “got to go list’ scandal, said it was an anomaly, and the principal who created it, Candido Brown, offered a teary eyed ‘mea culpa.’  What caught my attention was this paragraph from the New York Times follow up article published a day after the initial report where Moskowitz, the ultimate ‘No Excuses’ proponent, offered this bizarre excuse for the principal’s decision:

Ms. Moskowitz said the school, which then went through second grade, had severe disciplinary problems.  Mr. Brown previously said in an email that he believed he could not turn the school around if the 16 students remained.

When I think of a school in need of ‘turnaround therapy,’ I picture a school of veteran unionized teachers that has supposedly been ‘failing’ for decades.  This school was in its second year when it was in need of being turned around.  And the total number of students in the school was about 200, with about 70 kindergarteners, 80 first graders, and 50 second graders.  All of these students have been at the school for their entire schooling and all had Success Academy teachers.  I have trouble believing that this school needed a radical turnaround plan and if it really did, what does that say about the reform mantra that ‘great teachers’ overcome all if the great teachers at Success Academy were not able to maintain control of 200 5, 6, and 7 year olds?

The reaction to this story by reformers varied.  You had Michael Petrilli writing in The Daily News about how if a school needs the flexibility of harsh discipline, then that’s one of the benefits of charters.  The initial title that The Daily News gave to his piece was “Charters Are Not For Everyone.”  Though this is exactly what the piece was about, Petrilli complained about this title and it was changed to the infinitely less snappy “The real moral duty of charter schools:  The goal should be to create orderly and challenging environments where strivers from poor families can learn.”  On Dropout Nation, though, they are not supportive of the harsh discipline and exclusionary policies at Success Academies.  Most reformers refrained from commenting on the “Got To Go” list, however.  Campbell Brown was one exception, tweeting that she was “So proud” of Success Academy admitting it made a mistake and learning from it.  I could not resist responding to it.

I think that Success Academy would have been smarter to stay small and ‘under the radar.’  With their ambitious growth plan, there are too many teachers and former teachers who will be that much less likely to keep the secrets of their techniques of purifying their gene pool.  I expect there will be more whistle-blowers in the coming month.

Though it is just a small sample, all five reviews of this school on Inside Schools were negative (click on the comments button).  Here is a recent review on Inside Schools from a parent who nearly sent her child there for kindergarten, but changed her mind when the school would not excuse their absence from an orientation so the child could see her grandfather for the last time before he died:

We were accepted into this school for Kindergarten. I was a little wary of the hard sell they present to prospective parents. They boast about test scores, test scores, and test scores. Then they emphasize how your child will not have to interact with the other kids that Success has commandeered the building from as if they are lowly untouchables, and I couldn’t believe I was being reassured that my kid would never have contact with them. It was very elitist, but I wasn’t quite sure what they had to be so pretentious about. Maybe the TEST SCORES?

We were put on a waiting list, and then notified shortly after that we were fortunate to have been accepted. There were forms to bring back, and so forth. Then–they tell you about the uniform fittings. The uniform fitting is a big deal, and unlike other uniforms in the city, the uniform is rather costly-running you about $350 when all is said and done. That’s a chunk of change for a charity school looking outfit, with orange and brown being the predominant colors. We went to this mandatory “fitting” in the beginning of June. At the same time we were presented with a packet of summer reading materials, and we were supposed to log in the reading hours every week. I love that they emphasize reading, but this was a little much for an entering Kindergarten child. Of course we read to her, but now I was going to have to mark it all summer too, following specific guidelines for each book. Okay. But I was beginning to sense that this place was going to demand a lot more than just reading logs, and this was evident before we had even finished our fitting.

There was going to be an orientation for everyone directly after the first week of August (the school year begins mid-August-they seem to think that this makes them BETTER than other schools too). You were required to attend this (at Success you are REQUIRED to do a lot of things that you are not REQUIRED to do in other schools). In order to be enrolled that school year, parents had to bring their children, in their full uniforms. God forbid anybody should come to the first day orientation without a uniform because we were told they would be sent home.

The problem was we were planning to be out of town for that date. My dad was dying of cancer, and it was his last summer to be with family. We had scheduled to spend the first three weeks of August at our lake house in Michigan for this final precious visit with him. But when I told the coordinators this, they said “You can’t miss this. We told every prospective parent to take their vacations in July.” Now-we were wait-listed for one thing, and the other thing was that we weren’t about to plan our vacation around a school we weren’t sure of getting into. Coupled with that, my daughter’s pre-school went through July, so this would essentially leave her with barely a week of summer vacation, before Kindergarten. But finally, my father wad dying, and they were going to make me attend some perfunctory assembly over spending his last days with him? So–I let the next set of adminstrators know of our circumstances, but they were still completely intractable. No excused absences, even for a child’s dying grandfather? Someone told me if I wrote up a request to submit, they would have the main person in charge go over it, and decide if they deemed it appropriate enough to excuse her absence, but by this point, you couldn’t have paid me to have forced my five year old go to this militaristic place.

Everything about Success Academy (Fort Greene) was a complete and total turn off. I feel like the fact that they treated me like a hapless, ignorant, out of step parent before we were fully enrolled was actually a boon, because I would never want to participate in a school this rigid, with so little going for it. I mean really–the only thing that seemed okay was the lip service they were paying to it, and even that sounded suspect, and required one to drink the Kool-Aid, so to speak. I feel we dodged a real bullet that they were so unfriendly and prohibitive, and it was apparent before the first day that we never would have been happy there.

Here is a review from a parent who pulled her child from the school after five months:

I took my son out of this school after 5 months. They were obsessed with discipline and spent much of the day correcting behavior and creating an atmosphere where kids always felt like they were doing something wrong. Meanwhile, they were being NORMAL kids. Kindergarteners should not be expected to sit up straight with their hands locked in front of them for long stretches and be constantly keeping their eyes on the person speaking. They need more chances to move their bodies and have a chance to process their thoughts. They are constantly being told where to stand, sit, and what to do and say. My son is very bright and very well behaved and he was made to feel like he had a problem because he didn’t like to sit still for so long. When I tried to bring it up with the teachers and the Principal, they made it clear that they had their specific ways of doing things and if I didn’t like it, I would have to leave. They kept kids after school for not keeping their hands locked properly and for not getting 100% on a spelling quiz. Kids and parents alike always felt like they were in trouble at this school.

They also focus way too strongly on test prep – specifically math and spelling when young kids should be learning through varied activities, projects, and exploration. There were no parent teacher conferences – the only feedback from teachers was a daily behavior chart (either color coded or with the number of times your child had to be corrected) and a trimester report with a few numbers (result of math and spelling assessments, absences, number of homework assignments missed). Absolutely nothing that shows the teachers know anything about your child.

The Principal showed no understanding of the learning differences of children and that one size does not fit all. He just kept saying over and over, “this is how we do things here, and we make sure all kids succeed”. As if there was one way to succeed in school or life!

This place is not good for children and is not following a curriculum or philosophy that is based on appropriate child development. Parents beware.

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My Fourteen Years Of Wacky Halloween Costumes

At my school, Stuyvesant High School, there’s a tradition of students and teachers dressing up in some pretty elaborate Halloween costumes.  Now that I’m in my 14th year there, I realize that I’m starting to lose track of all the costumes so I thought I’d collect them in one definitive place so I always have them.

2003 — Einstein.  My first year, this wasn’t such a crazy costume and there’s no photo that I know of.

2004 — Ali Gebra

At the time before Borat, The Ali G show was popular at that time, and this costume is still my wife’s favorite:


2005 — Homer Simpson

Most people thought this one was just creepy.


2006 — Calculicious.  A Flavo’ Flav parody with a giant calculator on my neck instead of a clock.  The graph is the exact equation for curves that make the horns on the helmet.  Also, if you look very close, I have a full gold ‘grill’ on my top teeth.


2007 — Tim Novikoff.  A good friend of mine left teaching to go to graduate school so I dressed as him by dying my hair blonde and getting blue contact lenses.  I don’t have a picture of this one.

2008 — Irrational Number.  I had an idea that a bunch of teachers from the math department would dress up as different types of numbers.  Someone would wear a Santa Claus hat and have an ‘i’ on his chest and be an ‘imaginary number.’  Someone would be a ‘perfect square’, etc.  I assigned a bunch of people to be different types and I got a punk rock wig and had a shirt that said Pi is irrational, so I was the ‘irrational number.’  Nobody else dressed up so that was the last time I tried to coordinate a group themed costume.  No picture, I think.

2009 — Facebook.  My Facebook friends on the timeline are all famous mathematicians, mostly dead, discussing math.  This was probably my favorite of all the costumes.  It has a lot of private math jokes in it, and I’d say that this is the one that took the longest to create.

facebook costumefacebook shirt

2010 — FOIL.  This was one of those costumes that ‘you have to figure out’.  FOIL is a thing from high school math, a way of multiplying certain mathematical expressions.  So I had the tin foil costumes with the math expressions and people had to stare and figure it out.  This was a huge his and I’d say that the 2009 and 2010 consecutive year were the peak of my Halloween costume creativity.

foil costume2011 — Stanley Teitel.  Our principal was forced into retirement the summer before because some students had cheated on the Physics regents.  So I went as Mr. Teitel in retirement with a Hawaiian shirt and a bag of money and the Physics regents.  No picture that I know of.

2012 — Occupy Sesame Street.  As ‘occupy wall street’ was happening around that time, this was a funny twitter hashtag that I made into a costume, another kind you ‘had to figure out.’  Most people didn’t but it was still an elaborate costume.  Looks kind of like the Homer Simpson costume.

bert costume

2013 — Walter White.  With my bag of ‘Crystal Math’ this costume went over pretty well.

walter white

2014 — Wolfman Alpha.  This was a spoof on the math website Wolfram Alpha.  In addition to this costume, I had a speaker where I explained in a wolfman voice that I was once a professor and I got bitten by a werewolf and became Wolfman Alpha.

wolfman alpha

2015 — Marty McFly.  Though it is not math themed or likely understood by many of my students, Back To The Future is one of my favorite movies and with October 21st 2015 being the day they travel to the future in the second movie, I really can’t go as anyone else in good conscience.  This picture was taken on October 21st 2015 at the theater where I attended a triple feature of all three movies beginning at 5:30 PM and ending around midnight.

marty mcfly

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For Whom The Bell Tolls; It Tolls For Rhee

One of the benefits of the Common Core, supposedly, is that we can finally compare the performance of schools in different states.  Originally the dream was that a majority of states would sign on to use common tests from either the PARCC from Pearson or SBAC from Smarter Balanced.

Michelle Rhee-Johnston became chancellor of Washington DC schools in 2007.  As proof that a major problem in education is the absence of standardized test scores in teacher evaluation, Rhee-Johnston frequently said, in speeches, that when she came to DC, only 8% of 8th graders were proficient in math while 97% of teachers were rated as effective.

In a feature on the CNN blog in 2009, it said:

Her plan is ambitious: To completely transform the District’s system within eight years for its 50,000 children. The plan focuses on top-down accountability, quantitative results like standardized test scores and, ultimately, working to close what she describes as “the achievement gap between wealthy white kids and poor minority kids.”

“I think it’s absolutely possible within an eight-year period,” she said.

Reformers are always saying things like “Kids can’t wait.  We have to act with urgency.”  Ironically, though, they seem to have a near infinite amount of patience while watching the test scores in Washington D.C. stagnate after three years of Rhee-Johnston and then five years with her successor, Kaya Henderson, who generally continued the reform agenda that Rhee-Johnston began.

Reformers, particularly Arne Duncan, insist that the new common core tests will force us to “stop lying to ourselves” about how our students are doing.  As students in state after state bomb the common core tests, it serves, for them, as proof that the majority of schools in this country are ‘failing.’

A little over a year ago at a Teach For America event, former TFA Co-CEO Matt Kramer quoted Henderson in a Tweet about how DC was going to do on the new common core tests, “bring on the common core tests.  We are going 2 do not as bad as everyone else is going to do.  Keepin it real.”

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Today the high school results for the most recent DC PARCC tests were released.  I should note that it is reformers who pray to the golden calf of standardized test scores, not me.  I don’t think the PARCC or SBAC tests are very good.  I also think that when tests are administered on a computer, students don’t take the test as seriously as they would if the test were a pencil and paper exam.  But since reformers love to shut down schools based on test scores and fire teachers based on test scores, it is important to track how the test scores are in Washington D.C., which is a full scale experiment in what happens when education policy is guided by the Book of Rhee.

In this presentation deck summarizing the results from the tests, I found some interesting data.

The PARCC tests have 5 levels, of which levels 4 is ‘meets expectations’ and level 5 is ‘exceeded expectations.’


On the English II exam, only 25% passed statewide and DCPS outperformed the charter schools, 27% to 23%.


In math, the statewide ‘proficiency’ is very close to the number that Rhee-Johnston used to love to quote so much at 10%.  Again, DCPS beat the charter schools with 12% vs just 7% for the charters.


So of course the ‘no excuses’ crowd begins making excuses.  But rather than saying that the quality of the PARCC test could be an issue, they instead say things like, “We knew this was going to happen.  We just need to adjust to the new more rigorous standards.”  This may buy them a few years, but I have to wonder how long supposedly ‘data driven’ reformers can continue to ignore data that refute their agenda.

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