Here’s What I Posted on Michelle Rhee’s Blog at ‘StudentsFirst’

Someone else brought the 1995 study to my attention, and I went through it and tried to pick out the parts that compare the cohorts at Harlem Park when Rhee taught there, to those in other, similar schools. The original 1995 data is here: 

http://www.eric.ed.gov/PDFS/ED…

What I discovered is that there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever of Michelle Rhee accomplishing the miracle that she has over and over claimed: raising students from well below the 20th percentile to having over 90 percent of them scoring above the 90th percentile.

As far as I can tell, it looks like there were only about two classes of third graders at Harlem Park during the year 1994-1995, the year that Rhee said that she and her team-mate brought two classes from the very bottom to the very top. And the scores for that third grade cohort at Harlem Park in both reading and math for 1994-1995 appear to be somewhere between the 40th and 55th percentile. At best.

You can also look at my blog,

http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress…/
or
http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress…/

where I point out the exact pages in that long study where you can look for that information.

Only about 20% to 25% of the students were excluded from having their test scores processed for the study at Tesseract schools, so that doesn’t increase the number of students in the actual classes by very much.

What’s more, I find it extremely interesting and significant that the cohort of students that were in the 2nd grade at Harlem Park appears to have shrunk by nearly 50% by the time they got to the third grade, when Rhee made her so-far-still-unsubstantiated claims of this educational miracle. Exactly how that winnowing out, I can only guess.And my guesses are fueled by my suspicion of Rhee’s notoriously long track record of distorting data.

Care to respond to that, either Michelle Rhee or Mafara Hobson?

Guy Brandenburg

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12 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. PS I just figured out why the date on this blog was always wrong. I had it set to Zulu Time (UTC, or Greenwich time if you prefer). Fixed now.

  2. Please contact me ASAP!!! I do not know if you are familiar with my blog or Internet radio show. But please email me ASAP!!!

  3. Go Guy – keep pumping it out.

  4. [...] Of course, there’s no way either Michelle Rhee or G.F. Brandenburg will admit to data analysis error, and thusly, the war escalates (as of this writing, Brandenburg has had the last word). [...]

  5. Please keep it up!

  6. Rick Hess really tore you apart today. I assume you saw that?

    http://www.frederickhess.org/2011/02/jay-mathews-lazy-swipe-at-michelle-rhee

  7. What do you make of the Frederick Hess column today on your analysis? Perhaps there are some qualifications you’d like to add, or a conclusion or two that you would like to change. Just sayin’.

  8. I hope your phone is still working, i figure you’ve been getting a lot of calls. I think the easy response to all of this is there were not enough total students in the data set who were in the 90th percentile to constitute an entire class, so how could all her students have the dramatic growth to that level.

  9. If fewer students took the test, then that would seem to increase the likelihood that scores we see are FROM Miss Rhee’s class and not the other(s).

  10. Come on, GFB, and changes you’d like to make, upon reflection?

  11. [...] G.F. Brandenburg’s examination of the data started it all, and he wrote a follow-up. [...]

  12. Here’s a response for you:

    http://www.eduwonk.com/2010/12/rhee-invented.html/comment-page-1#comment-217538


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