Final Listing of Completed and Failed Goals, But Some Analysis Will Follow

Part Fifteen of Many

 

Here we come to the last four of the 78 promises that Michelle Rhee made to get $64.5 million.

Did she and her successors reach any of these four last goals?

No.

As usual.

Even though they fiddled with the definition of “Free and Reduced-Price Lunches”, which almost surely made the numbers better than they would be otherwise, Rhee and Henderson have continued their long losing streak.

Today we look at the poor-nonpoor achievement gaps in 2013 for DC Public Schools.

More technically, we are comparing the percentages of students scoring at the “advanced” or “proficient” level in elementary and secondary math and reading. in two groups: those eligible for free or reduced-price lunches, and those who are NOT eligible. The USDoE and most school districts use the data entered by parents on lunch application forms to decide not only who is eligible for the lunch subsidies, but also as a proxy for poverty or the lack thereof.

Unfortunately for consistency in our ability to measure things over time, in SY 2012-2013 DCPS allowed schools with a sufficient number of students who did qualify as poor, to declare every single child in the school as ‘economically disadvantaged’. It meant free school lunches for the students, which in theory is a good thing (if the food is actually edible, which is sometimes but not always the case), but does make our data-crunching harder by making the data for 2010, 2011, and 2012 not really comparable to that for 2013 — if you are serious about measuring the ‘achievement gap’ between the poor and the non-poor in DC Public Schools. A statistician has told me that this change also probably had the effect of reducing the apparent achievement gap.

You can see in the following table that once again not a single goal was reached:

final gaps -- poor-nonpoor 2013 dccas

So, for example, and as usual starting at the top line, Rhee promised that in 2013 the difference in the ‘proficiency’ rates of poor and non-poor students in DCPS in reading would be 26.7%. (Keep in mind that a reduced gap is a Good Thing.) However, the gap was actually much wider: it was 46.5%. In elementary math, we were promised a gap of 26.9%, but it was actually 43.5%. And so on. I notice that the gaps are smaller at the secondary level; I suspect that may have something to do with the re-definition of FRPL, but cannot prove it.

In any case, here is the grand total of all of these failures:

Successes: 1.5 (one and a half)

Failures: 76.5

Total number of goals measured: 78

Success rate: 1.9%

Failure rate: 98.1%.

Mayor Gray, why are you enabling our bungling and failing Chancellor, Kaya Henderson?

City Council, why aren’t you calling hearings?

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The saga so far:

  1.  http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2014/09/02/did-any-of-michelle-rhees-promises-actually-work-in-dc/
  2. http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2014/09/02/more-on-michelle-rhees-promises-concerning-dcps/
  3. http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2014/09/04/what-rhee-promised-to-the-billionaires-walton-gates-et-al-but-didnt-deliver/
  4. http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2014/09/04/two-more-promises-by-rhee-et-al-were-they-kept/
  5. http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2014/09/05/ten-more-promises-from-rhee-henderson-company-were-any-of-them-kept/
  6. http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2014/09/05/33-6-for-nearly-all-values-of-3-not-5/
  7. http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2014/09/05/5281/
  8. http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2014/09/07/more-failures-to-deliver-on-promises-by-michelle-rhee-and-her-acolytes/
  9. http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2014/09/08/another-day-another-bunch-of-failures-from-rhee-henderson/
  10. http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2014/09/09/even-more-missed-targets-dc-cas-proficiency-in-2010-and-2011/
  11. http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2014/09/13/rhees-failures-in-dc-the-continuing-saga-2012-dc-cas/
  12. http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2014/09/21/the-long-list-of-failures-by-rhee-and-henderson-continued/
  13. http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2014/09/21/did-michelle-rhee-actually-close-those-achievement-gaps/
  14. http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2014/09/22/twelve-more-testing-goals-assessed-today-how-many-did-rhee-succeed-at/
  15. (this one)

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Once again, let me credit my colleague Erich Martel for coming up with the idea of going back to the original promises and seeing if they were kept or not, and sharing his findings with me. These calculations are generally my own, so if you find any mistakes, don’t blame him. Blame me.

You can find the original spreadsheet for 2012 DC-CAS scores here,  and the original letters containing the promises here.

 

Twelve More Testing Goals Assessed Today — How Many Did Rhee Succeed At?

Part Fourteen of Many

Once again, we are today comparing promised goals with actual results. This time, it involves the black-white, hispanic-white, and poor-nonpoor achievement gaps on the 2012 DC-CAS.

Once again, Rhee and her enablers don’t fare very well when you compare promised performance to actual performance.

You may recall that Michelle Rhee boasted that if she was able to fire low-performing, incompetent, veteran (read: “black”) teachers, she would be able to shrink those gaps to unprecedented and and almost undetectable levels. For example, she promised that in secondary math, by 2012, there would only be an 11.1% gap in the proficiency rates of students eligible for free-or-reduced-price lunches, and those not eligible for them.

But to quote John Adams, “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”

In fact, that gap was really about twice as wide as the prediction: 21.8%.

Here is the summary table showing how Rhee and her successors and enablers at the helm of DCPS and the DC Government failed in closing any of the twelve gaps that I’m measuring today:

2012 dc-cas ach gaps b-w, h-w, p-np actual +promised

To explain: the greenish column is what Rhee promised to the billionaires’ foundations and Natwar Gandhi and so on. The pink column is what actually occurred. In every case, a small number is a Good Thing, at least to me, because I’d like to see things be more equal in society. However in every pair of numbers, the promised result is a lot lower than the actual result.

For example, the black-white elementary reading gap was promised to be 31.7%. Unfortunately, it was 57.5%. And the secondary black-white reading gap was supposed to be 38.2%, but was actually 52.1%. And so on.

To repeat: Not a single one of these twelve goals was met. Which means that out of 74 goals, she and her band of ‘reformers’ have met one-and-a-half of them which is about a 2.0% success rate; or a failure rate of 98.0%.

corrected failure rate out of 74

Would you hire or trust anybody with a failure rate of NINETY-EIGHT PERCENT?

Me neither.

However, apparently Vincent Gray would, since he can fire Kaya Henderson any time he wants to.

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After this installment, there will only be two gaps to go. For me, part of the fun of this was that I really didn’t know how many of these goals had been attained or not. Yes, I had seen Erich Martel’s calculations, and if I recall correctly his results are about the same as mine, so far; but before I began crunching and uncovering these numbers, a little bit at a time, I was convinced he must have made errors. (I just fixed one above: I accidentally added 14 to 62 instead of adding 12 to 62, giving the wrong number of assessed goals. Not that it actually mattered – to the nearest tenth of a percent, 1.5 out of 74 it rounds off to the same result as 1.5 out of 76!)

In my naivete, I just didn’t think it was possible that that Rhee & Henderson could have failed as badly as they apparently did, with absolutely nobody in the media or government paying any attention to it at all. Or anyone else besides Erich and me.

But Erich was right — the failure rate is nearly 100%, and the media, government and public studiously pay no attention.

=============================

The saga so far:

  1.  http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2014/09/02/did-any-of-michelle-rhees-promises-actually-work-in-dc/
  2. http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2014/09/02/more-on-michelle-rhees-promises-concerning-dcps/
  3. http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2014/09/04/what-rhee-promised-to-the-billionaires-walton-gates-et-al-but-didnt-deliver/
  4. http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2014/09/04/two-more-promises-by-rhee-et-al-were-they-kept/
  5. http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2014/09/05/ten-more-promises-from-rhee-henderson-company-were-any-of-them-kept/
  6. http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2014/09/05/33-6-for-nearly-all-values-of-3-not-5/
  7. http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2014/09/05/5281/
  8. http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2014/09/07/more-failures-to-deliver-on-promises-by-michelle-rhee-and-her-acolytes/
  9. http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2014/09/08/another-day-another-bunch-of-failures-from-rhee-henderson/
  10. http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2014/09/09/even-more-missed-targets-dc-cas-proficiency-in-2010-and-2011/
  11. http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2014/09/13/rhees-failures-in-dc-the-continuing-saga-2012-dc-cas/
  12. http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2014/09/21/the-long-list-of-failures-by-rhee-and-henderson-continued/
  13. http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2014/09/21/did-michelle-rhee-actually-close-those-achievement-gaps/
  14. (this one)

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Once again, let me credit my colleague Erich Martel for coming up with the idea of going back to the original promises and seeing if they were kept or not, and sharing his findings with me. These calculations are generally my own, so if you find any mistakes, don’t blame him. Blame me.

You can find the original spreadsheet for 2012 DC-CAS scores here,  and the original letters containing the promises here.

 

Did Michelle Rhee Actually Close Those Achievement Gaps?

Part Thirteen Of Many

Here we look to see if Michelle Rhee lived up to her promises that she would close some of the ‘achievement gaps’ between privileged and underprivileged students in Washington, DC — all part of the set of targets that she put forth in writing in a series of letters between four billionaire’s foundations, DC Public Schools, and various DC financial authorities.

Specifically, did the gaps between white students and black ones get smaller as she predicted? Or between white students and hispanic students?

The short answer is, as usual in this series of columns, a very simple NO, at least not for 2013 – nor did she reach the goals she set in 2010 or 2011. (I’ll get to 2012 soon, I promise.)

Here is a summary table, showing that in eight target areas, Rhee and her successor Kaya Henderson did not come anywhere close to reaching those promised goals, even though they got almost complete freedom to fire teachers and administrators for almost any reason.

black-white and hispanic-white achievement gaps, dc-cas, 2013

In this situation, a low number is a Good Thing, because it means that the gaps between black and white students’ scores, or between white and hispanic students’ scores, are getting smaller. However, you will notice that in many cases, the gaps are twice or three times as wide as Rhee and her henchpeople promised the billionaires.

I’ll try to explain. Rhee promised that in 2013, the difference in percentages of white and black students who scored at the ‘advanced’ or ‘proficient’ level in reading in the elementary grades in DCPS would only be 26.7%. Unfortunately, it was really 56.9%. At the secondary level in reading, the prediction was that the black-white gap would only be 33.2%, whereas in reality it turned out to be 48.3%.

Moving to the hispanic-white achievement gap, Rhee promised that the gap at the elementary reading level would only be 20.1%, whereas actually it was 43.9%.

And so on.

In not a single one of these eight measurable areas did Rhee’s predictions even come close to reality.

So, adding these eight more failures, we now have an overall failure rate of one and a half successes out of 62 measured areas, for a current success rate of 2.5%, and hence a failure rate of 97.5%.

Let me emphasize that:

A failure rate of 97.5%.

failure rate out of 62

Why does anybody listen to Rhee or Kaya Henderson or anybody else involved in the Corporate Educational Deform movement?

Almost none of their promises pan out!

=============

Sources: the  letters containing the promises here. and you can find the spreadsheet containing the scores for 2013 here. I calculated and then added up the numbers and percentages of kids scoring ‘advanced’ or ‘proficient’ at grades 3, 4, 5 and 6 for the ‘elementary’ totals that I report above, and those at grades 7, 8 and 10 for the ‘secondary’..

 

——————

The saga so far:

  1.  http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2014/09/02/did-any-of-michelle-rhees-promises-actually-work-in-dc/
  2. http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2014/09/02/more-on-michelle-rhees-promises-concerning-dcps/
  3. http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2014/09/04/what-rhee-promised-to-the-billionaires-walton-gates-et-al-but-didnt-deliver/
  4. http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2014/09/04/two-more-promises-by-rhee-et-al-were-they-kept/
  5. http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2014/09/05/ten-more-promises-from-rhee-henderson-company-were-any-of-them-kept/
  6. http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2014/09/05/33-6-for-nearly-all-values-of-3-not-5/
  7. http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2014/09/05/5281/
  8. http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2014/09/07/more-failures-to-deliver-on-promises-by-michelle-rhee-and-her-acolytes/
  9. http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2014/09/08/another-day-another-bunch-of-failures-from-rhee-henderson/
  10. http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2014/09/09/even-more-missed-targets-dc-cas-proficiency-in-2010-and-2011/
  11. http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2014/09/13/rhees-failures-in-dc-the-continuing-saga-2012-dc-cas/
  12. http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2014/09/21/the-long-list-of-failures-by-rhee-and-henderson-continued/
  13. http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2014/09/21/did-michelle-rhee-actually-close-those-achievement-gaps/ (this one)

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Once again, let me credit my colleague Erich Martel for coming up with the idea of going back to the original promises and seeing if they were kept or not, and sharing his findings with me. These calculations are generally my own, so if you find any mistakes, don’t blame him. Blame me.

 

The Long List of Failures by Rhee and Henderson, Continued

Part Twelve of Many

I continue to slog through the 78 targets that Michelle Rhee (and her henchperson Kaya Henderson) said they would have miraculously reached with DC Public Schools by the end of school year 2013.

Once again I find complete and utter failure on their part for four more goals: reading and math on the elementary and secondary levels for 2013.

Here is a little table that shows what they promised would be the percentages of students proficient and/or advanced, in light blue. Right next to that I give you a column showing what the actual accomplishments were.

2013 dc-cas targets and failures

As you can see, our dynamic duo weren’t even close to meeting their goals, especially on the elementary level, where the percentages of students ‘advanced’ or ‘proficient’ was about 20 percentage points below what they predicted.

So that brings them up to one and a half goals met out of 54 goals, which is a score of about 2.8%.

No, not twenty-eight percent success, but a success rate that is under three percent!

In other words, a failure rate of 97.2%.

failure rate out of 54

 

Can someone remind me why Kaya Henderson still has a job running DCPS and why Michelle Rhee is a multi-millionaire whose every word is still breathlessly repeated as gospel truth by most of the media?

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Sources: the  letters containing the promises here. and you can find the spreadsheet containing the scores for 2013 here. I calculated and then added up the numbers and percentages of kids scoring ‘advanced’ or ‘proficient’ at grades 3, 4, 5 and 6 for the ‘elementary’ totals that I report above, and those at grades 7, 8 and 10 for the ‘secondary’..

 

——————

The saga so far:

  1.  http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2014/09/02/did-any-of-michelle-rhees-promises-actually-work-in-dc/
  2. http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2014/09/02/more-on-michelle-rhees-promises-concerning-dcps/
  3. http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2014/09/04/what-rhee-promised-to-the-billionaires-walton-gates-et-al-but-didnt-deliver/
  4. http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2014/09/04/two-more-promises-by-rhee-et-al-were-they-kept/
  5. http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2014/09/05/ten-more-promises-from-rhee-henderson-company-were-any-of-them-kept/
  6. http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2014/09/05/33-6-for-nearly-all-values-of-3-not-5/
  7. http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2014/09/05/5281/
  8. http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2014/09/07/more-failures-to-deliver-on-promises-by-michelle-rhee-and-her-acolytes/
  9. http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2014/09/08/another-day-another-bunch-of-failures-from-rhee-henderson/
  10. http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2014/09/09/even-more-missed-targets-dc-cas-proficiency-in-2010-and-2011/
  11. http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2014/09/13/rhees-failures-in-dc-the-continuing-saga-2012-dc-cas/
  12. http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2014/09/21/the-long-list-of-failures-by-rhee-and-henderson-continued/ (this one)

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Once again, let me credit my colleague Erich Martel for coming up with the idea of going back to the original promises and seeing if they were kept or not, and sharing his findings with me. These calculations are generally my own, so if you find any mistakes, don’t blame him. Blame me.

Even More Missed Targets: DC-CAS Proficiency in 2010 and 2011

Part Ten of Many

Installment #10 in our lengthy saga of failures by the current and past Chancellors of the District of Columbia School system.

Today we look at overall proficiency rates in elementary and secondary math and reading on the DC-CAS for 2010 and 2011, which will add up to eight separate goals out of our grand total of 78.

(Up until now, out of 38 goals assessed, the dynamic duo of Rhee and Henderson managed to attain one and a half of them.)

Here is the summary table:

missed goals on dc cas proficiency

In this set of goals, a high number is good, because it means a higher proportion of students are ‘proficient’. Unfortunately for Rhee, Henderson and the various billionaire foundations, not a single one of these targets were met.

Not one.

In every single case, the ‘target’ was higher than the actual proficiency rate — and in some cases, the proficiecy rates actually declined a bit from 2010 to 2011, despite all the rosy predictions…

For example: in 2010, the promise was that 53.0% of all DCPS elementary students would be ‘proficient’ or ‘advanced’ on the DC-CAS in math. In reality, only 42.8% of our elementary kids met that standard. In 2011, the prediction was that 58% of all DCPS elementary students would be proficient or advanced in math on the DC-CAS, but in fact, only 41.8% were — and that was a decline of about 1% from the year before.

And the same sort of thing happened in every one of the eight categories measured here. In every single case, the predicted target was considerably higher than the actual result.

So with eight more failures out of eight more measurements, the total now is 44.5 failures and 1.5 successes, which is beyond pitiful: about THREE PERCENT success and 97% FAILURE.

failure rate out of 46

Again, why does Kaya Henderson still have a job?

And why didn’t these four foundations ask for their money back?

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My next task needs to be to investigate the results for 2012 and 2013, which will be a bit challenging because DCPS and OSSE completely changed the way data are reported. The new way looks all fun and interactive but — in my opinion — is a lot harder to extract actual information from. It might take me a couple of days.

The saga so far:

  1.  http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2014/09/02/did-any-of-michelle-rhees-promises-actually-work-in-dc/
  2. http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2014/09/02/more-on-michelle-rhees-promises-concerning-dcps/
  3. http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2014/09/04/what-rhee-promised-to-the-billionaires-walton-gates-et-al-but-didnt-deliver/
  4. http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2014/09/04/two-more-promises-by-rhee-et-al-were-they-kept/
  5. http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2014/09/05/ten-more-promises-from-rhee-henderson-company-were-any-of-them-kept/
  6. http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2014/09/05/33-6-for-nearly-all-values-of-3-not-5/
  7. http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2014/09/05/5281/
  8. http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2014/09/07/more-failures-to-deliver-on-promises-by-michelle-rhee-and-her-acolytes/
  9. http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2014/09/08/another-day-another-bunch-of-failures-from-rhee-henderson/
  10. http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2014/09/09/even-more-missed-targets-dc-cas-proficiency-in-2010-and-2011/ (this one)
  11. http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2014/09/13/rhees-failures-in-dc-the-continuing-saga-2012-dc-cas/
  12. http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/2014/09/21/the-long-list-of-failures-by-rhee-and-henderson-continued/

\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

Once again, let me credit my colleague Erich Martel for coming up with the idea of going back to the original promises and seeing if they were kept or not, and sharing his findings with me. These calculations are generally my own, so if you find any mistakes, don’t blame him. Blame me.

Trends for DC & Charters & Nation in 8th grade NAEP reading scores, black students

Here we have yet another surprising graph showing how the scores for black 8th graders on the NAEP reading tests have been bouncing around for students in DC public schools, DC charter schools, DC as a whole, large US cities as a whole, and the nation’s public schools as a whole.

Tell me what you see:

dc, dcps, charters, national, black 8th grade reading, naep to 2013

What I see is that under the ‘leadership’ of Rhee and Henderson, African-american 8th graders enrolled in DC public schools (blue and purple line) are actually doing a bit worse than they did before mayoral control. However, the average scores for the their counterparts in DC’s charter schools (dotted orange line)  are rising quite rapidly and are now higher than the national averages for black 8th graders.

However, on the average, the scores for all 8th-grade black students in publicly-funded DC schools (black dashed line) on the NAEP since 2008 (when Rhee was installed – purple vertical line) seem to be following the trends that were in place before that date.

No wonder Henderson recently admitted that her administration had no real idea on how to make DCPS middle schools attractive to families. One might conclude that the DC African-American families and students who were motivated to do well in school have in many cases migrated to the charter schools, leaving the less-motivated ones behind.

As in my previous three posts, I had to do have my spreadsheet do some computation to calculate the scores for the charter schools. You can find the formula in my first two posts. I used the overall DCPS and charter school and DC total enrollments rather than the specific 8th-grade-level enrollments for each institution because the latter was too difficult to find and I suspected that it wouldn’t make a big difference. If anybody finds any errors, please let me know.

Has Educational Rhee-form succeeded or failed in Washington DC Public Schools?

Bottom line conclusion from my last bunch of posts (see #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6)

Mayoral control of schools in DC, aka Educational Deform à la Rhee, has been an expensive failure, and it was foisted on us under false pretenses.

How can I make that conclusion?

Very simple.

This Rhee-form has fulfilled none of its promises, even on its own terms.

Its backers (Gray, Rhee, Henderson, Duncan, Bloomberg et al) claim that it’s been a great success.

But if you look at the graphs, it is clear that if the regime of Rhee and Henderson is going in the right direction, then so was the previous DCPS regime under superintendents Janey and his predecessors.

Any good trends have continued mostly unchanged.

Remember that we were promised incredible gains in test scores? Compared with the ‘bad old days’ when teachers actually had the right to due process before being fired? And back when poor DC students still had recess and PE and art and music libraries? And compared to the evil era when their teachers weren’t required to waste nearly the entire year on scripted test-prep lessons?

None of those incredible gains show up in the data, any more than they did when Michelle Rhee wrote all those lies in her resume. (I mean, why does ANYBODY listen to a liar like that, or to Rob Ford, or to Michael Millken or Bernie Madoff or the CIA/EPA liar?)

Anybody claiming that the last six sets of NAEP  TUDA scores show brilliant success for educational Rhee-form is engaging in wishful thinking or lobbying.

What’s more, my previous posts (and those of several other researchers and commentators) have shown that there is essentially no correlation between Value-Added scores and anything else. So that’s a failure, even on its own terms: it predicts nothing, it doesn’t help teachers teach better, and is essentially a random-number generator that clearly has done nothing to improve educational outcomes in DCPS, even though it costs taxpayers many, many millions of dollars and consumes a tremendous amount of time – something teachers and other staff have far too little of.

Mayoral control  has lived up to exactly NONE of its promises of closing the achievement gap between the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’, or of improved testing outcomes for the students of the District of Columbia any better than did the pre-Rhee superintendent-and-school-board system.

Trends are almost exactly the same now as they were before Mayor Fenty got control of the schools and appointed that serial self-promoter, liar and distorter of facts, Michelle Rhee, as chancellor of DC public schools, where she led an assault on the system which has fired or forced out many thousands of teachers, producing a revolving door of constantly churning teachers who are in turn forced out or fired. What’s more, Rhee-form has turned over half the public school system to private operators with no accountability (some of them brazen criminals) and track record of success except by exclusion and undemocratic practices. Rhee-form has also subjected all students in DCPS to a stultifying test-prep regime where arts, music, social studies and recess are banned and principals themselves can be canned at any time and are under incredible pressure to cheat and get rid of teachers.

From everything I have seen, it is not at all difficult to be doing your job as a teacher just fine, and end up with a mysterious numerical score known as IVA based on some unexplained formula that gets them fired. People have confessed to me that they were wholly unable to teach at all because kids were figuratively running wild in their classrooms, yet they got great “Value-Added” scores anyway. Teachers who became National Board Certified, a tremendous accomplishment, told me of some years (but not others) getting IVA scores so low that it would put their job at risk.

Anybody claiming that the data trends before 2008 look different from the ones after 2008 is engaging in wishful thinking.

So, if Kaya Henderson and Vincent Gray and Arne Duncan claim that the current policies are causing recent gains, then they logically must conclude that the previous policies were producing the same results, and should have been continued as well.

It’s a big, expensive lie that has had real consequences.

Students are wasting nearly an entire school year under stultifying, scripted lessons preparing for an ever-lengthening regime of utterly stupid and poorly-prepared but highly secret standardized tests whose manufacturers are responsible to no-one except their billionaire CEOs. In fact, for the high-stakes tests, it’s considered cheating for the teachers even to analyze the tests after they are given, and results aren’t available until the end of summer, even though it’s a machine-scoreable test which in theory could have a good part of it be graded and fully tabulated in mere seconds… that is if the publishers actually knew what they were doing and weren’t busy lobbying among themselves as to what mathematical and sleight of hand tricks they would play with the data to make it come out the way that the politicians they want…

John Merrow on the Rhee-Henderson-Caveon Whitewash

John Merrow has a hard-hitting article on the multiple lies uttered by Michelle Rhee and her best friend, Kaya Henderson, and the whitewash they hired Caveon to perform. Here is a quote:

……………….

At the April 18th hearing Chairman Catania alluded to what he called Caveon’s ‘positive’ role in helping expose the Atlanta cheating.  That is an overstatement, to put it mildly. Prior to its work for DCPS, Caveon had been hired by the (so-called) “Blue Ribbon Committee” established to look into allegations of cheating in Atlanta.  Caveon looked–and reported finding nothing wrong in what turned out to be the epicenter of cheating by adults on standardized tests. [8] Dr. Fremer told me that while he ‘knew’ there was widespread cheating going on, that was not mentioned in his final report. “We did not try to find out who was cheating,” he said.  “Our purpose was to rank order the schools beginning with those with the most obvious problems (of unbelievably dramatic score increases), in order to make the task of investigating more manageable.”   In other words, Caveon produced a list!

Dr. Fremer admitted that he knew some Atlanta teachers were lying to him, but he said his hands were tied because he didn’t have subpoena power.

Georgia’s investigators are contemptuous of Caveon’s efforts, labelling it a ‘so-called investigation.’  Richard Hyde, one of the three leaders of the investigation, told me that “either by coincidence or design, it was certain to fail.”  Mr. Hyde denied that Caveon needed subpoena power because its investigators were representing a governmental agency, and under Georgia law it is a felony to lie to someone representing the government.  What’s more, Mr. Hyde said, Caveon had a fundamental conflict of interest–it was investigating its employer, at least indirectly, because the “Blue Ribbon Commission” (which Mr. Hyde dismisses as “The Whitewash Commission”) included a deputy superintendent of schools.

Robert Wilson, another leader of the Georgia investigation, is even blunter. Of course Caveon didn’t find cheating because “Caveon couldn’t find its own ass with either hand,” he scoffed.  Why anyone would hire Caveon was, he said, beyond him–unless they didn’t want to find out anything.

……………

3. Just how weak was Mr. Willoughby’s effort?  As we reported on Frontline in January, the Inspector General’s investigation is remarkable for what it did not investigate. He chose not to investigate 2008, the year with the most erasures. He chose not to investigate Aiton, the school Dr. Sanford had singled out for special attention because of its high wrong to right erasures. He did not examine the test answer sheets or perform an electronic analysis. And he did not investigate J.O Wilson – a school with excessive WTR erasures in 100% of its classrooms – simply because Chancellor Henderson had assured him that it was a good school.

Although more than half of DC’s schools had been implicated, he focused only on Noyes Education Campus, the school that USA Today had made the centerpiece of its investigation. Over the course of the next 17 months, his team interviewed just 60 administrators, teachers, parents and teachers, all from Noyes Education Campus. (Atlanta investigators interviewed over 2,000 people and reviewed 800,000 documents). Rather than seek outside experts (as Atlanta investigators had), he relied heavily on information from Caveon, which had been, of course, in the employ of DCPS. He did not ask to perform erasure analysis but relied on interviews–sometimes conducted over the phone.

Without the power to put people under oath, he told City Council member McDuffie in February that he just asked them if they had cheated. If they said they hadn’t, that was the end of it, because, he explained, he “wasn’t conducting a fishing expedition.” Test monitors sent by the central office to patrol Noyes for the 2010 test told Mr. Willoughby that they had been barred from entering classrooms. School officials denied that charge–and Mr. Willoughby believed them, not the monitors.

The ‘Smoking Memo’ on Michelle Rhee’s EraserGate was leaked to John Merrow

The “smoking memo” has turned up.
The one that Michelle Rhee, Kaya Henderson, and Charles Willoughby didn’t want the public to see.

The one where the testing company expert told them all about the cheating and what steps they should take — none of which were taken.

That memo was leaked to John Merrow of Frontline. You really should read his entire article. It’s long, it’s got footnotes, and it’s excellent.

http://takingnote.learningmatters.tv/?p=6232&cpage=1#comment-19730

===============

Teachers, parents, and concerned citizens should take the time to read this long, footnoted, in-depth follow-up by John Merrow (a journalist at Frontline) on the cheating scandal (by adults) in Washington, DC public schools, in particular at Noyes right here in Brookland.
 
The article points out several things:
(1) Rhee gave lots of money to adults who cheated
(2) She put impossible pressure on principals to cheat; they, in turn, put that pressure on their teachers
(3) The achievement gap between white and black students, and between poor kids and wealthier kids, increased on Rhee’s and Henderson’s watches; any increases in NAEP scores are continuations of trends that began under her predecessors; and DCPS students’s scores are still at the bottom of the nation
(4) Rhee, Henderson, Kamras, and IG Willoughby have steadfastly refused to investigate the cheating seriously and to do the sort of analysis that actually shows malfeasance
(5) Turnover among administrators and teachers in DCPS has turned a revolving door into a whirlwind
(6) The idealistic principal who followed Wayne Ryan at Noyes, and who was originally a great admirer of Rhee, found a lot of evidence of cheating there, but her whistleblower suit was dismissed, and she now runs a cupcake store
(7) Despite noises to the contrary by Rhee, the number of highly-paid central-office administrators has jumped; DCPS has the highest administrator-to-student ratio anywhere in the region
(8) Funds that should have been used to help students who were behind were, instead, used to pay illegitimate bonuses to dishonest adults.
Here is the URL:
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A couple of key quotes:

” former DeKalb County District Attorney Robert … Wilson said that he had been following the DCPS story closely.  “There’s not a shred of doubt in my mind that adults cheated in Washington,” he said. “The big difference is that nobody in DC wanted to know the truth.”

*****

It’s easy to see how not trying to find out who had done the erasing–burying the problem–was better for Michelle Rhee personally, at least in the short term.  She had just handed out over $1.5 million in bonuses in a well-publicized celebration of the test increases[9]. She had been praised by presidential candidates Obama and McCain[10] in their October debate, and she must have known that she was soon to be on the cover of Time Magazine[11].  The public spectacle of an investigation of nearly half of her schools would have tarnished her glowing reputation, especially if the investigators proved that adults cheated–which seems likely given that their jobs depended on raising test scores.

Moreover, a cheating scandal might well have implicated her own “Produce or Else” approach to reform.  Early in her first year she met one-on-one with each principal and demanded a written, signed guarantee[12] of precisely how many points their DC-CAS scores would increase.

It’s 2013.  Is there any point to investigating probable cheating that occurred in 2008, 2009 and 2010?  After all, the children who received inflated scores can’t get a ‘do-over,’ and it’s probably too late to claw back bonuses from adults who cheated, even if they could be identified.  While erasure analysis would reveal the extent of cheating, what deserves careful scrutiny is the behavior of the leadership when it learned that a significant number of adults were probably cheating, because five years later, Rhee’s former deputy is in charge of public schools, and Rhee continues her efforts to persuade states and districts to adopt her approach to education reform–an approach, the evidence indicates, did little or nothing to improve the public schools in our nation’s capital.

This story is bound to remind old Washington hands of Watergate and Senator Howard Baker’s famous question, “What did the President know and when did he know it?” It has a memo that answers an echo of Baker’s question, “What did Michelle know, and when did she know it?” And the entire sordid story recalls the lesson of Watergate lesson, “It’s not the crime; it’s the coverup.”

That Michelle Rhee named her new organization “StudentsFirst” is beyond ironic.

Indictments in Atlanta Cheating Scandal Make Me Wonder: When Will Michelle Rhee & Her Enablers Also Be Indicted?

Those who trust our DCPS leaders to do the right thing regarding building a school here in Turkey Thicket should consider this:
.
Beverly Hall, the ex-superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools, was just indicted with a recommended multi-million-dollar bond for leading a massive cheating ring run by her and some administrators and teachers on their state’s standardized tests; she and her cronies raked in big bucks and much fame and honors for these fake high scores. A link to today’s NYT article: http://nyti.ms/10ocfEK
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USA Today ran a brilliant series of investigative columns about a year or so ago on cheating by adults on standardized tests in Atlanta, Washington DC, and several other cities. The cheating here in DC, according to their serious, well-documented investigation, was about on a par with that in Atlanta, IMHO.  The most brazen example that they found — and one of the few examples where the reporters could find people willing to speak on the record — was right here in Brookland at Crosby Noyes ES/EC, under then-principal Wayne Ryan. You may have also noted that the principal at Noyes who followed Ryan found extremely clear evidence of said cheating ring, and spoke out about it, and was forced to resign for telling the truth. (Look up John Merrow’s PBS special on that.) That principal was later also publicly vilified by Henderson — essentially for telling the truth about the cheating.
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If you recall, Ryan earned big bucks, a promotion, and lots of fame and honors for leading a ring of teachers and administrators who changed students’ answers on the DC-CAS for many years. Michelle Rhee promoted him to the central office as being “all that” – a position that he mysteriously abandoned once the excrement hit the ventilator (figuratively speaking), just as Beverly Hall conveniently retired.
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Rhee herself similarly lied, repeatedly, in print and in numerous interviews, about her own non-existent, utterly unbelievable “90% below the 13th percentile rising to 90% above the 90th percentile” miracle in Baltimore. She lied about much more on her resume, and once chosen to be chancellor, gave all DC principals marching orders on how much to inflate their students’ test scores in the coming year and earn big bucks, or be fired. Kaya Henderson defended Rhee and Ryan, and was deputy to Rhee during all those shenanigans and lies.
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BTW: I and many others have shown that there has been NO tremendous surge in NAEP scores in DCPS under the disastrous reign of Rhee and Henderson. The one big change is that the gap between the scores of the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’, between those of white kids and non-white kids, and between those with free or reduced-price lnches and those without, has WIDENED and the gap is by far the widest here in DC than in any other state or city. If you don’t believe me, go look up the NAEP scores yourself, or look in my blog under NAEP in its little search engine. (You can also use my blog to do searches for the original news articles on the scandals I am discussing here.)
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I wonder when the turn before the grand jury will come for Ryan, Henderson, and Rhee.
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(Obviously not while we have Arne Duncan in the DOE and Charles Willoughby as our IG.)
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My conclusion is this:
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My neighbors here in Brookland should not expect any of the people I mentioned to do anything right for you or for me or my kids or my grandchild-to-be.
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The people I named are utterly corrupt, and take their lying very seriously.
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Not our welfare.
Your thoughts?
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