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

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?


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.

Here are all the previous posts:

Here are all the posts in this series, 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/



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.



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:
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
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.
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.
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.
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.)
I wonder when the turn before the grand jury will come for Ryan, Henderson, and Rhee.
(Obviously not while we have Arne Duncan in the DOE and Charles Willoughby as our IG.)
My conclusion is this:
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.
The people I named are utterly corrupt, and take their lying very seriously.
Not our welfare.
Your thoughts?

Utter, Stunning Failure by Rhee, Kamras, Henderson et al:

Mr. Teachbad” did such a great job analyzing the utter failure of these contemptible liars that I hope he won’t mind that I re-post it in full:


16 MAR 2013       by 

Well, shit…THAT didn’t work. Now what?

This is stunning.

You remem­ber Michelle Rhee, right? She came to turn the DC pub­lic school sys­tem around. In 2007 she grabbed this city by the throat and shook it into sub­mis­sion.  Teach­ers were fired by the hun­dreds and prin­ci­pals by the dozens. Thou­sands have left the sys­tem because they did not want to work under the con­di­tions Rhee and Jason Kam­ras, her chief teacher tech­ni­cian, were imposing.

That was fine with her. Screw ‘em.  She would find new peo­ple who were will­ing to work hard and believed in chil­dren. Mil­lions upon mil­lions of new dol­lars were found and spent on telling teach­ers how to teach, reward­ing the lap­dogs and fer­ret­ing out the infidels.

Big change never comes easy. You can’t make an omelet with­out break­ing some eggs, etc. But if the right peo­ple have the resources and the courage to make and fol­low through with the tough deci­sions, great things can happen.

After five years, how is DCPS doing? A DC Fis­cal Pol­icy Insti­tute study released ear­lier this week has eval­u­ated the work of Rhee and her suc­ces­sor, Kaya “sucks-to-be-me” Hen­der­son. A write up of the study by Emma Brown can also be found at the Wash­ing­ton Post.

The prin­ci­pal find­ing of the study was that the “share of stu­dents scor­ing at a pro­fi­cient level at the typ­i­cal school fell slightly between 2008 and 2012.”

Whatch­utalk­in­boutwillis? Seri­ously? Read that again. Oh…my…God.

But hold on. That can’t really say every­thing. And what the hell is a “typ­i­cal school”? Let’s dis­ag­gre­gate the data.

Fair enough. The first thing to notice is that pub­lic char­ter schools are doing bet­ter than DCPS schools; not by a huge amount, but it is notice­able and across the board. So there’s that.

More impor­tantly, inter­est­ing pat­terns are revealed when look­ing at schools across these five years by income quin­tiles. Then, as now, the best per­form­ing schools are in the wealth­i­est parts of town and the worst per­form­ing schools are in the poor­est parts of town. That almost goes with­out say­ing. But have schools in the poor­est parts of the city begun to catch up? After all, that’s what this is sup­posed to be all about; clos­ing the achieve­ment gap. How’s that going?

There’s no easy way to say this, so I’ll just come out with it:

      Pro­fi­ciency rates have increased in the four wards with the high­est incomes. Pro­fi­ciency rates have fallen in the four wards with the low­est incomes.   

So, Michelle, Kaya and Jason…it appears you have man­aged to INCREASE the size of the Achieve­ment Gap in Wash­ing­ton, DC. And, Michelle, you are now try­ing to export your great ideas to the entire coun­try? If the three of you don’t feel stu­pid by now, you’re even dumber than I thought. You should all resign. Immediately.

But maybe there’s hope. There is a new plan. Not just any plan, but a strate­gic plan. The study notes that DCPS’s newCap­tial Com­mit­ment plan (yawn) sets the “ambi­tious goal of increas­ing pro­fi­ciency rates at the 40 low­est per­form­ing schools by 40 per­cent­age points by 2017….Given the DC CAS score trends over the past four years, it would appear that DCPS needs to under­take sub­stan­tial changes to the way it oper­ates to make this goal a reality.”

Wait. Didn’t we just do that?

——— Mr. Teach­bad


Why Does Anybody Listen to Anything Said by Michelle Rhee & Her Kind?

An aside:

It really is insane to keep building “public” charter schools when we have vacant really public schools that are part vacant. Wasn’t the idea of public charter schools was to carefully try out different experimental approaches, to see which approaches worked best, and then have all schools adopt the successful ones? After the first round of experiments, then another round of experiments could be tried, sort of like how scientists are supposed to operate? And aren’t education and sociology generally attempting to be empirical and scientific — isn’t that what these “data-driven” educational evaluation models supposed to be?

Appears to me that since the “instruments” that these data-seekers use are entirely defective, all of the “findings” of the current group of educational deformers readings are worthless and a waste of time. They lurch from one half-assed idea to the next without waiting for results. Some, like Michelle Rhee, are famous for declaring victory before her experiment was even begun, and then lying about the results.


(The instruments are, of course, badly-written standardized tests prepared by underpaid temporary workers that have no real classroom usefulness at all. It’s the equivalent of measuring your personal character by the shapes of the bumps on your head, or predicting the future by casting lots, or studying tea leaves, the lines on your palm, or even animal entrails a la Cicero and Caesar..)

Rhee has been forced to admit, to the DC City Council, that she made up all those supposedly specific figures, about those supposed miraculous results she pretended to have achieved while she taught for THREE WHOLE YEARS in Baltimore?

But Rhee has never dealt with the other cheat that shows up on the record published by UMBC, many years ago, as part of a careful study of an experiment, of which Rhee herself played a small part, because she taught for several years of a relatively-well-controlled scientific experiment on the efficacy (or lack thereof) of a for-profit model of educational delivery. (What happened is that the city of Baltimore, under some pressure, allowed an experiment where Edison/Tesseract company took over so many Baltimore City schools and ran them their way (whatever that was) and the exact same number of closely=-matched BPS schools would be watched and measured on lots of different criteria, and then the public and the politicians could study the evidence and see which approach worked best.

Bottom line? The study concluded that there was no big difference.

Nobody at the time wrote any headlines about Michelle Rhee bringing a class of 2nd graders for two years into third grade, and that “she brought a class from UNDER the 13th percentile to OVER the 90th percentile” or whatever version of the story Rhee felt like telling on that day.


Had it really happened, don’t you think that the Edison company wouldn’t have found a way to leak it to the prerss? After all, Edison lost a lot of money and cliients and opportunities to make BILLIONS of dollars by having their project shut down – about the same time that Rhee quit teaching forever.

It’s like the dog that DIDN’T bark in the night. If Rhee had made stupendous progress, a self-serving, self-promoting person like Michelle Rhee would have arranged to have it publicized to the skies. It’s not in ANY of the newspapers that Rhee claimed it was published in. (Another lie!)

And when you take a slightly closer look at the data from those 3 years at those dozen or schools, you do notice two very peculiar things about Rhee’s own school:

(1) A huge amount of attrition – about half of each cohort disappeared after 3 years — no other school had that. Where did those kids go? Why? I can only guess, but somebody does know;; those records exist somewhere, I bet.

(2) Many, many kids (we are talking 20-30%) of the kids in a number of schools, in particular Rhee’s school and grade level, scored so low that their scores weren’t even counted. What on earth? Those kids scores aren’t counted at all? Wow! Hmm … that might give an unscrupulous person, perhaps someone whose name rhymes with “Wheeee!”: if  you get half of your kids, especially those from the lowest-scoring half, to drop out (you’ll miss some, but no matter), the scores of the remaining ones will look great. And if you can somehow manage to arrange to make sure that the answer sheets of a number oof other kids are SOOOO BAAD that they get tossed out completely, why you could in fact probably get your scores up a LOT. (If the scores were normally distributed, and you could cut off the entire bottom 50%, plus cut off the bottom 20% of the remaining half, that leaves only 40% of the students, all ones at the top half, and your remaining group would be by definition all above the 60th percentile. An excellent lesson in “How to Lie With Statistics”, newly revised edition by Michelle Rhee.

Why does anybody listen to this serial liar? Why do supposedly intelligent billionaires give her so much money?

It’s not like anything she tried ever worked.

It’s not like she hasn’t got caught red-handed, so to speak, lying her ass off.

In the real sciences, when a scientist makes a claim based on lies, he/she has to give up his/her awards, positions, their name on papers and institutions, and suffers public embarrassment FOREVER. Because they lied. Some even have the go so far as to commit suicide in disgrace.

But not charlatans like Michelle Rhee and Michael Millken (the cheating, early-released felon who stole BILLIONS from the rest of us; which shows that if you want to get rich by crime, it’s best not to use guns and knives — spreadsheets and law degrees are much more effective, and earn you almost no time in jail at all…)

Yeah, MM is back — the cheating liar has served a mere 2 years of his 10-year sentence, and he is trying very hard to join these other lying,, thieving politicians and crooks in cashing in on the privatization bonanza/gold rush that’s going on right now in the field of education.

(Making a mistake, admitting it later after either being shown the error or finding it out yourself, and then changing your mind and actions, as most real scientists do, are fine. Arguing and debating the results, great. But lying and covering up evidence are about the two worst things a scientist can do.

(Another aside: Unfortunately for us, those are precisely the problems with medicine and drug treatments today. Pharmaceutical companies are HUGE businesses today; their products have revuolutionized life today (kids don’t get measles, mumps, rubella, polio, whooping cough, scarlet fever, smallpox, and/or hepatitis the way my family did before about 1960), but we know for a fact that they do NOT publish the results of negative trials and tests. (They aren’t the only ones doing this. The Alternative Medicine section of NIH essentially does the same thing: lots and lots of studies on acupuncture, herbs, crystals, aromatherapy etc are started, but after 10 years and umpteen thousands of dollars later, nothing is published as to results? Not a word? How come? One could certainly be forgiven for becoming a bit cynical and concluding that the results were so abysmal (either the alternative medical route was worse than the regular medical course or the placebo, or else there were no differences at all?)

And our Dear Leader Kaya Henderson? Michelle Rhee’s acolyte all these years, backing her up all that time, never calling her out on her serial fabrications of evidence. And who was Michelle Rhee’s advocate and creator? None other than Joel Klein, who has been dismantling NYC public schools for about a decade — though he had never, ever taught a class in his life and had no experience running any individual school.

Klein now works for Rupert Murdoch, if you hadn’t heard.

But here’s the kicker: what was the result of the Edison/Tesseract experiment in privatisation in Baltimore:

Simple: No better results but the privatized schools cost quite a bit more.

What has been the results of study after study of charter schools and merit pay and paying students to do well, and so on?

Results are about the same and often worse, when dealing with average kids. The ones that appear at first to do better (eg KIPP) do serious winnowing of their low-performing students.

Does that negative result stop anything?


Boys and girls, this is the true zombie or vampire of our day: The idea that our public schools should be given over to private corporations, and re-segregated again by race and income and so on, while those who stand to profit from this move engage the best PR agents and think tanks to learn how to pretend that they are doing the exact opposite.

Just like the Confederates kept claiming they were fighting for ‘freedom’.

Two Powerful Posts From Current Teachers

First, we have “Florence”, a DCPS teacher, on the utter BS from Kamras and Henderson on recruiting new teachers while trashing the current ones:


Second, we have teacher Abby Breaux in Louisiana explaining why she can’t take it any more:



Published in: on March 12, 2013 at 9:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Enrollment in DCPS – Have Rhee & Henderson Saved It?

Michelle Rhee, her acolyte Kaya Henderson, and all their supporters keep saying that their corporate-style educational deforms in Washington DC have done wonderful things, such as increasing the enrollment in DC public schools.

As usual, they are not telling the truth.

To compare apples to apples, and not watermelons to peanuts, it pays to look at the same sort of data every year — in other words, let’s look at just K-12 enrollment for as far back as we have data.

Mary Levy has done just that, wading through mounds of official, audited data on fall enrollment in DCPS for 1990 through 2012; she shared it on the Concerned4DCPS yahoo group. (Thanks!)

I converted some of her data into graphs so you can see it more easily. I present first the total enrollment for grades K-12 during that time period. Tell me where you see a large uptick since 2007, because I for one can’t find it.

It seems to have stabilized, but that’s all; and this at a time when the entire population of the District of Columbia grew by about one-fifth (about 100,000 people) and the enrollment in our publicly-funded, but privately-run charter schools has gone through the roof. So, not exactly a stellar job; in fact, the sort of job that ought to get Henderson and company fired for sheer incompetence. In fact, this is not the only time that DCPS enrollment was roughly stable – that also happened from 1990 to 1996.

total audited dcps enrollment 1990-2012

My next chart shows the actual year-to-year changes in DCPS K-12 population. A red bar pointing down means that the schools had fewer students that year than they did the year before. A blue bar pointing up shows an increase in students over the previous year.

There was a tiny increase in the fall of 2012 (the current school year), just like there was a tiny increase in the fall of 1992. The largest drop occurred in 1998, when DCPS had a net loss of about 5000 students from the year before. It is madness to pretend that things have been hunky-dory since Rhee and her inexperienced, arrogant, highly-paid management types and consultants arrived in 2007.

In point of fact, what they did is trash the few decent things in DCPS with their own corporate style of autocratic foolishness and hubris. They have fixed exactly none of the problems that parents, teachers and students were complaining about, and they hide any real data like this.

k-12 enrollment of dcps from 1991


It is time to throw them out and go back to a democratically-elected school board and neighborhood schools — to begin with. Yes, lots of changes need to be made, but this crew has not a clue.



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