So, What about those Achievement Gaps?


An alert reader pointed out to me yesterday that the statistics in the following article are INCORRECT, because they pertain to a mixture of both regular DC public schools AND the charter schools. I am working to fix that, separate out both the public schools and the charter schools, and will report what I find out.

My apologies. GFB.


Take a look at these two tables and graphs and see if you see any trends. What the graphs do, is display on a single set of axes, the gaps in the ‘pass’ rates on the DC-CAS for ‘Hispanic’ students and ‘Non-Hispanic Whites’. The first one is for reading, and the second one is for math. The time period is the entire life of the DC-CAS testing regime, that is, from 2007 (before the arrival of KanzleRhee) to spring of 2010.


I don’t know what trends you see, but this is what I see:

From 2007 to 2008, before Rhee had any opportunity  to make any changes at all besides fire some central office staff, the gap got a lot smaller, which is a Good Thing. From 2008 to 2009, there was some random movement, some up, some down. From 2009 to 2010, after KanzleRhee and Kamras put together, and enforced, their IMPACT evaluation system and forced their own “patented” learning style on all teachers in the entire  school system, the gaps got generally a lot larger, which is a Bad Thing.

Thus, in reading, there are three grade levels at which the White-Hispanic gap has gotten significantly smaller (good) in reading since 2007:  grades 5,  7 and 8. In grade 3, grade 6, and grade 10, the gap is significantly wider (bad), and it looks to me that the change in the 4th grade isn’t significant at all. Keep in mind that 2007 was the first year that the DC-CAS was taken, and its content and methods surprised just about all DC teachers. Any changes that occurred in teaching methods from ’07 to ’08 were ones made by teachers, on their own, without much support from downtown, and using the curriculum rolled out under former Superintendent Janey. IN EVERY SINGLE GRADE LEVEL THE GAP GOT SMALLER DURING THAT TIME PERIOD. WITH ESSENTIALLY NO HELP FROM DER KANZLER.

Now let’s compare 2008 to 2010. During that time period, one in which teachers felt more and more obliged to follow the dictates of the ‘suits’ in central office, the gaps got wider, by a LOT, in every single grade except grade 7.

In my opinion, that’s the real legacy of Der Kanzler.

Now, let’s look at math.

Here, if you compare 2007 to 2010, comparisons look more favorable for the incompetent incumbent DCPS leadership. All of the grades see a reduction in the size of the gap except for grade 3.

But, as I said, Rhee’s deformations reforms of DCPS really only began to take effect after 2008, at least at the classroom level.  Any improvement that took place fromm ’07 to ’08 was effected by teachers, by themselves, without prodding. In all cases except for grade 3, there were HUGE reductions in the size of the gap during that period. Thanks, DC teachers!

But from 2008 to 2010 is when KanzlerRhee’s mandates really started reaching the classroom. Compare, now, the gap sizes for 2008 with those in 2010. You will see that in grades 3, 4, and 10, the gaps got a LOT wider (which is a Bad Thing). In grades 6  and 8, they got smaller (a Good Thing). In grades 5 and 7, there was essentially no change from ’08 to ’10.

In the last year, ALL teachers became compelled, under pain of firing without hope of appeal, to follow the Rhee-Kamras teaching methods. (To be fair, it’s also a year in which I think they changed the DC-CAS questions. However, I don’t really know if they used the same questions in 2007, 2008, and 2009. The test manufacturers won’t say.) That is to say, other than firing lots of principals and hiring lots of untrained, inexperienced teachers and administrators (Rhee’s signature reform, you could say), that’s when Rhee’s destruction reforms really started to take hold in just about each and every classroom in DCPS.

What’s the result in terms of the Hispanic-White achievement gap in math? Look for yourself. About ten percentage points worse in grade 3; eight points worse in grade 4; two-and-a-half points worse in grade 5; nearly one point worse in grade 6; no change at all in grade 7; about 2 points BETTER in grade 8; and about TWENTY-ONE PERCENTAGE POINTS WORSE in grade ten.

Let me rephrase that. You heard it right: in the last year, there was not a ‘stall’ in the closing of the achievement gap between whites and hispanics. In all grades except for grade 7 and 8, the gap got wider, sometimes by scary amounts.

This, of course, is trumpeted as “PROGRESS” by Rhee’s backers at the Washington Post and the billionaire’s think-tanks.

What say you?

Published in: on August 27, 2010 at 3:46 pm  Comments (5)  

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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Love your blog and agree with you 100%. However, I believe the DC-CAS numbers you’re using combine DCPS and Charter Schools together (from Rhee is only “responsible” for DCPS scores and not charters. Is there a different web address that lists regular DCPS school scores separate from charters? Can you please email me your answer? THANKS SO MUCH!


    • I am pretty sure that the numbers I was giving do NOT combine the charters and the regular public schools. I will investigate to make sure.


      • Oh, SHIT. Bernie is entirely correct. I need to fix things ASAP. Curses!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  2. As I posted at the Post:

    “”Change does not happen overnight,” Calloway said. “Any one single data point — or change in a single data point over one year — is not sufficient to make overall conclusions about progress on this goal. To only consider one year, would not accurately portray what has happened during this administration.””

    Yet that’s the opposite of what she, Rhee, Kamras and Fenty have argued on behalf of IMPACT.


  3. […] (Others who’d like to pile on examples for other cities, please be my guest. Where my DC folks […]


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