I’d be delighted to talk with some folks at OSSE or DCPS or some other forum, along with some others that I think should be invited as well.
I don’t really consider myself an expert, but rather more like somebody who knows a little about internal combustion engines and has begun to look under the hood of a car that’s not working right and seems to be not improving. It looks to me like somebody is blindly detaching hoses and wires and putting them into what seems like very weird places, and pouring what looks like dangerous fluids into places that they probably shouldn’t go.
Weird thing is, the supposed “Reformer” of the car keeps turning around and blaming the driver and passengers of the car for not being able to keep up with highway traffic…
One should keep in mind that not all change is for the better.
Continuing my metaphor, I know enough about cars that I can imagine a whole bunch of ways to “reform” the engine of a car that would make it run not at all — or else run much worse than it was doing before. On the other hand, if you had a real mechanic who has been working on cars for years and getting training, and with the proper equipment you could figure out how to fix those DEforms that were really mistakes and to get the vehicle working better than it has done in a long time. But that would mean entrusting education to well-trained veteran teachers and educators…
The evidence is clear from the DC-CAS and NAEP and other such standardized tests that the “shock-and-awe” changes that have been imposed upon DCPS under Rhee, Fenty, Henderson and Gray have been a failure on their own terms. They promised huge, miraculous rises in standardized test scores if the teachers would just learn to have ‘snap’ or were replaced with those who did.
But there have been no such miraculous rises. Any rises that have occurred at all have been continuations of trends that go back ten or twenty years. DCPS and DC as a whole is still at, or very close to, the back of the pack on all standardized test rankings that supposedly matter.
What’s more, everything I see in DCPS (and charter) classrooms across the city and from other teachers and students indicates to me huge and worsening failures of educational leadership. It is obscene to take a lousy corporate product, namely a poorly-made multiple-choice test, and make it INTO the curriculum. But that’s precisely what is happening here in DC and in many other American cities as well.
One person who should attend this talk is Chris Bergfalk. I think he’d have some interesting observations. Maybe I could scare up some other folks who might want to discuss numbers as well.
I certainly have some questions on which I have been stonewalled by DCPS for quite some time.