When the DC Mayor and City Council passed the law that got rid of the DC Board of Education and turned over the schools to the Mayor and his Chancellor, they also required there to be an audit, supposedly to see if things improved.
An audit has now been prepared by a group called EdCORE and submitted to the DC Auditor for the years 2006-7 through 2010-11, and it’s not very pretty.
So you won’t hear much about it, except, probably, from me.
Basically it shows that overall, there has been very little progress, even though the EduDeformers have been very successful in getting their way:
- Constant churn of teachers and administrators;
- Wholesale elimination of experienced personnel;
- Both parents and teachers have lost any ability to fight back against what they perceive as bad ideas;
- Near-collapse of regular public school system as parents, seeing no options, flee to charters that advertise constantly.
After six years now of the Rhee-Fenty-Henderson-Gray regime, let’s see what we get. Not much.
First, let’s look at the overall percentages of students scoring at or above the proficient level in both reading and math, as reported on the DC-CAS. The authors of the report caution repeatedly and strongly that since we know that there has been a lot of cheating by adults on the DC-CAS, these numbers may not be reliable at all.
I would also like to add that the very first year that DCPS used the DC-CAS was during SY 2006-7, at which point scores dropped drastically from previous years, when we had been using a different test altogether (The Stanford-9). It is common knowledge that when a school system starts using a new test, scores drop across the board, until teachers have learned how to prepare students for the new test; after a year or two, the scores rise a bit, then often stabilize.
That looks like what’s happened in DC, both in the regular public schools and in the charter schools.
In any case, there is no evidence of enormous progress in either one of these graphs; note that scores are essentially flat for the last three reported years. (Kind of a pity that they didn’t report on 2011-12.)
The second graph shows the percentage of students scoring in the Below Basic category, which is the lowest level. Since 2008-9, there has essentially been no significant progress…
I’ve tried to make the next two graphs clearer than the ones given in the report. They show what percentage of students scored ‘proficient’ or better in the various wards of the city. If you know anything about Washington DC, you know that it’s mostly a very segregated town, both by income and by race. The very poorest students live in Wards 7 and 8, on the east bank of the Anacostia River, and are almost 100% African-American. The wealthiest and whitest and best-educated families live in wards 3 and 2. (I live in Ward 5, which currently has no public middle schools at all!)
Since Rhee & Henderson and their cronies have replaced the vast majority of teachers and administrators in DC, replacing all of us with inexperienced, untrained, but “excellent” Teach for America temps and so on, then they must have CRUSHED that achievement gap between Ward Three and Ward Eight (i.e., between Spring Valley & Chevy CVhase DC on the one hand, and Barry Farms and Congress Heights on the other)?
Nope. See for yourself. I color-coded the wards. Do you see any real narrowing of those gaps? I don’t.
The next graph shows the percentage of students who are at the lowest reading level, “Below Basic”. If you understand real estate values, it is no surprise that the ward with the most expensive homes (Ward 3) continues to have the smallest fraction of students at the bottom reading level. And no surprise that the ward with the least expensive houses and apartments (ward 8) has the highest percentages of students at the bottom reading level.
Next: teacher and administrator churn…