Two more promises by Rhee et al: were they kept?

Part Four of Many

To get a grant of about $64 million dollars, ex-Chancellor of DC Public Schools Michelle Rhee promised that DCPS would be in the top half of all NAEP TUDA urban districts by 2013. So far, in math at the 4th and 8th grade, she and her successors have failed.

How did they do in reading?

See for yourself. This first chart is from the NAEP TUDA website concerning fourth grade math:

dcps vs all naep tuda 4th grade reading 2013

There were 21 school districts in the “Trial Urban District Assessment’ of the National Assessment of Educational Progress in 2013, and it appears that number 11, the median school district, if you measure that by percentages of students at or above proficient, is Albuquerque, with 24% of its students in those categories. DCPS appears to have a small edge on Albuuerque, with 25% of its students proficient or advanced, so if you measure things that way, DCPS is technically in the top half.

However, if you compare average scores on the test, then Albuquerque actually beat DC, since the average scores were 207 and 205 — with DC getting the lower score. In that case, DCPS is technically in the bottom half.

And if you say that being in the ‘top half’ would mean beating the average score for all large cities, then DCPS definitely did NOT succeed.

Or if you go by the categories that the officials at NAEP actually used, namely ‘Percentage at or above proficient is significantly higher than large city’, and ‘Percentage at or above proficient is NOT significantly different than large city’, and ‘Percentage at or above proficient is lower than large city’, then DCPS is firmly in the middle group.

I think I will score this one as an ‘almost met’.


How about 8th grade reading?

Here things are a lot more cut-and-dried:

dcps vs all naep tuda 8th grade reading 2013

It is very clear that DCPS did NOT meet the goal of being in the top half of the Trial Urban District Assessment. The average score is well below that for Chicago, the median school district (245 vs 253), and even further behind all large cities (245 vs 258), and the percentages of students deemed proficient or advanced on this test in DCPS, namely 17%, also places DCPS in the bottom half, not the top half.


So out of four different categories measured so far (being in the top half of NAEP TUDA districts in reading and math at the 4th and 8th grade levels), DCPS got an “almost” in one category (fourth grade reading) and clearly failed in the other three.

Recall that if DCPS did not meet its goals, the Arnold, Broad, Roberts and Walton foundations were supposed to withhold the grant monies.

Did they?

And out of the other 74 goals, how many did DCPS actually meet?


The saga so far:

  4. (this one)


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.

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