More on the 2013 NAEP

I would like to present some more results from the latest batch of released scores from the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, so you can judge for yourselves.

As usual, the charlatans and quacks who are guiding US educational policy today claim that the results are clear proof that their ill-considered policies are working miracles, especially in the District of Columbia, my home town.

I claim that there has been no miracle. Yes, scores on the NAEP reading and math scores in the 4th grade and 8th grade are gradually but unevenly increasing — as has been the case for the past twenty years or so. But there has been no Rhee/Kamras/Henderson miracle in DC, or at least not one we can see on these graphs — no huge, enormous jump that trumps all growth prior to their mayoral takeover of the DC public schools.

Plus, we don’t yet know what weight the NAEP statisticians give to the scores of the kids in the regular public schools, those in the private or religious schools, or those in the charter schools. We do know that the proportion of white students counted in DC has increased substantially since the 1990’s, and that the proportion of black kids has shrunk, but we can only guess just what that means.

For each graph, I have drawn a thick, red, vertical line to distinguish the pre-“Rhee-form” era from the Era of Excellence and Data. See if you honestly see significant differences.

First, average NAEP math scores by states for 8th grade kids, 1990-2013. Remember, please, this is public AND private schools. I chose the states because they were the highest- or lowest-scoring ones in the nation (MA & MS) or because they were located near DC.

Fixed average 8th grade naep MATH scores by jurisdiction 1990-2013

Next, average NAEP reading scores for 4th graders:

fixed aveage 4th grade reaqding naep by states 1993-2013And lastly, average NAEP reading scores for 8th graders:

fixed average 8th grade naep reading scores by jurisdiction 1990-2013Remember: Mississippi, in an ugly shade of green on these graphs, is the lowest-performing state on both math and reading, and DC is still behind it.




Published in: on November 11, 2013 at 8:41 pm  Comments (9)  
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Graphs and Analysis of Trends in DC (regular and charters) from EdCORE to the DC Auditor

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.)

overall bb and P or A on dc-cas 2006 to 2011

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.

percentage of students at or above prof in reading by WARD

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.

It’s the same pattern all over the world, not just here in the US.percent below basic - reading - by ward

Next: teacher and administrator churn…

Report from EdCORE to DC Auditor’s Office Gives More Evidence that the Emperor (the EduDeformers) wear no clothes

I began looking at the  EdCORE report {GWU, Mathematica, A.I.R. et al} to the DC Auditor’s Office on the DCPS system from 2006 up until 2011 on my iphone while I was riding the subway late last night, and found evidence that if a teacher is unfortunate enough to teach in a high-poverty school, they are much, much more likely to get low IMPACT and IVA scores, get fired, transfer out, and/or quit.

Couldn’t get much more than a peek, however.

I also noticed that brand-new teachers generally get lower IMPACT scores and so on, no matter where they teach.  And that huge numbers of DC teachers and administrators now have 3 years or less of actual teaching experience.

While scores are pretty much flat.

But remember the Educational Deformista’s own argument: after all, it’s not poverty or distressed family life or anything else that is causing record chronic unemployment and the de-industrialization of America along with those pesky record profits and wealth increases for the rich.

No, it was supposedly us veteran teachers who had all conspired to go into teaching precisely so we could be lazy, get cushy no-work jobs, get rich with our extravagant pension funds and health benefits, though in fact we supposedly do our best to hold poor kids back. {according to the Deformistas and their allies in the media}

{Actually, that’s what bank presidents and such do, innit? While they claim they are hard at work, they are sitting around in splendid offices either playing with a computer or schmoozing with others in their stratum or out having fabulously expensive vacations — which of course are written off as business expenses, because they continue to play around on their computers and schmooze with other wealthy types, planning on how to bend or make the rules so they become even richer… And when they quit one company to go to another one, they bget tens or hundreds of millions of dollars and stock options and so on as a ‘platinum parachute’…. The ratio of income and wealth in the world and in the US between the captains of finance and the common people is higher now than ever before — Third World standards.

But supposedly, Gates and Jobs were worth every penny, right? We must certainly agree that none of the rest of us have any creativity. Only a handful of people had the smarts to build successful bandwagons by guessing which way they could steer public opinion towards their inventions… (sarcasm implied) While there are lots and lots of people inventing stuff and trying to keep poor kids and widows and orphans out of misery by either educating them or making sure they get social services or medical services — we don’t count. If we have poor clients, it’s because we made them poor. Right? (sarcasm again)}

And according to that brave billionaire’s saga, if we veteran teachers and social workers were all were replaced by Teach For America and its clones (dc teaching fellows, NTP, “Broad jump academy” etc) with absolutely no training or experience, and if sufficiently many DC and other urban public schools are closed down, denigrated, starved, and disorganized rapidly enough to force most of the kids into the [almost-equally-unsuccessful-by-their-own-measuring-srick charter schools [remember, the ones that are supposedly successful have absolutely astronomical pushout or dropout or attrition rates, as has been abundantly documented)] …. well, if the Deformistas like Henderson, Rhee, Kopp, the Koch Brothers, various hedge fund managers like DFER, the Waltons, and Bill Gates got their way like that, the prediction by Erik Hanushek and others was that all of the scores for poor urban kids of color would go up like crazy. Why, don’t you know, since they had at least three years in a row of brand-new, inexperienced but ‘excellent’ teachers (since their previous veteran, un-excellent teachers generally retired, quit, or got fired based on a random-number-generating scheme, then poor black and hispanic kids would completely crush that achievement gap between then and the kids attending St. Albans or Sidwell or Maret or Groton or Phillips Exeter or TJ Science Academy in Arlington or the Bronx HS of Science, and we would see enormous numbers of poor urban HS grads would now entering the Ivy Leagues on full scholarships in record numbers.

Isn’t that right?


It ain’t happening?

Yes, but scores for black and hispanic kids are increasing, in general!!

— True, they’ve been generally going up since the mid-1970s, when the government first started measuring this. The gaps have grown a LOT smaller in that time, especially right up to the year when “A Nation At Risk” was published — 1983. At that point, the gaps between poor kids and the non-poor stopped narrowing, pretty much. At some grade levels and subjects, black and hispanic kids are now scoring higher than non-poor white kids back in the 1970 or 80s, which is a signicant amount of progress.

BUT all the good trends happened WAY before the billionaires started trying to control public education in an utterly undemocratic manner, completely bypassing any public input.

These days, as the report noted, the only way for the public to change education policy is to vote out a mayor or a president.

Unfortunately for that argument, both parties, once they get into power, follow almost exactly the same policies on education. Show me how Gray and Henderson have differed in anything except abrasive rhetoric from Fenty and Rhee when it comes to education. Hated NCLB under Bush and that education fraud from Texas? Vote them out, and you get even morer of the same, four times as badly, under Obama and Duncan!

Percentages of poor urban kids at first-tier universities continues to slide, you say? It’s more of the kids of the wealthy there, partly because of certain financial changes …. while college loan debt is actually now LARGER than ordinary credit card debt? And it can essentially NEVER be written off, even if you file for bankruptcy? (said in a fake-naive voice)

Say it ain’t so, Joe! (fake-naive, sarcasm)

But none of those rosy predictions by the Deformista that has come true. Scores are flat. And profits and wealth for the 1% of 1% are way, way up. And so are futures in EduBusiness shares and funds in general…

When the DCAuditor site comes back up I’ll have more to say.

An Investigation Into Cheating by Adults In Philadelphia Public Schools

The recent whitewash job by Inspector General Willoughby in Washington, DC should be compared to the more thorough, yet still imperfect, investigations in Atlanta and Philadelphia.

Please read a recent article in Education Week and help call for an honest investigation of Erasuregate under Michelle Rhee and Kaya Henderson in DCPS.

A couple of passages from the Ed Week article:

The scope of the Philadelphia School District’s problem with suspicious erasures on state standardized tests is far more widespread than officials have publicly revealed.

But so far state and District investigators have launched deeper probes into suspected cheating at only a third of the 53 schools where strong evidence was found.

Confidential documents and information obtained by Newsworksand the Public School Notebook show that many of the 53 schools were flagged across multiple grades, subjects, and years for extremely high rates of “wrong-to-right” erasures on test answer forms. The documents include results from erasure analyses conducted in 2010 and 2011, which state officials have declined to make public.

In response to those findings, the District put in place tough new test-security measures last spring. The result was huge drops in scores at nearly all of the 53 schools, 

And from a different source:

Standardized test scores dropped precipitously in Philadelphia District schools this year, with most of the biggest declines occurring in schools under investigation for possible cheating and in the early grades.

Details on those suspicious Philly erasures, which are quite similar to those in Atlanta and DC.


Published in: on August 17, 2012 at 3:06 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Half of all Current DCPS Teachers and Administrators Were Hired by Rhee and Henderson


By my count, over half of all current DCPS teachers, counsellors, librarians, and administrators were hired after Michelle Rhee became Chancellor. In other words, more than half of all DC staff (not counting aides and custodians) were hired in 2007 through today, 2-20-2012.

This fact has led to NO wonderful breakthroughs in educating our youth during that time.

Only a tiny handful, roughly 1.5% of the entire staff, remains from the days when I was hired (late 1970s).

I don’t really think this is a good thing. Most school districts have a large core of veteran teachers with 10 to 20 years of seniority and experience. Among other things, they help to train new teachers (and administrators, too) in the accepted norms and procedures. Today, in DC, is not at all unusual for department and grade-level chairs to have only one or two years of experience, and the rest of the teachers to be absolute neophytes.

What we have here is the inexperienced “leading” the clueless newbies — and both end up quitting in droves. It’s also called “churn and burn”, and shows the utter ineptitude of the current leadership of DCPS. If I had to give young folks out of college advice, I would probably NOT advise them to apply to teach in DC (public or charter) because the leadership has not a clue as to what it is doing and has instituted extremely arbitrary and punitive ways of evaluating teachers while giving them next to no support. No wonder so many of the new teachers quit after only a year or two.

My count is based on the most recently-published list of all DC public employees as of 9-7-2011. (Warning: it’s a HUGE file!) Unfortunately, the PDF document does not list what schools these teachers and administrators are located at. You also have to wade a long ways into the document before you reach the group of DCPS employees. If the list omits folks, or lists folks who retired, quit, got fired, or died, that’s not my fault. Ditto with wrong hire dates or wrong classifications.

If anything, my estimate  probably UNDERSTATES the actual percentage of brand-new teachers and administrators, because I have no data on any teachers or administrators hired after that date – so about five months’ worth of new hires (needed as other teachers quit or are fired) aren’t counted. Please don’t think I’m making that up! If you look at the dates that teachers and administrators are hired, a very large percentage are hired at other times than during the summer months.

My count is based on a sample of all the data, since I really didn’t feel like counting every single teacher and administrator (there are many thousands!). Instead, I arbitrarily decided to count all of the teachers and administrators whose last names started with A, J, S or Y. I did not count custodians, clerks, receptionists, substitute teachers, summer school staff, or aides. I did count classroom teachers, administrators, psychologists, counselors, librarians, “program coordinators”, principals and the like. I ended up counting over eleven hundred people, which is a fair-sized sample. If I chose a different way of selecting the sample, I doubt my results would have been very different.

Here is a table that shows the absolute numbers I counted, and the percentages, for each year going back to 1967, the hire date of the most veteran person I found. I would like to read your comments.

Year of Hire,  staff members with names starting with A, J,  S, and Y. Number of staff members I counted Percen-tage of the whole cumulative percentages
2011 141 12.67% 12.67%
2010 147 13.21% 25.88%
2009 168 15.09% 40.97%
2008 79 7.10% 48.07%
2007 48 4.31% 52.38%
2006 20 1.80% 54.18%
2005 39 3.50% 57.68%
2004 26 2.34% 60.02%
2003 30 2.70% 62.71%
2002 22 1.98% 64.69%
2001 38 3.41% 68.10%
2000 32 2.88% 70.98%
1999 45 4.04% 75.02%
1998 27 2.43% 77.45%
1997 13 1.17% 78.62%
1996 13 1.17% 79.78%
1995 13 1.17% 80.95%
1994 8 0.72% 81.67%
1993 13 1.17% 82.84%
1992 9 0.81% 83.65%
1991 17 1.53% 85.18%
1990 10 0.90% 86.07%
1989 12 1.08% 87.15%
1988 17 1.53% 88.68%
1987 63 5.66% 94.34%
1986 16 1.44% 95.78%
1985 13 1.17% 96.95%
1984 4 0.36% 97.30%
1983 2 0.18% 97.48%
1982 2 0.18% 97.66%
1981 1 0.09% 97.75%
1980 2 0.18% 97.93%
1979 4 0.36% 98.29%
1978 2 0.18% 98.47%
1977 0 0.00% 98.47%
1976 2 0.18% 98.65%
1975 1 0.09% 98.74%
1974 3 0.27% 99.01%
1973 3 0.27% 99.28%
1972 1 0.09% 99.37%
1971 1 0.09% 99.46%
1970 1 0.09% 99.55%
1969 0 0.00% 99.55%
1968 1 0.09% 99.64%
1967 3 0.27% 99.91%
1966 0 0.00% 99.91%
1965 0 0.00% 99.91%
1964 0 0.00% 99.91%
1963 0 0.00% 99.91%
1962 1 0.09% 100.00%
total 1113 100.00%
Published in: on February 20, 2012 at 5:54 pm  Comments (3)  
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8th Grade TUDA NAEP Reading Results Also Show No Miracles Under Rhee, Henderson et al.

This post concerns the 8th grade NAEP TUDA reading scores for DC and other large cities.  As you may recall, according to Michelle Rhee’s authorized biographer and friend, here is how Rhee claims she could tell if an applicant for a principal position was good enough:

“What’s good to Rhee? If they arrived at their previous school with 20 percent of students reading on grade level and when they left, the number was 70 percent.” (page 132 of The Bee Eater)

Also recall what Rhee claimed to have done in Baltimore: “Over a two-year period, moved students scoring at the 13th percentile on national standardized tests to 90 percent of students scoring at the 90th percentile or higher.”

Keep that standard in mind when you see these graphs and tables.

First, where are DCPS students right now, after more than 4 years of Rhee/Henderson’s “radical reformist” regime? Way down near the bottom of the pack as measured by percentages of students “below basic”, according to NAEP:

But, you say, surely that pitiful figure of 54% of 8th graders reading on a “below basic” level has been getting better under Rhee and Henderson? Guess again, or else look at this graph for DCPS 8th grade reading results over time, and you will see that just the opposite is true, since it’s now worse than in 2002, 2003, 2007, or even 2009:

Now let’s look at those trends in DC again. As you can see, NAEP TUDA 8th grade reading scores are, in fact, slightly LOWER in 2011 than they have been AT ANY TIME while the TUDA study has been going on:

You can see also that while the scores for higher-income kids dropped in 2011, the gap between the richer and poorer students widened by quite a lot in 2009, and is unchanged in 2011 (in both years, it’s 31 points, as opposed to 15 to 21 points during the earlier years).

And let’s look at the gaps between scores of various ethnic groups in DC over time at the 8th grade reading level:

In the graph above, we lack a lot of scores for white students for many years, simply because there were not enough white DCPS students tested at those points in time to satisfy statistical reporting requirements. However, it is clear that the arrival of the protegees of Joel Klein and Michael Bloomberg has NOT benefited any of the 8th grade groups shown: not Hispanic students, not Black students, and not White students.

You might be thinking, “Well, perhaps these gaps are bad in DC, but they are worse elsewhere?”

Pretty much, NO. There are only two cities with larger 8th grade reading achievement gaps between the rich and the poor on the NAEP: Austin and Fresno.

Now let’s look at the gap between scores of white and black 8th graders in various cities, below. As you can see, DC’s gap (circled) is by far the widest such gap: 58 points.

And for Hispanics and whites?

(/sarcasm on) We beat Fresno and Austin! Yippee! DC has the biggest gap! (/sarcasm off)

Published in: on December 17, 2011 at 2:54 pm  Comments (9)  
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More on Gaps – This Time, 8th Grade Math NAEP TUDA

This year, the 8th grade math NAEP TUDA results are the only place where the scores in DCPS appear to be going up, but the gap between the top students and bottom students is getting significantly larger.

(Wait until we look at the reading results…)

If you need a little background information, take a look at yesterday’s post for a bit of explanation of what the percentiles mean.

I begin with a graph and table of the gaps in 8th grade math for all US public school students from 2003 to 2011.

As you can see, these scores, which are for all US 8th grade students in public schools, have been slowly but steadily rising since 2003. The gaps between the highest-achieving and lowest-achieving students have been fairly steady or else getting a bit smaller, if you look at the gap between those at the 75th percentile and those at the 25th percentile.

Now let’s look at a similar graph for students in large cities:

While these scores are also rising, I notice one thing that’s different from the previous graph: the kids at the 10th percentile in US large cities score extremely low. That’s the dark blue line at the bottom of the graph, separated from the other lines by a much larger gap than any I’ve noticed before. This phenomenon also shows up because the “90-10 gap” is much larger in this graph than in the previous one.

Now let’s look at the graph and table for Washington DC public schools. Recall that charter school students are excluded from this data starting in 2009.

Quite a different-looking graph, don’t you think? It’s almost like it’s beginning to open up to the right like a fan, because the top teal-colored line, which represents scores of the students at the top of the achievement scale (those at the 90th percentile), and the purple one just below it, are going up faster and faster, leaving the others behind. In 2009, after two years of Rhee, students at the 25th and 10th percentile dropped. To be fair, we don’t know if that drop is real, or is a result of the fact that so many students migrated to charter schools.

We do see that students at the 10th and 25th percentiles had their scores rise significantly in 2011 over 2009, so now they are a couple of points higher than they were in 2007, but that change is not statistically significant.

However, it is clear that overall, the gap in DCPS between the top scorers and the lowest scorers is widening. The 90-10 gap used to be 90 points back in 2003, but has risen to a new high of 107 points in 2011. The 75-25 gap has also reached a new high of 55 points, climbing from 48 points.

Now let’s look at the large city 200 miles to our northeast. I am referring to New York City, of course.

Unlike in DC, where we saw the lines getting farther apart as we move towards the present, in NYC the lines get closer together, which means that the gap between the high-achievers and low-achievers is getting smaller.

But not in a good way.

What is happening in New York’s public schools is that the scores of the students at the top and middle actually dropped over the past 2 years, while the scores of the students at the very bottom (10th percentile) continued to rise. That’s one way to narrow the gap, but it’s the wrong way.

So much for educational miracles happening under undemocratic control of the schools by Mayor Bloomberg! (Remember please that Bloomberg was the person who recommended Michelle Rhee to Adrian Fenty as another miracle-maker.)

Finally, let’s look at Atlanta.

Here we see a pattern that’s different from what we saw elsewhere. The various colored lines seem to be moving just about in lockstep with each other. The gap between the highest and lowest achievers hasn’t changed by much.


Now go back and look at all of those scores.

Have the students in DC miraculously overtaken students in other large cities, or the nation, as essentially promised by the education DEform crowd? No.

Are they on the road to doing so? Heck, no.

Have Rhee, Fenty, Henderson, Bloomberg, Joel Klein, and Vincent Gray delivered any educational miracles in DC or New York? Definitely not.

Published in: on December 9, 2011 at 11:02 am  Comments (1)  
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