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Veteran education journalist John Merrow obtained a copy of a previously "missing" memo from an outside consultant, and wrote about it this evening in a blog post he titled Michelle Rhee’s Reign of Error.   In  italics, under the title we read With the indictment of former Atlanta School Superintendent Beverly A. Hall and 34 other public school employees in a massive cheating scandal, the time is right to re-examine other situations of possible illegal behavior by educators.  Washington, DC, belongs at the top of that list.

Merrow's first paragraph of this long (over 4,000 words) blog post reads as follows:  

Michelle A. Rhee, America’s most famous school reformer, was fully aware of the extent of the problem when she glossed over what appeared to be widespread cheating during her first year as Schools Chancellor in Washington, DC.  A long-buried confidential memo from her outside data consultant suggests that the problem was far more serious than kids copying off other kids’ answer sheets.  (“191 teachers representing 70 schools”).  Twice in just four pages the consultant suggests that Rhee’s own principals, some of whom she had hired, may have been responsible (“Could the erasures in some cases have been done by someone other than the students and the teachers?”).
The story has now been picked up by USA Today, in a piece they title Memo warns of rampant cheating in D.C. public schools.  THis piece is written by veteran education journalist Greg Toppo, following up on what Merrow exposed with the release of the memo.  Toppo writes  
The 2009 memo was written by an outside analyst, Fay "Sandy" Sanford, who had been invited by then-chancellor Michelle Rhee to examine students' irregular math and reading score gains. It was sent to Rhee's top deputy for accountability.
Jumping back to the Merrow piece for a moment, he writes (and the number represents a footnote at the end of his post)
I have a copy of the memo[2] and have confirmed its authenticity with two highly placed and reputable sources. The anonymous source is in DCPS; the other is DC Inspector General Charles Willoughby. A reliable source has confirmed that Rhee and Deputy Chancellor Kaya Henderson discussed the memo in staff gatherings. Sanford came to Washington to present his findings in late January, 2009, after which he wrote his memo.

It is impossible to overstate the significance of this.  Rhee became a hero supposedly on the basis of the remarkable turnaround she was making in DC schools.  Unfortunately, it turns out to be as false as her previous claims about the miraculous increases in scores she obtained with her students at an Edison school in Baltimore during her three years there as a Teach for America teacher, that claim having been conclusively shown to be false by former DC teacher Guy Brandenburg.

AS Toppo writes about this now recovered memo,  

The memo suggests, "Don't make hard copies and leave them around. Much of what we think we know is based on what I consider to be incomplete information. So the picture is not perfectly clear yet, but the possible ramifications are serious."

At the time, many D.C. schools, as well as those nationwide, were struggling to meet the federal government's "adequate yearly progress" (AYP) levels, which required year-to-year test score gains. Agencies such as OSSE were pushing for improvements.

"If all 70 schools wind up being compromised AND OSSE wants AYP blood," the memo warns, "the result could be devastating with regard to our reported gains in 2008."

   When the issue of this memo had been previously raised, Rhee claimed not to remember having received such a memo, something we now know to be false based on Merrow's reporting of the memo being discussed in staff meetings.

Rhee claims that the issues raised in the memo were dispensed with by investigations by inspectors general for both the DC and US Departments of Education.  Perhaps those investigations need to be called into question.  As Merrow writes,

While Sanford’s memo doesn’t raise the issue, falsely elevated scores would deny remedial attention to children whose true scores would trigger help. Just how many children could only be determined by an investigation.

Michelle Rhee had to decide whether to investigate aggressively or not.  She had publicly promised to make all decisions “in the best interests of children,” and a full-scale investigation would seem to keep that pledge. If cheating were proved, she could fire the offenders and see that students with false scores received the remedial attention they needed. Failing to investigate might be interpreted as a betrayal of children’s interests–if it ever became public knowledge.

Or to put it another way, Rhee might not have wanted an investigation because she knew what it would show.   And then there would be another problem, as can be seen in the following two additional paragraphs from Merrow' post:  
It’s easy to see how not trying to find out who had done the erasing–burying the problem–was better for Michelle Rhee personally, at least in the short term.  She had just handed out over $1.5 million in bonuses in a well-publicized celebration of the test increases[9]. She had been praised by presidential candidates Obama and McCain[10] in their October debate, and she must have known that she was soon to be on the cover of Time Magazine[11].  The public spectacle of an investigation of nearly half of her schools would have tarnished her glowing reputation, especially if the investigators proved that adults cheated–which seems likely given that their jobs depended on raising test scores.

Moreover, a cheating scandal might well have implicated her own “Produce or Else” approach to reform.  Early in her first year she met one-on-one with each principal and demanded a written, signed guarantee[12] of precisely how many points their DC-CAS scores would increase.

Remember that even after Rhee left DC, she continued to wield influence based on her supposed success in DC.  Allow me to quote just 3 more short paragraphs by Merrow:  
Her policies remained in force even after she left DC in October 2010 to start, as she proclaimed on Oprah, “a revolution on behalf of America’s children.”  Through her well-financed  “StudentsFirst” lobbying non-profit organization, she began crisscrossing the nation, urging governors and legislators to do what she did in Washington.

She has been remarkably successful. At least 25 states have adopted her ‘produce or else’ test-score based system of evaluating teachers.[27]

But politicians (and citizens) in those 25 states might want to take a closer look at what she actually accomplished.  Sadly, DC’s schools are worse by almost every conceivable measure.

The Washington Post was a strong supporter of Rhee's approach.  As of 11:30 this evening there is nothing on the front page of the Post web site discussing the memo.

As Toppo's piece reminds us, USA Today in 2011 had runthis piece which exposed the erasure scandal.  As I recall, the person who supervised that story was the wife of Jay Mathews, long-time principal education writer for the Post.

One has to wonder if the Post will thoroughly cover this story.  

One has to hope that the educational media and politicians will begin to recognize several things

1.  There are no miracles with testing
2.  When you base major changes on supposed miracles, they will not work.
3.  Usually the miracle will eventually be exposed.

We recently had Atlanta.

Now we have more on DC.

Even before that people tried to warn that there was no Texas Miracle while George W. Bush was governor.  Thus our national educational policy of No Child Left Behind was based on a non-existent miracle, just like several of its supposed shining examples are now clearly demonstrable as fake.

Is it possible we can finally step back from this madness and deal with the real needs of education honestly and stop the stupidity on testing?

Or is there simply so much money invested in our current path that even that is too much to hope for?

Originally posted to teacherken on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 08:39 PM PDT.

Also republished by American Legislative Transparency Project.

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  •  Tip Jar (181+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Byrnt, 2laneIA, livjack, Lily O Lady, WiseFerret, terrybuck, happymisanthropy, Ray Pensador, LeftHandedMan, Black Max, 57andFemale, begone, Chaddiwicker, quill, cardboardurinal, greengemini, hyperstation, Lujane, bleeding blue, Cassandra Waites, Sabazinus, basquebob, gloriana, GeorgeXVIII, Over the Edge, Eric Nelson, hannah, Orinoco, SME in Seattle, ER Doc, ScottAC, chemborg, Mostel26, Grandma Susie, Burned, Paul1a, irate, MadRuth, Williston Barrett, shanikka, Stude Dude, OldSoldier99, marleycat, glendaw271, rapala, OleHippieChick, WearyIdealist, koosah, cordgrass, Sprinkles, Superskepticalman, most peculiar mama, sunny skies, GoGoGoEverton, P Carey, jeff bryant, MNDem999, some other george, Foundmyvoice, DRo, One Pissed Off Liberal, myeye, aravir, gulfgal98, ItsSimpleSimon, icebergslim, Oh Mary Oh, Liberal Mole, LynChi, Byron from Denver, Vatexia, rb608, checkerspot, Dobber, Aspe4, jadt65, cececville, Alma, hubcap, 4mygirls, Homer J, TracieLynn, IB JOHN, triv33, Ohkwai, dog in va, BB10, emal, daveygodigaditch, xaxnar, Temmoku, pademocrat, onionjim, shypuffadder, Anima, carl offner, karmsy, Better Days, lenzy1000, Pilotshark, zerelda, Plox, hopi13, lotlizard, johanus, PapaChach, Livvy5, bewild, dmhlt 66, One Opinion, gramofsam1, DFWmom, lcrp, Sychotic1, Sun Tzu, Fresno, salmo, MNGlasnant, emmasnacker, MartyM, Trendar, OrdinaryIowan, eightlivesleft, fiercefilms, dewtx, native, Andrew F Cockburn, hwy70scientist, commonmass, Catte Nappe, Laurel in CA, madhaus, gelfling545, Philby, FindingMyVoice, Eric Blair, Gowrie Gal, allergywoman, nailbender, Yellow Canary, antirove, Plantsmantx, revsue, Smoh, Arahahex, anastasia p, ewmorr, kenwards, wader, MKHector, Nowhere Man, Lcohen, jedennis, Throw The Bums Out, No one gets out alive, Witgren, StateOfGrace, Joe Bob, JVolvo, melvynny, Seneca Doane, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, roses, cyncynical, pacplate, bkamr, Ckntfld, mofembot, Barbara Marquardt, elwior, FrY10cK, rbird, BlueDragon, trumpeter, banjolele, houyhnhnm, alwaysquestion, sc kitty, Just Bob, Captain C, rmx2630

    "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

    by teacherken on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 08:39:27 PM PDT

    •  Just another case of the Right Wing... (11+ / 0-)

      believing their own lies.

      I screwed up with a careless uprate so I'm a "No Rate" pariah. When I give a comment "+4 n/t", please consider that a recommend. (That's my workaround to participate here). DK haiku, one complete thought in a title field. Roar louder! NR since 3/7/12.

      by Josiah Bartlett on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 06:12:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  money (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        The right wing believes minority children are inferior and will never agree to spend more money on their education--thus, put the blame on the teachers.  It's always about bigotry with these people--and school failure is their self fulfilling prophesy.

        Apres Bush, le deluge.

        by melvynny on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 11:47:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Every word you said...I'm at ground zero.... (33+ / 0-)

      ...deeply involved at a community level in DCPS.

      I supported Rhee in the beginning, because DCPS failures were so horrific, that they were akin to human rights violations.

      There were teachers who spent the day reading books and magazines, refusing to teach the children. There were employees in warehouses sitting on thousands of new books, and kids without any books at all. The teachers union - with a former leader in jail for embezzling tens of thousands of dollars - seemed interested only in protecting teachers, especially the most incompetent and disinterested.

      Rhee came in and started to clean house. There was an awful lot of dead wood that had to go. There were charter school options made available. Schools east of Rock Creek Park - especially those east of the Anacostia River - were so bad that a huge majority of parents opted for either the charter schools or enrolled their kids in schools in the white neighborhoods.

      We cheered her on, and there was progress. Make no mistake, there are better schools and better options available today than five or six years ago.

      But Rhee and her Rhee-bots - her young acolytes - began a reign of error. They got rid of some excellent teachers, brought in some charlatans, and instituted the cult of the test. And when teachers live or die by test scores, there will almost certainly be cheating at the teacher level. Make no mistake, there was.

      There will always be erasures in multiple choice tests. Kids guess, and change their minds. Or they inadvertantly fill in the wrong box, catch their error, and fix it. But there are also cases where they guess right, change their minds, and fill in the wrong box. Those who monitor testing have mathematical models for all this. And they can use those models to determine if there has been cheating after the fact.

      The DC tests checked showed a pattern of far too many wrong answers being erased and replaced with right answers. There were other irregularities, such as too many "corrections" on certain answers, indicating - for example - that the cheating teacher fixed the answer to question #23 on too many tests.

      Rhee is a huckster with a great sales pitch, and a lot of us bought it at first, hook, line, and sinker. She actually did some good, getting rid of some people who really, really needed to go. But beyond that, she was a horrible manager  with zero empathy, no people skills, and a lack of personal integrity.

      Her worshipping of test scores was inevitably doomed to failure because it led down only one path: produce or lose your job....and if your kids didn't produce, your options were either to cheat or lose your job.

      You are absolutely right, ken. She is a fraud and DC is far, far better off without her.

      •  I would like to add that in my teaching career (23+ / 0-)

        there were a few times when it was "suggested" that I might "erase stray marks" from  students' test papers. These ideas invariably came from administration under pressure from central office. My practice was to ask for the instruction in writing, so I never actually got pressured to do it . Unfortunately, our school had rather low scores comparatively speaking because our teachers were quite honest.

        Where are we going and what am I doing in this handbasket?

        by gelfling545 on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 07:29:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thank you for the enormous amount (9+ / 0-)

          of important information in your short comment.

          First, you point out that administrators pressure teachers to mislead the public about the value of the district's work.

          Second, you point out that an intelligent and assertive teacher can counter that illegal and irresponsible behavior by simply insisting the administrator take responsibility, in writing, for his or her actions.

          And most importantly of all you point out the value to parents, students, and taxpayers of learning that:

          Unfortunately, our school had rather low scores comparatively speaking because our teachers were quite honest.
          The courage involved in telling the truth about schools' accomplishments is part of what most Americans respect in teachers.
          •  I had a similar experience. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Linda Wood

            In my brief teaching career, I remember the secondary school teachers being brought into a meeting with the superintendent, principal and a school board member to discuss the impending state competency tests.

            It was "suggested" that while we could not actually just give a student the correct answer if they asked a question or we saw them struggling with something, but that we could "lead" them toward the right answer.  For example, when pointing at the question on the test booklet, wander the finger down to point at the correct answer.  Use tone of voice or leading questions to guide them to an answer.  Stuff like that.

            There was a fairly strong response of disbelief amongst the staff, and the administrators eventually gave up pushing the idea when they saw we were on the verge of active rebellion.  As it was, of four new teachers hired at the beginning of the year, three of us broke our contracts at mid-year to get the hell out of there, precisely because of stuff like this and other intolerable actions by the administrators, school board, and parents in the district that made for a toxic work environment.

            Bailing on my contract pretty much doomed my nascent teaching career -- I subbed a couple more years in other districts, did a bit of contract work for a private school, but I haven't been back in the classroom in over a decade now.

            I miss the kids, but I don't miss the political pressure and the all the behind-the-scenes crap teachers have to put up.

        •  Honest teachers suffered under the scandel (7+ / 0-)

          When students who received false high scores moved on to honest teachers, the test scores plummeted. Instead of seeing this as a warning that something fishy was going on, the honest teachers were penalized for 'under-performing.' Some of them were fired.

          Thank God that Rhee is some one else's problem now.

          "That being said, I do agree I am going to hell. But for other reasons. Mostly boring tax stuff ' Amy Pohler

          by Annie B on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 10:29:24 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Excellent comment, thanks. (7+ / 0-)

        You are obviously speaking from first-hand experience. I really appreciate that, since a lot of people involved in this debate, unfortunately, are pulling it out of their rear ends :)

        I've worked in and around public schools for a long time, too. I believe my opinions are worth something.

        For its many and egregious failures, here is a positive change to come from the latest round of "educational reform." No, seriously, I'm not being ironic: the notion that "any student can learn and achieve," given the proper circumstances, now infuses rhetoric about public education. It had been all but lost for some years.

        Wish I could tip you 1,000 times.    

        It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

        by karmsy on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 07:31:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I wish (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I could tip you 1,000 times for saying this:

          ... the notion that "any student can learn and achieve," given the proper circumstances, now infuses rhetoric about public education. It had been all but lost for some years.
          •  But that notion has been twisted into a weapon (7+ / 0-)

            It's come to mean "Any student, no matter how underequipped to do some, better achieve to the level of the students in the most resource-rich communities, OR ELSE."

            I think every teacher I have known forever has believed that "any student can learn and achieve." Those who didn't were often those on the right who don't think "certain people" are as smart as others. By raising their expectations without increasing resources, they can point and say they were right. Or they can blame teachers.

            But to "learn and achieve," those students born in poverty need to be given tool to replace the ones they don't have. Right now, we are asking them to compete with better-equipped children and produce the same results. That's not praiseworthy raised expectations – it's folly.

            If teachers are asked to sign a document asserting that they WILL raise test scores by a certain amount, something they have no control over and cannot justifiably promise, then the administrators should promise the teachers that none of the children will be homeless or hungry, or had a parent die or sent to prison, or change schools mid-year, or be a victim of violence or sexual abuse.

            Jon Husted is a dick.

            by anastasia p on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 10:33:25 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Amen, to virtually everything you've said. (0+ / 0-)

              I am NOT vouching for the actual intent of corporate reformers who advance the notion that "every student can learn," given the right circumstances. Merely pointing out that this talking-point had been absent from the rhetoric of public-education reform--no matter what the dearly-held beliefs of the best teachers--for many years. Now, whatever the reasons for its re-emergence, I want to celebrate. Hallelujah :) It's rhetoric that may have been wrongly motivated, but it can be used entirely constructively.

              What's most needed to  improve public education? The mitigation of the horrible and increasing divide between the rich and the poor. Nobody wants to talk about this. There isn't political will on either side to change the status quo, and, indeed, some shadowy, influential elements in society actually LIKE a large and deprived underclass just fine, thanks.

              It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

              by karmsy on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 10:57:32 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  I don't think it's folly (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              to expect that reform could include better teaching methods when teaching methods in our country are clearly questionable.

              The resources described as essential for success, as I have read them during the years of this debate, appear to be parents who value education, parents who read to children and value reading, parents who provide private tutoring in the form of high quality preschools that teach listening, phonemic awareness, the alphabet, the sounds of letters, and the blending of letters, math skills with numbers and quantities, experience with working vocabulary in conversation, questioning, and answering, trips to museums, and an awareness of the planet and aspects of natural history.

              I think it's reasonable to expect the public schools to provide these things without increasing their budgets because I think districts are spending enormous amounts on bad teaching methods, failed teacher training in workshops, conferences, and in supervision by expensive specialists promoting private products that are failed methods of teaching.

              David Berliner calls for high quality preschools and summer enrichment programs for poor children. I get it that poor children don't have all of these things, or rather, that some poor children don't have all of these things. In fact some poor children have lots of these things from their parents, most especially the valuing of education. I also know that lots of higher income kids also have divorce, stress, substance abuse among parents, financial insecurity, and food quality and healthcare issues.

              What I'm saying is that the schools must be the providers of educational substance. They are also providers of shelter and security for children in all income groups facing all the problems our corrupt system foists on families. But schools are responsible for providing the skills and knowledge that too many parents are having to provide now where schools are not doing it.

              •  Interesting remarks. (0+ / 0-)

                Oh, aside from the funding issues, and political will to fund it adequately, there is LOTS of waste in public education. Believe me, there are plenty of "district administrators" who have jobs, who should not. They are dead wood, and protected by a culture of nepotism and cronyism. The money spent on their salaries could be much better spent on the classroom and on enrichment programs you describe.

                Diane Ravitch, the former Bush I official who helped pioneer the current wave of "educational reform," and has since walked-back her endorsement, has said as much.

                It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

                by karmsy on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 11:56:14 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I should back up a little, to be quite fair. (0+ / 0-)

                  I am in California. I have applied to teaching jobs also in Texas, so I have personally had fairly extensive, direct, personal experience with educational bureaucracies in two states.

                  Of these two states, I would say California has a severe problem with bureaucracy--a worse problem than Texas, although Texas is fairly bad, too.

                  It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

                  by karmsy on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 12:04:36 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

    •  If Beverly Hall goes to prison (5+ / 0-)

      Michelle Rhee should be her cellmate.

      And what Rhee has wrought for America's children is far worse because of the extensive network of support she has. That includes our governor Taxin' John Kasich, who cozies up to her every chance he gets, yet guts public schools of the resources they need while shoveling more money at failing for-profit charters.

      Jon Husted is a dick.

      by anastasia p on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 10:25:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Oh you mean the Kaplan Post (0+ / 0-)

      (excuse me, Washington Post) didn't want their paper disparaging the lucrative market for test prep materials?

      Kaplan owns the Washington Post.

      The Kaplan Post and the Moonie Times, That's how I remember our Capital newspapers although I don't even know if anyone reads the Moonie Times anymore.

      Reaganomics noun pl: belief that government is bad, that it can increase revenue by decreasing revenue, and unregulated capitalism can provide unlimited goods for unlimited people on a planet with finite resources.

      by FrY10cK on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 01:08:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Other are picking up on this (32+ / 0-)

    Guy Brandenburg has offered this post with some powerful comments of his own, which Diane Ravitch picked up in herethis up to call attention to Merrow's memo.  Given her 20,000+ twitter followers I suspect the story is already going viral

    "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

    by teacherken on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 09:10:33 PM PDT

  •  It's ironic that while the local news in (18+ / 0-)

    Atlanta gave breathless reports on who was booked when, Georgia Public Broadcasting was running a documentary about Michelle Rhee. I have doubted all along that Atlanta was an anomaly in otherwise pristine school districts across the nation. I wonder if the people in Atlanta are meant to take the heat while everyone else who has committed similar acts is allowed to skate.

    "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

    by Lily O Lady on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 09:14:36 PM PDT

  •  but she didn't order the cheating (26+ / 0-)

    she just told her warehouse workers principals and teachers that they would be fired unless they shipped twice as many goods without booking overtime improved standardized test scores.

    "with rights come responsibilities." Wrong. Responsibilities continue to exist even if you abdicate your rights.

    by happymisanthropy on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 09:27:17 PM PDT

  •  This is what I don't get. It's obvious that the (34+ / 0-)

    so-called most famous "school reformer" in the country is a corporatist-funded hack who's mission is to discredit public education in order to set the stage for school privatization--which would be a disaster for education in this country.

    •  it's easy to get (11+ / 0-)

      well over 1/2 trillion of tax dollars spent on K-12 "public" education each year

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 09:30:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, it's the latest venue for human husbandry. (20+ / 0-)

        Children are ideal subjects because they have no say in what is done to them. All they can do is wait to escape. There are multiple reasons why a million children run away from home each year.
        Of course, when they are picked up and put in foster care or juvenile detention, that's another version of human husbandry.
        It is the profit motive that is corrosive. Profit = exploitation. Profit means that someone is getting something for doing nothing more than impeding or moving things around. Profit takers are like the highwaymen of old. Profit takers are middlemen who insert themselves into transactions and insists their interest deserves a "cut."
        Perhaps, instead of middlemen we should refer to them as meddlers. We all know what a disaster meddlers are.  Of course, in some cases the solution is to pay them to go away. Ergo the golden parachute and the practice of promoting up and out.
        The latter is a cowardly, bad habit. It's how we end up with a Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court and Willard the Presidential candidate.
        Teachers are not plumbers. We cannot judge them by what comes out of children's mouths.

        We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

        by hannah on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 12:04:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Human husbandry (5+ / 0-)

          Thank you for the term, which helps focus the horror of much that is happening in this country.

        •  Even in juvenile detention, theymust take the test (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Oh Mary Oh, mimi, hannah, coquiero

          there is no escape; I had kids who would act up to go to lock down in solitray rather than take the tests. Guess what? The still had to take the tests.

        •  I think step #1 should be (0+ / 0-)

          the outlawing of for-profit charter schools. I brought this up at our Democratic Club meeting yesterday when a state senator who is running for secretary of state (OK, "thinking" of running — ha ha; she bought a volunteer who was handing out campaign signs), asking how, when we are cutting money to education and can't adequately fund schools for every child, we can justify any of that money flowing into private profit. She says she's against it but Democrats are in a tiny minority in our statehouse and gerrymandering is unlikely to change that for a decade. And most of the Republican "leadership" in our state is owned by for-profit charter operators.

          Jon Husted is a dick.

          by anastasia p on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 10:39:55 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  doesn't work - let me explain (0+ / 0-)

            the charter is set up as a non-profit, which then hires for profit entities owned by the charter operator and friends and family to provide just about everything for the school

            officially it is non-profit, practically it is shifting public resources into private bank accounts

            "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

            by teacherken on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 11:27:34 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Excuse me for quibbling, but dollars are dollars. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mimi, coquiero, No one gets out alive

        It's OUR currency. The route they take is sometimes important, but it shouldn't be determinative. A bigger waste is all the time parents put in prodding and compensating for what doesn't happen in the classroom  or, in some cases, trying to undo the damage that is done by power mavens.
        Even then, in the grand scheme of things, half a trillion on education (including meddlers) and two trillion on health care is better than the billions expended fabricating killing machines and explosives.

        We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

        by hannah on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 12:30:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  missing the point I was making (13+ / 0-)

          which is there was a huge pot of money that some saw as a guaranteed revenue stream off of which they could profit

          by artificially starving public schools of revenue they need to do their jobs at the same time you impose upon them conditions that guarantee you can label them "unsuccessful" or "failing" while presenting "alternative" that in fact perform no better you can use parental concern about their kids to move that revenue into pockets of those who really do not care about the welfare of your kids, only how much they can take out for themselves.

          "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

          by teacherken on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 02:53:16 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Didn't miss the point. Only wanted to insert (4+ / 0-)

            that the qualification "tax" or "taxpayer" is part of the cons' effort to segregate dollars, as they do people, to make them easier to control.

            The function of taxes is to keep the dollars in motion, moving through the economy, instead of being captured by accumulators. The host of middlemen with which our system of public education has been infected is similar to the host of "investors" on Wall Street, who provide no added value for the dollars they collect and play with.
            Administrators, IMHO, are glorified bookkeepers who invent additional tasks and routines for the teaching and custodial and maintenance staff to justify their existence and remuneration.
            The good thing about dollars is that they provide a measure of relative value and let us determine that people movers are overpaid. I blame the schools of management which, instead of focusing on the allocation of real assets and resources, began to teach, in the late 70s, that the way to get things done is to motivate people and move them around, mostly by threatening to impose penalties on those who don't do what they are told.

            We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

            by hannah on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 03:39:16 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  exactly thepoint (3+ / 0-)

            and yet most people can't wrap their heads around this, even the workers in the public schools, they keep shaking their heads wondering when it will stop, and ikeep telling my coworkers it will not stop until the 1% have destroyed the public schools and we are all using vouchers to educate our kids. At that point it will be means tested and you will not get ful tuition for your kid but have all sorts of copays and exclusions.

    •  Consider the Washington Post for a moment (5+ / 0-)

      The Washington Post is a loss leader for one of the principal corporations involved in the for-profit education business.  Its rightward tilt, especially on the editorial pages, is well documented.  Its Ombudsman once acknowledged that it slants its coverage to appeal to its advertisers perceived rightward bias.  Of course they are looking the other way on this and the reason is obvious.  

  •  Now, just imagine (16+ / 0-)

    if all the Village wishing and hoping and praying came true and she was made our Secretary of Education.

    Fred Hiatt has gone silent. But if she was holding down a gig in the White House, she'd be a liabilities liability and the Right would be spending time and money to make her an albatross to hold hearings over. Ben Ghazi. Fast and the Furious. For Profit Cheating Scandals.

    All the wankers who hung on her every word like a rockstar, or Oprah making book club suggestions, and wanted her in the tent, well, they would all instantly get amnesia the second the eventual (and we know someday something shady she's been involved with is going to have her fingerprints all over it and not be pass off-able on some "misguided fellow traveler or associate") other shoe drops on all these cheating scandals and malfeasance.

    BOOM! rumble-rumble-rumble-rumble-rumble.

    The same Villagers who gushed and gushed and gushed over Michelle Rhee, and speculated wistfully about maybe she could be in play for a job with the Obama White House, would right now be using her like a bludgeon to cripple the Administration with scandal.

    Thank God that little bit of Village fantasy football didn't go down, and for all the guff I have given Obama on Chained CPI lately, I have to give him credit for not going there.

    This corrupt malingerer was an absolute Democratic Party darling not to long ago, and she was because people who don't care if the Democratic Party is a permanent minority in American politics, or who want that as an outcome as their ideal, couldn't push her on non-Movement Conservatives enough as somebody to glom on to.

    Democrats, oh Democrats, beware of people who don't care if Republicans have a stranglehold on power who start "helping" you or "giving you advice".

    Michelle Rhee could have been Rick Santorum's Secretary of Education, let alone a President Mitt Romney's.

    Someday Michelle Rhee is going to be at the heart of a major scandal, or taken away in cuffs, which is the outcome that I think is more likely than just a mere scandal, and then you'll be glad she's not your problem and a face of your party in the public's eyes. The very people who pushed her on you would be using her to beat you politically to death.

    She always gave me the creeps.

    I am from the Elizabeth Warren and Darcy Burner wing of the Democratic Party

    by LeftHandedMan on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 09:36:17 PM PDT

    •  Fred is the lesser problem (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      koosah, Oh Mary Oh, coquiero

      the real problem on the editorial page is Jo-Ann Armao

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Thu Apr 11, 2013 at 09:43:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The very notion of a Rock-Star educator is (5+ / 0-)

      false and offensive.  It results in the notion that if my school district can hire the right tough, charismatic leader (at an absurdly high salary) all our kids will suddenly start to learn.  Improving education is not easy.  There are lots of problems, many of which we have created for ourselves over the last four decades.  The notion that there are nice simple answers is false and will only delay real improvement.

      I'm truly sorry Man's dominion Has broken Nature's social union--Robert Burns

      by Eric Blair on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 09:44:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think this plays into the American fetish (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Eric Blair, Linda Wood

        for big, bold (which usually means destructive, rash and misguided), flashy actions and people at the expense of thoughtful ones. I just read an interesting book called "Quiet," which parsed the consequences of America valuing extrovert traits over introvert ones instead of balancing them and how it lead to all the Enron-type and banking scandals.

        I have long been dismayed by reformers' insistence that everything is a big flaming EMERGENCY and we HAVE to to SOMETHING RIGHT NOW before we lose another generation of kids (never mind the three or four or five we've already lost), and anyone who objects to any plan, no matter how dubious or half-assed that plan is, doesn't care about kids.

        Our education system is NOT in an "emergency." Its problems have developed over time, and they should be addressed over time with thoughtful solutions. And those don't come from self-absorbed "superstars," but from thoughtful, maybe unflashy, people with a gift for collaboration and getting ideas and buy-in from a range of affected sources.

        Jon Husted is a dick.

        by anastasia p on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 10:48:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  At this point... (14+ / 0-)

    I really can't condemn anyone for cheating on these tests.   Desperate times call for desperate measures.   People do what they have to do to survive, and people in public schools are at the point now, where they are fighting for their lives -- students, parents, school administrators.  It is a seige mentality.   It is assymetrical warfare, and as in all cases of assymetrical warfare, the weaker side cannot march boldly out on the front lines like honorable soldiers.  The weaker side must  use sneak attacks, and methods that many find dishonorable.

    I will be reporting my child sick for STAAR tests.  We will have to take them, but my daughter cannot endure the full six hours that she is required to be in their custody so that they can administer this four hour test, so we will lie, and go on "make up" day, where it only takes a little over an hour, and maybe she won't be sick for a week after she takes it.  

    I'd prefer to be above board, but that's impossible.

    •  I think that if you investigate a bit, you'll find (4+ / 0-)

      that you can refuse testing for your child.  This is a little-publicized option in many districts.  

      The elevation of appearance over substance, of celebrity over character, of short term gains over lasting achievement displays a poverty of ambition. It distracts you from what's truly important. - Barack Obama

      by helfenburg on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 03:48:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  the pressure not to do so is incredible (17+ / 0-)

        first, under No Child Left Behind, if less than 95% of any subgroup in any grade is taking the test, the school is considered to have failed to make Adequate Yearly Progress EVEN IF EVERY OTHER CHILD HAS A PERFECT SCORE!  It does not matter why the child is out.  If your subgroup is 10, and one child is in the hospital with appendicitis and all 999 of the other students in the school get perfect scores, the school fails AYP.  Administrators know this, and will threaten, will beseech, will entreat. They will use peer pressure from other parents -  do you want to be responsible for the school failing to make AYP?

        And not all states allow opt-out.  They make use a test for multiple purposes - assessing for AYP and determining whether a child graduates from high school, and failure to take the test can mean the child does not graduate, or maybe does not get promoted to next grade.

        It is sick, it is sickening.

        "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

        by teacherken on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 04:02:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I have investigated (6+ / 0-)

        In Texas, the test is required in order to be promoted.  You can refuse, but you won't be promoted.  

        Any school which receives federal money is required to administer the test.  I considered switching to a private high school, then considered they ALSO administer the tests, because they are a public university.

        The ONLY way that parents have found to opt out is to use Chapter 26 of the Texas Education Code which gives parents the right to remove their child from any activity that the parent believes is immoral or against their religious beliefs.  However, that same statute specifically says that it can't be used to avoid tests.   So, these families are facing legal exposure, and risking that their children will not be promoted.

        Texas has it tied up tight.

      •  Nope. DFWmom is pursuing her only option (0+ / 0-)

        in Texas.

        This is a good article about it.

        Mother Against Standardized Testing

        I blog about my daughter with autism at her website

        by coquiero on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 06:46:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  There is one good thing about money. (7+ / 0-)

    Dollars, even though they leave no finger prints, can be traced. We can evaluate who got how much and assess the result.
    To a certain extent, keeping youth in high school without teaching them any practical skills was always a holding pattern to manage the work force.
    I think it is a mistake to try to teach without involving the hands.  Indeed, I think the reason key pads and touch pads and iphones are so popular is because the give people something to do with their hands and they are adaptable to fingers that are either too large, too small, too arthritic, too uncoordinated to wield a pencil or missing entirely. We haven't paid enough attention to the importance of the sense of touch as a feedback and validating mechanism. Touch is what keeps us connected to reality.
    The skin is our largest sensory organ and all most people seem to notice is what color it is.

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 12:22:05 AM PDT

    •  Problem is, in the modern world, no one is going (0+ / 0-)

      to make anything anymore.  That's all being done by robots.  Kind of leaves those who thrive on manual labor out of the game.

      The elevation of appearance over substance, of celebrity over character, of short term gains over lasting achievement displays a poverty of ambition. It distracts you from what's truly important. - Barack Obama

      by helfenburg on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 03:49:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Robots are a pipe dream for people whose (0+ / 0-)

        hands are hinged backwards.

        We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

        by hannah on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 06:40:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Only hoodies took "hands on" course in my hs (0+ / 0-)

        We were something like 95% or better college prep. It was considered a stigma to take auto shop or secretarial. Offering more such courses would have made no difference to parents pushing their kids to get into Ivy League schools. Four boys in my class went to Harvard.

        Jon Husted is a dick.

        by anastasia p on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 10:52:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I see it now. We'll just have to have a police (0+ / 0-)

    officer in every classroom where a test is given to ensure that there is no cheating going on.  They can have the additional advantage of providing security.  

    The elevation of appearance over substance, of celebrity over character, of short term gains over lasting achievement displays a poverty of ambition. It distracts you from what's truly important. - Barack Obama

    by helfenburg on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 03:42:24 AM PDT

    •  the cheating in DC largely took place after tests (10+ / 0-)

      when score sheets were changed.

      Some may have occurred before -  without a full investigation we do not know if teachers were given improper access to test questions before the test was administered and trained students on actual questions.

      Nice piece of snark, but it does not address the ways cheating is actually done.

      For what it is worth, the way we do testing damages children.  It robs them of meaningful education.  It creates unproductive stress.  When instructions for administering tests include what to do if a student vomits on her answer sheet, I think we have a problem.

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 03:57:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  teacherken, can you do the post about how (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Michelle Rhee just has never actually improved anything in any school district anywhere, least of all in DC?

    The elevation of appearance over substance, of celebrity over character, of short term gains over lasting achievement displays a poverty of ambition. It distracts you from what's truly important. - Barack Obama

    by helfenburg on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 03:51:14 AM PDT

    •  don't need to - read Merrow's post (13+ / 0-)

      and you can see that just from what I have quoted.

      DC only district she ran.

      But she is like the rest of the "reformers."  Best example of multiple districts is Paul Vallas, with a track record of failure from Chicago to Philadelphia to New Orleans now - and this illegally - to Bridgeport.

      Joel Klein did not improve NY schools

      Arne Duncan did not improve Chicago Schools

      and so on and so on and so on

      if only the damn press would pay attention to anything beyond the sexiness of a cheating scandal.  That is actually only a minor part of what is wrong.

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 04:05:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You are so right. The media is focused on the (5+ / 0-)

        wrong scandal.  The scandal is that Rhee, Klein, Duncan and the policies they promote haven't improved education for anybody.

        Keep sayin' it.  Maybe some day, it'll make a difference.  We can hope.

        The elevation of appearance over substance, of celebrity over character, of short term gains over lasting achievement displays a poverty of ambition. It distracts you from what's truly important. - Barack Obama

        by helfenburg on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 06:55:38 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Don't forget Barbara Byrd-Bennett, (0+ / 0-)

        who wasn't exactly popular here in Cleveland when she was pushed out of town. Oh wait, she still lives here and runs the Chicago schools illegally! Nice work if you can get it.

        Jon Husted is a dick.

        by anastasia p on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 10:53:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you, teacherken. (5+ / 0-)

    I hope the day will come when the country awakens to just how evil and self-serving these "reformers" are. They have done more damage to an entire generation of kids than polio and smallpox and the shocking thing is that the country asked them to do it!  

    Metaphors be with you.

    by koosah on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 04:25:51 AM PDT

  •  Rhee turned into or always was a corporate/rich (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Oh Mary Oh it's not surprising that she is doing things that mirror what does on when corruption hits those groups as well.

    I see what you did there.

    by GoGoGoEverton on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 04:31:54 AM PDT

  •  "Impossible to overstate the significance of this" (7+ / 0-)

    Yes! Thanks for pushing it out there Ken. More evidence that the "education reform" movement is being run by charlatans and fools. Maybe we can get Chris Hayes to look at this. He seems to be the only journo of prominence who shows at least a hint of getting it.
    What we can expect from the pushback is that this is merely more evidence of "bad actors" in the system and that "there's nothing wrong with the system" -- the old, "bad apples" bromide.
    The hard work we have to do is to persuade the Very Serious People that the cheating is a symptom of a dysfunctional system. I know you're working on this, but it's just not a pervasive understanding yet.

  •  the $#&@ Chamber of Commerce (2+ / 0-)

    Was the true ruination of the ATL public schools. Don't think for a moment conservatives and the private sectors they rode in on aren't involved in the ultimate perceived corruption of the public school systems in this country. They are on a mission to prove public education is bad.

    Strangely familiar stories...

    2010 Creative Loafing article on APS

    Blog with various news & article links

    Strange but not a stranger.

    by jnww on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 05:18:45 AM PDT

    •  That second link - ugh! (0+ / 0-)

      The racist Vdare blog doesn't offer anything to the discussion realtive to CofC being a negative influence on the schools. The very first post offers a "possibly apocryphal" story claiming that one group of white businessmen pressured another group of white businessmen to accept integration, so that Atlanta would seem more welcoming to business. We don't need to be linking to this tripe

      Secure in their upscale economic gated community, they simply did not care how inept and corrupt the black-ruled city of Atlanta became.

      "No one life is more important than another. No one voice is more valid than another. Each life is a treasure. Each voice deserves to be heard." Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse & Onomastic

      by Catte Nappe on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 09:27:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Lets Fight Back! No Child Failed for Profit! (0+ / 0-)

    It is high time we fought back. TeacherKen can you please review my idea of a multi pronged attack on testing profiteers called No Child Failed for Profit.

    The first step is to use their rhetoric against them and pivot against the idea that teachers do not want to be held accountable at all. Instead of saying no testing at all, lets have a consortium of educators and other very intelligent/ pro public education minded people come together and make a free standardized test. By pushing hard against states that waste " Your hard earned tax dollars on tests that can be given for free" and politicians who, "did you know that x governor is wasting your billions of your tax dollars on exams that can be given for free?" we can start the first step in taking back control of education, especially testing.

    While we erode their profit margin we can also start running ad campaigns. One campaign can be used to highlight how famous and "successful" people did not do well on tests but are still successful and how tests are not so important. another campaign can highlight " Do you know how much money test companies make? A lot right? But do you know the actual numbers? Would you be surprised its in the Billions? No? Well what about if I told you that there is a free alternative that could save you spending that much in money?

    Add a dash of parents refusing and pulling their children out of the tests and some well placed questions of the credibility of the test makers/ graders themselves and I think we can push most of these profit only reformers out of the business.

    There obviously needs to be more details drawn up but these are just some rough ideas that I have.

    •  sorry I don't have time for a detailed response (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      coquiero, Catte Nappe

      need to help get wife out of house for a doctor's appointment

      some of what you suggest will simply not work as you think

      meanwhile there are already several well-organized efforts underway, including one co-lead by Diane Ravitch and Anthony Cody, among others.   As time allows and as is appropriate I will continue to write about those here.  So will Jeff Bryant, a member of this community, who is spearheading another.

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 05:58:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Of Course Principals Will Cheat if Their Jobs (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coquiero, Sychotic1

    depend on the performance of the students.

    "The problem with posting quotes off the Internet is you never know if they're genuine."--Gen. George Washington at the Battle of Gettysburg, February 30, 1908

    by Aspe4 on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 06:04:23 AM PDT

    •  SOME will cheat (7+ / 0-)

      many will not

      just like many teacher will not

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 06:09:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  True, Thanks for the Clarification (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        but there's definitely an incentive to cheat. Or the solution could be to have a third party proctor the exam.

        "The problem with posting quotes off the Internet is you never know if they're genuine."--Gen. George Washington at the Battle of Gettysburg, February 30, 1908

        by Aspe4 on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 07:02:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Great, let us spend more precious education (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          dollars on proctors for expensive exams that don't actually ensure anything other than teaching to the test, which doesn't in any way prepare a student for life.

          "I watch Fox News for my comedy, and Comedy Central for my news." - Facebook Group

          by Sychotic1 on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 08:17:56 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm Not Advocating Standardized Testing (0+ / 0-)

            but since the schools are determined to do it regardless, it seems they should let neutral parties administer it.

            "The problem with posting quotes off the Internet is you never know if they're genuine."--Gen. George Washington at the Battle of Gettysburg, February 30, 1908

            by Aspe4 on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 08:39:03 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  I would love to see Rhee go down (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I was really hoping the news from Atlanta would set off a domino effect.

    I blog about my daughter with autism at her website

    by coquiero on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 06:42:15 AM PDT

  •  Yep (4+ / 0-)

    but she'll be hard to take down. She's protected by some very very influential people.

    It's pretty obvious from the recent Frontline profile that she was aware of cheating. Her awkward responses to questions about her role in possible cheating struck a very discordant tone. She did not say the kind of things an innocent person says. An innocent person would have frustration that the spectre of cheating was threatening to undermine their hard work. Instead Rhee adopted an extremely calm demeanor and a carefully rehearsed tone, her only goal being to obtain separation between herself and any bad actors. An innocent person would be vowing to tirelessly pursue allegations to find out what went wrong. Her canned response was basically to say: "time to move on."

    Watch The Education of Michelle Rhee on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

  •  I keep remembering the big flop (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coquiero, No one gets out alive

    of that big Hollywood movie with Maggie Gyllenhaal about "education reform." It was called, "Never Back Down," or close, and it bombed humiliatingly, to the point where I'm not even sure Gyllenhaal would  want it on her bio.

    It seems every-day people aren't just lapping up the romance of the current brand of "education reform" like the plutocrats want these days. Michelle Rhee is now a tainted figure. And it's going to take the plutocrats a while to change course.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 07:22:16 AM PDT

  •  I would suggest that it's not the money already (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coquiero, No one gets out alive

    invested but the money-making opportunities that keep this farce going.

    Also, many, especially in government, want to believe in these miracles because they absolve them from the hard work of really addressing the social problems we face.

    Where are we going and what am I doing in this handbasket?

    by gelfling545 on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 07:24:28 AM PDT

  •  191 teachers representing 70 schools (6+ / 0-)

    How do you get this many people to cooperate in an illegal or unethical activity?    

    The only way you can get this many people to do something like this, is if they are under tremendous pressure, so much pressure that it overcomes the natural pressures of conscience and fear of punishment for a proscribed act.  

    Ultimately, these people felt that the consequences of not engaging in the activity will be more harmful to themselves or others than engaging in the activity.

    What might they believe?  

    - teachers afraid they may lose their jobs based on these tests.  People will do many things when their basic survival is threatened -- make no mistake, your job is ultimately your survival.

    - teachers afraid they will not be allowed to share in compensation.  Money allocated for teacher pay is disproportionately allocated across workers based on these test results.    Again, that paycheck represents your survival.

    - teachers afraid their schools will be harmed by bad test scores.   The school provides the job that represents their survival.  If the school fails, the teacher's own welfare is also threatened.  School staff may be threatened with "reorganization" or even the closure of public schools and replacement by charter schools.    There is the obvious conclusion that teachers, parents and kids could be harmed by the negative impact of poor test scores.

    - teachers are concerned for their students, whom they feel are capable of advancing to the next grade, but will be stigmatized and preventing from advancing, prevented from normal development, prevented from proceeding with their education, by these tests.

    - teachers who feel that the tests are fundamentally inaccurate, and that the harm done to students, schools and teachers by negative test results is random and capricious, and therefore morally wrong.

    I'm sure there are other concerns.   The point is that the selfish and selfless concerns, and moral and ethical concerns, combine to create a perfect storm of civil disobedience.

    When this many people weigh these considerations, and come to this conclusion, we should pay attention.    The problem is not just the people, it is the situation that the people were placed in.  


  •  Rhee was always a fucking scumbag. Houston.... (3+ / 0-)

    ... put the lie to all this testing nonsense as a means of reform.

    The Houston Miracle involved both cheating AND just tossing all the low scoring kids out of school entirely to raise "results".

    Every element of this concept of school reform is a warped twisted pursuit of a phantom, avoiding the hard work and expense required to really teach and educate the nation's children.

    The problem with taking all the shortcuts is.... you end up with an entire generation of fucking idiots, too stupid to even realize anything is wrong, and then.... THEY VOTE.

    Match Point - Republicans.....

  •  NCLB testing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    is done under the authority of Section 5 the 14th Amendment I believe.

    Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
    Section 2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.

    Section 3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may, by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

    Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.
    Section 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

    Note that the legislation must be appropriate.

    If you or some other teachers think that NCLB or NCLB based testing is inappropriate, perhaps some teachers or their union might wish to file a lawsuit.

  •  Key Point- this is a result of high staks testing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    That's what has to be consistently harped on.  It's not a failure of a regular school system, nor is it a failure of a government body.  

    It's a failure of humans who were put into desperate circumstances, because the bars they were told to jump over were to high, so they had to go under them.


    by otto on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 08:11:27 AM PDT

  •  possible (0+ / 0-)
    with 191 teachers in 70 schools "implicated in possible testing infractions."
    from your linked USA Today article
  •  This is an "I knew it" post (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I knew Ms. Rhee had some hyper-bolic-authoritarian-I-know-I-am-right-always things going on.  They were evident wherever she went, whatever she did, no matter what she said.  She was backed/bolstered by an abnormal and suspicious self-confidence most often seen in right wing christianists and extremists of other  sexist and classist and misogynistic and homophobic world religions (& cultists).  In a way she is a member of a cult (a broader cult and her own cult of prsonality - ugh!)- The Cult of School Private Profiterring and Testing Schemes - with their own tenets and rules and ceremonies and followers and travelling snake-oil salesmen/women.

    They all make me sick.  They are an existential threat to the US and our public education systems.  They are lethatl.  They are a gand lie.  They do not work.  Stop this bullshit, Mrs. Rhee and others.

    I believe in and know public education works.  I live and worked in Boston and in Tampa and around Florida in profesional an personal circles where I saw exhibited the excellence of many public education graduates, including PhD's.  Yes, I also knew brilliant Harvard students, graduates and faculty, as well as many from the other great private schools in New England (BU), Princeton, etc.  So many of us completed Master's degrees at state schools.  Nolt only was tuition fairly low for me in the '90's to earn my Master's in Public Administration in Tampa at USF, a gritty & not so pretty department of dedicated faculty ruffians who believed that either Political Science or Public Administration should rule the world (not both coexisting at the same time at USF).

    It was fascinating,  exciting and interesting.  Never a dull moment, as they say.  I even saw a fist fight between two department heads.  But they also knew their specialties.  One is a respected scholar and prolific writer.


  •  The purpose is to privatize education. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Inconvenient facts will be ignored.

    Now shut up and hand over the dough, peon!

    The Fail will continue until actual torches and pitchforks are set in motion. -

    by No one gets out alive on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 11:03:00 AM PDT

  •  our own Stakhanovite movement (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Early in her first year she met one-on-one with each principal and demanded a written, signed guarantee of precisely how many points their DC-CAS scores would increase.
    I am not a teacher or school administrator, but it amazes me that something like this was demanded, and then celebrated.  It sounds like something out of the Stalinist Soviet Union.

    I also have never watched "Waiting for Superman," but I might watch it now so that I can see the extent to which it is farce.

    A terrible beauty is born. --W.B. Yeats

    by eightlivesleft on Fri Apr 12, 2013 at 11:06:20 AM PDT

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