professornana (professornana) wrote,
professornana
professornana

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Expert or Exasperating?

It seems as though Michelle Rhee still believes she is a teacher. This week, she handed out grades for states and how they are progressing on reforming education: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/15/report-despite-some-gains_n_4602701.html?ncid=edlinkusaolp00000003&ir=Education. In Rhee's own words: "'This is a different kind of report card. This is not a reflection of the states' individual schools, nor is it a rating of the current academic levels,' Rhee said in a call with reporters Tuesday. 'This is an evaluation of whether states have the right policy environment in place that will lead to higher academic growth from where they are today'."

Rhee's report card judges states on their policies and not their test scores (read the article to see why that fact ids unimportant) though she gives failing marks to any state that does not have a VAM policy in place. Rhee's company focuses on three factors: teacher quality (as measured by those pesky test scores what don't count elsewhere), school choice, and spending. 59% of states received a "D" and 14% received an "F". Put in other terms, almost 75% of states are failing. None received an "A." Only 4% received a "B." You can read the entire report here: http://reportcard.studentsfirst.org/assets/2014NationalReport.pdf.

Alternative certification, charter schools, parent triggers, and relaxing class size restrictions are all policies this group upholds. Putting mayors in charge of schools, allowing for more contracted services, ending layoffs based on seniority are also there. My favorite part (insert sarcastic font) was the description about how the scores were determined. It SOUNDS very scientific and authentic. However, if you read my previous post about numbers not lying because people do, you should be able to spot what is wrong here.

Impressive looking report, colorful charts, lots of double speak: is it any doubt why this report is getting PR in various media outlets? This is what we face, folks, as we try to maintain some form of autonomy in our classrooms. As autonomy erodes, kids suffer. I love reading FB and Twitter and blog posts about the excellent work teachers are doing in the classroom. All that fades, though, when folks who are far removed from the classrooms offer grades and other helpful observations about how to improve education. Want to improve education? Support a teacher. Donate to the library. Fund teachers for professional development (outside of the reform corporations). Purchase school supplies for kids who cannot afford them. There are a myriad of things we can and should do. Handing out failing grades to schools based on some baffling set of policies is not helpful in the least.
Tags: ccss, failing, grades, idiocy
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