G.F. Brandenburg, retired math teacher, has done a close analysis of Michelle Rhee’s. state report card.
He calls it a “Brave New World-type Orwellian fantasy,” in which words mean the opposite of what they say.
Her ranking does not measure whether states have high test scores or high graduation rates. it does not measure whether states have laws and policies that have encouraged better teaching and successful schools. It des not measure anything that matters.
Read the full story on his blog to see how and why Rhee gave out her abysmal grades, in which almost every state gets a D or an F except those run by her rightwing buddies.
Here is a sample from Brandenburg, stating first what Rhee claims she is measuring, followed by Brandenburg’s short explanation of what she really measured:
■ Reduce legal barriers to entry into teaching profession and permit alternate certification programs to provisionally place teachers in the classroom (Brandenburg: In other words, make a 5-week summer program like TFA, or no program at all, the legal equivalent to a traditional one- or two-year professional teaching license system.)
■ Pay structures based on effectiveness and performance pay (Brandenburg: In other words, make teachers’ pay dependent on the score from an arcane mathematical algorithm that no one understands (VAM) and which jumps around widely and wildly from year to year for the same teacher; and which correlates with nothing else. BTW, none of the many studies conducted on performance pay has yet shown that ‘performance pay’ for teachers does anything to help students. What’s more, many teachers in jurisdictions that have bonuses for teachers who score high on these formulas refuse to accept the bonuses, because of the ‘poison pills’ attached to the bonuses.)
■ Parental notification and parental consent for student placement with ineffective teachers (Brandenburg: in other words, public shaming of teachers who happen to end up on the short end of the VAM yardstick; this is part of Rhee’s Orwellian use of the phrase “Elevate the Teaching Profession”)
■ Remove arbitrary caps on public charter establishment and establish alternative authorizing and fast-track process for high-performing public charters (Brandenburg: We now know that charter schools are frankly aimed at destroying public education, not improving it. We also know that in 5/6 of the cases, charter schools do the same as OR WORSE THAN their peer public schools. We also know that the few charter schools that have good student achievement records do so by winnowing out all of the problem students — who are sent back to the public schools — and by having longer days, longer years, and summer programs, all of which cost more money.)
■ Provide comparable funding and prohibit authorizers from charging fees from public charter schools for oversight and administration (Brandenburg: In other words, make sure that charters get MORE money per pupil than the regular schools, since just about all charter schools receive large private donations. My administrator friends in DCPS and elsewhere tell me that private donors essentially refuse to give anything to regular public schools these days, no matter how worthy the program.)