Hari Sevugan, the ex-Obama spokesman and ex-StudentsFirst spokesman, has twice commented on this blog in defense of charters and high-stakes testing. In his comments yesterday, he pointed to Florida as a model of excellence, while putting down Massachusetts as not all that it claims to be. In my response, I compared Florida’s NAEP scores to those of Massachusetts. Massachusetts is consistently #1, while Florida ranks about average among the 50 states. I assume that Hari was promoting Glorida because Michelle Rhee ranked it at the top of her personal report card. It is certainly way ahead of Massachusetts in authorizing charter schools, for-profit charters, vouchers, high-stakes testing, and stripping teachers of tenure.
Today, I received a letter from a teacher in Nashville, who asked me to post the following questions to Hari. If he answers, I will post his reply.
“I am a teacher in Nashville Public Schools, who has been teaching for 14 years. I have to be honest that since I have been working on a Masters in Educational Leadership, current reform policies have been gaining my interest. I read Hari’s response on your message board, and I would like to ask him why he would slam Massachusetts’s NAEP results and in the same response hold TIMSS and PIRLS results for Florida as a progressing miracle.
“The same studies that he and the likes of him quote to put schools down and compare us to higher achieving nations are the same tests he uses to hold up academic progress for states that are using the current GERM model. I am fascinated with his spin and ability to turn the student achievement of a state rejecting (for the most part) GERM and yet in the same breath hold up a state that does not perform near Massachusetts as a model for reform.
“Please, have him explain his answer as to why bashing the progress of Massachusetts yet holding up Florida and Louisiana as the proof reform is working. In this country it is so hard to measure which reform is working due to all of the different reforms taking place. But, I do not believe Hari’s and StudentsFirst type of reform will give us sustainable results. So, this letter is really directed to Hari, I just don’t know how to get it to him.
“I hope all is well with you and the rest of your readers and please continue the good fight. The future of public education is relying on this conversation.”