Search results for: "brandenburg"

G.F. Brandenburg posted a graph from a recent report of the OECD–the same organization that sponsors the PISA tests–which shows the number of hours that teachers work in every country tested.

Teachers in the United States reported working an average of 46.2 hours a week, according to the Teaching and Learning International Survey, which was coordinated by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and included responses from educators in 49 education systems. The global survey average was 38.3 hours a week. Only teachers in two other education systems—Japan and Kazakhstan—reported working more hours.

Of the hours U.S. teachers reported working, the bulk of that time—28 hours—is spent teaching, as opposed to on administrative work or professional development. That’s more than teachers in any other education system. The survey average was 20 hours spent teaching.

Open the link to see the graph.


Guy Brandenburg offers a graph of 8th Grade scores on NAEP from 1992-2019 for four jurisdiction and invites you to find a miracle , if you can.

Former D.C. math teacher Guy Brandenburg attended the NAEP press conference in D.C. where Betsy DeVos explained what lessons the nation can lean from the NAEP results. 

DeVos thinks the rest of the nation should learn from D.C., which has the largest racial gaps of any urban district tested by NAEP; Or Florida, where test scores went down; or Mississippi, where scores rose even though it is at the very bottom of all stages tested by NAEP. When you are at the very bottom, it’s easier to “improve” your scores.

When Betsy DeVos is long forgotten, please do not forget that she held up Mississippi as a model for the nation!

Brandenburg wants the world to know that D.C. made its greatest gains before mayoral control.

I found that it is true that DC’s recent increases in scores on the NAEP for all students, and for black and Hispanic students, are higher than in other jurisdictions.

However, I also found that those increases were happening at a HIGHER rate BEFORE DC’s mayor was given total control of DC’s public schools; BEFORE the appointment of Michelle Rhee; and BEFORE the massive DC expansion of charter schools.

He has the data and graphs to prove it.


G.F. Brandenburg cannot understand the Washington Post editorial writer Jo-Anne Armao. When Michelle Rhee started her job as chancellor of the D.C. schools in 2007, Armao interviewed her and decided that she was the greatest educator ever. Nothing that has happened in the past dozen years has changed her views. To this day, she still writes lovingly, respectfully about the Miracle that was Michelle Rhee. All her initiatives have failed. A huge cheating scandal was covered up and forgotten. Charter scandals have come and gone. A high school boasted of its 100% graduation rate, but it was a fake.

No matter. The Washington Post editorial board has Rhee’s back, almost a decade after she left.

For a fun trip down memory lane, read the comments on the John Merrow post from 2013 that is included.


Gary Rubinstein was a member of one of the first cohorts to join Teach for America. He decided to make a career of teaching, unlike most of those who enter TFA. He is now one of its sharpest critics because he knows the organization well.

In this post, he expresses amazement and amusement that TFA is boasting about anew research study that doesn’t reflect well on TFA teachers. Those in the first two years of teaching, where mostvTFA are, don’t do well.

Either TFA didn’t read the report carefully or it just decided to spin the conclusions.

Guy Brandenburg read the same report and concluded that it “crushed” the myth of the TFA Super Teacher.

In recent years, reformers have decided that the District of Columbia is their best model, even though it remains one of the lowest performing districts in the nation (but it’s scores are rising) and the D.C. achievement gaps are double that of any other urban district. Remember that D.C. has been controlled by dyed-in-the-wool corporate reformers since 2007, when Mayor Adrian Fenty took control and installed Michelle Rhee as chancellor.

Nearly half its students are in charter schools, and the charter schools make bold claims about both test scores and graduation rates. As I pointed out in an earlier post, the D.C. public schools actually have higher graduation rates than the D.C. charter schools, despite charter propaganda.

G.F. Brandenburg cites an analysis of graduation rates by blogger Valerie Jablow, which confirms the superior performance of D.C.’s public schools.

But what should be a larger concern, as he points out, is that both charter high schools and public high schools are losing a large number of students. Wouldn’t it be nice if the education leaders of D.C. stopped the competition for bragging rights and joined together to figure out why they are losing so many young people?

Yesterday I posted G.F. Brandenburg on the same question. He posted a letter by a parent activist, who thinks the charter industry wants a chancellor on their side. She wrote: “the D.C. Public School Chancellor has absolutely no authority over any charter school in this city. The Chancellor cannot make any determinations on the siting of a school, the board composition of a school, the curriculum, staff or any other matter related to a charter.” Furthermore, charters can locate wherever they choose, even across the street from a public school.

If charters are competing with public schools, why do they get a large say in picking the chancellor who leads the other team?

Here is another post by Brandenburg, with the names of those on the search committee. He cites a post written by Valerie Jablow.

He adds:

“All told, of the 14 people on the selection panel, half have ties to charter and ed reform interests. And several were the source of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions for the mayor.

“[Confidential note to Mayor Bowser: Does this mean that if I and two of my DCPS BFFs donate $5000 to your current campaign, one of us will be named by you to serve on the charter board? I mean, this is the selection panel for the DCPS chancellor we’re talking about here! Why have any charter reps at all, as there have been zero purely DCPS reps. EVER on the charter board? Or is this all OK here because, um, well, because cross sector something something?]

“Then, too, of those 14 people on the selection panel, there are a total of 1 teacher; 1 student; and 4 parents, half of whom have ties to ed. reform and charter interests.

“The law regarding chancellor selection states (boldface mine) that “the Mayor shall establish a review panel of teachers, including representatives of the WTU, parentS, and studentS to aid the Mayor . . . in the selection of the Chancellor.” The law also says nothing about principals or officials from organizations unrelated to DCPS serving on the selection panel.

“Notwithstanding the (remote) possibility that the singular student and teacher selected for this panel have multiple personalities, the math here simply doesn’t add up: there are more than a hundred THOUSAND parents and students in DCPS and several THOUSAND teachers.

“And yet we have a rep from Friendship charter school on this panel and not even TWO DCPS teachers or students??

“Gees, Mayor Bowser: it’s nice that you’re soliciting limited feedback on the next chancellor from us unwashed masses, but can’t you dial back the public dissing?

“Amazingly, all of this is downright familiar in DC public education:

“For instance, several years ago the process to change school boundaries showed that people wanted, overwhelmingly, a strong system of by right public schools in every neighborhood.

“Since then, our city leaders have enacted policies and taken actions that ensure that remains a pipe dream:

“–Thousands of new seats have been created in the charter sector, with little public notification. (One–Statesman–will start this fall without any public notification or input whatsoever beforehand. Yeah: check out these public comments.) Without commensurate growth in the population of school-age children, the result is a declining share of DCPS enrollment–all without any public agreement whatsoever.

“–A closed DCPS school (Kenilworth) was offered to a charter school in violation of several DC laws, including public notification; RFO to other charter schools; and approval of the council. (I am still waiting for my FOIA request to DCPS about this to be answered, since no one on the council, at the deputy mayor for education’s office, or at DCPS ever answered my questions as to how this offer actually came about.)

“–A test-heavy school rating system was approved, which tracks closely with what our charter board uses, without any consideration for what the public actually said it wanted. (And with a private ed. reform lobbying organization phonebanking to ensure it got what it–not the public–wanted.)

“–Ours is a public education landscape in which wealthy donors set the conversation (watch the linked video starting at 1:21:25); determine the way in which schools are judged; and profit from it all, while the public is left far, far behind.

“–Despite clear data showing problems in both sectors for graduation accountability and absences, there has been little movement in city leadership to ensure both sectors are equally analyzed.

“In the same manner, in our new chancellor selection panel the public is disenfranchised and the law not followed, while personnel from private groups are heavily involved and stand to profit in a variety of ways.

“Hmm: Familiar indeed.”

Retired D.C. teacher G.F. Brandenburg posts a letter by a parent to the City Council asking why the leaders of the charter sector play such a large role in picking the next D.C. Chancellor, who exercises no control over the charters.

Are the charter leaders intent on picking a chancellor who will give them unfair advantages? Do they want a willing Patsy for their ambitions?

Iris J. Other, parent advocate, writes:

“As you are aware the D.C. Public School Chancellor has absolutely no authority over any charter school in this city. The Chancellor cannot make any determinations on the siting of a school, the board composition of a school, the curriculum, staff or any other matter related to a charter. Additionally, as I was recently reminded the Public Charter School Board itself pays little heed to the proximity of where a new charter is sited. Often doing so directly across from a traditional public school and/or over the objections of residents in neighborhoods.

“I raise this issue with you because as my elected representatives, it is my expectation that you take a moment to understand that it is a conflict for charter proponents to have their hands in the DCPS Chancellor selection pot. One has to wonder if Please consider the words of one of my very close friends, “Charter advocates have a stake in having a DCPS chancellor who will not compete with charters, but acquiesce in opening and siting charter schools to draw students from DCPS schools and in closing DCPS schools so the charters can have the buildings.”

G.F. Brandenburg has been analyzing the results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress for the District of Columbia to understand the alleged “D.C. Miracle” attributed to Michelle Rhee, who was appointed in 2007 and left in 2010. Rhee was succeeded by her deputy Kaya Henderson, who pledged to protect her predecessor’s punitive policies. Rhee and Henderson (and their successors) were appointed as a result of mayoral control, mimicking New York City’s alleged “miracle” (which seems to have disappeared when Mayor Bloomberg left office).

Brandenburg concludes, based on a 10-year track record, that mayoral control benefited the children of college graduates, not the children of high school dropouts.

The reason to replace the elected board with mayoral control, he writes, was to help the least advantaged students. Instead, it was the most advantaged students who saw the greatest gains.

This is proof, he says, that “education reform” is “a complete failure.”

Let me point out the obvious: white parents in DC are overwhelmingly college-educated. Those in DC who did not graduate from high school, or who graduated from 12th grade and went no further, are overwhelmingly African-American or Hispanic. So our ‘reforms’ have had a disproportionately negative impact on black and hispanic students, and a positive one on white kids.

Remember all the hype about the amazing District of Columbia schools, about how they had improved more than any other urban district thanks to the reforms launched by Michelle Rhee and nurtured by her successor Kaya Henderson? Test scores rising, graduation rates soaring.

The hype seems to be unraveling.

An audit in January reported that fully 1/3 of graduating students had not met minimum standards to graduate.

Now, G.F. Brandenburg says that the scandals continue.

He writes:

“Not in my wildest dreams could I make this stuff up about how completely incompetent and criminal is the leadership of DC Public Schools. But these incidents are all reported in today’s Washington Post.

“1. The flagship DC high school for the performing arts, Duke Ellington, was found to have fraudulently given about 30% of its highly-coveted student slots to kids whose families neither lived in DC nor paid out-of-state tuition. Those fraudulent slots of course meant that hundreds of talented DC students were rejected. (Part of the reason for Ellington leaders getting away with this is the overlapping public and private leadership of the school, allowing them to report much less detail to any central authority. Similar to the situation in charter schools here and elsewhere.)

“2. Somebody has fraudulently erased the records of unexcused first-semester absences for a bunch of students at Roosevelt SHS so they would be eligible to graduate. These students had been absent so much that they had received Fs. However, their records now indicate that they had ZERO absences in the first quarter. Teachers reported the erasures but are afraid of reprisals.”

He goes on to describe the seniors at Roosevelt HS, where only 29% are on track to graduate. He points out that 38% of the class dropped out.

D.C. used to be the reformers’ favorite district, after New Orleans. Not so much now.