Listen to Hitting Left with guest Matt Farmer

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Hess tries his best to spin CF mess

AEI's teacher-bashing spinmeister Rick Hess, tries his best to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear (Gist's mass firings at Central Falls H.S.). A massive push-back by organized labor, students and teachers nationwide forced Commissioner Gist and Supt. Gallo to rescind the firings and hire back all 93 teachers and staff before legal action would have forced the issue.

In this interview with Gist, Hess tries to make it seem like this was the plan all along, that the firings were just part of a "poker game" bluff to make the teachers union accept violations of the contract without any negotiations. Notice how he tries to lead Gist into accepting a certain percentage of firings as a benchmark of success. Gist of course, refuses. 

RH: Okay, but suppose that, at this time next year, we see that just five or six of the school's 93 teachers are removed. Would observers be right to be skeptical that the process was toothless?

DG: It's not about removing any particular percentage of teachers. It's hard to know what the proper percentage would look like. But I strongly encourage people to be skeptical. We should be skeptical. I want people to take a hard look at us, and I'm going to do the same with the district and with my staff. But it's not about the percentage of teachers we remove. It's about the quality of the evaluation and about performance. I expect there will be turnover, but how much there is remains to be seen.
 And so it goes.
More Gist:   But there are some great teachers at the high school and, because teacher evaluation is so poor around the country and in the state, we don't have good evidence as to who should stay and who should not. This deal gives us the opportunity to make those decisions in a more informed way and gives folks the opportunity to be a part of the reform movement. 

Yes, commissioner. You should have thought of that before you made Central Falls the poster child for failure of Duncan's Race To The Top

Second thought: Why is this paid flack for the right-wing think tanks being given a blog at Edweek? Just asking.

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