With guest, Louder Than a Bomb poet Nate Marshall

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Fire D.C. Rhee and her entire staff--or at least cut their pay

Her scores went down

The fun part is watching Rhee loyalists twisting themselves into pretzels to rationalize a 4% drop in D.C. elementary school test scores. Suddenly, the entire test-and-punish crowd is explaining to us how test scores don't mean anything and how test scores are tied much more to out-of-school conditions.

The problem is that she has made rising standardized test scores a central measure for achievement -- hers, students and teachers, writes WaPo's Valerie Strauss. 
So, feel free to judge Rhee on her insistence on placing so much importance on test scores (as have today’s other titans of education reform, such as Joel Klein in New York City). She believes they are so important, in fact, that she recently announced that she wants to expand their use in city schools, so that, in time, every D.C. student from kindergarten through high school is regularly assessed to measure academic progress and teacher effectiveness. But judging her reforms on the actual test scores, well, as my kids say, “Not so much.”


  1. Rhee is a scam artist. The problem is that our union bought in and signed that ridiculous contract.

  2. The charter advocates have always done the same thing when charter schools fail to miraculously outperform public schools. First they bash public schools for their test scores and proclaim charter schools as the magical solution, and then when charter schools do no better, it's all "oh, test scores don't really tell us anything."

  3. The tricky part is not falling into the same trap of accepting test scores as the only legitimate way of talking about assessment. What other alternatives are there?

  4. Charter schools are the answer to incompetent school administrators and their masters. List the number of administrators in central office or who are CAO's who actually successfully led and lived through multiple learning cycles of building professional capacity of a school organization (s). I gather none. You can't get blood from a rock. The Rhees, Huberman's and Klein's actually don't know how to really work with teachers. So these school district leaders are aping one another's tactics and hope nobody outs them. These folks are con artists taking the tax payers money and ruining public education. (This is an area that schools of education shy away from. They take federal money on how to improve preservice teacher quality, when they are sending lambs to the slaughter!)

  5. Just in passing: recommend reading Valerie Strauss every day. She approaches a lot of interesting topics and is skeptical w/out being cynical. Advocates are more like lawyers than researchers in a laboratory [idealized] sense. They carry a brief to every piece of data.

  6. Thanks Mike. I do read Strauss regularly. She's an oasis in the desert over there at the Post.

  7. DCPS elementary scroes went down 4 percentage points, not 4%. There is a difference - as scores were in the forties, it means scores are down 10%.


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