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KIPP’s DC turnaround plan surfaces at Wikileaks

August 14, 2010

As you know two of three KIPP schools in DC had their reading and math scores fall precipitously. I was just over at wikileaks and saw the turnaround plan posted. I’ve excerpted a bit of it below.

  1. Fire all teachers and administrators at the affected school(s).
  2. Detonate a low-yield tactical nuclear weapon, removing all traces of student records, test scores, employment records and the like.
  3. Hire new TFA grads to go in and clean up the radioactive debris.
  4. When they die, hire more TFA grads to bury the bodies and clean up the remaining debris and rebuild the new schools under new names.
  5. Hire different administrators.
  6. Hire the TFA grads that haven’t died from radioactive exposure because, through natural selection and the 8-week course they take, that means they’re gonna be great teachers.
  7. Enroll new students.
  8. Update mission statement to “Work hard, be nice, take high-pressure showers before you leave the school grounds.”
  9. Airlift Jay Matthews in on opening day so he can give us a glowing review in the WaPo.
  10. Store this plan for and reuse it when other schools’ test scores drop.

So it passed….

August 11, 2010

…and there were tweets and pressers and everything associated with it. I got two emails from Dennis Van Roekel, and I got one proclaiming “Victory” from the AFT. Not one mention within those union-produced communiques of exactly where the funding came from.

I still cannot believe that this bill was allowed to be funded the way it was. There had to be some other kind of offset availible in order to fund it, right? I am something of a hawk when it comes to national security, and I haven’t been paying enough attention to our future occupation plans, but aren’t we leaving soon, or transferring roles or something? Won’t that cost less money, money that could have been better spent on teachers?

Read more…

A bitter taste in my mouth and in my soul….

August 7, 2010

So I’ve been somewhat disconnected from the ‘net lately. By that, I mean I’ve been too lazy to blog much. Or read blogs. It comes in waves.

So I log in to Google Reader and go right over to Prea Prez’s place. He wrote about how the edujobs bill was funded; when I read it, it stopped me in my tracks. Dead in my tracks.

Long and short of it is that the $10 billion in funding we got from Congress to help save teacher jobs, at least some of it was paid for by a phase-out of food stamp increases provided under the stimulus bill. That means families who qualified at some point won’t be getting the extra $80 a month.

Let me get this straight: 

In order to maintain a quality educational system for our students, we’re going to prevent teacher layoffs with this multi-billion dollar bill, bring these teachers back into the classroom to teach a bunch of students who don’t give a damn about learning because they’re hungry due to fact that the extra money their families would have gotten in food stamps now pays the teacher who watches over their hungry child?

There’s no other way to say it:

This is so fucked up. I want these teacher jobs back, but at the cost of hungry families? I agree with Antonucci on this one; where the money came from won’t make it to a presser anywhere.

Will you be my friend?

July 25, 2010

I’m on Facebook. Please feel free to friend me.

The events in DC as a spaghetti western: A Fistful of Pink Slips

July 25, 2010

I’m not the first to blog about this. When I saw it coming through on EdWeek’s Twitter account, first I thought it was a typo. But it wasn’t. 240-plus teachers in D.C. will be let go, courtesy of Chancellor Michelle Rhee. 

The Washington Teachers’ Union is challenging the dismissals (or most of them) and everyone has been weighing in on what the dismissals mean. I think there are many superintendents across the country who have dreams of being Michelle Rhee; thinking that they are going to be the next vigilante superintendent, riding from school to school, dispatching those vile, shiftless bad teachers. 

I can see it now, done up properly as a spaghetti western. 

A tumbleweed rolls down the main hallway, propelled by a gust of wind let in from the opening of the front door to the school. It’s carrying fifteen erasers’ worth of chalk dust and an assorted variety of incomplete homework papers. 

A dark-suited figure steps into the school entrance, silhouetted from behind by the sun. An audible gasp from the students and school staff members is heard; it is…the Superintendent. 

The footfalls of the Superintendent’s designer leather shoes ring throughout the now-silent halls. 

“I’m a-lookin’ for Susie Schoolmarm,” says the Superintendent, glancing from student to teacher to student again. “Where is she?” 

Read more…

Is an expert’s professional judgement phony science?

July 21, 2010

In a previous post, I had asked the question: If education “experts” had never set foot in a K-12 classroom, were they really experts? I said no.

Of all people, Jay Greene writes a blog post today that validates what I said. And he smacks down upon the Fordham Foundation, which I think will make the brothers Klonsky happy.

From Greene’s post, “Expert panels are phony science”

Education studies based on the professional judgment of experts is phony science and is usually nothing more than an exercise in political manipulation.  Unfortunately, the recent “study” released by Fordham assigning grades to state standards and the national standards proposed to replace them is an example of this kind of research.

Did the NEA out-union the AFT this summer?

July 20, 2010

Both organizations had their large meetings over the past three weeks. NEA (of which I am a member) has theirs annually; AFT holds its convention on a biannual basis.

Personally, I’ve always thought of AFT as the bulwark of the teacher-unionist movement. They were, after all, the first national teacher’s union to engage in collective bargaining. AFT is the house that Al Shanker built. NEA had to play catch-up and go from there.

The aftermath of the recent conventions makes me think that the NEA did out-union the AFT. But is that a good thing? Read on.

Read more…

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