"A child's learning is the funtion more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Friday, October 02, 2009

Gates and Broad Instruct Rhee to Roll Out Pay-Per-Score in DC Schools

Yesterday WaPo reported that America's Gang of Oligarchs led by Gates and Broad and their puppet, Arne Duncan, have their new evaluation plan for America's urban teachers ready to be imposed. They chose as their field test site Washington, DC, where the Oligarchs' main acolyte has sneered and snarled her way to into the hearts of Business Roundtable members and urban mayors bent upon shutting down elected school boards and any public oversight of the corporatization of urban public schools. After all, if this new scheme fails in DC, no one's child of any importance will have been negatively affected, since none of the developers or supporters of this plan would be caught dead sending their children to DC Schools--the President included.

Teams of lawyers, MBAs, and economists have been working since this past summer, apparently, to iron out the kinks of this new system, which is based on tying teacher pay to test scores and a new evaluation regimen that will reward teachers for making their classrooms look like the KIPP brainwashing camps that have become so popular with the "no excuses" reformers--the President included.

We know that total KIPPster compliance is constantly refreshed through repeated chanting, and KIPPsters dare not take their eyes off the teacher or fail to nod their assent to everything the teacher says. From Bill Turque's article yesterday, explaining the new evaluation techniques that will quantify every aspect of the teacher-student interaction, while looking for KIPP techniques:
IMPACT documents suggest that no nuance will be left unexamined in the 30-minute classroom visits. Observers are expected to check every five minutes for the fraction of students paying attention. Teachers are supposed to show that they can tailor instruction to at least three "learning styles" (auditory, visual or tactile, for example). They can lower their scores by "using sarcasm that visibly hurts or decreases the comfort of one or more students." Among the ways instructors can demonstrate that they are instilling student belief in success is through "affirmation chants, poems and cheers."
One has to wonder if the new Rhee system gives bonus points for effective instilling of learned helplessness, Dr. Martin Seligman's discovery upon which the total compliance model of KIPP is grounded.

Here are some other reactions to the new scheme, among them Randi Weingarten, who pretends that she did not give her consent to this scheme from the beginning:
DCPS has an ideology that everything is dependent on individual teachers and it doesn't matter whether they've gotten help they need," Weingarten said.

Other teaching experts said IMPACT might be top-heavy with well-intentioned criteria, forcing teachers to jump through pedagogical hoops rather than focus on their students."What I would worry about is trying to quantify it in too fine a way," said Jon Saphier, author of "The Skillful Teacher" a popular educator text, who was consulted by Kamras on the framework and likes it overall.

Even experts who support a value-added approach warn of pitfalls. One is that the smaller the student sample, the more statistically unreliable the result. Kamras said classrooms with fewer than 10 students will not be subject to growth monitoring.

Classroom observations have started, and officials said the feedback from teachers has been positive. But instructor interviews yield a more mixed picture. Some fear that master educators have been given marching orders to be tougher on veteran teachers.

"I foresee a lot of teachers, even decent ones, getting low evaluations through this system," definitely at first, said a teacher at West Elementary in Northwest Washington, who asked not to be named for fear of reprisals by administrators.

2 comments:

  1. Anonymous9:36 AM

    Ben Chavis of Oakland charter school notoriety, Green Dot's Steve Barr, DC Chancellor Michelle Rhee--all clearly troubled human beings if they have not crossed the boundary to sociopathy. The "leadership" of all three sick superstars in the corporate drive to smash the public schools are our destiny if the movement succeeds.

    Eli Broad came by his fortune running a homebuilding company KB Homes and an AIG-related insurance concern. It was heartening to see KB stock take a huge hit in the market last week and that is going to continue. The oligarches are still dangerous but they are weakening right now and it is the reason why so many of their efforts have been turned over to the US government and the Obama/Duncan Education Department. We are well along to the formation of the corporate state described by Benito Mussolini. The activists now courageously defending the public schools must ultimately become part of a broad (no pun intended) movement to combat fascism. Resistance by "any means necessary" as a great teacher once said.

    Paul A. Moore
    Miami, FL

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  2. Unbelievable.....our schools a police state, our teachers put on trial by the corporate oligarchs. Just when we thought the absurdities of NCLB could not be surpassed. Is there no longer even any PRETENSE of good intentions?

    Certainly they will need to pay much greater scrutiny to teachers' bathroom privileges.

    "no nuance will be left unexamined in the 30-minute classroom visits. Observers are expected to check every five minutes for the fraction of students paying attention. Teachers are supposed to show that they can tailor instruction to at least three "learning styles" (auditory, visual or tactile, for example). They can lower their scores by "using sarcasm that visibly hurts or decreases the comfort of one or more students." Among the ways instructors can demonstrate that they are instilling student belief in success is through "affirmation chants, poems and cheers."

    Unrelated to this post but we know the new Hoxby charter school study is certain to be used over and over to advance the corporate narrative. I realize her study has already been addressed on at least a few of the blogs but so far (unless I've missed it?) no one has reminded readers of her role in the 2004 charter school dustup.

    I have a post up now about it if you or any of your readers care to use it or link to it.

    http://aplacetorespond.blogspot.com/2009/09/caroline-hoxby-charter-school-study.html

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