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

Friday, April 30, 2010

Duncan To Find Another Texas Miracle Later Today, or Is That An Educational Derivative I Smell

The intrepid turner-arounder, Arne Duncan, will be in Houston today, the home of the first Texas Miracle that got all the edu-fun started 10 years ago when the miracle some years later turned to mirage as the media finally ferreted out the details of Rod Paige's inspired (by Wall Street) leadership and phony numbers game. By then, of course, Rod had made the big time in Washington, left his crooked path of destruction, and departed before the bad news got too bad, leaving Margaret Spellings in charge of the store.

This heads-up on the latest Houston mirage to be celebrated later today by the Secretary in search of a miracle comes from Texas Ed, who left this insightful comment at Bridging Differences (ht to Monty Neill):
This is slightly off-topic, but gets at some of the issues related to those currently in power. Sec Duncan is visiting a "turnaround" school in Houston this Friday. Houston ISD is touting Sam Houston High School as evidence that reconstitution is successful. Indeed, the school was closed under a low-performing rating and achieved recognized status two years later. Good for them, right? But wait--here is what REALLY happened.

The school was low-performing because too few African American students could pass the state math test. After the shuttering and re-opening of the school, the school was now two schools--one a 9th grade center and the other a 10-12 school. Formerly, the school was 9-12. When the school was split, the number of African American students was less than 30 in each school which, in Texas, is too small to be considered i the accountability ratings. Viola--the school is now acceptable even though the combined African American scores would have made the school low-performing.

Further, a new initiative called the Texas Projection Measure (TPM) was applied to increase the rating from acceptable to recognized. The TPM uses a statistical analysis to see if students who did not pass are on track to pass at the end of that level of schooling. So, in this case, 48% of the students passed under the old rules (which would have triggered a low-performing status), yet 68% "passed" using TPM. Now the school, is recognized.

But, under the old rules, the school would STILL be LOW-PERFORMING. This is the type of Enron smoke-and-mirrors that our CEOs leaders are using in education like they used in business to provide "evidence" that their theories work.

1 comment:

  1. Texas Ed also posted this @ Bridging Differences--------

    "You'll hear that the Public school teaching corps, in too many places, lives in 1970."

    Well, in Texas, that is certainly not true. The majority of our teachers are prepared through alternative certification programs. Three of our five major districts have teacher performance pay. The two largest use value-added to assess teachers and reward/punish them as well as the principals.

    The result? Our NAEP scores have flattened out over the last 6 years after a decade of progress. Our dropout rate remains at 30% with the Black and Latino rate at 50% in urban areas.

    Surveys reveal teachers and principals believe the accountability and testing system does harm to teachers and kids. Teachers relate that the best teachers are leaving because they have been de-professionalized.

    Yet Duncan and crew are pursuing these pathways across the nation. If they want to make things worse, they are certainly on the right path."