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

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Bloomberg's Criminal Hypocrisy

As Diane Ravitch documents in her book, the Bloomberg Machine used manipulated cut scores that they knew were phony to promote a fraudulent reform agenda based on control through testing and replacing public schools with corporate charters.  From 2006 through 2009, Bloomberg and Klein crowed about each year's conversion of the low scorers at Level 1 to the Levels 2 and 3, when they knew that the picture they were presenting to the public was the grossest of charades.  From Ravitch:
Why did the number of students at level 1 [the lowest scorers] plummet?  Becase the state lowered the bar and made it easier for students to reach level 2.  On the sixth-grade reading test in 2006,students needed to earn 41 percent of the points to attain level 2; by 2009 students in that grade needed only 17.9 percent.  In seventh-grade math, students needed to earn 36.2 percent of the points on the test to advance to level 2 in 2006, but by 2009, they needed to earn only 22 percent.  The standards to advance from level 1 to level 2 dropped so low that many students could get enough correct answers to pass to level 2 by randomly guessing (p. 79).
So in 2009 the Prince of Corporate Education eeked out another term as Mayor (after spending $100 million against a no-name candidate) based on campaign vow to improve schools, a vow that was kept only by cooking the accounting books.  Now one year later, with the primary objective of corporate ed reform newly focused on the replacement of professional teachers in the blown up urban schools with white female temporary missionaries from TFA and the alternative knock-offs, Bloomberg wants to publicly display the new downwardly-adjusted student gain scores with the teachers' names attached as a way to burn big F's into the foreheads of thousands of NYC teachers.

Never mind that the National Academy of Science, the vast majority of research scholars, and even the Rand Corporation have all explicitly warned against the use of value-added models for making high stakes decisions, whether involving students or teachers.  Even so, it took legal action this week by the teachers' union to stop the release of the scores. 

How did the New York Times present the news of this brazen malfeasance on Bloomberg's part?  Their headline focuses only on the union response, "Union Plans to Try to Block Release of Teacher Ratings," thus assuring the promulgation of the corporate script based on labeling and framing teachers as rejecting any kind of change.  The fact is, of course, that teachers are hungry for change after 25 years of the same antiquated and crippling miseducation that has been foisted onto the nation by the Chamber of Horror's Commerce's Business Roundtable. 

A clip from WaPo:
On Wednesday, New York City education officials announced plans to provide news organizations ratings on teachers that are derived from calculations on how much year-to-year progress their students make on standardized tests.

But on Thursday, a city education spokeswoman said, officials put that plan on hold for several weeks while a state court considers a teachers union petition to block the release.

At issue is disclosure of records that include the names of thousands of teachers.

"We think the public has a right to the information," city education spokeswoman Natalie Ravitz said. She said the ratings are used in tenure and other personnel decisions. . . .

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