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

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Rhee Announces Teachers Should Suffer During Holidays, Too

Michelle Rhee
The former D.C. chancellor, leader of Michelle First,  believes that if we’re going to use tenure to retain teachers, we must do it 'based on measures that matter' to Eli Broad and Bill Gates Read More >>

When you get on the Waiting for Superman email list like I did, you get an uninterrupted supply of propaganda, with headlines, stories, and pics like the one above (slightly altered) of Eli Broad's poisonous puppet, Michelle Rhee, in one her most Hitlerian poses, complete with backlighting spots.

The ad agencies that handle the corporate reform schoolers' accounts have made an art form of preying on unsuspecting newbie teachers trained to be parrots of the 19th Century teaching gospel of Doug Lemov or the behavioral sterilization therapies of KIPP's David Levin.  These new entrepreneurial pedagogues are the same ones who are being chewed up and spit out by the system that Mad Michelle created in DC before she left under the cloud of a cheating scandal that won't go away.

Here a few clips from an AP story by Ben Nuckols in September on the wreckage that Rhee left behind in DC with the corporate reform schoolers' teacher evaluation scheme based on test scores:

"We have gone from a system where almost no one was terminated, no matter how bad, to the other extreme, where good teachers as well as bad are terminated," said Mary Levy, an attorney and a longtime analyst of city education policy. "The latter is probably more damaging due to the stress and demoralization it causes."
. . . .
Rhee fired nearly 1,000 teachers in her 3 years as chancellor, and some of the firings provoked legal challenges. She was known for inflammatory statements, including a magazine interview in which she said she laid off teachers "who had hit children, who had had sex with children." She later clarified that two of the fired teachers had been accused of sexual misconduct.
. . . .
"Could we have achieved the meager improvements that we've achieved with less stress and less money on the taxpayers? I argue that the answer is yes," Saunders said.
The district still lags far behind the national average on the "Nation's Report Card" from the Education Department. Between 2009 and 2011, with the new teacher standards in place, average fourth-grade reading scores were down slightly and eighth-grade reading scores were unchanged. Math scores were up slightly in both grades.

. . . . The district has one of the highest teacher turnover rates in the nation. Half of new teachers leave the system after 2 years, according to Levy's analysis, compared with about one-third nationwide. Levy recently began examining individual schools and found two-year turnover rates as high as 94 percent at one elementary school and 66 percent at a high school.
Even some teachers who score highly under the system are wary of it. Diane Terrell, 62, a pre-kindergarten teacher who's been in the system for nearly 40 years, has been rated "highly effective" each year the system has been in place, but has turned down the bonus money because it would force her to give up certain rights if she were laid off.
"I should not have to give up anything in order to receive something if I have proved myself highly qualified. Why should I?" Terrell said. Although she's fared well under the evaluation system, she doesn't measure herself by it, saying it provokes "fear and frustration" in her and her colleagues.
"I feel that I'm a quality teacher," she said, "because I'm here to serve the children."
Michelle Rhee off stage

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