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

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Guest Post: CJ on Kittredge And Moskowitz talking corporate charter secrets

Apparently a charter spokesman, Jeremiah Kittredge in NYC, has difficulty---or feigns difficulty in order to manipulate folks---with the statistical concept of "average."  

(Kittredge is the high-paid and top spokesman for FAMILIES FOR EXCELLENT SCHOOLS, a non-profit that is funded by the Waltons, Eva Moskowitz' husbands' group, and hedge-funder-backed PACs.)

In a WCNY radio interview, Kittredge was asked to respond to irrefutable data that charters serve significantly less-than-average numbers of Special Ed. and ELL students. He countered by comparing charters' records to that of public schools.  

His proof.

Charters' dismal record for under enrolling Special Ed. and ELL students is no big deal because... try not to laugh... "over 50% of New York City public schools" serve "a less-than-average number of Special Ed. and ELL students."

Yeah, he actually said that.

Hey Jeremiah, when "over 50%" of ANY group does something, doesn't that mean that they will ALWAYS be doing it on a "less-than-average" rate or basis?

Put another way...

51% ALWAYS does something 49% or less (i.e. a less-than-average % or percentage) of the time.

52% will be doing it 48% or less of the time.... 

...and on and on..

This quote is from the NYC BAT's video "UNKNOWABLE":  (watch it, as it presents, then analyzes these and other answers from Kittredge & also from Success Academy CEO Eva Moskowitz in her interview with the Ayn Rand-ian libertarian website REASON):


Hmmm... what other brilliant defenses will Kittredge, Eva, and their ilk be making and publicizing next?

(Here goes my audition for THE ONION!)


Re: teachers' attrition & the longevity of TFA teachers (the vast majority of whom leave after two years, three at the most... RINSE & REPEAT ad infinitum) -

KITTREDGE:  "Oh... Attrition Schmmattrition.  The numbers don't lie, and they back us up here.  An impressive result from a key study indicates that up-to-49% of our TFA Corps Members staffing our charter schools have longer-than-average teaching careers, and remain in the classroom longer than their fellow TFA colleagues.  In turn, our charter scholars reap the benefits of this selfless dedication."


"And what about the sky-high attrition among unionized public school teachers and THEIR career length?  Nobody ever talks about THAT.  Is their record so much more impressive?  A damning statistical analysis reveals that over 50% of teachers in unionized schools leave teaching and abandon their students, on average, earlier than their fellow unionized teachers.  Just think of the resulting negative impact that is then visited upon their students.  Shame on them!  The system is broken!"

- - - - - - -

re: student attrition -

EVA MOSKOWITZ:  "We're extremely proud of our record on this issue, and never moreso than on Graduation Day.  To see the glowing satisfaction on the faces of our SUCCCESS ACADEMY scholars and parents makes all that we do so worthwhile.  Indeed, we're proving those cynics wrong, as the data incontrovertibly shows that a whopping 100% of our Success Academy scholars who are not kicked... err... 'counseled out' prior to Graduation Day actually walk across that stage to get their diplomas.  I mean, come on!  100 PERCENT??!!! You can't do any better than THAT!" 

- - - - - - -

re: co-location -

EVA MOSKOWITZ:  "This so-called 'co-location crisis' in NYC schools is way overblown by our detractors.  Indeed, 100% of the public schools that do not yet have a charter school co-located on their campus---and there are hundreds of them, mind you---report ZERO percent of the problems typically associated with charter school co-locations.  Why aren't our critics reporting this fact?"

- - - - - - -

re: charter school leaders' refusal to pay rent for the public school buildings---originally built and now maintained by taxpayers---that the charters do/will occupy -

KITTREDGE:  "Look, this is just Business 101.  It's a basic market principle:  the more you SPEND, the less you HAVE... so how can you then charge us rent, and steal money from the education of poor children?  Didn't you see our TV commercials with all those adorable Charter School kids?  How can you do this to them?"

- - - - - - -

re: enormous Charter industry executive & administrator salaries... in the mid-six-figures (i.e. Kittredge, Eva, Dave & Mike at KIPP, Deborah Kenney, etc.) -

KITTREDGE:  "Look, we don't overpay our top people.  Across the city, we see it again and again... and this needs to be reported more... over 50% of charter school executives and administrators take home a less-than-average salary in comparison to their fellow charter school administrators and executives.  The enormous amount of money saved then goes to the classroom, and to meet the needs or our scholars. Why can't our critics see this, then get off this topic, and find something new to whine about?"

- - - - - - - -

re: intensive test-prep for standardized tests, sometimes two hours or more a day (N.Y. Magazine reported this, along with a comment from a Success Academy administrator proudly describing the students as "little test-taking machines") - 

EVA MOSKOWITZ:  ""Look, what's wrong with a little practice before a standardized test?  We make it fun, and it's not even that much to begin with.  Our tracking of our scholars shows that an impressive 50% or more of our students spend a less-than-average time doing drill-and-kill test prep compared to their fellow Success Academy scholars.  That frees up time for ... what, exactly... oh... I dunno... I forget... "

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