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Dec 20 2011

Come Back To Jamaica

The New York City reform model is centered upon closing ‘failing’ schools and opening new ones. Some of these ‘failing’ schools have been pillars of their communities for decades. One such school I read about in The New York Times is Jamaica High School in Jamaica, Queens. This large high school opened in 1925. But…

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Dec 01 2011

Miracle Schools: Where Are They Now?

The current education reform battle is a bit like a boxing match. The corporate reformers had a lot of momentum until April 2010, when Diane Ravitch came out with ‘The Death And Life Of The Great American School System.’ This was like a giant upper cut to Bloomberg, Klein, Rhee, and Gates. Six months later,…

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Perhaps the most controversial issue in Ed Reform is whether or not it is fair to tie teacher evaluation to their ‘performance’ as defined by reformers as how their students do on standardized exams.  Since even reformers acknowledge that teachers aren’t able to take students from a low starting score to any absolute target of…

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Oct 26 2011

The Vindication Of P.S. 84 Part III

In the first two parts of this series I examined how the New York City progress report system is less about measuring a school’s quality and more about comparing schools.  The number of comparisons that occurs to determine the ‘progress’ score is staggering:  Students are compared to other students with the same starting score.  Students…

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Oct 25 2011

The Vindication Of P.S. 84 Part II

In the previous post I demonstrated how the New York City progress reports are distorted by a inappropriate use of ‘standard deviation’ to unfairly punish schools that score slightly below average on certain metrics when all the scores are very close together.  One such calculation gave P.S. 84 a .8 out of a possible 5…

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Oct 23 2011

The Vindication Of P.S. 84 Part I

I was inspired to get to the bottom of the New York City school progress report grades after reading this story from the New York Times Schoolbook website about P.S. 84 which was one of the thirty F rated schools this year despite seeming to be a very good school. To understand and analyze the…

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Oct 12 2011

New Orleans RSD — the ‘miracle’ district

The Louisiana Department Of Education just released the 2011 School Performance Data. As New Orleans has been hailed as a ‘miracle’ district, I was eager to see the results. As you might know, after Katrina the lowest performing schools were assembled into a district known as ‘The Recovery District’ (RSD) which has become a grand…

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Somewhere, Woodward and Bernstein are weeping. I entered the fight against the ‘reformers’ back in February after hearing Duncan claim that a school in Chicago got dramatic results by shutting down and replacing with a charter school in the same building with the same kids, but with different adults. It was important for Duncan to…

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I knew that if I had enough patience the corporate reformers would eventually let slip some data which would prove, once and for all, how unscientific are the metrics they’ve been using to shut down schools. That day came earlier this week. I’ll encourage anyone to recheck my calculations, just in case, but if I’ve…

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Aug 03 2011

Tilson vs. Rubinstein Round II

Whitney Tilson and I are engaged in a pretty fierce debate about the key issues in education reform. As he is the only corporate reformer who is willing to engage in a debate, I’m impressed he’s been willing to do this in a public way. Most of them clam up as soon as evidence is…

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Aug 02 2011

Tilson vs. Rubinstein Round I

One problem in the current ed reform debate is that there is not enough genuine debating.  Really, there’s no communication at all between the two sides who I see as the ‘corporate reformers’ (Duncan, Klein, Rhee, and even Kopp) and the ‘realistic reformers’ (Ravitch, Cody, Valerie Strauss, and others including me).  Without direct communication all…

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Mar 06 2011

Same Kids, Same Building, Same Lies

One of the highlights of the TFA 20th anniversary summit was certainly when Secretary of Education Arne Duncan made a rousing speech at the closing ceremony. The most impressive part of his speech was when he described the transformation of Englewood High School in Chicago while he was heading that school district. He said that…

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By a somewhat frustrated 1991 alum

High School

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