Thursday, January 31, 2013

Mulgrew's Forked Tongue and How Far Will Mulgrew Capitulate to NYS on Evaluations?

Wed Night at the Ed Blogs: How Far Will Mulgrew Capitulate to NYS on Evaluations?

Perdido Street wrote of UFT president Michael Mulgrew that has given his assent to the idea of Governor Andrew Cuomo resolving the evaluation impasse between the New York City Department of Education and the United Federation of Teachers. But we need some clarity, both in terms of understanding what Cuomo is proposing, and in terms of what UFT president Michael Mulgrew is agreeing to.

1) Cuomo said that the state, meaning his State Department of Education, will impose an evaluation system. Note how this is being reported, not just at the Perdido Street blog, but by the major news outlets, this excerpt from the WNBC-TV site:
"The impasse must be resolved," the Democratic governor said Wednesday. He would direct the state Education Department to devise a system, then impose it on New York City's 75,000 teachers.
2) Mulgrew, on the other hand is casting the state role as simply being the arbitrator. Note what he is saying in his Dear James letter, re-printed at the ICE blog:
Governor Cuomo said today that if the city won’t come to a teacher evaluation agreement with the UFT by a set date, he will direct the State Education Department to set up a binding arbitration process that will get us to an agreement.
So, critically, Mulgrew is speaking with a forked tongue. For Albany and media consumption, he is saying that he is alright with a Cuomo initiative on this. Yet, to his Chapter Leaders, he is stating that Cuomo is merely sustaining the collective bargaining process. Mulgrew, you cannot have it both ways, an executive decision, imposed by fiat, and a collective bargaining process. In classic fashion, in his erstwhile defense of the Value-added-based evaluation system as being good for the children, Mulgrew is absorbing the UFT into the chorus pushing for evaluation “reform.”

Accountable Talk had a very good critique of the significance of Cuomo's mistake and the UFT's responsibility going forward.
But Governor Cuomo said today that he might just push an evaluation system through the legislature and impose it on NYC by fiat. In other words, Cuomo said he is willing to override the agreement we came to via collective bargaining, which was no agreement. This is in direct contradiction to the framework to which he and the union agreed last year.
The UFT should be up in arms about this. Our Unity leadership should point out that collective bargaining yielded no agreement, despite the fact that they were willing to meet the city more than halfway. Unity should be fighting to uphold the integrity of collective bargaining, the one essential element of this evaluation framework.

(Accountable Talk also upbraided Mulgrew for his capitulation to Cuomo's takeover stratagem.)

Democratic deformers, in the body of DFER and E4E having the ear of Cuomo? Prior to Cuomo's proposing the state takeover of the process, the Democratic deform lobby, as Gotham Schools reported, first pushed this takeover:
It’s not the first time that a state takeover in evaluation planning was floated. Last year, more than a dozen education reform groups, including StudentsFirst and Democrats for Education Reform, asked Cuomo to give the state authority to adopt a default plan for districts that didn’t have a deal in place by a certain deadline. More recently, groups that have spent months lobbying locally for a deal have given up hope and called on Cuomo’s intervention.
Of course, Mulgrew would be relieved to have Cuomo resolve this conflict. Then he wouldn't have to take personal responsibility and worry about the growing number of MORE supporters rallying outside UFT headquarters. Thus, we must say, No to Mulgrew's capitulation to the high-stakes test-based evaluation juggernaut. As EdNotes says, this is Petainesque capitulation to discredited junk science. The ICE-UFT blog has made the added point that the deeply problematic Danielson Frameworks are being snuck in (outside of membership-approved collective bargaining, and via another Unity-pushed capitulation, we might add --see this ICE-UFT post) across the city, and that we should be mobilizing the UFT membership.

Show us the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)! No to secret negotiations and agreements. Let the members vote on the evaluation system. No concession to state-imposed replacements for collective bargaining! Sign the petition to the NYC DOE and the UFT to Show Us the MOU (on the evaluation system).
A new teacher evaluation needs to be fair and be a source of support to the classroom.

On January 17, 2013 United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew stated "last night our negotiators had reached an agreement — but Mayor Bloomberg blew the deal up in the early hours today." What were the details of that agreement that was supposedly reached?

Mayor Bloomberg responded there “were unreasonable demands being made by the United Federation of Teachers. Among the contentious issues was the union’s demands that the evaluation deal sunset in June of 2015." What were the other demands and issues?

Leo Casey, negotiating for the UFT, wrote on “During the last week, as the UFT and the DOE met long into the night in an effort to reach agreement on the terms of the MOU, we asked, again and again, more insistently at each turn, to see the DOE’s draft of their application. It was not until late into Wednesday evening, barely 24 hours before the deadline, that the DOE finally gave us their draft of the application. When we read the draft, it quickly became apparent why they had resisted sharing it with us. Included in the draft were numerous scoring tables and conversion charts which the UFT was now seeing for the very first time. These tables and charts were very important: embedded in them were fundamental decisions about the shape of the evaluation system.“ What are the details of the scoring tables and conversion charts?

Why won't the DOE and UFT share the details of what each side is proposing? The teachers, students and parents deserve better than to be kept in the dark.

Show us what's on the table. Show us the MOU.

-Movement of Rank and File Educators
"I believe if teacher accountability & evaluation is so important in this day and age, then so should transparency be for any deals being discussed by the DoE and UFT. NYC parents deserve at least that because of the effect on their children." --One Queens commenter at the petition site.
UFT members should expect MORE.

MORE Caucus' statement on Mulgrew's cave-in to Governor Cuomo on evaluations:
Mulgrew Surrenders OUR Collective Bargaining Rights

In a recent email to chapter leaders, Michael Mulgrew stated that he welcomes Governor Cuomo’s involvement in forcing an evaluation system on NYC teachers. At a time when teachers are under attack from many quarters, it seems inconceivable that the UFT leadership would cede its bargaining power to the State Education Department. Mulgrew expressed his relief that should talks once again stall, the governor and the SED, “people who actually understand education”, will be involved. Our teachers, the ones who really understand education, will be left out of the decision making process.

We should remember that it was Mulgrew’s willingness to sign on to the state’s Race to the Top application that got us here in the first place. The UFT agreed to allow teachers to be evaluated by student test data in exchange for a promise of $700 million which has yet to reach city classrooms.

We at MORE categorically oppose any evaluation system that includes flawed student test data as a component. We also reject the virtual elimination of tenure that would result from the proposed evaluation system, in which teachers would be presumed incompetent based on that faulty data.

Mulgrew also states in his letter that we need this agreement so that we will not “risk further loss of state money.” In truth, the state is under no obligation to withhold any funds and is only doing so to force an agreement. Worse still, the state has threatened to take Title I funds from our neediest students in the absence of a deal, showing their contempt for students as well as teachers. Rather than submit to such blatant blackmail, the UFT should be rallying against attempts to rob our poorest children for the sake of pleasing education reformers.

Furthermore, the UFT has sent out District Representatives to schools claiming that not enough teachers are found unsatisfactory [first reported in "On the Coming Teacher Evaluation Sell-Out," December 7, 2012 at Accountable Talk blog] and “that has to change.” If the purpose of the new evaluation deal is to help teachers improve and “help teachers help students”, as Mulgrew claims in his letter, it should be focused on giving support to teachers, not on getting them terminated. It is MORE’s position that it is the union’s obligation to protect its members. We should not collaborate with the city in its attempts to fire teachers at will, nor cede our power to the state. Any data driven evaluation system coupled with a weakening of tenure will surely lead to more firings.

It should also be remembered that any new evaluation agreement was supposed to be coupled with a new contract. Not only have teachers been without a contract or a raise since 2009, but this latest capitulation by the UFT basically gives away our strongest bargaining chip in our ongoing contract negotiations.

If there is to be a new evaluation system, it must be fair and ensure the rights of teachers. It should be collectively bargained and subject to the vote of the full membership as dictated by the law. We, the teachers of the UFT, are the ones who “really understand education” so we must be fully engaged in any process that will impact our practice and our profession.

We should not submit to blackmail or an assault on our collective bargaining rights.

Read MORE's platform; and its Vision Statement on Positive Alternative Leadership.

For more behind the issues in the value-added factors and links to analyses detailing the junk science features, see the post earlier two weeks ago, "One Thousand Evaluation Petition-Signing Teachers Can't Be Wrong --The Real Story Behind the Evaluation Talks Collapse."

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

DOE, Unions to Resume Evaluation Talks; Mulgrew OK with Cuomo Imposing Evaluation System

D.O.E. and Unions to Resume Eval Talks
(From joint New York Times/WNYC Schoolbook website.)
By YASMEEN KHAN of WNYC radio, January 29, 2013

Department of Education officials said they plan to meet with leaders of the teachers’ and principals’ unions in the next few days, in order to discuss the future of a new teacher evaluation system in New York City. The D.O.E. faces a fast-approaching deadline of Feb. 15 to submit a plan to state education officials on how the city will train principals and teachers on a still-to-be-negotiated evaluation system.

School Chancellor Dennis Walcott, testifying in Albany on the governor’s proposed budget for the next fiscal year, assured lawmakers that the the D.O.E. “will engage key stakeholders,” including both unions. Michael Mulgrew, the teachers’ union president, agreed to meet, and the city reached out to the principals’ union on Tuesday, said Erin Hughes, a D.O.E. spokesperson.

State Education Commissioner John King set the February deadline in a letter to Walcott after the city failed to reach an evaluation agreement tied to $240 million in state education aid — money already budgeted for the current fiscal year. King threatened to withhold or redirect even more funding, totaling about $1 billion, if the city and its unions did not come up with a plan, timeline and budget for key aspects of an evaluation agreement.

Walcott said he would respond to King’s letter with a letter of his own that he plans to send on Monday.

In addition, the city and unions face a September deadline by which they must fully implement a teacher evaluation agreement, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said last week, or the city will forfeit yet another increase in state education aid.

King has chastised the city for failing to take key steps toward laying the groundwork for a new teacher evaluation system, such as training principals. Principals have also expressed fear that implementing a new system correctly would fall on their backs.

The city’s education officials defended the steps it has taken and suggested that the commissioner had not taken “a deep dive” into New York City’s preparations, including a teacher effectiveness pilot now taking place in 215 schools.

“Over the last three years, we have worked to prepare our educators for the adoption of a rigorous, multiple-measure teacher evaluation and development system,” Walcott told lawmakers Tuesday. “We did so because we know that teacher effectiveness is a critical factor in improving student outcomes.”

But the pilot is in a minority of schools, and the city needs more formal training on a broader level to make sure schools are prepared to implement a new evaluation system, said Chiara Coletti, chief spokeswoman for the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators.

“There is some real anxiety among our principals and assistant principals,” Coletti said, “about embarking on an evaluation of teachers that might be based on an evaluation system that has been hastily cobbled together, requires an unrealistic amount of time to execute, and for which there has only been superficial training.”

Meaningful training, Coletti said, cannot take place until the city and teachers’ union actually reach an agreement.

Perdido Street reports:
Mulgrew: I'm Fine With Cuomo Imposing An Evaluation System

Via Geoff Decker at Gotham Schools, "Cuomo proposes state takeover in NYC teacher eval impasse"

Governor Cuomo said he will propose a law that allows the Regents and the NYSED to develop and impose a teacher evaluation system for NYC if the UFT and Mayor Bloomberg cannot come to an agreement over such a system by September 1.

Since Shelly Silver was sitting next to Cuomo when he said this, we must presume such a law would pass the Assembly (the Senate is a done deal already with Republicans in charge) and wind up on Cuomo's desk.

How did UFT President Michael Mulgrew respond to this news?

Like this:
Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers, said in a statement that he “would prefer a negotiated settlement,” but supported state intervention if talks fail again.
More of Perdido Street's blog this afternoon here.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Cynthia Nixon Endorses De Blasio over Quinn, Citing Paid Sick Leave; De Blasio Defends "Two Cities" Characterization | Capital New York

Cynthia Nixon endorses de Blasio, criticizes Quinn over Paid Sick Leave | Capital New York
Speaking NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly's son, Greg Kelly, on Fox 5, de Blasio defends "Two Cities" term, when speaking of income inequality in city
From Azi Paybarah, in Capital New York, Jan. 27, 2013

3:03 pm Jan. 27, 2013
"To me, identity politics is not really where it's at," said Cynthia Nixon after Bill de Blasio officially announced his campaign for mayor in Park Slope this afternoon.
Nixon, best known for playing Miranda on Sex and the City, was responding to my question about why she's supporting Bill de Blasio for mayor instead of City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who, like Nixon, is an openly gay woman.
Standing outside de Blasio's Park Slope home, Nixon said, "I really want a candidate who believes what I believe. And so, for example, you know, that person that you're mentioning doesn't support paid sick leave and to me that is an issue that certainly, as a progressive, one has to be behind that issue."
Nixon went on to say "the group of people that don't have that paid sick leave is disproportionately women. And I feel like Bill supports that and Bill is fighting really hard for that."
Quinn, for her part, said she supports the overall concept of Paid Sick Leave, but not the current version of the bill, because of the city's weak economy. She has not indicated what specifically needed to change in the bill, or the city's economic climate, that would make her support it. The bill is supported by 37 City Council members—enough to pass and override a veto from Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a Quinn ally who opposes the bill.
Although Nixon said de Blasio's push to increase parent's voices in public school was important (Bloomberg "has completely shut out the parental voice," she said), it was the Paid Sick Leave bill that was pivotal in her decision to back de Blasio over Quinn.
"To me that's kind of a split in the road and I don't want to go with somebody who calls themselves a progressive but doesn't believe in that," Nixon said.
The New York Times' city hall bureau chief, David Chen, asked Nixon how active she planned on being in the campaign.
"I think I will be more involved than any other campaign than I've ever been involved in because I think it will be such a tremendous thing for New York if he was our next mayor," she said.
The other mayoral candidates, like former comptroller Bill Thompson and current comptroller John Liuhave their fair share of celebrity supporters. Quinn's, for example, include Vogue editor Anna Wintour, film producer Harvey Weinstein and celebrity chef Mario Batali (who landed on the front page of the Posttoday for taking drastic steps to fight what he called overzealous health inspectors from the city).
* * * Speaking NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly's son, Greg Kelly, on Fox 5, de Blasio defends "Two Cities" term, when speaking of income inequality in city
De Blasio defends 'Two cities;' and takes a five -borough tour
From Azi Paybarah, in Capital New York, Jan. 28, 2013

When he announced he was running for mayor yesterday, Bill de Blasio called New York a "tale of two cities," and declared that "all boroughs were created equal."
Today, de Blasio blitzed all five boroughs and at least one of the New York Cities.
First, he sat for an inteview on Fox 5, where host Greg Kelly, son of NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly, noted that de Blasio's line about New York being a "tale of two cities" was used by Fernando Ferrer in 2001, who lost his mayoral bid that year. "Many people think [the city] has improved since 2001," Kelly said.
De Blasio said income inequality has grown, and went into a pitch about taxing rich New Yorkers to pay for early childhood and afterschool programs.
Kelly prefaced another question by saying he thought de Blasio was one of the "smartest" guys in city government, but asked how many people currently work in his office, and when de Blasio told him he has about 30 employees, asked if that demontrates enough executive experience to lead the city.
De Blasio said he did a lot of other things before becoming public advocate in 2009, including working for Mayor David Dinkins, in the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, and serving two terms on the City Council.
In an interview with WNYC, host Brian Lehrer asked de Blasio about some of the criticisms he outlined in his announcement yesterday, which didn't name any other candidates but accused some of being too close to Mayor Bloomberg's policies. Lehrer wondered if his "argument against Quinn will be that she is too much like this mayor?"
"Yes," said de Blasio, who went on to say it's too early to get all that right now.
De Blasio also, for the first time, drew some distinctions between himself and New York City Comptroller John Liu, a likely rival in the primary, whose former campaign treasurer and a contributor are facing federal charges for allegedly skirting campaign finance laws. (Liu has not been accused of any wrongdoing and has vowed to go "all the way," with his campaign.)
Lehrer asked if de Blasio agreed with Liu's call to "abolish" the controversial stop-and-frisk strategy, which the administration says removes guns off the street but critics say unfairly targets minorities.
De Blasio said Liu's position was "irresponsible."
Later, de Blasio said he would not seek to expand the number of charter schools allowed to open in the city, a marked change from the current administration's policy of actively promoting the creation and opening of charter school.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

NYC DOE's Common Core Idiocy Hurts Kindergartener's Education

No more paints, no more songs. It's kindergarten time in the New York City Department of Education. Kiddies, you're all cogs in the accountability machine. You must think career at age five. Too bad you are not in a Montessori, Friends or Fieldston school (Links are to admission pages). Oh, I forgot, your parents are not hedge fund managers.
The DOE experts students to unpack verbal statement constructs or theorize about math. Every child is a Noam Chomsky or Ahmes. The teacher is just holding you back from this unless she or he cooperates with the DOE program.

This in, from Susan Edelman at the New York Post, "Playtime’s over, kindergartners Standards stressing kids out":
Kindergarten has come a long way, baby — too far, some say.

Way beyond the ABCs, crayons and building blocks, the city Department of Education now wants 4- and 5-year-olds to write “informative/explanatory reports” and demonstrate “algebraic thinking.”

Children who barely know how to write the alphabet or add 2 and 2 are expected to write topic sentences and use diagrams to illustrate math equations.

“For the most part, it’s way over their heads,” a Brooklyn teacher said. “It’s too much for them. They’re babies!”

In a kindergarten class in Red Hook, Brooklyn, three children broke down and sobbed on separate days last week, another teacher told The Post.

When one girl cried, “I can’t do it,” classmates rubbed her back, telling her, “That’s OK.”

“This is causing a lot of anxiety,” the teacher said. “Kindergarten should be happy and playful. It should be art and dancing and singing and learning how to take turns. Instead, it’s frustrating and disheartening.”

The city has adopted national standards called the Common Core, which dramatically raise the bar on what kids in grades K through 12 should know.

The jargon is new, too. Teachers rate each student’s performance as “novice,” “apprentice,” “practitioner” or “expert.”

Kindergartners are introduced to “informational texts” read aloud, such as “Garden Helpers,” a National Geographic tale about useful pests.

After three weeks, kids have to “write a book about what they’ve learned,” with a drawing and sentences explaining the topic.

In math, kids tackle concepts like “tally chart,” “combination,” and “commutative property,” DOE records show.

The big test: “Miguel has two shelves. Miguel has six books . . . How many different ways can Miguel put books on the two shelves? Show and tell how you know.”

An “expert” would draw a diagram with a key, show all five combinations, write number sentences for each equation, and explain his or her conclusions using math terms, the DOE says.

“A child who’s an ‘expert’ is more like a second-grader,” said Cathleen Vecchione, a kindergarten teacher at PS 257 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

“At this point, we’re not ready for it,” she said, noting delays caused by Hurricane Sandy.

The “super challenging” demands leave less time for puzzles, coloring and games, she said.

DOE spokeswoman Erin Hughes said, “These are the types of activities and exercises that students need to work on to acquire the skills they need to be ready for middle school, high school, college and careers.”

But kindergarten, she added, should include a “wide range of activities, including free play.”

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

UPDATE on Frontline, Michelle Rhee: Highlights Cheating Scandal / Rhee critique goes mainstream?: Esquire skewers her record / Henwood weighs in

Tune in to Frontline on the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) tonight, January 8, 2013. Click here to find your local affiliate and broadcast time.

Michelle Rhee, former teacher, former Washington, D.C. schools chancellor, and tireless self-promoter of her brand of education reform, more properly called deform, will be the subject of a Frontline inquiry tonight.

"Standardized testing is a crack cocaine of education": CRITIQUE OF RHEE GOES MAINSTREAM?
The critique of Michelle Rhee and her record, which has been given a free pass by major newspapers and broadcast television, now has a stinging critique by Charles P. Pierce in Esquire, January 7, 2013, with gems like the crack coke parallel (with a link to Michael Winerip's writing in the New York Times on the follies of Tennessee's reach for the Race to the Top), and casting the education privatizer "movement" is "shot through root and branch with patent-medicine remedies pitched by for-profit grifters and hustlers."

One problem with the education "reform" industry is not merely that it generally looks at "education" as though it were a commodity, like soybeans, and that the problems with how we educate a great many children of our fellow citizens can be solved if we just refine the delivery systems for the product. In other words, most education "reform" proponents treat "education" as though it exists in a vacuum unaffected by the factors — like, say, joblessness and poverty — in the real world outside the classroom. (How many prominent school "reformers" have stepped up and said anything about the increasingly effective campaign by the NRA to arm public school teachers? Thought so.) Thus do we come to the second problem with the education "reform" movement — it is shot through root and branch with patent-medicine remedies pitched by for-profit grifters and hustlers.

They have their own genre of richly financed propaganda, like 2010's Waiting for Superman and this year's Won't Back Down. There are an awful lot of hedge-fund gunslingers involved in the movement toward charter schools, a phenomenon about which, to his eternal credit, Bob Somerby — who actually has taught in the public schools — has been banging his tin drum at The Daily Howler for some time now. (It should also be said that Somerby's knee does not jerk. He readily gives some reform programs, and even some of Rhee's work, the props he thinks they deserve.) Some of the hustlers, alas, have the ear of this administration, and one of those people is Michelle Rhee.

Rhee's entire (and very lucrative) career as a proponent of educational "reform" is based on her time as chancellor of the public schools in Washington, D.C. Between 2007 and 2010, she did everything that sends a thrill up the leg of the "reform" community. She bashed teachers, scapegoated principals, and shined up her own armor for public consumption every chance she got. She also instituted a system of standardized testing by which Michelle Rhee would be able to judge the awesome awesomeness of Michelle Rhee.

Standardized testing is a crack cocaine of education. It is rife with problems. It is also a multimillion industry without which might not exist, among other things, The Washington Post. A reliance on standardized testing as a metric for progress is generally a reliable "tell" that "reform" has ended and that the grift has begun. A reliance on standardized testing as a metric for progress — and, it should be said, as a Procrustean scoreboard to judge whether a teacher, an administrator, or a school system are doing their jobs properly — almost guarantees that some finagling with the numbers will take place. It is a sub rosa way to install a corporate model on public education and, since the corporate model for everything in this country right now is a moral and ethical quagmire, it encourages cheating on a massive scale. Hence, the very real possibility that the empire built by Michelle Rhee, tough-talking "reformer," may be built upon a wilderness of crib sheets.

Tomorrow night, the PBS investigative program Frontline will broadcast a show about Rhee's tenure in Washington, and it will seriously confront the notion that an insistence on standardized testing may have resulted in a scandalous level of cheating in the city's school system, as well as a deeply rooted attempt to cover it up.
Read the rest of the article: Rhee Finances - Esquire

The Washington Post, January 5, also did a review of Frontline's documentary on Rhee.

NYC Public School Parents blog has pointed out several points that have gained growing attention in recent years:
· How she most likely greatly exaggerated her own record as a teacher. · Evidence of widespread cheating in DC schools when she ran them, and her failure to investigate these allegations properly -- a special focus of a Frontline program due to air tonight;

· The voluminous research pointing out that evaluating teachers on the basis of test scores through value-added models, as she pushed for in DC and now in her state report cards, is unstable, unreliable and unfair. (See the most recent analysis from a group of statistical experts, concluding that “We cannot at this time encourage anyone to use VAM in a high stakes endeavor.”) The way she inflated the number of supporters of StudentsFirst, counting as members anyone who signed deceptively-phrased online petitions, calling for unobjectionable policies like paying good teachers more or stopping bullying in schools.

· How she fired more than more than 5 percent of the teachers in DC, though at least some of these teachers may need to be reinstated because she did this improperly.
· How the teacher evaluation system she relied upon, called IMPACT, was altered after she left by her successor to diminish its reliance on test scores, dropping that component from 50 to 35 percent.
· How a recent report from the organization she used to run, TNTP, though predictably positive in its spin, revealed that the IMPACT teacher evaluation system was one of the top reasons that even “top performing” teachers plan to leave DC schools. The report also cast further doubt on the system, saying that there may be a “flaw in the design or implementation of IMPACT [that] makes it easier for teachers working in low-need schools to earn top ratings.”
· The documented predilection of StudentsFirst to fund right-wing Republican candidates, despite claims of bipartisanship.
· Most recently, Rhee made a tone-deaf statement on the mass shootings in Newtown CT, calling such children “our most valuable assets”.
· Finally, her refusal to oppose a bill in Michigan that would allow concealed weapons in schools, until the legislation had already been vetoed by the Governor.
Ever self-righteous, she has taken to turning her guns upon state governments and their education policies. Refreshingly, California's deputy superintendent of education calls her branding of him "a badge of honor."
California got an "F" for refusing to sign onto the provisions of "Race to the Top", including test-based evaluations of teachers; Richard Zeiger, the state's deputy superintendent, called the state's failing grade a “badge of honor.”
Go to NYC Public School Parents for more of its Report Card for Michelle Rhee and StudentsFirst.

StudentsFirst, the school “reform” outfit led by the notorious Michelle Rhee, is out with a state-by-state Report Card on the nation’s schools. Grades were awarded on the basis of states’ conformity to the standard reform agenda—ease of creating charter schools, ease of firing teachers, ease of hiring teachers who aren’t certified in the traditional fashion, and testing testing testing. In the past, there’s never been any evidence that this agenda actually improves educational outcomes—and this report is no exception. Despite Rhee’s love of testing, there’s no mention of how states that do well under her criteria do on standardized tests compared to those that score poorly. That’s no surprise, really, since states that get high grades from StudentsFirst do worse on tests than those that score poorly.

Rhee’s group gave letter grades to each state, along with a GPA that allowed them to be ranked from 1 to 51. (DC counts as a state here.) No state got a grade higher than a B-, and only two states made that grade. Eleven states got an F. Tough! But do these grades mean anything?

To evaluate the StudentsFirst grades, I got 8th grade reading and math scores from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, aka NAEP, the Nation’s Report Card. Testing can be a debased pursuit when it’s used to measure individual schools and teachers (sample sizes are just too small, and there’s too much statistical noise from year to year to base anything on), but the NAEP is as good as they come for measuring broad trends.

Here are the results. StudentsFirst has Louisiana at #1 in its rankings—but the state ranks 49th in reading and 47th in math. North Dakota, which StudentsFirst ranks 51st, comes in at #14 in reading scores and #7 in math. Massachusetts, which ranks #1 in both reading and math scores (and which is also the most unionized state for teachers in the country), comes in at #14 on the Rhee scale.

Looking more rigorously at the results, the correlation coefficient on the rankings in the StudentsFirst report card with state rankings on reading scores is -0.20. (The correlation coefficient is a measure of the similarity of two sets of numbers, ranging from -1.0, completely dissimilar, to +1.0, perfect similarity.) That’s not a large number, but the negative sign means that the correlation is in the wrong direction: the higher the StudentsFirst score, the lower the NAEP reading score. The correlation on math is even worse, -0.25.

More bogosity from Michelle RheeClick to Henwood's site for the remainder of the article including his link to the spreadsheet in question.