“Successification”

Daniel Katz, Ph.D.

Another month, another Success Academy scandal.

This time it involves an undercover video of a first grade teacher in Success Academy Cobble Hill in Brooklyn that was shot by an assistant teacher who was unnerved by the ongoing abusive behavior of the lead teacher, one of the networks “exemplar teachers” who is considered so effective she trains her colleagues.  The video, submitted to the New York Times, was shot in 2014 and was given to reporters when the assistant teacher left the Success Academy network last year.  The video is hard to watch by anyone with a hint of empathy for very young children struggling with instructions and a challenging concept.  It begins with a room of Success Academy students sitting cross-legged around the classroom rug, hands folded, backs in fully upright posture.  The teacher instructs a little girl to “count it again, making sure you are counting correctly.” …

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Obama Will Nominate John King Formally as Secretary of Education

Should we put Bonnie and Clyde in charge of the Federal Reserve Bank?

Diane Ravitch's blog

John King is currently Acting Secretary of Education. President Obama will formally nominate him to serve as Secretary.

King’s autocratic behavior as state commissioner of education spurred a massive parent opt out from state testing. King adamantly supports testing, VAM, Common Core, and charter schools. He taught in a “no excuses” Uncommon Schools charter with one of the highest suspension rates in Massachusetts.

As commissioner, King defended inBloom, a Gates-funded data-mining project. After other states had withdrawn due to parent protests, King supported inBloom. The state legislature listened to parents and passed a law forcing the state to drop inBloom. After NY’s withdrawal, inBloom collapsed.

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Deborah Gist Recommends $920,000 Contract for Boston Consulting Group in Tulsa

Diane Ravitch's blog

Deborah Gist, the former state superintendent of schools in Rhode Island, has recommended a $920,000 contract for the Boston Consulting Group in Tulsa, where she is now district superintendent. The contract will be funded by “private donors.”

BCG has won similar contracts in other districts. Their reports typically recommend downsizing and privatization.

This is not good news for Tulsa.

The first question that citizens of Tulsa should ask is, what is the education expertise of this business consulting group? When last I looked, Margaret Spellings–who has never run a school district–was its education consultant. Since she is now the new president of the University of North Carolina system, who is running the education business at BCG? Who are the “experts” at BCG who know more than Deborah Gist and the teachers of Tulsa?

The Tulsa school board will be writing a blank check to BCG unless they find out exactly…

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New Orleans: Massive Cheating Discovered at Charter School

Diane Ravitch's blog

Here is a switch: Parents at a charter high school in New Orleans suspected massive cheating and hired a law firm to conduct an investigation. They were right. There was massive cheating.

Landry-Walker High School’s 2013-14 test results were so amazing that some New Orleans education insiders doubted they were valid. More students at Landry-Walker than at Lusher Charter, a selective-admissions school, aced geometry. In biology, the school was fourth-best in the city.

Skeptical of the numbers, the school’s parent organization, the Algiers Charter School Association, launched a 16-month investigation — without telling Landry-Walker’s principal — into what some feared could be widespread, teacher-enabled cheating. The association undertook a detailed analysis of student performance, hired outside lawyers and, for the spring 2015 round of testing, placed independent monitors in every single examination room at its flagship school, according to internal documents.

When the 2014-15 test results came back, Landry-Walker’s scores fell…

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Does PARCC Still Consider Mitchell Chester the “Real” Chair?

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The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) is playing around with information on its website in a manner that makes it appear that PARCC still considers Massachusetts Commissioner of Education, Mitchell Chester, its chair.

First of all, a recent revision on the Massachusetts PARCC page propagates the lie that Massachusetts fully administered the PARCC test in 2015 and will fully administer the PARCC test in 2016:

Here’s what PARCC has to say about Massachusetts:

MASSACHUSETTS AND THE PARCC ASSESSMENTS

Massachusetts administered the PARCC assessment in 2014-15 and will administer it in 2015-16. Massachusetts is a governing state.

In truth, not all Massachusetts districts administered PARCC in 2015, and as is true for Louisiana, Massachusetts will have a hybrid in 2016– part MCAS and part PARCC.

Still, in February 2016, PARCC is trying to make Massachusetts appear to be all in for PARCC, both in 2015 and…

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Former Teachers at Success Academy Complain of Child Abuse: Caught on Video

Diane Ravitch's blog

The New York Times reports today that a former Success Academy teacher videotaped another teacher demeaning and belittling a first-grade student who could not come up with the right response to her question. Other former SA teachers confirmed that children were subject to psychological abuse to force them to conform to the rigid disciplinary rules of the school.

In the video, a first-grade class sits cross-legged in a circle on a brightly colored rug. One of the girls has been asked to explain to the class how she solved a math problem, but she has gotten confused.

She begins to count: “One… two…” Then she pauses and looks at the teacher.

The teacher takes the girl’s paper and rips it in half. “Go to the calm-down chair and sit,” she orders the girl, her voice rising sharply.

“There’s nothing that infuriates me more than when you don’t do what’s on…

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James Kirylo: Gates’ Plan to Take Over Teacher Education Advances

Diane Ravitch's blog

Many of us could live our lives without giving a second thought to teacher education. Either we earned a degree in a teacher preparation program or we didn’t. Only those who work in these institutions are deeply engaged in their future.

Never fear, as Laura Chapman reported in the last post, and as James Kirylo documents here, Bill Gates has trained his laser vision on teacher education.

Kirylo writes:

“As most know, Bill Gates, through his foundation, has worked hard in an attempt to disturbingly shape K-12 education in his own image. Next on his radar is teacher preparation—with the awarding of $35 million to a three-year project called Teacher Preparation Transformation Centers funneled through five different projects, one of which is the Texas Tech based University-School Partnerships for the Renewal of Educator Preparation (U.S. Prep) National Center.

“A framework that will guide this “renewal” of educator preparation comes…

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Laura Chapman: How Bill Gates is Taking Control of Teacher Education

Diane Ravitch's blog

Laura Chapman, reired arts educator, writes here with extensive documentation, about the Gates Foundation’s audacious effort to control teacher education.

Beware, Massachusetts! Gates has already planted its flag on 71 providers of teacher education.

Laura writes:

“I have been looking at all five of the Gates “Teacher Transformation Grants,” each for 33 months and just shy of $4 million for each grantee. All of the press releases are filled with jargon about “elevating” the teaching profession. The interlocking networks and complementary funding by other foundations of these new Gates investments is amazing.

“In October 2015 the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education received a 33 month grant for $3,928,656 from the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation to support the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) “teacher transformation” effort: The Elevate Preparation: Impact Children (EPIC) center. This is an addition to a separate Gates grant in October 2015, $…

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Great News! Voucher Bill stalls in Tennessee

Diane Ravitch's blog

The Tennessee legislature did not take up the voucher proposal because the sponsor realized it didn’t have the votes to pass.
Initially he wanted statewide vouchers but rural legislators were not interested. Then he narrowed it to four counties with urban districts. Then he narrowed it only to Shelby County, that is, Memphis. The sponsor, a conservative Republican, wanted (of course) to save poor kids in failing schools.
But many legislators were dubious that vouchers actually work. There is plenty of evidence they don’t. So the bill was shelved for another day.
We can hope that day never arrives.
Congratulations to the BATS, the Momma Bears, and other fighters for public education!

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PARCC Website Changes Its Story on 2015 Louisiana Test and Misleads on 2016 Massachusetts Test

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In 2014-15, Louisiana did not have a contract with Pearson for the official Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) assessment.

Instead, Louisiana used Data Recognition Corp (DRC) to create an assessment that supposedly included PARCC items. The Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) kept the public in the dark regarding the details of Louisiana’s alleged PARCC test. Following administration of the spring 2015 PARCC testing, the PARCC website began advertising Louisiana as the only state that used PARCC items rather than administering the official, Pearson-vended PARCC test.

Here is a link to Louisiana’s PARCC page on the PARCC website. The archived page is dated September 25, 2015:

LOUISIANA AND THE PARCC ASSESSMENTS

Louisiana’s state assessment in 2014-15 included items developed through the PARCC process. Louisiana is not a governing state.

“Items developed through the PARCC process” should not be manipulated into implying that Louisiana administered the same exact…

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