Rhee's educational reform results a lie
Guy Brandenburg, a retired DC Public Schools teacher, has an extended blog entry, "Test Scores Again Show that Rhee-Style Educational Deform Doesn’t Work," which through data analysis finds that none of Michelle Rhee's "reforms" had demonstrable impact on student outcomes, especially in terms of "reducing the achievement gap" between students from higher economic strata and lower economic strata. The entry has a number of graphs of the data.
I spent some tedious hours looking at publicly-available data on DC-CAS standardized test scores that all public school students in grades 3-8 and 10 must take every year, in particular looking at the ‘pass’ rates for various sub-groups like whites, blacks, hispanics, poor and non-poor kids (as measured by whether they are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch), and so on.
In every single case, when I compared the scores of the historically higher-achieving group with the scores of the lower-achieving group, I find that in DCPS, all of the schemes of Rhee, Kamras, Fenty, Henderson, Gray and a few powerful billionaires have been a complete and utter failure. Even on their own terms.
Firing or forcing out half the teachers and most of the principals? No positive result on test scores.
Implementing an extremely rigid and punitive evaluation scheme for staff and teachers? Zip, if you look at the test scores.
Dangling the carrot of large cash bonuses if student scores rise? Nada.
Bribing students to come to school and be good? In vain.
Turning all education in DCPS into a big test-prep class? Zilch.
Forcing teachers to spend all their time in “data-driven” activities, making word walls, and other stupid stuff? Squat.
Spending buckets of money on young consultants who were failed teachers themselves? (Are you kidding?)
Demonizing the teachers and their union? Nil.
Promoting administrators who erased and changed answers on supposedly-secure standardized tests? All for naught, and plus, the administrator in question was quietly forced out after Rhee quit.