I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Reformies = Liars

The time has come to start using the "L" word with these people:
TFA got caught in a huge lie when they claimed that 41% of the first years get at least 1.5 years of gains, and once you are outed as a liar it does cast a shadow over your other claims, even if some of those other claims happened to be true.  This is why it is best not to lie.  Even in this statement, they cite a favorite statistic that 2/3 of alumni are still ‘in education.’  This is also a stretch.  Can any TFAer out there even claim that 2/3 of the people that they know from TFA are still ‘in education’?  This is a crazy statistic.  Does ‘in education’ mean to TFA what ‘all beef’ means to McDonalds?  I would love to see a list of the professions of the 22,000 alumni that make up those 2/3 and what it is they do that qualifies as ‘in education.’  If TFA would be more honest, I would stop writing about those lies. [emphasis mine]
That's Gary Rubinstein, the Jiminy Cricket of Teach For America. He goes on to point us to a new report from Ed Fuller about charter schools in Texas, including every pundit's favorite reformy model, KIPP:
Contrary to the profile often portrayed in the media, by some policymakers, and by some charter school proponents (including some charter CEOs), the high-profile/high-enrollment CMOs in Texas enrolled groups of students that would arguably be easier to teach and would be more likely to exhibit high levels of achievement and greater growth on state achievement tests. Indeed, the above analyses showed that, relative to comparison schools, CMOs had:
  • Entering students with greater prior TAKS scores in both mathematics and reading;
  • Entering economically disadvantaged students with substantially greater prior TAKS scores in both mathematics and reading;
  • Lower percentages of incoming students designated as ELL;
  • Lower percentages of incoming students identified as special needs; and,
  • Only slightly greater percentages of incoming students identified as economically disadvantaged.
In other words, rather than serving more disadvantaged students, the findings of this study suggest that the high-profile/high-enrollment CMOs actually served a more advantaged clientele relative to comparison schools—especially as compared to schools in the same zip code as the CMO schools. This is often referred to as the “skimming” of more advantaged students from other schools. While CMOs may not intentionally skim, the skimming of students may simply be an artifact of the policies and procedures surrounding entrance into these CMOs.
Fuller's work confirms Bruce Baker's (and, to a lesser extent, mine): "successful" charter schools are not replicable because they serve different students than public schools. And yet refomyists like Joel Klein continue to insist the kids in charters are just like the kids in the public schools. It's a lie.

Michelle Rhee tells us she has many more "members" of StudentsFirst than she actually has; that's a lie. Chris Christie says he had no idea teachers pensions were in such bad shape: another lie. NJ Education Commissioner Chris Cerf makes bizarre graphs to hide the effects of poverty on student achievement: lying again.

I know that people are reluctant to use the word "liar" to describe their ideological opponents: it casts aspersions on motives that can distract from the actual arguments for or against a policy position. But it is increasingly clear to me that the reformies have all of the facts in front of them, yet continue to deny or distort them.

If that isn't lying, what is?

Gary Rubinstein confronts TFA.

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