Coming Attractions

Richard Whitmire’s new book on Michelle Rhee is coming soon. I’ve read the drafts and assure you it’s a must-read in the making.  Terrific account of what went down in D.C. and sides of the story many observers probably are not aware of.   Stay tuned.

Also, Kelly Amis has a new education film coming out.  The trailer looks powerful.  And there are already Oscars in the family!

This audit of programs for English Language Learners in the Portland Public Schools (pdf) is worth reading not because Portland is an outlier, but because it’s not.  The public school demographics are changing but too often the schools are unprepared for the new challenges.

In D.C. on November 4th?  Then this event at American University featuring BW’s Sara Mead, Kojo Nnamdi and others should be a good one.

And at Dutko Worldwide the great Anna Kimsey (who was sadly separated at birth from Anna Faris) has been promoted to Vice President.  Dutko is the parent organization of Whiteboard Advisors, publishers of Education Insider. By the way, the next issue of EI is post-election, Nov. 10, 2-3, and features NGA’s Dane Linn and Simon Rosenberg of the New Democratic Network.

2 Replies to “Coming Attractions”

  1. Deconstructing Whitmire’s article:

    “The District’s new contract showered potential bonuses on 663 teachers faring well under IMPACT’s sophisticated evaluation system”
    > Many haven’t taken the bonuses because there are strings attached, robbing them of rights given to teachers not rated as highly.

    “the gains seen in D.C. schools hinge on dismissing more ineffective teachers”
    > False on two counts. #1 DCPS hasn’t seen impressive gains under Rhee – nothing different from the small gains under all other superintendents* for over a decade. #2. The scores have been headed down* since the spring of ’09, when Rhee started her “reforms” of firing and RIFing teachers, and hiring inexperienced, untrained new college grads.

    “[Jason Kamras] is the former national teacher of the year (won while teaching in D.C. schools) who invented IMPACT.”
    > The scores in his school went DOWN while he was there.* If his invention had been in place at the time, his IMPACT evaluation could have moved him from effective to minimally effective. By the way, it’s hardly an invention. He based it on the Teach for America “Teaching as Leadership” framework. All TFA teachers (like Kamras) learn it as part of their quickie 5 week summer training on how to be a teacher.

    “On its current course, Hardy could become the best middle school in the city.”
    >It has been on that course for a long time now. But since Pope left, a lot of neighborhood families have pulled their kids out of Hardy.

    “Our urban districts never succeed without drawing in families of all colors and incomes.”
    >That’s what Hardy had succeeded at under Pope.

    “A few symbolic hire-backs would be a great move by Gray to mollify his supporters.”
    >Talk about mollifying. Gee thanks for allowing Gray to do something nice for his supporters. It might be good for the children too, to have experienced community-based teachers back, symbolism be damned.

    “A handpicked, energized staff is what makes the takeovers (as at Dunbar) and makeovers (as at Eastern) work”
    > Who says those takeovers are working? Eastern is basically shut down, opening up a year from now with a new principal. At Dunbar, all that’s known is that reading scores are up and math scores are down.* Whatever else is happening is not making the news – always a bad sign.

    And who are you, Richard Whitmire, to make these sage pronouncements? You’re a free-lance education writer and author of what will probably be the first Rhee biography. (Excellent timing!) How does that make you an expert on the future of DC public schools? Even in this short column, you’ve managed to mangle numerous facts. This does not inspire confidence in your book. Perhaps it’s not meant to be factual, but rather to perpetuate the myth. If so, please put a disclaimer at the beginning – something more direct than “Michelle Rhee, Bee-eater.”

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