Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Duncan’s Shaky House of Sticks

Some people will believe anything. For instance,

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U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan may well be one of these gullible people, or maybe he is being assisted with what to say by his friend Tom over at Vander Ark/Ratcliff.

VA/R provides the following services to assist with the destruction of the
U.S. public education system:
- Strategic Consulting
- Research
- Branding
- Marketing
- Communications
- Public affairs
- Creative Services

One of this company’s claims to fame is establishing the Broad Education Foundation communications office. No more needs to be said.

Fortunately, Parents United for Responsible Education, a group of Chicago public school parents and activists are totally on top of Duncan’s lies, and have been for some time. They've produced a wonderful fact sheet. It will take some time, but David will indeed slay the mighty corporate-steroid-fedGoliath.

PURE FACT SHEET “Dodge-ing the truth”

Arne Duncan, National Press club, May 29, 2009

“And so we have to stop lying to children. We have to tell them the truth. We have to be transparent about data."

What Secretary Duncan says:
Chicago success proves that we as a nation can expect dramatic and quick turnarounds in our lowest-performing schools.” Education Week essay, June 12, 2009
What the data show: Research shows that Chicago's new schools perform only “on par” with traditional neighborhood schools. Rand Corporation (2008), SRI International (2009)

What Secretary Duncan says:
“We had a school that we did -- we turned it around. The students left -- they came back – (Dodge) was one of the worst schools in Chicago; that in the third or fourth year of the turnaround had the highest gain of any elementary school in the state. National Press Club, May 29, 2009

What the data show: Only 12 students who were enrolled at Dodge when it was closed in 2002 were still there in 2005. Memo, CPS Research Dept., 3/20/2006

What Secretary Duncan says:
“With a new high school in North Lawndale where 95 percent of the children graduate...I am convinced we can finally get to what Dr. King talked about." National Press Club, May 29, 2009

What the data show: Graduation rate for North Lawndale College Charter High School is 46.8%. 2008 Illinois school report card

What Secretary Duncan says:
“In every elementary and middle school we turned around, attendance rates improved.” Education Week essay, June 12, 2009

What the data show: Attendance at the 2007 “turnaround model,” Sherman Elementary, dropped from 91.4% the year prior to the takeover to 90.6% in the first year of the takeover. Attendance nearly recovered its pre-takeover rate at 91.3% in 2008. Illinois Interactive Report Card aggregate data

What Secretary Duncan says:
"What we did in Chicago is we moved the adults out. We kept the children, and brought in new teams of adults. Same children, same families, same socioeconomic challenges, same neighborhoods, same buildings, different set of expectations, different set of beliefs. And what we saw was dramatic change." National Press Club, May 29, 2009
What the data show: Other post-turnaround data for “turnaround model” Sherman are even more troubling. By 2008, the data show a 20 percent drop in enrollment, a 10 percent drop in the number of low-income children, and a 17% increase in the mobility rate. True, that's dramatic change, but not in a good way! 2008 Illinois school report card

Over at Education Notes Online, Norm writes that Jerry Bracy is making an offer to buy dinner for the first person who is actually able to pin Duncan down on something specific. I'm thinking of taking that notion a bit farther by taking up a collection to pay for ads which challenge Duncan to engaging in a public duel of minds with Gerald Bracey.


Dewey said...

These "lies" that you are trying to point out don't seem very dramatic, or significant.

For example your first quote says that Chicago turnarounds prove what's possible, and then your "refutation" quote says that the new schools perform on par with traditional schools. What kind of a refutation is that? The quotes barely speak to one another.

Likewise your point about only 12 students being enrolled 3 years later at Dodge elementary seems frivolous. 12 out of how many? After 3 years, 3 full grades of the students will have necessarily left. You give us no point of comparison. How many students were the same after one year? (a much more meaningful number). How many students were the same at similar school that had no intervention after 3 years? That a school has high turnover after 3 years doesn't on the face of it tell us anything.

You seem to be grasping at straws here.

nikto said...

A Los Angeles Charter High School Valedictorian runs into the inescapable reality of Charter Schools:


And of course the inevitable...

"...in recent years, what was once a collaborative environment rich with teacher and parent input has given way to top-heavy management that is not responsive to parents and students and is no longer transparent in its decision-making."

"We, as students, we feel like we are not being heard," Ponce (the student valedictorian) said. "The administration treats us like we're ignorant."

Sound familiar?

There's much more at the link.


(And God Bless that wonderful student, and her cool blue hair!)

It may be easy to fool some of the young---But NOT the ones
who are awake.

nikto said...

More tawdry goings-on in the world of Charter Schools. This is from the LA Times article, 6-25,
(4th story down):


LOS ANGELES-San Fernando Valley

Charter school is
searched in probe

Investigators fanned out amid multiple campuses of Ivy Academia, a high-performing charter school in the San Fernando Valley, and executed search warrants as part of an investigation by the district attorney's Public Integrity Division, authorities said Wednesday.

It was not clear what the target was or what crimes are being investigated. Sandi Gibbons, a spokeswoman for the district attorney's office, would say only that a series of warrants were executed Tuesday morning "as part of an ongoing investigation."

Jerry Thornton, inspector general for the Los Angeles Unified School District, said his office assisted in the investigation. Tatyana Berkovich, founder and president of Ivy Academia, said she didn't know what the investigators were after. "We are confident that any inquiries that they have will showcase what a superior educational program we have," she said.

In 2007, Thornton's office issued an audit critical of the school's accounting and payroll practices, and said the not-for-profit charter was commingling funds with other, for-profit ventures. The report said the school promised to change some practices but disagreed that others were problematic.
-- Mitchell Landsberg

nikto said...

It's a big day today in the LA Times for Education.

Eli Broad can't be too happy with today's reading. The following editorial contains some good nuggets of reality. Some efforts are made to smooth things over, but to me, the clear implication at the end of this editorial is that the 9th Grade Green Dot Academies will re-train the kidz to be perfect little drones for the later grades.

Uh huh.

Also implies (to ME, from what I have actually seen happen), is the idea that certain (incorrigible) kidz will be culled in the 9th grade & dumped back into Public School, while "better" drones will be actively recruited as Charter replacements.

That is a typical Charter school modus operandi.

But... YOU decide.

Here it is:


caroline said...

Good research, Nikto!

That Accelerated charter outfit was reported in 2007 as defaulting on a $9.9 million loan from LAUSD -- I can't find any updates on that online at all. Interesting about Ivy Academia, which I've only seen previously on the receiving end of glowing coverage.

(When will the press learn: DON'T GUSH!? I wondered this while reading the New Yorker profile of Angelo Mozilo, disgraced head of disgraced Countrywide Mortgage -- which quotes some of his previous glowing press coverage.)

The Perimeter Primate said...

I told you so!


"He toiled faithfully on their plantation for 10 years before going to D.C. to serve as Obama's education chief. He did all their bidding without question, closing dozens of schools in under-served communities to make way for gentrification and privatizing much of the system.

But now the Chicago Civic Committee, the city's ruling elite, has turned on Arne Duncan and in a report released yesterday, titled "Still Left Behind," attacked the Duncan-led Chicago school reform as an "abysmal" failure. Ironically, it was the Civic Committee that designed and financed the Mayor's Renaissance 2010 plan--the very plan that Duncan was hired to implement and enforce."

Read the rest!!!


nikto said...

And here's an LA Unified HS with the District's biggest campus, a real prize, in the midst of a vicious fight with Charterizers.

This time, the Charterizer/Privatizers want THE ENTIRE SCHOOL, rather than just a piece of it (which is the Charters' usual strategy).

Even Sacha Baron Cohen is involved in this strange tangle.

Clearly, the much of District leadership is down on the Charter movement (although there are still too many many Charter supporters and moles at high levels), and is trying to hold it back somewhat, but the charter-monster has teeth, and bites.

For Birmingham High, this one's for all the marbles: