Christina Kishimoto, Education Reform, Hartford, Standardized Testing, Stefan Pryor, Steven Adamowski Christina Kishimoto, Standardized Test Scores, Stefan Pryor, Steven Adamowksi
Some Hartford school officials have apparently joined the ranks of those who have engaged in cheating to make their students’ standardized test scores look better.
The Hartford Courant has the latest news in a story entitled “Investigators Confirm Test-Tampering At Hartford School.”
Major cheating scandals have already rocked Atlanta and Washington, D.C.
Hartford is just the latest in a series of school districts across the country where school administrators have doctored test results to make it appear that their students are doing better on standardized tests such as the Connecticut Mastery Test.
In Connecticut, former Hartford Superintendent of Schools, Steven Adamowski, introduced the “bonus for the improvement of standardized test results scheme” when he ran Hartford’s schools for five years.
As a result of Adamowski’s policies, many of which have been continued under present Hartford Superintendent Christina Kishimoto, school officials receive bonuses if they can show improvement in standardized test results.
Apparently, the scheme leads some school administrators to take matters into their own hands…literally.
According to the Hartford Courant story written by Kathy Megan and Vanessa De La Torre,
“An investigation has confirmed that dozens of Connecticut Mastery Tests taken earlier this year at Betances Early Reading Lab School in Hartford were tampered with by unknown individuals.
The investigation by the Hartford law firm of Siegel, O’Connor, O’Donnell & Beck concluded that “testing irregularities are present in the CMT reading content area test booklets, completed by third-grade students” at Betances.”
The Courant goes on to report, “’Changes were made to students’ 2013 CMT reading content area test booklets by an individual or individuals that were not the students,’ the investigators state in a report for the Department of Education dated Nov. 5.”
According to the investigation, a number of teachers identified potential problems with their student’s test scores.
The Courant explained that;
“The report contained many examples of teachers saying that students’ scores were much higher than could be reasonably expected, as well as statistics showing that the number of answers changed from wrong to right was well beyond what might be expected.
For instance, one teacher, describing ‘Student D,’ noted that the student had ‘an extremely hard time recognizing words and comprehending text.’ She expected the student to score poorly on the test.
When the teacher was advised that the student changed answers 26 times and that 25 of those times were from the wrong answer to the right answer, the report says, ‘she could not believe it. Based on her experience with Student D, she did not feel it was possible.’
The timing of this cheating scandal is particularly noteworthy because starting this year, as a direct result of Governor Malloy’s “education reform” law, there is a new state-mandate that schools, teachers and many school administrators be evaluated based, in part, on whether standardized test results improve.
In Hartford, Superintendent of Schools Christina Kishimoto called the test tampering “really poor judgment that I want to really get to the bottom of.”
And not to be outdone, Governor Malloy’s Commissioner of Education, Stefan Pryor, told the Courant that the state was discussing what steps to take with Hartford school leaders regarding the cheating scandal.
Considering Stefan Pryor’s record and overwhelming fondness for massive amounts of standardized testing, in what might have been misinterpreted as a joke, Commissioner Pryor’s PR operation released a statement to the media yesterday which read;
“Testing irregularities are rare in our state. In general, Connecticut teachers, administrators and students display great integrity around the administration of statewide assessments… However, when such instances of possible tampering do occur, we take the matter very seriously… Unfortunately, the investigators’ report concludes that tampering has occurred in this case. We are in communication with Hartford’s board and central office leadership regarding this matter.”
You can read the Courant article and get more of the ugly details at: http://www.courant.com/news/education/hc-betances-cheating-1107-20131106,0,5846511,full.story.
Education Reform, Malloy, Obama, Sarah Darer Littman, Standardized Testing Education Reform, Malloy, Obama, Sarah Darer Littman, Standardized Testing
Sarah Darer Littman, a fellow public education advocate, blogger and regular commentator here at Wait,What? is also an award-winning author of books for young people.
Last week she and a number of other leading authors and illustrators wrote a powerful letter to President Obama about the inappropriate use of standardized testing and the failings of the corporate education reform movement.
In a commentary piece that appeared in the Connecticut Post and Stamford Advocate, Sarah Darer Littman explains why she and the authors took this important step;
“I am proud to have been a signatory to a letter sent to President Obama last week, along with over 120 authors and illustrators of books for children — including luminaries of the field such as Maya Angelou, Judy Blume and Jane Yolen.
We signed on to the letter because we know that lighting the fire of literacy is critical to our nation’s future, and we’re deeply concerned that current educational policy is dousing that fire. When one receives letters from young people telling them how reading your book has changed their life, it creates a special responsibility to advocate for change.
As you ponder who to vote for in your local Board of Education elections, please consider carefully each candidate’s position on excessive standardized testing.
Party label is no indication of position, alas — over-testing insanity might have started under a Republican administration with No Child Left Behind, but rather than correcting the problem, the Obama administration’s policies have reinforced it. Here in Connecticut, Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy even went so far as to state that he’d “settle for teaching to the test” as long as it meant raising test scores.
In many of the schools in Connecticut that need them the most, we don’t have full-time librarians, or libraries filled with books that appeal to young people. Yet we’re spending a fortune on consultants, and on technology to implement what — more testing. Author Neil Gaiman summed it up in a recent lecture, “Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming”:
“The simplest way to make sure that we raise literate children is to teach them to read, and to show them that reading is a pleasurable activity. And that means, at its simplest, finding books that they enjoy, giving them access to those books, and letting them read them.”
Test scores don’t matter as much as raising a nation of life-long readers — because reading fiction is a key to imagination and creativity. It is both a mirror, where we can see that we are not alone in our experiences, and a window, where we can learn to empathize with the experiences of others whose lives might be very different from our own.
A friend of mine in New York state called me, upset, after receiving the results of the tests this fall. Her son’s reading scores weren’t what she’d expected, and she wondered if she should worry. I know her son well — he loves reading and we have lively discussions about the latest book. I sent her links to numerous articles about the flawed Pearson ELA tests and told her that there was nothing the matter with her son — that he’s a bright kid who loves reading and that it borders on criminal that these tests would even create a doubt in her mind about the truth of this.
Please consider this carefully when voting for Board of Education. Vote for literacy, not test score-driven “readicide.”
You can read Sarah Darer Littman’s piece at: http://www.ctpost.com/opinion/article/A-vote-for-literacy-not-testing-4933218.php.
You can read the author’s letter to Obama and additional background on Valerie Strauss’ blog at the Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2013/10/22/top-authors-including-maya-angelou-urge-obama-to-curb-standardized-testing/
Achieve Hartford, Achievement First/ConnCAN, Alan Taylor, Charter Schools, Connecticut Council for Education Reform (CCER), Education Reform, Excel Bridgeport Inc., Malloy, Stefan Pryor Allan Taylor, Charter Schools, ConnCAN, Education Reform, Malloy, State Board of Education, Stefan Pryor
Pryor packs Connecticut’s Comprehensive Education Plan Advisory Committee with charter school and corporate reform advocates.
As mandated by Connecticut General Statutes Section 10-4(c), every five years the Connecticut State Board of Education must develop a new five-year Comprehensive Plan for Elementary, Secondary, Vocational, Career and Adult Education in Connecticut. Upon adoption by the State Board of Education, the plan is submitted to the Governor and the General Assembly’s Education Committee.
In the past, this process has been developed with the broad-based consensus of public educators from throughout Connecticut.
In December 2005, the State Board of Education appointed an advisory committee that included a broad array of organizations and individuals engaged in promoting public education in the state. Narrowly focused special interest lobbying groups such as the Connecticut Charter Schools Network (CCSN) were allowed to present testimony but were not put on the Advisory Committee.
The 2005 committee represented the wide spectrum of Connecticut’s public education community: teachers, principals, superintendents, parents, public school students, Connecticut’s technical schools and institutions of higher education made up the core of the committee along with some representatives of Connecticut’s business community.
Advisory committee members had a long track-record of expertise in Connecticut public schools working with a diverse population of Connecticut students. This is just the type of group we would want to determine the long-term vision for our school districts.
A comprehensive plan requires a broad thinking group that looks out for the interests of all our children.
But now that Governor Dannel Malloy and Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor have taken the helm, those days are gone. Instead of appointing members dedicated to the long-term development of quality public education in Connecticut, they have poisoned the Advisory Committee and the process for developing the new five-year comprehensive plan by packing it with corporate education reform groups that have consistently revealed their narrow political agendas.
Public education has been a primary target of America’s growing corporate education reform industry. Over the past three years, these so-called reformers have spent a record breaking $6 million plus lobbying on behalf of Governor Malloy’s education reform initiatives, many of which have been aimed at promoting the privatization of public education in the state.
The corporate reformers also dumped record amounts into elections in Bridgeport, first in a failed effort to change the City’s charter to do away with a democratically-elected board of education and replace it with one appointed by the mayor and then in a failed effort to elect members of the board of education who support Bridgeport’s faux superintendent of schools, Paul Vallas.
Now it has become painfully clear that all that money has paid off, at least when it comes to trying to control the discussion around Connecticut’s Comprehensive Education Plan for 2013-2018.
The new Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee has been packed with pro-corporate reform organizations.
When the Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee meets for the first time tomorrow from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm at the Legislative Office Building many of the seats will be filled with corporate education reform industry representatives.
New members of the State Board of Education’s Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee include representatives from:
- Achieve Hartford!
- Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now (ConnCAN)
- Connecticut Council on Education Reform
- Excel Bridgeport
- Northeast Charter Schools Network
- Students for Education Reform – Connecticut
- Teach for America – Connecticut
Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now (ConnCAN), the charter school lobby group formed by the board members of Achievement First, Inc. has spent more than any other organization lobbying for Malloy’s Education Reform bills. Of course, ConnCAN’s relationship with Achievement First, Inc. is especially noteworthy since Achievement First, Inc. the large charter school management company was co-founded by Stefan Pryor.
Connecticut Council on Education Reform is the New Haven-based, corporate-funded education reform organization that joined ConnCAN and Michelle Rhee’s Students First/GNEPSA in running television ads supporting Malloy’s reforms.
The Northeast Charter School Network is the New York based charter school advocacy group that recently merged with the Connecticut Charter School Network.
Students for Education Reform – is the quintessential corporate “astro turf” lobbying organization bankrolled by a variety of education reform groups. Recall that in 2012, Students for Education Reform organized a “ student demonstration” in favor of Malloy’s reforms on the Capitol steps but when students at the demonstration were questioned about why they were there, they had no idea what they were demonstrating about.
Students for Education Reform’s Board of Directors includes Jonathan Sackler who is also on the Boards of Achievement First, Inc. and ConnCAN. Another one of Students for Education Reform Directors is Justin Cohen. Cohen is the President of MassInsight, the out-of-state consulting company that recently received a $1 million contract from Pryor. Cohen also served as a moderator for Malloy’s education reform conference before Governor Malloy introduced his reform bill and Cohen traveled to Connecticut to submit testimony in support of Governor Malloy’s education reform bill when it was first introduced.
Prior to becoming President of Mass Insight Education’s School Turnaround Group, Justin Cohen was the Director of the Office of Portfolio Management and senior advisor to Chancellor Michelle Rhee at the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS).
Excel Bridgeport and Achieve Hartford! are two corporate affiliated organizations that have worked toward expanding charter schools.
And Teach for America – Connecticut Chapter is the vendor that is making millions of dollars thanks to contracts in Bridgeport, Hartford, New London, New Haven, Windham and elsewhere to place minimally trained recent college graduates to fill jobs that should be held by certified Connecticut school teachers who have graduated from Connecticut’s college and universities. It should be noted that the Chairman of Excel Bridgeport’s Board of Directors is none other than the Executive Director of Teach for America – Connecticut Chapter.
Perhaps even more disturbing, Teach for America, along with ConnCAN, Excel’s leadership and State Board of Education President Allan Taylor, were the behind-the-scenes architects of the secret and illegal 2011 state takeover of Bridgeport’s democratically elected board of education
Many of these groups, like Teach for America and the charter lobbies, have been singularly focused on using public funds to expand their businesses in Connecticut.
Charter schools serve 1% of Connecticut’s students. Yet they have been given SEVEN seats on the new Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee
Although some of these corporate education reform organizations have been plaguing our state for several years, others have absolutely no history in Connecticut.
All of these groups are primarily funded by national networks. Why should these narrow groups, dedicated to serving outside interests, be determining the future of Connecticut’s public education system?
Why should groups standing to gain contracts with the State Department of Education even be allowed to serve on this committee?
When it comes to pushing their pro corporate education reform industry agenda, there has been no doubt where Governor Malloy and Commissioner Pryor stand, but this latest move to ensure their agenda becomes part of Connecticut’s five year comprehensive education plan is perhaps their most offensive move yet.
Arne Duncan, Barak Obama, Common Core, Education Reform, Jeb Bush, Michelle Rhee, Wendy Lecker Arne Duncan, Barak Obama, Common Core, Jeb Bush, Michelle Rhee, Wendy Lecker
Jeb Bush, Michelle Rhee, Barak Obama, Arne Duncan and the entire Corporate Education Reform Industry is busy selling the American people on the notion that without the full and complete adoption of the Common Core Standards, Common Core Curriculum and Common Core Testing Scheme, America’s best days are behind us.
Jeb Bush Defends Common Core At ALEC Meeting and Jeb Bush defends Common Core and Michelle Rhee, Jeb Bush warn Michigan legislators against abandoning Common Core standards and JEB BUSH AND JOEL KLEIN: The Case for Common Educational Standards and Arne Duncan tells newspaper editors how to report on Common Core and Arne Duncan: Beating Up on Common Core Is ‘Political Silliness’ and Arne Duncan Defends Common Core, Ridicules Critics and Obama quietly implements Common Core.
Their message seems to come down to the false rhetoric and hyperbole that the choice facing American education is the adoption of “The Common Core Standards” or nothing.
They’d have us believe that one path would lead our nation and its children to success, the other to ruin and failure.
It is almost as if they take great pride in the fact that the simplistic arguments have no academic basis in fact.
The truth is that these corporate education reformers have become the living, breathing example of those who live by the creed, “Don’t confuse me with the facts.”
Well the facts are exactly what pro-public education advocate and fellow blogger, Wendy Lecker, has been bringing to the discussion over and over again.
In here latest column, entitled “Common Core using children as guinea pigs” uses the truth to condemn the incredible lies the corporate reformers are trying to force upon public education in America.
As usual, Wendy Lecker’s latest piece published in the Stamford Advocate and other Hearst Media Group newspapers is a “Must Read.”
Common Core using children as guinea pigs (By Wendy Lecker)
The nationwide rollout of the Common Core standards is an experiment on our children that violates all standards of human subject research.
The Common Core was rushed into schools before the curricula were developed and aligned to the standards, and before the tests were finalized and aligned to the curricula. Alignment is independent verification that a curriculum addresses standards, and that tests assess what the curriculum teaches; and is particularly necessary when high stakes are attached to tests. Those who insist that test scores should determine teacher effectiveness, school quality and whether a student is ready to graduate have a responsibility to guarantee that the tests actually measure what teachers teach and students learn.
The Common Core is being implemented not only before the curricula and tests are independently deemed valid. The curriculum in many cases is not even written. New York’s Education Commissioner admitted that the Common Core curriculum modules are being written as the school year unfolds. A curriculum not yet written cannot be aligned. Likewise, the Common Core tests are not finalized. The tests are being developed independently of the states and school districts; by contractors hired by two multi-state consortia. It is impossible that these unfinished tests are aligned to curricula now being taught.
This type of experimentation would never be allowed in research. Human subject research must adhere to three basic principles: (1) respect for individuals; respecting their autonomy; (2) beneficence; doing no harm and maximizing possible benefits while minimizing risks; and (3) justice; taking special care not to exploit vulnerable groups.
Ethics requires that subjects participate in an experiment knowingly and voluntarily. A recent poll revealed that the majority of Americans know nothing about the Common Core. Moreover, parents, children and teachers had no choice but to comply with the standards and tests.
The most glaring ethical violation concerns the prohibition against doing harm. The focal point of the Common Core is high-stakes standardized testing. We now know that education based on high-stakes tests not only fails to raise achievement but also harms learning, by narrowing the curriculum, increasing anxiety and diverting resources from methods that actually improve achievement. Officials imposing the Common Core knowingly embarked on a course that hurts students. At public hearings, parent after parent told New York’s Education Commissioner King that their children now hate school, and children testified about their anxiety and despair. A Greenwich, Connecticut official acknowledged that Common Core testing in 11th grade, when students take AP tests, SATs, SAT subject tests and ACTs, will cause undue stress. Parents and teachers report that the Common Core makes no adjustments for children learning English or students with disabilities.
In rolling out this untested program, officials jeopardize valuable learning time. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that even 10 days of lost learning is a significant deprivation. The Common Core tests are much longer than previous tests. The high stakes attached pressure school districts to spend inordinate amounts of time on test prep. If it turns out that these standards were not a success, our children will be unable to recapture the years lost to an ineffective testing regime.
The Common Core requires massive investments in textbooks, tests, training, and technology. Money is spent on the Common Core experiment at the expense of strategies with a long track record of success, such as high-quality preschool, small class size, wraparound services and extra help for at-risk children.
The benefits of the Common Core are speculative at best. A New York comparison of the 2013 Common Core tests, the previous standards and college completion rates, revealed that the previous standards were better predictors of college readiness. Moreover, the evidence is clear that neither tests nor standards raise achievement. Countries with national standards fare no better than those without, and states with higher standards do no better than states with lower ones. In states with consistent standards, achievement varies widely. The difference in achievement lies in those resources that states are now foregoing to pay for the Common Core.
As for justice, schools serving our most vulnerable students suffer most from a narrow test-based curriculum. A new report in New York reveals that poor children and children of color are least likely to be in schools with libraries, art and music rooms, science, and AP classes. Expanded Common Core testing will disproportionately harm our neediest children.
It is time to ask policy-makers why they made our children guinea pigs in the rush to impose the not-ready-for-prime-time Common Core.
You can read Wendy Lecker’s full column at: http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/article/Lecker-Common-Core-using-children-as-guinea-pigs-4907921.php
Education Reform, Hartford, Steve Perry Capital Preparatory Magnet School Capital Preparatory Magnet School, Education Reform, Hartford, Steve Perry
It’s another day and the Steven Perry, the principal of Capital Preparatory school in Hartford Connecticut has returned to his obsessive use of Twitter to promote his mongering.
As administrators, teachers, parents and community members across the nation have become increasingly aware of the short and long term effects of bullying, Steven Perry has become a prime example of the lack of humanity and decency in the corporate education reform industry.
While taking over $150,000 in taxpayer salary and benefits every year, Steven Perry uses public resources to insult, harangue, disparage, malign, defame and denigrate those with whom he disagrees with on political issues.
Yesterday, Perry’s approach can be seen when he tweeted, “There is a small group of suburban middle class, “educators” who are fighting violently to keep this system. They’re on the ropes now.”
When a reader asked, “Violently”?? Did you really mean to use the term “violently”?
Perry tweeted, “Clearly, I wrote it.”
Steven Perry desperately wants to be seen as part of the “solution,” but his inappropriate outbursts reveal a man who is not only part of the problem but is unwilling to follow the most basic rules, regulations and policies associated with his publicly-funded position.
While every American is guaranteed freedom of speech, in the days and weeks ahead we’ll learn more and more about Perry’s inappropriate and potentially illegal behavior and conduct.
Like most bullies, in response to the allegations, we’ll hear him whining about being misunderstood, mistreated or he’ll start blaming others for his actions; but the laws about the inappropriate use of public resources is clear, concise and applies to everyone — even Steven Perry.
Take this past Friday as an example,
With the school day under way, when he was supposed to be attending to his duties as a principal of a “no excuses” school, the captain left the helm to return to his uncontrolled and vitriolic hate toward public school advocate Diane Ravitch and the American Federation of Teacher’s President, Randi Weingarten.
Among Perry’s many tweets including the following:
“Do you REALLY believe only ppl who can pay for school should get #schoolchoice? Wow. Just admit it’s about jobs. (9:04 am)”
“You REALLY believe poor minority kids should ONLY be ALLOWED to go to the poor minority schools in their ‘hood? (9:06 am)”
And then over the course of the next five hours, Steven Perry returns to his personal twitter account more than a dozen times to engage in political activities in direct violation of the laws and of the State of Connecticut and his employer, the City of Hartford.
Perhaps the most outrageous attacks were aimed that the union that represents his teachers. Perry tweeted;
“Remember I said I would shine the light of truth on the unions & they would come out? Introducing Andrea Johnson, Hartford’s union boss.”
“Our efforts to end racist #zipcodediscrimination laws has got union bosses in full attack mode.”
“Union bosses like Andrea Johnson use good teachers’ dues & works to push silly grievances…”
“HFT has lost every grievance they’ve brought against CPrep since 2005…”
Connecticut taxpayers are sick and tired of high ranking officials at the federal, state and local level wasting scarce resources and acting as if laws, rules and policies apply to everyone but themselves.
Here in Connecticut, state and municipal employees have lost their jobs for engaging in inappropriate activities such as politics and bullying on the public dime.
Steve Perry has been devoting a disproportionate amount of time on his private consulting, despite his public salary and the limitations that go with engaging in private business on public time.
Even more serious are allegations contained in documents received from two Capital Prep teachers who left the school after the last year. One with years of experience and another who was relatively new to the school have provided reports that appear to reveal that Steven Perry’s discipline policies lead to what could only be defined as servere emotional, and even physical, abuse.
As the documents and stories are confirmed they will be turned over the State’s child advocate and other appropriate officials.
In the meantime, let us hope up the General Assembly’s Committee on Children and Education Committee will hold a public hearing on what could very well be the abusive disciplinary policies of schools like Achievement First, Jumoke Academy and Capital Prep.
As one former Capital Prep parent recently explained, “As a result of their abusive policies, my child came home crying day after day. I pull him out and he returned to our local school district where he is doing much better.”
Steven Perry may himself “America’s Most Trusted Educator,” but more and more former teachers, parents and students have ample evidence to proving otherwise.
Education Reform, Hartford, Steve Perry Capital Preparatory Magnet School Capital Prep, Education Reform, Hartford, Steve Perry
In response to yesterday’s Wait, What? post about his latest twitter diatribe and the fact that his claims about Capital Prep’s success don’t match up the actual facts, Dr. Steve Perry, the self-proclaimed “Most Trusted Educator” in America, returned to tweeter to complain that, “One [critic] spent his morning counting my tweets not realizing I was on a plane & my personal leave. It’s so not about kids for these union thugs.”
“Not about the kids for these union thugs” Really?
With that tweet, Perry managed, in less than 140 characters, to highlight the accuracy of the very criticisms that have been leveled against his offensive, immature, unsophisticated, inappropriate and ignorant behavior.
In Steven Perry’s “no excuse” world, the demarcation of appropriate behavior is absolute.
Standing straight, wearing the right colored belt, appropriate behavior and using the correct language are the exclusive pathways to success in life.
This from a man who uses the term racist on anyone who disagrees with his political philosophy, all the while, collecting a six figure Connecticut taxpayer funded salary without faithfully fulfilling the duties mandated in the job.
Steven Perry is well aware that taking care of personal affairs during work time is a violation. Engaging in outside employment on public time is even worse and using public funds and pubic to engage in politics is a crime.
But Steve Perry has become a prime example of those who believe the rules apply exclusively to others.
In yesterday’s post Perry’s defensively whines that he was “on a plane & my personal leave.”
But of course, the no excuses champion knows perfectly well that he couldn’t have possibly been using his personal leave” time since his contract only allows 5 personal days a year, all of which can only be used for extremely limited purposes, all requiring pre-approval and none of the reasons relate to leaving work to get paid to make a speech.
Maybe in his rush to defend his actions Steve Perry meant to say he was using vacation time to travel the country and not personal time, but even then issues arise considering in the first five weeks of school he has been out and about, mostly on school days, to Fort Lauderdale, Jackson, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Birmingham and that doesn’t even count his recent trips to Dallas and Rochester.
Or maybe he simply and inappropriately called in sick while he raced off on his self-promotion tours leaving his fellow administrators, teachers and students behind.
As one veteran teacher recently reported, Capital Prep administrators join teachers for mandatory staff meetings three times a week; Perry has been showing up less and less lately.
Leaving aside how he is managing to fulfill his legal duties as a public employee while maximizing his outside consulting business, Steven Perry seems to overlooking various conflict of interest issues that arise as a public official. One of the co-sponsors of one of his most recent speeches…Pearson, the massive standardized testing and curriculum company.
However, beyond the question of whether he is inappropriately or even illegally taking taxpayer funds while conducting personal business on public time, there are the issues related to his unending abusive and bullying language.
No public official or “educator,” not even Steven Perry, has the right to engage in such bullying.
During one recent school day, Perry returned to his unrelenting attack on Diane Ravitch tweeting, “Fine, be against #schoolchoice BUT stop using it too. Hypocrisy has no place in education @DianeRavitch @rweingarten nor does racism.”
Among the thirty plus emails he fired off in rapid succession during the work day were the following;
- “Beware of ppl who work @ elite private col, send their own kids to private schls, are paid by unions BUT fight #schoolchoice @DianeRavitch”
- “If you’re against all charters bc SOME are low performing, then are you against all hood schools bc MOST of them are failing? Not about kids”
- “If you’re against crowded classes then why in the hell are you fighting so hard to make more kids go to crowded school who want out?”
All the while going after various unions including this tweet, “I would rather set $2,000 on fire than pay it to a union who fights to keep ineffective principals in front of kids.” One assumes he is referring to his own union, The Hartford Principals and Supervisors’ Union, Local 22, AFSA, AFL-CIO.
And that day was hardly unique.
Just a week earlier, a week in which he was away from school at least twice to give speeches; Perry spent another day on a twitter rant saying;
- “Why do districts think pouring more resources into TURBLE schools is the answer?” Bc they’ve been told that it will.”
- “What’s worse is, even as hood schools sit there 1/2 empty & failing, we STILL carelessly pump good kids & money into them.
- “If ant- #schoolchoice is REALLY TRYING TO UNDERSTAND ATTRITION start w your fails schools. THEY loose more kids each yr than EVERYONE.”
- “Millions of fams have either left or on waiting lists to get out. We MUST focus on who’s REALLY LOSING STUDENTS. IT’S NOT CHOICES SCHOOLS.”
- “MOST of the US’s urban districts have see SHARP DECLINES IN ENROLLMENT even w kids returning from choice schools. As much as a 1/3!”
- We MUST ask the w why so many fams want OUT of their hood school. Between THEIR REAL attrition & dropout rates we see a mass exodus.
And last but not least, “We make no apologies for being CPrep. Success has a way of clearing things up. That’s why more fams apply to CPrep than any other school.” And “Having NEVER counseled a kid out & hearing tales if this, I can say I don’t know. But I KNOW why they leave hood schools.”
Really… “No apologies for being CPrep”?
Having never counseled a kid out?
And yet one recent Capital Prep graduating class lost 40 percent of their students along the way…
CPrep – home of real attrition, dropout rates and a mass exodus.
Diane Ravitch, Education Reform, Steve Perry Capital Preparatory Magnet School Capital Prep, Diane Ravitch, Steve Perry
Wednesday morning, October 9, 2013:
The school day began and Hartford Board of Education employee Steve Perry was busy using his personal twitter account to attack his opponents. His target on this day, Diane Ravitch, the nation’s leading public education advocate.
Perry is the principal of Capital Preparatory Magnet School in Hartford, Connecticut. His six figure income comes from the taxpayers of Hartford and Connecticut. In fact, considering more than two-thirds of Hartford’s school budget is funded by the state, the vast majority of Perry’s salary is courtesy of Connecticut State government.
As usual, Perry’s diatribes are sounding increasingly unhinged and out of control.
To Diane Ravitch (and Randi Weingarten of the American Federation of Teachers) Perry tweets… “YOU are a person who supports racist zip code laws & failed schools, no metaphors needed. YOU ARE THE PROBLEM.”
Minutes later, “YOU, the ‘historian’, are on the same side of history as the segregationists who fought to keep ppl in the hood.”
Then “YOUR ideas are outdated & failed. It’s time for you to flip flop again. #edreform is winning so kids are winning.”
Later in the day, Dr. Steve Perry @DrStevePerry is back at it tweeting to Professor Ravitch, “YOU can’t stop a movement that has arrived to free our kids from your failed schools.” and
“But wait, there’s more… #edreform is winning bc the truth about your support of racist policies is public,” and
“NOTHING can hide your support of racist policies. Nothing. You fight for jobs not kids. Time to flip flop again.”
Thursday, October 10, 2013:
The school day begins again at Capital Preparatory Magnet School, and Principal Steve Perry is back on his twitter account. 80 tweets in the first hour of school and he is going strong.
It is our tax dollars at work…
And all the while, Steven Perry calls himself “America’s Most Trusted Educator”
Go to his website and you can read his bio, watch videos of his speeches and book him to come and speak.
This corporate education reformer claims credit for virtually everything short of the fact that the sun rises on a daily basis.
Steve Perry’s bio leads with the claim, “Capital Prep has sent 100% of its predominantly low-income, minority, first generation high school graduates to four-year colleges every year since its first class graduated in 2006.”
The only problem with his claim that he has a 100% college acceptance rate is that according to data filed with the Connecticut State Department of Education, one in five of his students dropped out before they made it to their 2011 graduating class and fully 40 percent of his students dropped out before they made it to graduation day in 2010.
Meanwhile, Perry’s claim that is students are “predominantly low-income, minority, first generation high school graduates,” hides his charter-school like propensity to be more than a bit selective about who gets to “benefit” from his no-excuses program.
While one in four Hartford school students are not proficient in the English language. At Steve Perry’s Capital Prep, the percent of students who face English language barriers is 3.6 percent.
In a city where more than 50 percent of the students are Hispanic, Steve Perry reports less than a third of the students are Hispanic.
And when it comes to needing special education services, while 12.5 percent of Hartford students need special education help, at Steven Perry’s Capital Prep, the number is less than half that amount…a paltry 5.7 percent.
Just as with Connecticut’s “successful” charter schools, Capital Prep fails to take its fair share of Hispanic students, fails to take its fair share of those who face English language problems and fails to take its fair share of students who need special education services.
Meanwhile, as we approach the 10 o’clock hour on this school day, the number of tweets Steve Perry has sent out on the public dime is in excess of 110 and counting.
The most respected educator in America?
Alliance Districts, Charter Schools, Education Reform, Family Urban Schools of Excellence (FUSE), Jumoke Academy, Malloy, Morgan Barth, State Board of Education, Stefan Pryor Alliance Districts, Charter Schools, Commissioner Network, Fuse, Jumoke Academy, Malloy, Morgan Barth, Stefan Pryor
When in doubt, purchase a new data management system, give it a name that has nothing to do with education, hire more consultants and then hold as many meetings and “training sessions” as possible.
All paid for, or course, by the generous taxpayers of Connecticut (while school districts across the state go without adequate funding).
Here in Connecticut, the corporate education reform industry has become a caricature of itself.
This very afternoon, Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor and Morgan Barth, his uncertified “Division Director of the Turnaround Office,” will be hosting the first “NetStat” meeting of the year with representatives of Pryor’s 11 Commissioner’s Network Schools.
The State Department of Education’s delegation will include the cadre of out-of-state consultants that arrived with the $1 million contract with the politically connected Mass Insight Company.
At last word, even Governor Malloy is planning to make an appearance at today’s meeting.
At today’s NetStat meeting, Pryor and Barth’s goal is to spotlight “the schools with ‘best-in-class’ results” which is more than a bit odd considering that half the schools have only been members of the Commissioner’s Network for one year and the other half just became Commissioner’s Network schools this past month.
But as Morgan Barth, the former teacher who couldn’t bother to become certified wrote in a recent memo, “We’ll hear many stories at NetStat including one from a dynamic duo – Karen Lott and Marilyn Taylor – respectively the principals of Milner and Dunbar. In visiting both schools I was impressed with the positivity and structure of the school culture/climate.”
Impressed with the positivity and structure of the school culture/climate?
Apparently Barth remains a big fan of the no excuses, no talking, march in a single line, hands at your sides, detention for wearing the wrong colored belt or not keeping your eyes on the teacher school climate approach.
And what a surprise that the co-founder of Achievement First, Inc. (Stefan Pryor) and the former principal of an Achievement First, Inc. school (Morgan Barth) are bringing together schools from around the state so that they can “learn” about best practices from two privatized, “no excuses” schools that have been taken over by the FUSE/Jumoke Academy charter school chain.
It must be especially convenient since the COO of FUSE/Jumoke is a member of the State Board of Education, thanks to Governor Malloy, and she will probably be in attendance thanks to her role as that company’s leading voice in their expansion efforts.
Why not just be a bit more transparent and entitle the workshop; The Malloy Administration’s dedication to privatizing public education in Connecticut.
According to a copy of today’s agenda that was posted on the web, “Attendees will receive data packets for their schools, containing current and historic data for a universal set of leading and lagging indicators used to measure school turnaround.”
They’ll then spend that day analyzing the data using a “3-step data protocol” while “The Turnaround Office will present an 8-step change management process used to drive organizational effectiveness and improvement.”
The Bottom Line?
“School teams will learn more about the vision for and expansion of the Commissioner’s Network during the upcoming school year.”
Meanwhile, we are one hundred days into the school year and the same “Turnaround Office” has still failed to process all of the Year Two Alliance District Grants leaving at least a dozen school districts without the money they were promised by Governor Malloy and the General Assembly to help “turnaround” their schools this year.
And one of the towns left twisting in the wind?
The very community that reported this week that it might have to close its schools due to a lack of funds.
But no worries…
With the first NetStat meeting of the year being held, solving Connecticut’s school funding problem can’t be far behind.
Arne Duncan, Education Reform, Malloy, Wendy Lecker Arne Duncan, Education Reform, Malloy, Wendy Lecker
Fellow blogger and public education advocate, Wendy Lecker, has another “must read” commentary piece in this weekend’s Stamford Advocate.
Wendy Lecker lays out the case against Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, observing, “Secretary Duncan is the one in an alternate universe, and our students, teachers and taxpayers are paying the price.”
The commentary piece begins with;
“Education reformers claim that standardized test scores are an objective measure of student performance, and school and teacher quality; thus it is reasonable to attach severe consequences to them. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan demands that states administer standardized tests yearly so that we can “hold everyone accountable.” In fact, Duncan recently accused anyone who criticizes America’s overemphasis on tests as “living in an alternate universe.”
But the evidence is clear that test scores are not objective. Officials play with standardized test scores to further their political goals.
Proficiency levels, or “cut scores,” are politically determined. New York implemented new Common Core tests in 2013, setting such high cut scores that statewide proficiency rates dropped 20 to 30 percent from 2012. In Illinois and D.C., officials did the opposite. Facing the prospect of widespread school failure this year, Illinois quietly recalculated what “failure” meant. D.C. officials reverted to an earlier grading scale to make their scores look better.
The manipulation extends beyond cut scores. State officials move test scores and targets whenever it fits their agenda.
In New York, children who fail state tests must receive academic intervention services (AIS). The majority of children statewide failed the 2013 tests, resulting in a sharp increase in children that must receive AIS. Providing AIS to more children costs more money. To save money, the New York State Regents changed the threshold so that fewer children would qualify for AIS.
In doing so, the Regents essentially lined up the old tests against the new Common Core tests and developed a scale they claimed could equate the old and new scores. However, this type of equating is only valid if the new tests assess the same skills as the old tests.
Proponents sold the Common Core standards promising that they will teach entirely new “sophisticated reasoning skills” not found in previous state standards. Apparently, for the Regents, when it means that the state would have to spend money on additional services for children, the Common Core does not teach new skills.
Connecticut is requiring that teachers engage in similar statistical acrobatics. Districts across Connecticut are implementing the new, ill-conceived teacher evaluation plan. Teachers must set “student learning objectives” (SLOs) for each child. In subjects covered by state standardized tests, the SLO baseline must include a student’s score on the CMTs the previous year. Then, the teacher must set a goal for the student on the upcoming state tests. This year, districts can choose to administer either CMTs or the new Common Core pilot tests. For those districts using existing CMTs, teachers must somehow predict how each student will score on 2014′s CMTs.
In districts using the Common Core tests, teachers have it even worse. They must use the CMTs as a baseline, and predict a score for each child on the new Common Core tests. Thus, like the New York Regents, teachers must assume that the new tests assess the same skills as the CMTs.
Officials cannot have it both ways. Either the Common Core teaches different skills, in which case we cannot equate the old tests with the new tests. Or, the Common Core tests can be aligned with the old tests, in which case they assess the same skills the CMTs did and in which case we are wasting billions of dollars nationwide on a boondoggle.”
You can read Wendy Lecker’s the full commentary piece here: http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/news/article/Lecker-Arne-Duncan-s-alternate-universe-4870140.php
Ann Evans de Bernard, Bridgeport, Education Reform, Malloy, Paul Vallas Bridgeport, Education Reform, Malloy, Paul Vallas
Ann Evans de Bernard, Ph.D recently retired as principal of Waltersville School in Bridgeport. In a two part commentary piece, she asks When is school reform not reform?
And then, with the power and authority that only comes from having served on the front lines of the effort to provide Bridgeport’s children with a quality education, she rips apart the falsehoods being spread by the education reform industry.
This is a must read article that you can find here http://www.ctpost.com/opinion/article/Ann-Evans-de-Bernard-When-is-school-reform-not-4863554.php and here http://www.ctpost.com/opinion/article/Ann-Evans-de-Bernard-Revisiting-the-meaning-of-4866687.php
When is school reform not reform?
Connecticut has received some amount of attention lately for the so-called school reform movement being sponsored and directed by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, Commissioner of Education Stephan Pryor, and in Bridgeport, nationally known Superintendent Paul Vallas. “School reform efforts” are the words most often used in article after article about the current movement in education, which actually amounts to an effort to treat our poor neighborhoods and schools like part of some pre-war colonial empire. This movement is being heavily funded by millionaires who, as we know, do not send their children to public schools and who pretend to believe their paternalistic views on what “other people’s children” need are benevolent.
For supporters of such reform efforts — those who actually believe the agenda is reform — the accomplishments most often touted here in Connecticut are new textbooks, the opening of new schools, the changing of administrative categories and duties, the hiring of America’s “brightest and best” through the Teach for America program, and rampant transfer and reclassification of school personnel based on a new reliance on evaluation systems hooked to standardized test scores. So far, that’s what we have in the way of school reform. So what is reform, really? And how do school reform efforts today compare to what happened in schools when I grew up?
One would hope that by 2013 “school reform efforts” might include novel ideas, modernization or some hypothetical silver bullet that would once and for all equalize the educational opportunities for vastly unequal groups of children with vastly unequal housing, vastly unequal language backgrounds and vastly unequal lives.
Instead, I see an educational system that looks somewhat like the one I grew up in, except from my perspective, the “efforts” being expended now on behalf of children are not nearly so great and not nearly so altruistic as those I experienced as a child of the post-war baby boom. And, far from “transformation” or “improvement,” what is being done today in the name of school reform could at best be called old wine in old bottles, most of it not even good wine. At worst, it embodies a blatant disregard for the cultural integrity of real children living real lives, as if they were part of some unacceptable caste. So forgive me if I reminisce.
I began school in 1950 and attended elementary school in several of America’s large decaying factory cities. I attended both Catholic and public schools — in those days they weren’t much different except for the religious persuasion of the parents. Economically, in fact, some Catholic schools educated poorer children than public schools, given that many of the incoming children were recent immigrants from war-torn Europe. To help with the extras that children enjoy, we made donations and sold a lot of candy and raffle tickets. In the academic domain, you might win a spelling bee or a times-tables race, which in public school might yield a ribbon or a medal and in Catholic school an aging Blessed Mother statue, a holy card, or last year’s Saint Joseph from the back of the rectory. More