Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Thursday, July 29, 2010

With NY Scores Shown To Be A Sham, Obama Doubles Down On Testing And Blaming Teachers

President Accountability likes to hold people accountable.

Well, okay, only some people.

Certainly not treasury secretaries who hand out 100 cents to the dollar for crap on AIG's books that is actually worth about 10 cents or people who create the HAMP mortgage program that was supposed to help people in danger of foreclosure but has actually bilked hundreds of thousands of people out of a six months of additional payments before allowing the banks to foreclose on them anyway.

Yeah, those people he's not so big on holding accountable.

But a USDA employee falsely accused of racism by wingnut Internets people?

That woman he has fired without even a rudimentary investigation into the charges.

And all the teachers at a Central Falls, Rhode Island school who educate students in a town with the highest rates of unemployment, poverty, addiction, alcoholism and teen pregnancy in the state?

Yeah, those folks he likes holding accountable too.

When they didn't agree to additional hours and days of work without commensurate pay, Obama cheered their firings.

And now that Mayor Bloomberg and Joel Klein, long pointed to by education deformers and editorial writers as Education Miracle Workers with a proven reform system that should be taken nation-wide, have been exposed as frauds and shams, they're vaunted test scores actually inflated, President Obama isn't backing down from backing them or the reforms they tout.

Nope, instead he's going on the road to defend those policies instead.

And guess who he's blaming for all the problems?

You got it - TEACHERS:

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is defending his administration's education policies, responding to criticism that so far they have not substantially helped minority students.

The president blames some of the criticism of his plan on teachers and others resistant to change.

Obama was to speak Thursday at the centennial convention of the National Urban League, one of eight civil rights organizations that released a report this week calling the president's $4.35 billion education initiative an ineffective approach for failing schools.

In excerpts released ahead of the president's speech, Obama says his program's goal is to spur innovate education reform in states and turn around failing schools, many in minority communities, not just label them as troubled and then walk away.

"It's about investing in that school's future, recruiting the whole community to help turn it around, and identifying some viable options for how to move forward," Obama says.

The National Urban League report, written in conjunction with seven other civil rights groups, says federal data shows that just 3 percent of the nation's black students and less than 1 percent of Latino students are affected by the first round of the administration's "Race to the Top" competition.

The program earlier this year awarded about $600 million to Tennessee and Delaware to undertake reforms.

Eighteen states and the District of Columbia were named finalists Tuesday for the second round of the funding.

Obama's education reforms have also drawn criticism from education advocates, including prominent teachers' unions like the American Federation of Teachers.

Obama will tell the civil rights group's convention that some of the criticism of the program comes from those resistant to change and a "comfort with the status quo." The goal of the initiative, he says, isn't to fire or admonish teachers, but to hold them accountable and help "create a better environment for teachers and students alike."

The president will call for schools to provide teachers higher pay and a fulfilling, supportive workplace.

"Instead of a culture where we're always idolizing sports stars or celebrities, I want us to build a culture where we idolize the people who shape our children's future," he will tell the group.

Oh, sure - and how do we get to such a world by holding teachers accountable with falsified scores and other unfair and/or fraudulent measures of achievement?

Well, if you're in Washington D.C. where Obama lives, you fire 6% of the teaching staff and put another 17% on notice that they will be fired.

Even though the test score system used to hold these teachers accountable is so complex and nontransparent that most people don't understand it.

Even when A USDOE report released in June 2010 shows that using "value-added" test score rates to evaluate schools and students is imprecise up to 25%.

That means a whole swath of teachers who aren't "bad" will be identified as bad and fired under these methods of accountability.

Now does President Accountability care about the imprecise methods of accountability measurement being used to evaluate teachers or that those methods might be used to fire good teachers?

Uh, uh. Not at all. He says they're fine.

Does he care that the vaunted Bloomberg/Klein Education Miracle in New York City has been exposed as a fraudulent sham?

Uh, uh. Not at all. He says the reforms (which are his reforms too) are working fine.

Instead he attacks teachers for trying to protect themselves from these fraudulent measures of accountability.

I think it's time for the media to hold the Bloombergs and the Obamas of the world accountable.

Of course as NYC Educator pointed out today
, the Daily News editorial writers managed to write an editorial admonishing teachers and cheering on the Race to the Top reforms as the road to go even though they have just been exposed as fraudulent and harmful to children and the public education system.

After all, Race to the Top is just the Bloombergian reforms written large.

If they're not working here in New York, why would they work across the country?

And if they're not working here in New York, why aren't the people who put them in place and have had nine years to improve the system been held accountable for their failings?

Dunno, but they haven't. It seems the only people to blame in Obama's view, or the view of the editorial writers, are teachers.

But as my friend Michael Fiorillo often says in comments:

Silly reality-based educator...accountability is only for peons, not the politicians who put the failing policies in place.


That is Obama's message today and the message of the Times/Post/News editorial writers every day.


  1. You were so right about AIG and the like. I just watched most of Obama's speech to the Urban League. It was a rousing speech and put a really rosy face on RttT--the crowd seemed to love it and there was loud applause every time he finished making a point. MSNBC also had a guest (didn't catch her name) who applauded RttT and reinforced Obama. At the conclusion, instead of having someone from the opposition--the news commentator switched to some remark that Obama had made about Snooki from Jersey Shore during his appearance on The View. Very discouraging!

  2. Follow up: Rahema Ellis, NBC news commentator, was the guest in my previous post and she just did another cheerleading appearance for RttT.

  3. Well, I heard it from the man himself, RBE. He is not interested in the concerns of teachers, students or parents.

    Michael Fiorello is right.

    Bloomberg backtracked on his "judge me on the schools comments" by questioning the definition of proficiency.

    The Charter School association President blamed the poor scores on Black and Hispanic students.

    I wrote more about it here:

    I encourage you and your readers to check it out and leave a comment.

    Keep it up

  4. It should come as no surprise that Obama will forge ahead with RttT, despite its fraudulent foundation.

    Despite the myth of Obama as a community organizer - which has as much basis in fact as a TFA missionary being a teacher - in reality his political base has always been the so-called liberal foundations, Real Estate (represented by Valerie Jarrett, who won her props with the Overclass by helping to eliminate public housing in rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods close to Chicago's central business district) and Finance.

    Years ago, these folks saw in Obama a reliable defender of their interests, and he has no intention - indeed, I don't think he has the capability - of disappointing them.

  5. There is a whole comment thread over at FDL with a bunch of people saying basically the same thing all you folks are saying here.

    It's good to see some of the criticism of Obama making it to the more mainstream political leftie blogs.

    Of course the Daily Kos and Talking Points Memo are still carrying his water.

    But at least some progressives are off the reservation.