Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Sunday, March 4, 2012

NY Post Goes After Celebrity Charter School Teacher

The NY Post took a break from beating up on unionized New York City public school teachers at traditional public schools over the error-laden Teacher Data Reports to take aim at a famous charter school teacher working at a famous charter school run by an even more famous (or infamous) charter school operator/huckster:

She has appeared on “60 Minutes,” starred in the documentary “American Teacher” — and makes $125,000 at an unusual Washington Heights charter school.

But celebrity teacher Rhena Jasey, 32, scored a low 18 — on a scale of 0 to 100 — in the recently released Department of Education teacher ratings.

Jasey, a 32-year-old Harvard grad, works at The Equity Project, a publicly funded but privately run charter school that has garnered nationwide attention for its huge teacher salaries — $125,000 a year, plus performance bonuses up to $25,000.

That’s well above the DOE’s top salary to its most educated and veteran teachers — $100,049. But at The Equity Project, teachers don’t get tenure, and can be fired on the spot if they don’t measure up.

It’s a closely watched educational experiment.

“If you want to attract and retain talent, you have to pay for it,” founder and principal Zeke Vanderhoek, a Yale grad who was featured in The New York Times before his school opened and soon after, told “60 Minutes."

So how is Vanderhoek's charter school experiment going?

Not so well:

So far, results at the 480-student middle school have fallen short compared to other district schools, with 31 percent of TEP’s fifth-graders passing state tests.

And how is Vanderhoek, who dealt quite well with the positive press about his Equity Project in the past, dealing with the negative press now?

Not so well with that either:

Vanderhoek refused to speak to The Post, and screamed at a reporter who visited the Audubon Avenue school Friday.

He also would not discuss Jasey, saying in an e-mail, “I do not publicly comment on the specific data reports of any individual teacher.”

Ah, how the tables have turned for this charter school entrepreneur who never misses an opportunity to point out how "bad" the traditional public school system is and uses test score data to back up his point but doesn't want to defend his own performance or the performance of his teachers using that same data set.

In fact, Vanderhoek told the Post reporter through email that he rejects the Teacher Data Reports as reductionist:

Vanderhoek said his teachers are judged on student data and their work, classroom observations and other factors.

“We believe this comprehensive evaluation portfolio is a much more accurate picture of a teacher’s impact on student growth” than the DOE ratings, he said.

Hey, it's good to hear that Vanderhoek believes teachers ought to be judged by a criteria other than test scores.

Too bad he didn't tell that to "60 Minutes."

Too bad, too, that the fawning "60 Minutes" crew wasn't there the other day to capture Vanderhoek screaming at the Post reporter who had the audacity to ask Vanderhoek about his famed teacher's less-than-stellar Teacher Data Report.

As for Jasey, the famous teacher and Harvard grad, just the kind of person the education reformers want to bring into the public school system, a certified member of the "Best and Brightest," how did she handle the scrutiny over her TDR's?

Sigh - not so well:

Jasey’s score of 18 for fifth-grade math in 2009-10 had a range of error placing her between 4 and 32. She did not return messages seeking comment

Ah, yes - here is a certified member of the Best and Brightest, a woman who relished the spotlight in American Teacher, who now won't return comment to the press when questioned about her TDR.

Too bad the fawning "60 Minutes" crew wasn't there to capture that too.

What Jasey should have done is taken the reporter's call and told her what jive the Teacher Data Reports are, what jive basing a teacher's evaluation on student test scores is.

She has had a national platform in a movie narrated by Matt Damon, she works at a school with notoriety even outside the education world

And it's not like she's been shy about the spotlight before.

In fact, she seems to seek it out.

This was a teachable moment for us all, when a member of the certified Best and Brightest with a penchant for the spotlight could have put to rest the notion that value-added measurements of high stakes standardized tests correlate to teacher quality.

She could have used her own TDR as evidence.

Instead she chose to hide out in her apartment.

But that is often the way with these reformy folks, who love the spotlight and the glory when the press is fawning over them but just don't have the courage to answer the really tough questions when their own records are scrutinized.


  1. Wish I could say how much I hate the Post which I do, what this is just too good!!

  2. Oops!! but this is just too good!

  3. THIS is about the only article over the last few years that gives me ANY faith in the media. I can't believe they printed this story!

  4. On Putin's victory, and how the young in Russia are using the Internet to protest and organize against a tyrant who just won't leave office. I couldn;t help but notice the similarites to our tyrant-in-chief in our little hamlet. Third terms, puppet government and officials...tell is Scumberg different than Putin?

    "Today, that hope has dimmed, as Putin returns to the presidency after having garnered about 60% of the vote in Russia’s presidential elections, according to exit polls. This will be his third term in that office, which he relinquished in 2008 to president-in-name-only Dmitry Medvedev. As everyone well knew, Prime Minister Putin was pulling the strings all along, in classic Kremlin fashion.

    Now, he doesn’t even have to pretend. Though he appeared at least slightly shaken by the protests that followed the brazenly rigged Dec. 4 parliamentary elections, Putin regained his form just in time for the presidential contest – and then some. Last Friday, he was already looking forward to running in the 2018 election: “It would be normal, if things are going well, and people want it.”

  5. Will Scumberg EVER relinquish iron fisted control of this nation's largest city?

  6. Wow, these people have the entire one percent package: arrogance, entitlement, deceptivenes, self deception, vanity, all enabled by a sycophantic, unquesting media.

  7. That's the way the cookie crumbles. Hypocrites is how these folks can be classified. Those that live in glass houses......

  8. Omg she was my 5th grade teacher at Seth Boyden. She was a senate's daughter or something and was a good teacher. The only thing that confused me was when she taught us one day that Rosa Park's not getting up on that bus was previously planned not just something "of the moment" But still she was really pretty & had a fly car lol