Wednesday, August 6, 2014

A Data Wall for Corporate Education Reformers

Corporate reformers love their data. They say data is what should drive instruction. One particularly pernicious aspect of a data driven obsession is the data wall. Data walls are intended to display student performance publicly in the classroom or, as I have often seen it, in the hallway, so that everyone can see who has done well and who has not on standardized tests and other measures of performance.

Above is one typical example (hat tip to Edusanity). Guess how long it will take children to figure out which student corresponds to which number? The purpose of these data walls appears to be, as Valerie Strauss has pointed out, the humiliation of children. In the spirit of this reformy idea, I thought I would develop a data wall of my own to assess the progress of some of the more noted educational reformers.

As you can see this data wall has four categories of cluelessness. Since the education reform movement is heavily populated by people who have never or only briefly taught, the highest rung they can obtain is Clueless. The lowest rung on the ladder is reserved for the Clueless and Rich. This category is reserved for those plutocrats who, in the name of charity and dodging taxes, have decided to make teachers and students miserable with their cockamamie ideas.


Wendy Kopp - The founder of Teach for America started with a reasonably sound idea for filling teacher shortages in urban areas and has turned it into a multi-million dollar machine for bashing real teachers, providing willing and naive staff for charter schools and union busting.

Eric Hanushek - The Stanford economist is the prime mover behind the "poverty doesn't matter, just fire the bad teachers" movement. What Hanushek has mostly managed to prove is that economists are clueless about educational reality.

Mike Petrilli - President of the Thomas Fordham Foundation, a conservative think tank and a leading supporter of the Common Core. Petrilli proves that you can be thoughtful, witty, well-informed and still clueless about teaching and learning.

Supremely Clueless

Arne Duncan - Leading the way as supremely clueless, the Secretary of Education fulfills his mission as the nations "teacher in chief" by bashing teachers every chance that he gets. A supporter of the Vergara tenure decision, charter expansion, valued added measures for teacher evaluation, Duncan has been consistently on the wrong side of every single education issue.

John White - A former Teach for America recruit, White has overseen the dismantling of public edcation in New Orleans in his role as Superintendent of Schools in Louisiana. White comes by his cluelessness honestly as he is not certified to teach or be a school administrator in Louisiana. He did attend the Broad Superintendents Academy where he learned to destroy public education. 

Campbell Brown - A former newsreader, Brown is new to the wall, but already demonstrating all the characteristics of extreme cluelessness. Bouyed by California's Vergara decision, she is tearfully suing the State of New York to get rid of job protections for teachers in that state. 

Supremely and Doggedly Clueless

Chris Christie - Inheriting one of the finest education systems in the country, Christie has been persistent and consistent in his efforts to destroy it. While his minions close access to bridges in New Jersey, Christie has denied the public a voice in the dismantling of public education in Newark and Camden.

Cami Anderson - Chris Christie's handpicked Superintendent of Schools in Newark New Jersey, Anderson is so sure that she knows what is best for the children of Newark that she has decided to stop attending school board meetings or listening to parents and community leaders. Determined to fix Newark's schools in her reformy image whether it is good for kids or not.

Michelle Rhee - Well, you know.

Clueless and Rich

Eli Broad - The developer of the Broad Superintendent's Academy dedicated to training non-educators to destroy public education so that more money can be made by wealthy venture capitalists. (See John White above)

The Walton Family - Dedicated to ensuring that the population of the country remains ignorant, compliant and poor enough to keep shopping at Walmart.

Bill Gates - Prime financier in the experiment to destroy public education and replace it with a business model in his own image. Likes playing god to America's parents and children. Says we will know if his experiment worked in ten years, because you know, today's kids have the time.

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