Critics claim, with ample evidence, that a combination of self-selection for admission, high suspension rates and high expulsion rates distill the Success student body to those who are more likely to do well on tests and thereby burnish their reputation.
In her letter to John Merrow, Eva Moskowitz showed that in order to protect the reputation of Success Academies, she is willing to publicly release the specifics of a student's disciplinary file without parental permission.
Merrow also reported the suspension rates at Success Academy Charter schools are almost three times higher than in regular New York City K-12 public schools. Other studies have found similarly disproportionately high suspension rates at Success Academy schools.
John Merrow's article "Michelle Rhee's Reign of Error" produced the confidential memo warning Michelle Rhee of the extent of cheating that may have occurred in Washington D.C. schools. Merrow's "Who Created 'Michelle Rhee'?" pushes the conversation further.
Corporate "reformers" have continued to support Rhee's test-driven "reforms" and her attacks on the teaching profession. What will they do now that there is proof that Rhee and her successors turned a blind eye to cheating?
For many public school students and perhaps for teachers as well, April is the cruelest month of the school calendar. April days that are not devoted to 'test prep' are spent on testing itself. And some of what is going on in this crazy month defies the imagination.
Stressing the basics is no way to make sure that we will produce people to create the future. We need schools that encourage the imagination, that allow and support deep learning, and that fan the sparks of creativity -- not stomp out the fires.
We need to make it more difficult to become a teacher, which we could do by raising standards for admission into training programs and then providing one-year apprenticeships before teachers are given their own classrooms.
"My son can't sleep at night." Why? "Because his teacher told him that he had to do well on the tests this week or she would be fired.." Scaring the sleep out of a child is surely an example of distortion and corruption. So too is firing people based on the snapshot of one day's bubble test score.
Schools today must provide opportunities for young people to create knowledge out of the swirling clouds of information that surround them 24/7. You went to school because that's where the knowledge was stored. That was yesterday.
The real problem is not the Constitution's limits on the federal role in education. For all its talk of public education as 'the civil rights issue of our time," this Administration, like the one before it, simply does not have a powerful vision of what genuine education might be.
I am still searching for the one right word to describe teachers today. Reviewing the candidates: competitors, policemen, social workers, surrogate parents, counselors, health care providers, nutritionists and ringmasters.
When California Governor Jerry Brown recently called for fewer standardized tests and less time on test preparation, he probably expected to be praised. Instead, his proposal has been greeted with cries of outrage from teachers, administrators, and students.