August 17th, 2009

Michelle Rhee in Washington, DC
Michelle Rhee in DC Series Podcast: Michael Casserly on Rhee's first two years

( Click here to download the podcast )

John Merrow has interviewed Michael Casserly, Executive Director of the Council of the Great City Schools, a number of times over the past two years for our NewsHour coverage of both Paul Vallas in New Orleans and Michelle Rhee in Washington, DC. In this podcast, Casserly shares his opinion on how Chancellor Rhee has done in her first two years on the job.

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The accuracy of John Merrow still lives!

Of course, I kid the New Yorker which I still love even after it made two big factual errors in two weeks. The first, of course, was the statement “the teacher has ‘value-added’ that can be reduced to a number. You take that, along with other measures, and you really can rate a teacher.”

Had the editors called Mike Casserly, he could have set them straight. Or they could have read their source’s “research” and checked his footnotes.

The second mistake, apparently, saying that the comparison of a person’s income with the national debt represented as a basketball would be “unseen by the most powerful microscope.” In fact, the person’s income supposedly would be the size of a grain of sand.

Of course, I kid the New Yorker again and I know that it, like Learning Matters, is as good of a source of accuracy as it gets.

And this week the magazine redeemed itself by explaining how “junk science” probably resulted in the execution of an innocent man.

And very seriously, Rhee and the other data-driven “reformers” must realize that they are using junk science. The growth model-driven recommendations of TNTP, DFER, the Ed Trust, and the EEP FOR THE PURPOSES THEY SEEK TO USE THEM are not qualitatively different than the claims of advocates for “Intelligent Design.”

I know these “reformers” are sincere in their ends justifying the means mentality. But they seem incapable of recognizing that other people with other views are equally sincere. I suspect that that’s the reason they would try to use VAMs that “have been universally derided by teachers, researchers, administrators, and even the Department of Education” to break their opponents.

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