The Three Biggest TFA Lies

When I was a kid, around ten years old I guess, my father told me a joke that began with the question “What are the three biggest lies?” I said I didn’t know and he proceeded to tell me that the first biggest lie is “The check is in the mail,” which as a ten year old I really didn’t get. The second biggest lie was, apparently, “Some of my best friends are Black,” which also didn’t make much sense coming from my father, considering that some of his best friends were, in fact, Black. The third, well, was a bit too X-rated for this blog, and definitely for me as a ten year old. Not everyone is a perfect parent, I know, and I don’t hold this against him, though I do try to limit his unsupervised time with my own two kids.

As someone who is, I suppose, a big “friendly critic” (an expression TFA coined as the need to describe the growing number of frustrated alumni) of TFA, I think the biggest problem with TFA is all the lying. Though the individual people I’ve known on staff aren’t huge liars, themselves, the sum of all the lies add up to an organization whose lying is pathological. Really, they’ve elevated the art of lying to new heights, much the way Mozart elevated the concerto. Even people like Bernie Madoff who thought they were great liars can’t help but marvel at TFAs techniques.

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Teacher testing law is disgraceful and must be repealed

With the release of the state report card data, it was possible to calculate which school buildings fall into the lowest performing 10%, and thereby qualify their teachers to have to retake the PRAXIS test, a provision inserted into the state budget.

Plunderbund published the list of teachers who would be affected by this. We're not going to publish that list. We believe the existence of such a list, and this policy, is one of the most disgraceful pieces of anti-teacher legislation passed by the general assembly. Punishing and shaming teachers who work in some of the most disadvantaged schools in the state will have no positive impact on performance.

Indeed, such a policy may cause both staff retention and recruitment problems. What quality educator would want to move to a distrcit where their efforts would be rewarded by being unfairly shamed?

If one looks at the list of school buildings affected, a simple pattern emerges. Urban and charter schools dominate the list. We have already begun to discuss why charter schools are under serving their students, and the inclusion of urban schools is explained by a smart op-ed on notes

Most suburban districts do well, and large city schools are struggling, the overall trends driven by family income, parental involvement and the degree of stability at home.

What's not mentioned is how Ohio's unconstitutional school funding system severely damages urban education. Neither is the notion of poor quality teaching in these schools mentioned, and for good reason.

Cincinnati public schools, Columbus City public schools, and Toledo public schools to name just 3 of the big 8 are showing widespread improvements - putting to bed the lie that the problems lie with "bad teachers" who must be shamed into taking remedial examinations.

What should not go unnoticed however is the cost of this disgraceful legislation. Over $2 million in testing fees will be subtracted from already anemic education budgets. That money will be siphoned away and put into the back pocket of testing company ETS.

It is in ways and means like this, that public education is eroded from within and public dollars become private profits.

This law must be repealed. It is unfair, unjust, unfounded in its goal, and subtracts much needed dollars away from the classroom, that could genuinely be used to improve struggling schools and reward those teachers who work hard every day to improve them.

Michele Rhee, stranger to the truth

Here's Michele Rhee. In her own words and voice

"In fact the children that are in school today will be the first generation of Americans who will be less educated than their parents were"


That's the longitudinal student performance trend in NAEP reading average scores for 9-, 13-, and 17-year-old students.

That's the longitudinal student performance trend in NAEP mathematics average scores for 9-, 13-, and 17-year-old students.

Those are not difficult graphs to read, and neither show any declines for current students vs their parents performance, in fact - it's the opposite. Why Rhee wants to lie about the data in order to fire teachers is a mystery only she can answer - but that is her agenda, and it is not supported by the facts.