I wrote last week about the Sunnyside of the TDR Street.
Gary Rubinstein in an awesome post below that should be a major plank in the war for us puny humans against the machines validates the idea that there is much gold in them thar hills and a lot of it positive for our side.
One of the most powerful features in our movie are the graphs showing KIPP and other charter school attrition rates as correlated to scores going up. In other words, as they dump the poorer scoring kids and don't replace them, the scores rise as the cohort goes through the grades. (See for instance New KIPP Study Underestimates Attrition Effects).
But here Gary shows that it is even worse than that by actually showing evidence of creaming by KIPP which we all know occurs but is hard to prove. Gary managed to massage the data to extract the 4th grade scores before they enter KIPP. So they start off with higher performing students in the 5th grade and then lose about about a quarter (est.) of those by the 8th grade though Gary doesn't go into those numbers.
Make sure to check out Gary's previous posts. And in the double whammy for ed deform, Gary is also a Teach for America alum. (I'm including a superb piece on TFA by Chicago's Ms. Katie's Ramblings below Gary's so I don't have to post 10 times today).
Some of that improvement comes from attrition, though it is tough sometimes to prove this. The statistic that I’ve been chasing ever since I started investigating these things is ‘What were the 4th grade scores for the incoming KIPP 5th graders?’ I asked a lot of people, including some high ranking KIPP people, and nobody was willing to give me the answer. Well, guess what? The information is right there in the TDR database. All I had to do was look at the ‘pretest’ score for all the fifth grade charter schools. I then made a scatter plot for all fifth grade teachers in the city. The horizontal axis is the score that group of students got at the end of 4th grade and the vertical axis is the score that group of students got at the end of 5th grade. Public schools are blue, non-KIPP charters are red, and KIPP charters are yellow. Notice how in the ELA graph, nearly all the charters are below the trend line, indicating, they are not adding as much ‘value’ as public schools with students with similar 4th grade scores.
Here is Katie's post in full:
Today I came across a Wall Street Journal opinion piece written by Teach for America founder Wendy Kopp. She rightly condemned the public release of teacher test scores in New York City. I applaud her for speaking out against this disgusting act. But as I read, I became enraged when I saw a story about Ms. Kopp's own experience with her child's teacher.
She writes:A few years ago, my son had a teacher who under the current system would probably be ranked in the bottom quartile of her peers. This wasn't for a lack of enthusiasm or effort on her part—you could see how desperately she wanted to connect with her students and be a great teacher. Knowing my son was in a subpar classroom didn't make me angry at the teacher. It made me frustrated with the school—for not providing this young educator with the support and feedback she needed to improve.
Wait a second...Wendy Kopp was upset when her child was given an unsupported (but enthusiastic and hard-working) young teacher? A teacher who really meant well, but wasn't getting the help she needed to reach all her kids? And Kopp calls this a "subpar classroom"?
So let me get this straight, when Kopp creates a program which by design puts unsupported young people into subpar classrooms, it is fine? As long as it is for other people's children?
And then she seems to argue that it was the current "system" and not the individual teacher which was to blame. And yet Teach for America constantly argues that their recruits are better people, that they fight educational inequality on the individual classroom level. Teach for America does nothing to address ANY of the systemic problems which drive educators away from high-needs schools.
I suppose that's not entirely true. I should add that some Teach for America alums go on to join the corporate reform movement ( a la Michelle Rhee) which is actively damaging many classrooms. Way to change the system! Too bad it's for the worse.
When it's her own child, Wendy Kopp seems to think enthusiasm, hard work, and youth are not enough. And that teaching contexts matter greatly. But for all those teachers teaching other people's children...not so much.
Is anyone else outraged by this?