Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Jim Liebman in Sam Freedman Column Raises Eyebrows

It seems like Sam Freedman is doing a series on the idiocy of the BloomKlein era. In the NY Times today. Freedman describes an incredibly dangerous middle school that received an "A." How is that possible when we all know that in schools like this teaching and learning is extremely difficult?

Rhoda commented at NYC Educator:
"[Freedman] not only rips the awful report cards, but shows what a hypocrite and truth twister James Liebman is." Rhoda's favorite quote:

The A grade, though, may also have something to do with the fact that the progress reports weigh all safety factors as only 2
.5 percent of a school’s total grade, said James S. Liebman, the Education Department’s chief accountability officer. He has said the department decided not to give safety more consideration because statistics on school violence rely on self-reporting and tend to be deceptive. “This is a school that’s doing remarkably well on the progress side, and ‘remarkably’ isn’t a word I use lightly,” said Mr. Liebman. The first part of the article describes how violent and dangerous the school is and how there was a high attrition rate at the school in which 13 of the 16 teachers were in their first year in the 2006-7 school year.

Rhoda says, "Mr. Liebman is a remarkable idiot and remarkable isn't a word I use lightly, either."

There's even a better quote from Liebman. When asked about the not remarkable high rate of teacher turnover, which is common at schools in chaos,

"Mr. Liebman said many teachers flee schools that are in the midst of reform and instilling a “culture of accountability.” He did not address the roles of theft, violence and insults in persuading teachers to leave.

Of course, Liebman did his own fleeing from the "culture of accountability" when parents tried to give him a petition signed by 7000 people after a recent City Council hearing.

The article is also posted at Norms Notes.


  1. Hey Ednotes,
    Of all the school closings announced recently, how many are being converted to and opening up as Charter schools? I just need to know... klein needs space for 92 more... I think...

  2. The betting is that these schools were chosen precisely for that reason. I hope you're not in that situation.

  3. John Lawhead writes on ICE-mail:

    Leonie Haimson notes that the school closings go hand in hand with the location and expansion of charter schools. Four in East Harlem and the rest in north Brooklyn and the Bronx. Compare that to the current distribution
    of charters.
    At roughly the same time that the DOE is naming the schools targeted for closing it's recommending new charters to the state, mostly in the Bronx, and choosing the winning proposals for small schools that will be announced in January.

    The writer also paraphrases Jim Liebman at the City Council hearings to the effect that: "every student now enrolled at a closing school will be guaranteed seats at the schools that replace them." Could he have said that? Does that include high schools like Canarsie and Lane? It's fantastic.

  4. "every student now enrolled at a closing school will be guaranteed seats at the schools that replace them."

    What are the semantics of that? How many will actually apply? There must be an application I assume?


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