Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Does anyone remember Reaganomics? If you recall, Ronald Reagan believed in supply-side or "trickle down" economics. The theory was that government should cut expensive social programs, like Medicare. Instead, the money would be spent on even more expensive defense programs, such as the Strategic Defense Initiative, or "Star Wars" defense system. SDI was the perfect Republican program, as it would have cost endless billions and no one was even sure if it would ever work, much like Bloomberg's CityTime scandal. As a result, the federal government could funnel unlimited tax payer funds into the pockets of defense contractors for the rest of eternity without making us any safer. Rather like Homeland Security.

Republicans have been beating the trickle-down drum ever since, but lately they've run into a problem. Middle class and working class families have begun to notice that no money or jobs are actually trickling down to them. Despite a drop in the marginal tax rate for the rich from 70% to 28% (and 15% for hedge funds), the middle class has shrink to almost nothing and the country has hit new highs in unemployment. Republicans, of course, are calling for more tax cuts, on the theory that if something doesn't work, it may as well make the rich even richer. But people are beginning to catch on, and the Republicans need something even more bold, even more recklessly stupid than Reaganomics. NJ Governor Chris Christie has piloted this new idea in his dealings with teachers unions and pension costs in his state.

I'm coining a new phrase for this daring fiscal move, which I'm calling Amnesia-nomics. It works like this. States like New Jersey have historically refused to pay teachers and other state workers the wages they deserve. Instead, over the years, they have agreed to contracts with unions promising pension and health benefits. So rather than actually funding those contractual obligations, people like Christie spent the money on other, more important things, such as flying the governor in a helicopter to see his son play baseball. So, to make ends meet, Christie began to "forget" to pay some of his bills. For example, last year, he forgot to make a three billion dollar payment to the state's pension fund. Today, he is signing historic legislation that will, essentially, "forget" most of the contractual promises New Jersey has made in the past to its workers. Thus, Amnesia-nomics was born.

It's a great concept. Imagine if we all could use it in our own lives? Imagine if we could "forget" to pay the cable bill, and the cell phone bill, and the mortgage, and still got to keep our TV shows, our iPhones, and our McMansions? Wouldn't that be great? Of course, if you try it, you will be forced into bankruptcy and have all your possessions taken away by Dog the Bounty Hunter. Luckily for the states, all they have to do to renege on their promises is to pass a bill!

Amnesia-nomics, as practiced by Christie, has proven hugely popular with Republicans, who now want to duplicate it nationally. For example, Paul Ryan got the ball rolling by suggesting that the US should forget about its obligations to its citizens who have been paying into Medicare for decades. Then, Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul really upped the ante by suggesting that the United States should declare bankruptcy, starting by defaulting on over a trillion dollars of debt to the Federal Reserve. Why pay your debts when you can just let them slip your mind, Chris Christie style?

If Amnesia-nomics works, imagine where we can go with it. America can "forget" to pay all 14 trillion of its debt and start with a clean slate! Then, to make sure we never get ourselves into this kind of trouble again, we can "forget" about a lot of our other obligations, like health care, Medicaid, social security, and so on. On a local level, states could "forget" about your pensions, union contracts, unemployment benefits, etc. The possibilities are endless.

Skeptics might ask how all of this will affect the middle and working class who depend on these government agreements to survive. I think I know how Republican would respond.

Forget about it.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Dear Mr. President, Why Aren't YOU Saying This?

Bernie Sanders says everything that Obama should be saying:

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Weighing in on Layoffs

In evaluating any deal, I think you have to look at the terms in their entirety. Last night's deal to avert layoffs certainly isn't perfect, but I believe in the end it strengthens our hand in future negotiations while surrendering very little.

Yes, it sucks if you were eligible for a sabbatical in the 2012-13 school year, but did anyone think sabbaticals would have survived the next round of contract talks? I think it's a miracle we've had them this long, and it's pretty much a done deal that they will be sold off in the next contract. (FTR, I was denied a sabbatical once under the slug Klein, so I know the pain of this for eligible teachers and I am not trying to downplay it).

As for the ATR deal, I think this may actually strengthen their hand. The city's big kick against ATRs was that they supposedly didn't have anything to do and were costing the city millions. Now that schools will be forced to use ATRs, the city loses its argument that the reserve pool is draining the system of money.

The ATR issue was one of the city's main weapons in trying to destroy seniority. Had they gotten us to concede on ATRs, then seniority and job security would have been effectively destroyed, as they would have used school closings and budget cuts as a means to create more ATRs who could be fired in short order. As it now stands, the city has little reason to create a larger reserve pool because these teachers will still be working day to day and the argument that they are a financial drain has vanished.

So, what did we lose in this deal? We lost sabbaticals for a year, and realistically, probably for good. ATRs may now be used to fill the role of per diem subs (which may not be a loss at all). Class sizes will increase slightly, as 2600 jobs will be lost through attrition. And Christine Quinn comes out smelling like a rose, which, to me, is a negative as she stabbed us in the back on extending Bloomberg's term limits.

On the positive side:
  • We saved 4100 teacher jobs.
  • We did not give in to Bloomberg's stick-up job on the health care fund (although Mulgrew wanted to).
  • We have weakened this mayor by exposing his layoff threats as a sham for the third time. This may not seem a big deal, until you remember that almost no one believed his threat this year, and will believe it even less next year should he choose to pull that tired rabbit out of a hat again.
  • We have preserved seniority and defeated the mayor on LIFO.
  • ATRs should have increased job security under this plan.
  • E4E has effectively been castrated as their signature issue is gone.

If you still hate this plan, remember that the UFT does not operate in a political vacuum. Look at what's happening to teachers all across this country. Look at other large cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, DC, etc. Look at the evisceration of union and teacher rights in states like Ohio, Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Rhode Island. Look at New Jersey, where union workers will have to pay higher pension and health care costs, and where collective bargaining is more restricted. Look at our own state, where the CSEA agreed to a five year deal with no raises in the first three years and 2% in each of the next two years, in addition to nine furlough days, in order to avert threatened layoffs.

Yes, you can be a purist and say that we shouldn't have given up anything, and in principle, I agree. Given the political realities and climate, we have come out of this better and stronger than any other union that I can see.

The challenge now is how we proceed. Can we wrest a reasonable contract from Bloomberg? He is weakened, and now is the time to attack him on all fronts. We can effectively argue that its time to end his scandal-plagued no-bid contracts such as CityTime and direct that money to schools. We can call him on his lies about layoffs. We can lobby for higher taxes on the rich in order to preserve jobs for the middle class--a position that is overwhelmingly popular with voters right now.

No, the fight isn't over, but we are in the late rounds of this bout, and Bloomberg is on the ropes. We need to deliver a knockout blow to him and his policies. It's not good enough to play Rope-A-Dope until a new mayor comes along. We have the upper hand.

And hopefully, the 4100 teachers whose jobs were saved will see the value of their union. Perhaps this deal can unite us.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Today's Lesson in Irony

Too bad we're at the tail end of the school year, because I wish I could use some of the stories I've run across today to teach irony (yes, I typed that with a straight face and an ironic grin). Here are some of the news items that caught my eye:

  • A woman who was mistakenly thought dead woke up at her own funeral and dropped dead from fright.
  • The woman with the world's largest natural breasts is named "Stitz".
  • Mayor Bloomberg today claimed that most of the $600 million in cost increases in the CityTime project were legitimate, even as prosecutors claimed almost all of the money was fraudulently obtained.

I'd review those three situations with my students, and then give them a quiz to assess their understanding. Students would then be required to read about today's failed negotiations to avert teacher layoffs, and choose a statement to support in paragraph form:

Talks to avert teacher layoffs in NYC broke down today. Which statement about this situation is most ironic?
  1. The city already has a 3.2 billion dollar surplus and there is no need for layoffs in the first place.
  2. The city cut off negotiations because the unions wanted to use 110 million of the same health care fund that the city was stealing from to actually help their members get health care.
  3. The city wants more money from the fund than is actually required to avert layoffs.
  4. The UFT has not yet learned that any agreement with the city would be almost immediately violated.
Readers, you may wish to discuss this among yourselves.

And don't even pretend you didn't click on the link about the big breasts.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Deal Mulgrew Should Make

I was thrilled with the news that the city's labor unions refused to give in to Mayor4Life Bloomberg's blackmail by rejecting a deal to tap into a health care fund to the tune of 360 million dollars to avert layoffs. When the news first came out, I was hoping that Michael Mulgrew was one of the driving forces behind the refusal. In fact, he's trying to revive the deal.

Mulgrew still doesn't get it. This mess is of the mayor's making, and he is looking for a way out. Why should the city's unions fund the mayor's escape hatch? By even entertaining the idea of funding our way out of layoffs, we are buying into the mayor's lie that the city doesn't have the money. But the city does have the money--there is a 3.2 billion dollar surplus. How can we ask for a new contract with the pay increases we are due when we are tacitly admitting that the city is broke? It makes no sense. So besides bailing His Moneyness out, we would be guaranteeing 3 more years of no raises and annual layoff threats. This is the deal that Mulgrew is so anxious to make?

Here's the deal we should make: We'll give him the money in exchange for a 2.5 year no layoff guarantee and the 4% annual raises we should have gotten in the first place. That way, we won't ever have to deal with the midget mayor again, unless he decides to buy himself a fourth term.

And knowing the mayor's penchant for ignoring deals he has made, such as the promise that TDRs would remain private, we need this deal to be iron clad. Knowing Bloomberg, he'd create a new "crisis" next year that would necessitate scrapping the agreement. To prevent this, any agreement should stipulate that emergency layoffs could only occur if all city contracts with outside vendors, such as the 900 million being spent this year, are cancelled first.

That's a deal I'd make.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Ruben Brosbe Doesn't Get Pissed Off

I wrote what I thought was a pretty scathing critique of Asshats4Education's blog monkey* Ruben Brosbe's teaching results. I wrote it here because Ruben moderates his own blog and would never have posted it there. Imagine my surprise, therefore, when I saw a post from the wonderful Pissed Off Teacher on RB's blog. No one does scathing like PO'ed:

How can you insist on denying tenure to others when your own results are so dismal?
If you really believe in Educators for Excellence you should resign. From your own posts you are not even close to satisfactory.

Amen to that. Still, Ruben appears not to understand what he's being told. Here is his response to PO'ed, dissected:

I'm not seeking to deny tenure to anyone, although I think tenure should be granted based on rigorous standards, and I think that some schools are already working on this.

Yes, Ruben, they are. In fact, most schools are unilaterally denying tenure to fine teachers because of the pressure from the Mayor, with A4E at his back. You are part of this. Yet, you apparently have accepted tenure from your own school, despite the fact that you have produced sub-par results on the very measures by which you would have others judged.

Can you see why we have a problem with this, Ruben? Why are others being denied while you get a pass? PO'ed is right: if you honestly believe in test scores as a major component of tenure, then you have failed by your own admission. You should resign. Anything less, while you advocate for others to be terminated, is the height of cowardice and hypocrisy.

As far as my own teaching, having students who progressed from levels B and C to levels G and H doesn't feel dismal to me. Do I wish I could have made more progress with them? Yes, but I still look at this progress and I feel proud.

The city doesn't give a shit how you feel, nor do your Asshat friends. The ONLY thing that matters to them is data, and whether your data is good enough. Perhaps you understand now how the rest of us feel when we have done the best we can with what we are given, and then are slammed by TDR scores that do not reflect the kind of job we have done.

I think it's unfortunate that by admitting my shortcomings as I've done, I'm being attacked. I think that by spending as much time as I have talking about my struggles I may have presented a certain picture of my teaching that's not the complete story.

That's pretty rich, Ruben, because while you are complaining about feeling attacked, you are advocating the public embarrassment and humiliation of fine teachers across this city. You want their test results, based upon an extremely flawed value-added formula with a margin of error of at least 37%, to be published in the papers. Do you think that those teachers--most of whom work as hard or harder than you--deserve to be publicly attacked in the newspapers? You don't like getting attacked on blogs--why would you think that your colleagues would be OK with being dragged through the mud by Rupert Murdoch? Do you have any empathy for your fellow teachers, or is it all about you?

Nevertheless, as teachers I think it's important for us to be willing to be honest about our work, otherwise there's no way to grow or improve.

There is a difference between being honest about our work and being ridiculed in the public square. Most of us already know when a lesson hasn't gone particularly well, or when discipline has gotten out of hand. We know--from experience--when we need to adjust our methods or lessons. You say there's no other way to improve other than to be publicly shamed and fired if we don't measure up to some flawed formula? I hope you really aren't that stupid, Ruben.

I honestly don't know whether you're a good teacher or not, Ruben. But the data says you suck, and YOU are the one who thinks data should carry the day. By that metric, you should resign. Most of the rest of us, like PO'ed and the 80,000 other teachers out there know that you can't reduce good teaching and effort to a number.

So, it's time to get pissed off, Ruben, by which I mean it's time for you to understand what Pissed Off Teacher was saying. You should practice what you preach. If the data says you aren't doing your job, then by A4E standards you should not be teaching. So if you really believe what you say, you should resign.

The rest of us know that teaching is more--much more--than a value-added number could ever calculate.

*The phrase "blog monkey" is © 2011 South Bronx School.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Ruben Brosbe's Blame Game

I might have missed one of Ruben Brosbe's epic blog posts had it not been for a mention in one of the comments in Gotham Schools. You see, usually I follow Ruben's exploits by reading GS itself, as they publish everything he writes, including his most vapid and feckless reflections (on second thought, that pretty much is everything he writes). This time, I had to go directly to his blog, after which I had my browsing history scrubbed with hydrochloric acid.

As it turns out, poor Ruben's students once again stunk up the joint with their standardized tests. If you recall Ruben's past disasters, he scored in the bottom half of teachers twice even when he was compared only to other newbie teachers. He refused to disclose his third year numbers (despite insisting that the city release everyone else's) but we know from his blog posts that he still did a piss poor job. And from his latest bird dropping, we know that Ruben's kids did poorly for the fourth consecutive year. Luckily for Mr. Brosbe, he managed to escape to the 3rd grade where he will not receive a fourth consecutive turd of a TDR. But to show you the kind of fearless guy he is, he still wants everyone else's data put in the papers. What a guy.

Apparently, out of 26 students, Ruben had to assemble eight promotional portfolios, which means eight of his students failed to meet the minimum cuts scores set by the city for promotion. EIGHT. (For the record, I did not have a single student below the cut, and as a middle school teacher, I have more than 90 students, not just 26). To help Ruben understand the magnitude of his blowout, about 31% of his students failed. Had I produced similar results, I would have had 28 students below the cut.

Now, as I have stated many times, any teacher can have a bad year, which is only one of the reasons why I think TDR scores are a farce. But RB has now had FOUR consecutive bad years, and unless I am as bad at math as one of Ruben's charges, that means he must either receive tenure this year or be let go. So far, he has not mentioned putting his resume together, so he probably got tenured despite his crappy results. That is exactly what Asshats4Education, of which RB is a charter member, says they want to prevent.

A4E also claims that there are NO EXCUSES for bad scores, and one would assume that would apply to RB as well. Despite that, Ruben's blog post is full of excuses for his terrible results. Here are some of the lowlights:

  • The title of his post is "Looking for Lessons When Your Students Fail". Pardon me? According to Asshat scripture, children are never to blame for failure. If a child fails, the teacher simply didn't do enough, and that applies to RB, as well.
  • His drivel continues: "These portfolios are meant to show that in spite failing the ELA or math exam, these students are still at level 2, i.e. approaching grade level. Unfortunately, this just isn't the case for most of my kids who failed, since the majority are ELL's, including several newcomers." Isn't RB responsible for his kids' scores? They can't speak English? Boo hoo...that's just another one of those lazy teacher excuses.
  • RB further laments: "Two of my students who I consider "high 2's" or even 3's didn't mean (sic) the cut-off." In other words, Ruben really has no clue where his students are at. This is inexcusable. He should have differentiated their instruction according to their ability, and apparently he had no idea what their level was.
  • RB also teaches "...a girl who has been in my school since kindergarten, and while her reading improved from a level B to level G this year (from kindergarten to first), she still hasn't grasped phonemic awareness." He teaches third grade and hasn't gotten this student out of first grade reading? That is another failure, which Ruben excuses by claiming "I can take some pride and consolation in the knowledge that I've instilled a love of learning in this girl that I hope will last." Actually, since data is everything to RB and A4E, I'd say this is scant consolation. She's not making grade level, but Ruben continues to make excuses.
RB closes his whine by saying that, " Sulking or self-flagellation will not get us far though." I have mixed feelings about this, as I have twice called Ruben the king of self-flagellation, here and here. It's good to know that he reads this blog and gets some of the truth about himself. On the other hand, it sucks knowing that RB is still out there, getting tenure while trying to get far better teachers than himself fired.

And Ruben, on a personal note, there is no need to self-flagellate. I will be happy to continue doing it for you, as long as you continue to spout your garbage.

And South Bronx School will happily join me. Along with the legion of commenters on GS who have your number (which, I am sure, is well below the cut score).

Friday, June 10, 2011

12 Step E4E Program

I have to admit that I'd never even heard of Grace Snodgrass when I came across her piece in the Huffington Post parroting the Asshats4Education drivel about teacher evaluations. I wanted to find out more. She didn't seem as blindingly stupid as Ruben Brosbe, so I was concerned that the Asshats might have found a new spokesperson. I mean, Ruben could hardly go back to his old job in this economy, as circus geeks are plentiful these days.

Anyway, there was precious little about Grace Snodgrass other than her HuffPo pieces and her Facebook page, in which she identifies herself as a liberal. After I got the soda to stop foaming out of my nose, I noticed the picture you see here. Yes, it's Grace herself, belly to the bar, eyes closed, fists clenched, ready for anything. I wondered why a teacher would make this her profile picture on Facebook.

Then I began perusing the A4E website for more info, and I discovered that they're having another get together tonight for anyone who likes to drink and doesn't mind pledging loyalty to a prissy little snot like Evan Stone. While you can't enjoy the free drinks without the pledge, you might want to show up and say hi. It will be held at The Gate, 321 Fifth Ave. at 3rd St., Brooklyn, from 3:30 to 6:30. Grace might be there. And you might want to know that she called your mom a whore and said she can kick your ass with one leg behind her back.

I tried to sign up for the event myself, and I even got as far as the pledge. It looked mighty familiar, and I post it below for your information.



  1. I admit I am powerless over my classrooms — that my students have become unmanageable.
  2. I came to believe that a Power greater than myself could restore my room to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of Bill Gates as I understood Him.
  4. I will make a searching and fearless moral inventory of myself and then whine about it in public to anyone who will listen
  5. I admit to Bill, Melinda, and to myself the exact nature of my ineptitude.
  6. I am entirely ready to point out the defects of character of my fellow teachers.
  7. I humbly will ask Rupert Murdoch to publish those shortcomings.
  8. I will make a list of all the teachers in the city and their TDR scores and push for them to be published in the paper.
  9. I will demand public humiliation of my colleagues, especially when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. I will continue to take personal inventory of my failings but flee to third grade where there is no data to prove it
  11. I will seek through prayer and whining to improve my teaching practice through contact with Bill and Evan, as I understood them, praying only for knowledge of their will for me and the power to blog about it.
  12. I have had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, and I will try to carry this message to alcoholics in the form of free drinks at Asshats events.
You should hear what Grace said about your dad.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Helter Swelter

Today, if you didn't notice, was hot. At least my school was. There was no air conditioning. We were told to keep all the lights off because it makes the rooms cooler, if you define cooler as a few degrees below hell. Students staggered in from the 5 story walk from the gym to my room and collapsed into their seats. It could be my imagination, but I believe one student burst into flames. Even usually motivated students slumped listlessly in their chairs, focusing their attention not on the Do Now but on the race between a couple of beads of sweat that were running down my forehead.

Any sane administration would be glad that everyone showed up. This, however, is the DOE, so you can probably guess what happened today.

We had a walk-through.

For anyone unfamiliar with walk-throughs, they are mini-observations in which the principal rounds up all the APs who have not already passed out and tour classrooms to make sure teaching is still going on. They march in, arm-in-arm, clipboards at the ready, and give everything in your classroom the once-over to make sure you haven't decided to abandon the educational ship.

I did have some advance warning. About three minutes before, I received a frantic call from a colleague who'd been dropped in on, and he did the teacher version of Paul Revere (The Admins are coming! The Admins are coming!). Then teacher called teacher, like wildebeest calling to each other across the great Serengeti.

Everything went fine, I am sure, but it still stuck with me that this was no way to treat teachers. My classroom is always open and I am always teaching, but if the purpose of a walk-through is to see typical teaching in action, then don't drop in on an atypical day.

How we teach under extreme conditions in no way reflects our daily practice. So do us a favor, admins---drop in on us on more "normal" days. Then, you're more likely to see real teaching, as opposed to real big pit stains.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Support your Local Chapter Leader

Chapter leaders have been prime targets for vindictive principals for a long time. The UFT often does little or nothing to defend them. They need our support. Read the story of Ms. Rachel Montagano, CL of MS 216. After being identified in a UFT story in NY Teacher, Ms. Montagano was brought up on 3020A charges. Support her with just a click by adding your name to her Facebook supporters:


Read about her in Ed Notes

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Bloomberg's Alter-Ego

As if Mayor4life's ego wasn't large enough already, he created "Bloomberg View", because as you know, the world simply couldn't revolve without getting more of the midget mayor's opinions shoved down its throat. Initiating this week's gag reflex is Jonathan Alter, an ostensibly independent writer who just happens to echo every major talking point of Bloomberg's education deform agenda. It's quite fortuitous that Alter holds all the same beliefs as the man who writes his paychecks. Who'd have thunk it.

I don't know what Alter's price was for attacking teachers, but I'd say whatever it was, Bloomie got rooked, because Alter's anti-Diane Ravitch diatribe is an exercise in sloppy writing and faulty logic.

First, Alter regurgitates Bloomberg's mantra on seniority:

Amid grim news about budget cuts, the year brought new awareness that relying on seniority alone in determining teacher layoffs is mindless. It’s like saying that if the Chicago Bulls wanted to cut costs, they should start by releasing Derrick Rose, the NBA’s MVP, because he has only been in the league for three years.

This is stupid on the face of it. If the Bulls wanted to cut costs, they wouldn't do it by eliminating their players. They want the best team possible, because they know that produces results. Good teams are always a mixture of great veterans and promising rookies. What Bloomberg wants to do is eliminate a good percentage of the players. The correct analogy would be if the Bulls cut 8% of their players to save money and expected the same results as teams playing at full strength.

Alter attacks Ravitch's critique of the Bruce Randolph School in Denver. Its middle school, Ravitch noted, was in the 5th percentile in math and the first percentile in reading and writing. Its ACT scores were well below the state average. Yet Alter claims we should laud this school because it boasts a 97% graduation rate. Apparently, in Alter's world, success is measured by the number of diplomas issued, not by whether those diplomas were earned. Following this logic, we can solve all the education problems in America simply by issuing diplomas to every child, much as the Scarecrow's IQ increased when the Wizard gave him his sheepskin. Pay no attention to the illiterate students behind the curtain.

Alter also claims that "No education reformer has ever challenged the idea that conditions in the home and in the larger society are hugely important." Is he kidding? Just about every education reformer has said that in some form or another. They constantly claim that a great teacher is the most important factor in a child's education, while all the evidence shows that performance is directly linked to a child's circumstances.

Alter claims that Ravitch creates a strawman when she ...'charge(s) that political leaders are trying to prove that “poverty doesn’t matter.”' Actually, I've heard a number of politicians, including Alter's new employer, make that claim. The "no excuses" mantra is the embodiment of that idea. Alter then goes on the create a pretty impressive strawman of his own:

It’s a gross distortion to claim that reformers think charter schools -- a tiny fraction of all public schools -- are the only solution for all the ills of the education system.

I have never heard Ms. Ravitch make that claim. She knows, as we all do, that charters are just one chunk of the wrecking ball aimed at public education. Education deformers have lots of solutions to public eduation: demonizing teachers, busting unions, destroying seniority, closing schools, firing teachers, creating fake grassroots organizations, and controlling the media itself, much as Bloomberg is trying to do by hiring Alter.

Finally, Alter accuses Ravitch of using "selective data to punch holes in the work of good schools and turn reformers into cartoonish right-wingers." In fact, Ravitch was one of the few who acknowledged what teachers already knew was true: That the test scores in states like NY were cooked by a combination of easier, more repetitive tests and lowering of the cut scores. That data is undeniable, as the state itself admitted that the scores were false and re-calibrated them. When they did, it became immediately clear that critics of the reform movement, like Diane Ravitch, were actually correct. The scores in schools that had been held up as models of education reform, such as Geoffrey Canada's HSA, plummeted.

I don't know how much Bloomberg paid to get Alter on his team, but I'd say whatever it was, he got screwed.