Sunday, June 23, 2013

Chancellor Walcott Should Fire Himself

If you want to judge schools by data, as this administration so desperately wants to do, you can only conclude that Chancellor Walcott has failed our children and should be fired immediately. Since he's the boss, I want him to publicly fire himself. Yes, I know he can just resign, but self-immolation would be so much sweeter.

I'm here today to accuse Walcott of extremely poor performance based on his own measures. I'm talking specifically about quality reviews, which are designed to measure how individual schools are performing. If individual schools are performing more poorly overall, then the system itself is failing, and its leader has failed to add value.

My school just recently got its QR score, and it wasn't great. Me, I'd tell you that it IS a great school--with excellent teachers, a solid administration, and high test scores. But Walcott would tell you that data doesn't lie. And what's good for the goose is good for the chancellor.

You don't need to be a great statistician (because I'm certainly not) to prove that Walcott stinks. Just do what I did and download the QR scores for the entire city since 2005. Yes, I know it sounds boring, but I'm not going to ask you to read any actual data. All you need to do is scroll the spreadsheet and you'll see what I mean.

Start at the top, and scroll down the first two years, which are the 2005/06 and 2006/07 school years. Notice anything? Almost all the schools are considered either Well Developed (WD) or Proficient (P). Then a strange thing happens as you scroll to 2007/08. The number of WD schools mushrooms to mythical proportions. I'd venture a guess (because I am too lazy to do the math) that at least 65% of schools were Well Developed that year. It was such a great year that they developed a whole new level--Outstanding (O)--which was only in effect that year. There was a big drop-off the next year--in fact, you can tell when the 08/09 school year begins because all those WDs suddenly disappear as you scroll.

So, if you believe that data, it is possible for about 2/3rds of schools to be well developed. Walcott has had two years at the helm to return us to those halcyon days, but he has failed miserably. If you keep scrolling to the end of that spreadsheet, you can see that in the two years of Walcott's tenure, we have fewer WDs than ever. In fact, you start seeing a LOT of D's for Developing and a smattering of U's.

So let's do to Walcott what he'd like to do to us with the new evaluation system he touts so highly. In this system, teachers get two years to show they are competent, and if are deemed ineffective based on the data, can be summarily fired.

In Walcott's two years, the data clearly show that our schools have gone downhill. FAR downhill. Where we once had 65% of schools considered well developed, we now have roughly 10% (again, this is based on my lazy visual inspection of the spreadsheet). The data conclusively prove that Walcott has been ineffective for two years and should be summarily fired.

Of course, we can give him the same consideration he gives us, and let him prove that he is competent despite the numbers. I'd love to hear how he'd explain these numbers away.


Francesco Portelos said...

I imagine seeing that press conference. I plied a graph similar to what you discussed. NYS Math Test Tampering -

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