On Friday, Howard Blume wrote:
The least you should know: Deasy writes a memo to board members saying that they should remain neutral (refrain from public statements) regarding groups that will be submitting plans to operate Public School Choice 3.0 schools.
The plot thickens: Accusations of LAUSD board favoritism go both ways, and board members are in perceived alliances with either the union or charters organizations or their allies.
Who looks good here: Supt. Deasy. Sending a memo requiring impartiality presumes that the sender is also impartial.
Who looks bad here: The LA School Board (especially Bennett Kayser). Whether or nor it’s actually true, this article implicates LA board members are puppets of political allegiances rather than educational leaders. Though Kayser is singled-out by name, a brief reading does not let several other board members off the hook either.
An unnamed, TFA alum, still-teaching-at-original-placement-school, LAUSD math teacher’s rant: This is incredibly frustrating. It’s now more apparent than ever that even if Public School Choice was initiated in a genuine effort (which I’m not sure about), it has since become a political game in which there are very much sides, and members of each side will do whatever it takes to advance their cause. “Whatever it takes” seems to include everything from lobbying board members, to boosting test scores by adjusting tested student populations, to using PSC as leverage for other unrelated educational reforms. The reality is that the Public School Choice process is absolutely mired in politics at this point.
Solutions: LAUSD needs to recognize that their PSC Focus School selection criteria is currently flawed in that is fails to measure what it hopes to, namely the impact that schools make on the students they serve. A new metric, Academic Growth Over Time (AGT), while currently in its early stages (and thus imperfect) actually seeks to measure this. Unfortunately for the district, half of the schools on PSC 3.0 have average or above average AGT scores, which calls into question why they’d be on the chopping block. LAUSD is in the awkward position of wanting to get buy-in for AGT, yet not using it themselves to inform the PSC process. The PSC process should thus be paused until better data metrics can be used to identify schools and better data metrics can be used to determine whether PSC has in fact, resulted in better student outcomes (HINT: subtracting API or percent proficient between two consecutive years is NOT an accurate data metric of growth).
The Rolling Stones – The Singer Not the Song