What you are about to read is NOT real news. It is satire. Where possible we have provided links to the real stories/issues that inspire us at the bottom of each article.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Not Our Usual Fare

We know you come to this site for a laugh but some things are just NOT funny. Here's a non-satirical editorial from Students Last.
How nice to be told by the presidential candidates, during their last debate, that they "love teachers." Too bad it's bullshit, like the flowers a woman gets the day after her abuser gives her a black eye. And it's not just the candidates who are "loving" teachers to death. America itself has, at least as of late, quite the abusive relationship with teachers - claiming to love teachers but repeatedly disrespecting them in a myriad of ways. What teachers need is fewer meaningless words and a helluva a lot more deeds of respect.

When teachers tell you that standardized testing is robbing instructional time, narrowing curriculum and encouraging cheating but you act like their concerns are a ploy to avoid accountability, you are NOT showing love to teachers.

When you hold education conferences and there are no public school teachers on the panel but there are five CEO's, you are NOT showing love to teachers.

When the solution to turning around a failing school is to fire half the staff, you are NOT showing love to teachers.

When you accuse teacher unions of protecting child molesters, you are NOT showing love to teachers.

When teachers tell you that generational poverty hangs over the lives of their students like an impenetrable fog dampening desire, fostering anger, distracting young minds and you think they are making excuses, you are NOT showing love to teachers.

When you refer to teachers as "professionals" but then dilute their ranks with those who have ten-watts of enthusiasm and five-weeks of training, shoving them into the neediest schools where they cut their teaching teeth on defenseless children, you are NOT showing love to teachers.

When the most well-known names in education today are people who taught for three years or....never, you are NOT showing love to teachers.

When, despite teachers' knowledgeable objections, your idea of measuring teaching and learning is to administer more and more flawed bubble exams to younger and younger students, you are NOT showing love to teachers.

When you laud the test results of charter schools that cherry pick their students, receive extraordinary private funding, create an aura of fear with high suspension rates coupled with the expulsion of under-performing students, you are NOT showing love to teachers.

When those who make policy send their children to private schools while shoveling mounds of unvetted nonsense onto the overburdened shoulders of public schools, you are NOT showing love to teachers.

Perpetrators of domestic abuse tell their victims they love them and moments later clench their fists, preparing to strike another blow. So candidates, so America, hold onto your amorous bouquets and stop mouthing words you clearly do not mean or understand.

"Love" us less. Respect us a helluva a lot more.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Teacher Suspended For Using Same Grading Policy As Her Employer

New York City - Seventh grade English Language Arts teacher Dianne Smith, who teaches at Brooklyn's Intermediate School 114, is facing disciplinary charges because of her grading policy. Her exact crime? She used the same grading policy for her students that the New York City Department of Education uses to provide grades to its schools.  

"I thought that if it was good enough for the DOE then it should be good enough for me," explained Ms. Smith over a cup of coffee at a diner near her school. Apparently not. After receiving numerous parental complaints, the DOE launched an investigation into Smith's grading policy and found it lacking. She has been suspended with pay while DOE officials scramble to determine how to handle the matter.

Parents objected to the idea that a pre-determined number of students would receive each grade; thus ensuring failures even if all students did exceedingly well on every student measure. For example, 30% of students had to receive an 'A' while 35% of students had to receive a 'B', 25% had to receive a 'C; while 10% were guaranteed a 'D' or 'F'

Perhaps more troubling, however, is the fact that in order to have 30% of students achieve an 'A', Ms. Smith lowered what qualified as such to include grades of 65 or higher - just like the DOE did for schools. The chart below details the grade range employed by both Smith and the DOE.

Grade      Score Range
  A            65 or  higher
  B            51.7 - 65.4 
  C            36.3 - 51.6 
  D            23.2 - 26.2 
  F             23.1 or lower

Ms. Smith, a thirty-something brunette with half-moon glasses propped on the tip of her nose, was shocked when parent complaints made their way from her ears to the principal's office and then into the corridors of the DOE. "I guess I was naive. Sure I thought the policy was wonky but I figured since none of the parents objected to the system being used to rate schools, then they wouldn't object to my using it to report on their children." Looking out the window, Smith sighed, "And I certainly never expected the DOE to object to its own practices."

When asked how they justified giving schools an 'A' that barely scored more than a 65, the DOE would only comment that it is their policy not to comment on on-going investigations. It remains unclear if the DOE would object to teachers utilizing this policy.

Reality Alert: 
Interested in how we came to write this? Go to If Teachers Ran Their Classes Like NYC Runs Schools Then... and I Don't Know About Art, But I Know What I Don't Like and  'A' For Awful As Top-Rated Middle Schools Fail To Prepare Kids For High School and The Stability and Fairness of New York City's School Ratings and Making the Grade in New York City and  NYC Progress Report page and click on "2011-2012 Progress Report Results for Elementary/Middle/K-8 Schools" at top of page. It will download an Excel spreadsheet. Compare the "2011- 2012 Overall Grade" column to the "2011-2012 Overall Score" column.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Who Should Be More Insulted? Courts Will Decide

Coulter objects to being compared to Rhee...
Los Angeles - Ann Coulter has filed a lawsuit against writer Jeff Bryant alleging defamation of character. The offending comment by Bryant appeared in a recently authored piece for "Campaign for America's Future" in which he referred to founder and CEO of Students First Michelle Rhee as "a sort of - 'education Ann Coulter.'"

At a press conference Coulter's attorney, Max Dewey explained his client's lawsuit as follows, "Throughout her career, Ms. Coulter has been called some pretty foul names but to compare her to Michelle Rhee sinks below even the lowest of journalistic integrity levels."

No doubt when Mr. Bryant wrote the article entitled, "Michelle Rhee Misreads 'Shift Among Democrats' On Education" he expected to stir the education policy pot. After all, he describes Rhee as a "lobbyist" and shill for the billionaire-funded so-called "education reform" movement. However, it is also probably true that he did not anticipate being sued by the likes of confrontational, conservative commentator Coulter as she has been called just about every name in the book. However, that is not how her attorneys see it.

.... and Rhee objects to being compared to Coulter
Sanford Cheatem, another partner at the high-powered firm representing Coulter, raised what will no doubt be a point of contention during litigation, when he characterized the statement by Bryant as "disparaging" and said that it had "had negative effects on Coulter's image."

The press conference ended with a plea from the law firm's managing partner Clifford Howe. "People should be aware that words have the power to hurt. Our client's emotional well-being has been compromised by this comparison to Michelle Rhee and we will not let it stand."

When reached for a comment about the lawsuit, Michelle Rhee said she was also considering suing Jeff Bryant for defamation. "Maybe I can join Coulter's suit. After all, no one wants to be compared to her either."

Reality Alert: 
Interested in how we came to write this? Read Michelle Rhee Misreads 'Shift Among Democrats' On Education

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Worst Womb in New York City

New York City - As we reported last month, Pearson PLC and New York City's Department of Education announced that utilizing nano technology Pearson scientists had developed a way to administer standardized exams to fetuses. Today the DOE revealed how data from those tests will be used.

At a City Hall press conference, Education Chancellor Dennis Walcott explained that fetus exam results will be used to determine the mother's value add measurement (VAM). Walcott explained, "Using a complicated algorithm, we can estimate the mother's contribution to her fetus' test performance compared to other mothers." According to the chancellor if a mother's VAM is in the lowest quartile, then she might be deemed an 'ineffective gestational carrier' and "the DOE would suggest some changes to her maternal practices."

Should mothers be held accountable
for their fetus' test scores?
Both Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Chancellor Walcott refused to respond to reporters' repeated questions about the reliability of such measurements nor did they want to discuss what might happen if the mother refused to or was unable to 'change her maternal practice.' When one reporter referred to VAM as 'junk science' the mayor responded angrily, "Everybody says an evaluation system is important...until you try to use it. I get evaluated everyday and I think fetuses and their carriers should be no different."

In related news, the New York Post vowed to publish photos of the "worst wombs in New York" as determined by VAM scores. The United Federation of Mothers (UFM) is looking into the evaluation system and is expected to comment on it later in the week.

Reality Alert: 
Interested in how we came to write this? Read Value-Added Nonsense and Connecticut Adds New Tests for Kindergarten, 1 and 2 Grades as well as comments associated with piece. Also Analysis: Shaming Teachers Is Not Good Educational Policy

Friday, October 5, 2012

Invisibility Cloak: For All Your Testing Needs

Need to hide a few students for upcoming exams? Afraid your school's test scores will be dragged down by low-performing special education students? Certain the English Language Learners will fail to make annual yearly progress?  Will students with poor attendance impact your whole school with their lousy test performance?

Invisibility Cloak (IC) can help.

IC uses a two-prong approach to optimize your student testing population. With our first approach, undesirable test-takers will be encouraged through a series of pre-written letters, engaging videos and scripted counseling sessions to leave your school using three different scenarios. Package A urges students to pursue their GED; Package B gently suggests students transfer to a different school; and Package C advises students to exercise the dropout option. You choose the package that is most convenient for you.

IC's second approach uses state-of-the-art software technology to make your undesirable students vanish. With a simple click of a button, up to four hundred problem-students will simply disappear from your school roster. And once they're gone, your school should have no problems generating the positive test scores needed to satisfy No Child Left Behind requirements. Of course, you can restore them after testing is complete.

Success guaranteed.

"IC is a life-saver. With just a small upfront investment, our school administrators were able to secure bonuses of more than $50,000 from the U.S. Department of Education because our test scores appeared to go up," - anonymous Texas principal.

"I wish they had offered this type of training a few years ago." - assistant principal Atlanta, Georgia.

"We all know it's a game and with IC's software, gaming the the system becomes child's play." - district superintendent, Florida.

Coming soon: On-line professional development course in how to help students pass high-stakes exams. Hear from our team of experts on optimal seating arrangement to facilitate answer exchange among students, when and where to host erasure parties and the effective use of hand signaling during multiple choice tests.

Reality Alert: 
Interested in how we came to write this? Read The Wicked Spawn of NCLB and El Paso School District Rebuilds After Fraudulent Testing Practices By Administrators

Monday, October 1, 2012

Charter School Miracle?

Some in the charter school business are
praying to be recognized as a miracle
Newark New Jersey - Cory Booker, mayor of Newark, New Jersey, filed a petition with the Catholic Church urging that charter schools be deemed "miracles." "Charter schools are a blessing from God. The work they do is truly extraordinary," said an enthusiastic Booker on the steps of the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart. The petition is an unusual one for the mayor. "Well, I've been kissing their asses for so long, this was just the next natural step," commented Booker in a rare moment of political candor.  

The designation of "miracle" is not one easily given. The Church has a very specific definition for miracles and the investigative process is a tough one which can take years. "We have to determine if God had a hand in it or not," advised Newark's Archbishop John J. Myers. "It is not something we do lightly."

Charter School founders had mixed reactions. Eva Moskowitz, founder and CEO of Success Academy Charter Schools in New York City, welcomed the investigation. "Bring it on. Despite my own religious persuasion, I've been saying for years that I should be canonized so it just follows that what I do is miraculous." Conversely, Vahan Gureghian, whose Pennsylvania-located Chester Community Charter School is under investigation for possible cheating on state exams, was unavailable for formal comment. However, people close to Mr. Gureghian report that he is concerned about the scrutiny.  

The arduous approval process is not the only thing standing in the way of charter schools being designated as "miracles." Public school teachers have also come out against the title. The American Federation of Teachers (AFT), National Education Association (NEA), United Federation of Teachers (UFT) and Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) all issued statements opposing the nomination. CTU president Karen Lewis' statement read in part, "While we agree that schools and their teachers make extraordinary contributions to the lives of children, we do not believe that charter schools do anything that rises to the level of miracle and we have the data to prove it." She then read a litany of statistics that she claimed showed charter schools were at best mediocre education providers. Michael Mulgrew of New York City's UFT began his press conference by saying, "I know Eva Moskowitz and Eva Moskowitz is no Mother Theresa." He also recited statistics proving charter school performance is unremarkable but reporters were distracted when Kim Kardashian tweeted that she and Kanye had broken up.

The ghost of famed antitheist, author and journalist Christopher Hitchens also issued a statement against the designation which read, "Are you fucking kidding me?"

Reality Alert: 
Interested in how we came to write this? Read Still Searching for Miracle Schools and Superguy and Miracle Schools: Where Are They Now?