Needs Improvement

Former DC principal and whistle blower Adell Cothorne says don’t believe the hype about IMPACT.

The verdict is in and the results are unanimous: Washington DC’s IMPACT teacher evaluation system is a smashing success, successfully separating the highly effective wheat from the underperforming chaff—and sending the latter scrambling for the exits. But former DC principal Adell Cothorne warns the system’s cheerleaders to cool their jets, arguing that the system was deeply flawed from the outset, and that the most important lesson we can learn from IMPACT is not to repeat its mistakes. Here’s a look. Continue reading →

Adell Cothorne Speaks!

Whistleblower Adell Cothorne reflects on Rhee, Ravitch and why she’s in the fight to save public education

DC principal, whistleblower and cupcake baker Adell Cothorne.

Now some of you may know my story. For those of you who don’t, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Adell Cothorne.  I am a former District of Columbia Public School (DCPS) principal.  If my name sounds vaguely familiar, it’s because I garnered some national attention when I filed a whistleblower’s lawsuit against DCPS in regards to alleged test tampering by members of my school staff. But enough about me (for now). I recently had the opportunity to hear the views of two women who currently have a significant impact on education and I’d like to tell you about it.

Who were the two women, you ask?  None other than Michelle Rhee and Diane Ravitch. The fact that these two women were speaking in the city of Philadelphia within 24 hours of each other was significant. Two women with completely different views on America’s current education system speaking in a city experiencing educational dysfunction – on steroids. The movie script practically writes itself.
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Horse Hockey

An exclusive Michigan gathering attracts some high-profile education reformers—and more than a few flies.

Horse Hockey is defined as:

  1. Horse excrement, horseshit.
  2. (slang, euphemistic) False or deceitful statements; lies; exaggerations; nonsense. (a euphemism for horseshit)
  3. A tall tale so extravagant as to be unbelievable
  4. An expression of disbelief or disgust

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#Cagebusting 101

Everything that’s wrong with the contemporary education reform movement—wrapped up in a single, noxious term.

If you have managed to live your life so far without once uttering the expression “cage busting,” alas your luck has run out. The first rule of cage busting is that you have to talk about cage busting—a lot. But what does this mysterious term mean, and from whence did it come? Reader: I give you Dr. Rick Hess, the designated intellectual of the education reform movement, and expert on all things cage busting. Continue reading →

“Don’t Hate Me Because I’m Excellent!”

Teach for America has raised nearly $1 billion in the last five years to build a pipeline of excellence into the education rephorm movement.

Today’s $1 billion question: how much excellence does $1 billion buy? The answer is muchos, muchos excellence—if you happen to be Teach for America. $1 billion is roughly the amount that TFA has managed to raise in the past five years, earning it a spot on Forbes list of the 200 largest US charities. Even in today’s union-stifled climate of non-innovation, that’s a lot of excellence. A little perspective: $1 billion is enough to pay every one of TFA’s 28,000 alumni a bonus of $35,000, just for being outstanding. It’s even enough to pay each of TFA’s 16 officers six figure salaries—and still have a cool $300 million left over for additional excellence.
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