Saturday, December 15, 2012

Education Rephorm Train - you don't need a ticket - just get on board

The 'Soul Train' had love, peace and soul.  

The 'Education Rephorm Train' has tests, punishment and gold.
From Edushyster - Click Here

That scent in the air isn’t Memphis-style barbecue but the rich bouquet of education rephorm.
Today our tour of the rephormiest places in America takes us south, to good old Memphis, Tennessee. That unmistakable scent wafting through the air isn’t dry ribs slow cookin’ in a pit, but the rich bouquet of education rephorm. Reader: I give you the Achievement School District, a bold experiment in excellence and innovation that will take the bottom 5% of students in Tennessee and catapult them straight to the top 25%. What’s the ASD’s secret recipe? Take old, failing schools and replace LIFO lifers with fresh, new teachers and administrators. Now add high expectations, toss in a bushel of buzzwords — and don’t forget the spin. Presto chango — Elvis has left the building.

Less than a year into the New Orlean’s style rephorm-over, the Achievement School District’s numbers are off the charts. By numbers, I’m referring NOT to student test scores at the 6 ASD schools —they ranked in the 16th percentile in reading and math —but the eye popping salaries that district personnel are pulling down. Tennessee may be called the volunteer state, but in Achievement land, the “sweet salary state” might be a more accurate nickname. District head and TFA alum Christopher Barbic takes home nearly $18K —a month. A little perspective: that’s more than the governor of the state makes, and, believe or not, a hair more than Kevin Huffman, TFAster turned former Mr. Michelle Rhee turned chief rephormer for the state of Tennessee.

Chris Barbic, superintendent of the Achievement School District, earns more than the governor of Tennessee.

To be fair, Barbic has his work cut out for him. Not only must he work test score miracles in 5 years or less but he also presides over a sizeable rephorm crew. More than 145 people are on the ASD payroll (see complete list here), including someone whose sole responsibility seems to be monitoring and responding to comments on local Memphis media sites. Good news: there are plenty more positions still to be filled. If you have what it takes to Join Our Team (Big Challenges, Stunning Colleagues), contact a recruiter today—operators are standing by.

Like any rephorm train with a well-compensated captain at the helm, this one is quickly picking up speed. With a logic that will be familiar to anyone who has the misfortune to live in a district that has come down with rephorm fever, the Achievement School District will keep expanding, fueled by spin and “high expectations,” no matter what its actual results or how fervently local residents oppose it. Case in point: the hand-picked committee that is about to announce six more Memphis schools to be converted to charters next year. 

People Get Ready - Eva Cassidy

Original by Curtis Mayfield/The Impressions