, , ,

Here are some interesting articles we received and discovered this past week…


The One And Only Lesson To Be Learned From NAEP Scores

Quote from Article:

The world of education is a fuzzy one, with some declaring that teaching is more art than science. But then the National Assessment of Educational Progress is issued. “The Nation’s Report Card” is greeted as a source of hard data about the educational achievement of fourth and eighth graders (and in some years, high school students), theoretically neither biased nor tweaked as state tests might be.

NAEP scores were released this week, and they have been percolating down through pundits, ed writers, ed bureaucrats, and ordinary ed kibitzers. So now that we have had a few days to absorb and process, what have some folks offered as important lessons, and what’s the only lesson that really counts?


NAEP is extraordinarily clear that folks should not try to suggest a causal relationship between scores and anything else. Everyone ignores that advice, but NAEP clearly acknowledges that there are too many factors at play here to focus on any single one.


Betsy DeVos argues that the NAEP scores show that the US needs more school choice. Jeanne Allen of the Center for Education Reform, which has long supported charters schools over public schools, argues that the NAEP scores are evidence that the US public education system is failing. Former Secretary of Education Arne Duncan argues that the scores are proof that the country must courageously pursue more of the reform initiatives that he launched while in office. Mike Petrilli of the Fordham Institute called the poor results “predictable” as he blames them on the Great Recession, and pointed to a few small data points as proof that the kinds of reforms backed by Fordham work. The National Council on Teacher Quality claims that the static scores are the result of college teacher education programs that don’t teach teachers the proper ways to teach reading and math. It’s clear that when your only tool is a hammer, the NAEP looks just like a nail.


So what’s the one actual lesson of NAEP? One continuing belief for some students of education policy is that if we just had some cold, hard data, we could really get some stuff done. We could settle arguments about curriculum and pedagogy and policy, and by making data-driven decisions, we could steer education into a new golden age.

Well, here’s our regular dose of cold hard data. It hasn’t settled a thing.

That’s the one actual lesson of NAEP; the dream of data-informed, data-driven decision making as a cure for everything that ails us is just a dream. Data can be useful for those who want to actually look at it. But data is not magical, and in education, it’s fruitless to imagine that data will settle our issues.

District Deeds Synopsis:

“That’s the one actual lesson of NAEP; the dream of data-informed, data-driven decision making as a cure for everything that ails us is just a dream.”

This NAEP article from Forbes provides an interesting counterpoint and refution of the obviously misleading San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) NAEP propaganda spewed by Elementary School Superintendent (ESS) Cindy Marten and her acolytes.

The classic SDUSD “Newscenter” propaganda and lies by omission about the NAEP scores were emailed to many SDUSD Stakeholders. Misleading headlines from the San Diego Union Tribune (UT) and SDUSD compromised KPBS were plastered on the SDUSD propaganda release.

There are 3 realities for the SDUSD that were completely and intentionally omitted by the corrupt SDUSD “Newscenter” propaganda release that negated the misleading headlines:

  • UT: “San Diego Unified raised its average scores slightly for fourth-grade reading and math and eighth-grade reading, even as California’s scores dipped in eighth-grade reading and math. Th district’s score increases were not statistically significant, however.”

Not statistically significant means there was no real improvement from the previous NAEP results.  In other words the SDUSD Propaganda Department and corrupt ESS Cindy Marten were congratulating themselves FOR MAKING NO PROGRESS!  

  • UT: “There are significant performance gaps between black and Hispanic students and white students, as well as between students from low-income families and students from higher-income families, the district noted. Gaps also exist for students with disabilities and English learner students. Since 2003, there has been no evidence of gap closure between these groups and, in fact, some of the gaps have widened significantly,” especially between low-income and higher-income students, district officials wrote in an analysis of its scores.”

Not only was there there no progress overall, the neediest student sub groups also made no progress!  Black Students, Hispanic Students, Low Income Students, Students with Disabilities and English Language Learner Students were left behind again by educationally incompetent ESS Marten.

  • KPBS: “However, historical achievement gaps persist for black, Latino and socioeconomically disadvantaged students both locally and nationally. Marten said the district will use the results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress to examine the gaps within individual schools and classrooms.  “National large data sets like this will always illuminate where the gaps are,” she said. “When you see gaps in student achievement, you wanna understand: What are you doing to interrupt those gaps early?”


Marten says “National large data sets like this will always illuminate where the gaps are…you wanna understand: What are you doing to interrupt those gaps early?


After 6 years and millions of dollars spent  during the ESS Marten dictatorship to address the HUGE educational gaps for the neediest students with virtually ZERO progress, SDUSD Stakeholders “wanna understand” how the incompetent Marten continues to get contract extensions and raises for producing absolutely NOTHING except high paid SDUSD job assignments to equally incompetent cronies!

Stakeholders “wanna” see Marten and her cronies get fired immediately!

The Cascading Effects of Principal Turnover on Students and Schools

Quote from Article:

While a growing number of studies find the detrimental effects of teacher mobility on student achievement, few studies have attempted to measure the effects of principal turnover. Nationally, about one in five schools lose their principal each year. But in North Carolina, for example, that figure climbs to more than one in three in the lowest-performing schools. If principal mobility influences average student achievement in a school, negative effects of each principal’s departure would affect far more students than negative effects of an individual teacher leaving. Principal turnover may also affect other school-level factors, including teacher turnover—prompting additional indirect detrimental effects of the principal’s departure.


The estimated effect sizes of principal turnover are small, but continue for up to three years after the transition. Specifically, we observe test scores decline in the first year of a principal transition, and that the negative effect on test scores continues into the second and third year of the new principal’s tenure. Teacher turnover also increases after a principal transition and remains elevated for the first three years of the new principal’s tenure.

Losing multiple principals in succession, therefore, compounds the effects of principal turnover, and frequent turnover occurs regularly in the data. 


Interestingly, and in contrast with the teacher turnover literature, we do not find evidence that the magnitude of the negative effects increases when turnover occurs during the school year. That means a school district official looking to replace an underperforming principal might benefit from replacing him as soon as possible rather than waiting for the summer—especially if a higher quality replacement is available during the school year.


Policymakers, meanwhile, would benefit from considering these findings in the context of federal requirements to improve the lowest-performing schools. For example, principal replacement was at the core of earlier federally mandated school turnaround models and many states’ more-rigorous reforms under The Every Student Succeeds Act, based on the theory that a new principal is necessary to disrupt the ineffectual status quo in low-performing schools and bring about rapid improvement under new leadership. But if the disruption from the principal turnover precipitates its own set of negative consequences for the school, any positive effects of school reform may take time to emerge or may be muted in the first years of the new principal’s tenure. To that end, policymakers charged with reforming low-performing schools should consider:

  • Both the costs and benefits of principal replacement. Principal replacement in low-performing schools may do more harm than good unless higher-quality principals can be hired to replace the current principal.
  • The duration of school turnaround. We show that the negative effect of a principal transition is detectable for the first three years of the replacement principal’s tenure, which means that any reform strategy will need to overcome the negative effects of principal replacement while also improving the prior school performance.

District Deeds Synopsis:

Over five years ago District Deeds was launched due to a series of Principal removals including the improper replacement of Dr. Esther Omogbehin at Lincoln High School.  We highlighted that improper activity through both “Lincoln and SCPA…The “Smoking Gun”?” and our “Principal Selection Side show Series“.  Including that improper removal, in the last 6 years Lincoln High School has cycled through at least 4 different Principals.

Does any SDUSD Stakeholder think that ESS Marten cares about or has the capacity to identify and comprehend the “costs and benefits of principal replacement” or “The duration of school turnaround” given her repeated failure at Lincoln?

For ESS Cindy “Gump” Marten, Stupid is as Stupid does…and to paraphrase…Incompetence is as Incompetence does.

That is how the “Cascading” failure of the ESS Marten dictatorship has seriously damaged the education of not only Lincoln High School Students but also to ALL the students that endured Principal replacements during her tenure.

The Zombie Pedagogical Debate

Quote from Article:

With Wonkathon season kicking into high gear, asking participants what’s the best way to help students who are several grade levels behind, it occurred to me that this year’s question, as fundamental and challenging as it may be, is a withering indictment of our education system. Unlike the United States, countries like Canada and Singapore don’t need to ask it. To wit, in describing some of the highest performing systems in the world, veteran education analyst Marc Tucker once pointed out, “Students do not routinely arrive at middle school from elementary school two or even three years behind. It simply does not happen.”


As entries continue to roll in, it’s worth considering Tucker’s words and remembering the parable of the river:

A group of people are standing at a river bank and suddenly hear a baby crying. Shocked, they see an infant struggling in the water. One person immediately dives in to rescue the child. But right away another baby comes floating down the river, and then another! People continue to jump in to save the babies and then see that one person has started to walk away from the group still on shore. Accusingly they shout, “Where are you going? We need everyone available to help save these drowning babies!” The response: “I’m going upstream to stop whoever’s throwing babies into the river.”

Like the group gathered along the shore, this year’s contestants will invariably be part of what my friend Ian Rowe has called our “overwhelmed rescue squads,” valiantly proposing out-of-the-box, innovative, but tragically insufficient solutions to effectively remediate the millions of children who fall behind each year. 


The best charter management organizations may have indeed internalized these “hard-learned lessons,” but the education sector as a whole certainly hasn’t. Whether it’s assigning the least-effective teachers to non-tested grades (particularly the critical earliest years of school) or the wanton use of unproven teaching strategies, schools—including the very best ones—continue to leave too many of our babies flailing in the water. Like a zombie that refuses to die, the question of what to do with them is caught in a feedback loop among advocates calling for a greater focus on grade-level material and those who believe in the need for more differentiation and personalization. Given the low-success rate of remediation efforts generally, I’m skeptical as to whether a good answer lies anywhere between these two poles.


Instead, I echo Rowe’s sentiment that the only real solution (i.e., one that obviates the need to ask this year’s Wonkathon question in the first place) must be found upstream. This means putting shoulder to the wheel in one of the few areas where there’s real science: reading instruction. I’m thinking of three things in particular:


1. Assign the most effective teachers to the early grades. I don’t know how to shift the hearts, minds, and lesson plans of millions of individual teachers, but I do know that education has been and will continue to be a human endeavor. It’s unclear to me whether improving teacher training generally is worth the return on investment, but something that should be easier to do is to put our best teachers in kindergarten and first grade, and discontinue the blinkered practice of assigning them to the grades that are tested.


2. Adopt a high-quality language arts curriculum. Two years ago, my friend Kathleen Porter-Magee made this compelling argument in these pages:

In education we have been conditioned to believe that mandating curriculum is akin to micromanaging an artist. That’s not only wrong, it’s dangerous. And as Robert Pondiscio has persuasively argued, it simply makes “an already hard job nearly impossible [for teachers] to do well.” Yet study after study has demonstrated that requiring teachers to use a proven textbook or curriculum to guide their teaching is one of the surest ways to improve outcomes for students.

Getting down to brass tacks, this means students should receive daily, explicit, systematic phonics instruction in the early grades. Incorporating rich content into the curriculum is profoundly important. Students must also develop fluency with mathematical procedures in the early years. 


3. Make teacher tenure an achievement. My colleague Mike Petrilli wrote a thought-provoking piece about the progress schools might make if they would only go after the low-hanging fruit such as halting the practice of tenure as an automatic proposition. Districts could and should make the process of achieving tenure more rigorous instead of a rubber stamp. Sure, it’s not directly related to reading instruction, but tenure reform is essential to the task of making sure every kindergarten and first grade classroom is staffed by an effective teacher.


If schools were simply able to do these three things, not only would we stem the rate at which our babies are being thrown into the river, there’s an added benefit of potentially side-stepping some of the sticky questions that enervate our assessment and accountability systems.


Our collective failure at preempting failure compels us to redouble our efforts, so we need more ideas and more strategies to remediate and rescue more students. But it won’t be enough. To help students who are several grade levels behind, an ounce of prevention is truly worth a pound of cure. 

District Deeds Synopsis:

Although we agree with the 3 “Zombie pedagogy” solutions, we also realize that there is no way that the current ESS Marten dictatorship has the collective intelligence or inclination to implement any of the proposed solutions.

For a quick rundown:

“Assign the most effective teachers to the early grades” – The SDUSD Board of Education led by Trustee Richard “Tricky Dick” Barrera has been bought and sold by the San Diego Educaton Association (SDEA – Teachers Union).  In return for campaign endorsements and financial contributions, the 5 Democratic Board of Ed Trustees do not dare to put any measurements in place to clearly identify “effective teachers”, let alone assign those teachers with tenure to “early grades”.

Adopt a high-quality language arts curriculum” – , As we described in our previous synopsis, itis doubtful that Dictator ESS Marten cares about or has the capacity to identify and comprehend what a “high-quality language arts   curriculum” actually is.

“Make teacher tenure an achievement.” – If Dictator ESS Marten ever suggested this in an open Board of Education Meeting it might be the only thing could get Tricky Dick Barrera to fire her.  In the current SDUSD Leadership, the real chain of command is:

  1. SDEA
  2. Tricky Dick Barrera
  3. Dictator ESS Cindy Marten
  4. Everyone and everything else including student education

Under this dictatorship, Students don’t have a chance at a good education.

Now for our Quote of the Week:

“Stupid is as stupid does.” – Forrest Gump

Have a great week!!!



  • Your family has been injured by the San Diego Unified School District, go to the District Deeds Complaint Forms page to find instructions to fight for your Civil Rights!

Please Click the Link Below and sign the Petition Today and READ the COMMENTS to Support the REMOVAL of Marten by SDUSD Stakeholders!

FIRE San Diego Unified School District Superintendent Cindy Marten Immediately!

  • You want to be sure you don’t miss an issue of District Deeds, click the “follow” button below and you will get an email automatically when an article is published on District Deeds.
  • If you prefer social media, click on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn and follow District Deeds!!!