Apr 20, 2010
Honor Brian Betts-Stay Honest On Student Success
This submision by guest blogger, Efavorite is timely in light of the recent death last week of Principal Brian Betts of Shaw Middle School at Garnett Patterson in Washington, D.C.
"The front page Washington Post article on the tragic death of Shaw Middle School Principal Brian Betts accurately states, “Rhee held Betts up as her model principal, but it created expectations that he had trouble fulfilling. Math and reading proficiency rates on the school's 2009 DC-CAS assessments, already low, declined again.” But then it goes on to quote Rhee saying just yesterday that back in ’09 when the Shaw scores came in, Rhee, impressed with cultural changes in the school, told Betts, "We'll take care of the academics later."
She may have said that to him then, but this is the first time it’s gone on public record. In the summer of ‘09, Rhee publicly lied about the scores at Shaw, saying that they stayed “about the same.” She even mentioned non-traceable statistics showing an increase, when in fact the public records show that Shaw’s scores decreased. I’m gratified that the Post is now reporting that accurately. However, at the time, it published Rhee’s lie, and it was only after I protested and showed the proof that Jay Mathews of the Post corrected the information. Rhee had already lied about the Shaw scores to PBS, who also published a correction on its website after I directed them to the official records.
Only in the wake of Mr. Betts’ death does Chancellor Rhee admit that academics can be taken care of “later” – that it’s possible to be an admirable, beloved and acclaimed educator, worthy of working in an improved DCPS, even in the absence of increasing academic achievement. Unfortunately, she does not apply such a sane approach to the rest of the educators in DCPS. Instead, teachers can be rated down on the minutest of details of their classroom instruction, and if the new contract is passed, teachers can be rated down or dismissed if their kids’ scores don’t rise in a year’s time.
Perhaps in honor of Brian Betts, Chancellor Rhee and union officials will change course to officially accept the Chancellor’s newly stated and perfectly logical, research-based position that “academics can come later” after cultural changes. And let’s remember that cultural changes – not only in the school, but also in the home – don’t happen overnight and do require much more than effective teaching."
Posted by The Washington Teacher, Candi Peterson - blogger in residence with guest post courtesy of Efavorite, picture courtesy of WaPo.com