More than half the principals in DC Public Schools were rated just one step above “ineffective,” according to a recent report by Emma Brown in the Washington Post. What does this mean for DCPS, especially for the administration that hired all these less-than-“effective” principals? Might the rating instrument be at fault? (more on this below) Full recording of the October 3 edition.
Related topic: What’s a cut score and why should we care?
Also on Thursday’s Town Hall, Matthew Frumin, organizer of a growing coalition of parents and others seeking a unified response to schools issues. This coalition recently released recommendations on the seven education bills before the DC Council this fall.
The Education Town Hall is broadcast Thursdays at 11 a.m. (Eastern) on We Act Radio.
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Principals already serve on one-year, terminate-for-any-reason contracts, so the ratings do not immediately effect job security. And Valerie Strauss, also of the Post, notes for the record:
Remember that most principals in D.C. schools were selected by either the current chancellor, Kaya Henderson, or her predecessor, Michelle Rhee. If so many are really merely “developing,” what does that say about their hiring prowess?
— “Now it’s the principals fault
But Aona Jefferson, president of the local Council of School Officers (AFL-CIO), believes the rating is at fault: “If you have 50 percent in ‘developing,’ you know something is wrong with the evaluation tool” (quoted in Brown’s story).
Ms. Jefferson, who served as principal and assistant principal in DCPS — with 34 years of experience at H.D. Woodson Senior High School — will join the Education Town Hall on Thursday, October 3, to discuss the rating system and the current status of DCPS principals.
We are also seeking comment from DCPS.
Tune in at 11:30 a.m. on WeActRadio.com — locally, 1480 AM WPWC.
NOTE: What’s a “cut score” and why should we care?
Mary Levy, financial and statistical guru for DC schools, explains the facts behind the recent uproar over “cut scores,” i.e., the percentage of correct answers required for declaring a student “proficient.” How were “historic” gains in proficiency scores in DC related to behind the scenes decisions? Listen here, beginning at minute 26, for a succinct explanation.
A few related resources:
Via Mary Levy: alternative DC-CAS scores, with revised “cut scores.”
D.C. Officials Allowed Math Scores to Show Gains, from Emma Brown and the Washington Post
The Truth About DC-CAS, from David Catania, DC Council
Aona Jefferson — bio from AFSA
Aona Jefferson is currently serving her second term as president of the Council of School Officers, AFSA Local 4 (AFL-CIO) in Washington, DC. She was elected in 2008 and is the first woman to hold the office. She began her teaching career in her hometown of Washington, DC in 1970. Ms. Jefferson served 27 years as a teacher. She became an assistant principal in 1996. She served five years as an assistant principal. In 2001 she was appointed principal. Ms. Jefferson spent 34 years at Woodson SHS as a teacher, coach, coordinator, assistant principal and principal. She was the recipient of many awards and commendations during her career, including a letter of commendation from former President William J. Clinton as a finalist for the Disney Teacher of the Year awards. Ms. Jefferson retired in 2007 after 37 years of service with DC Public Schools.
Aona Jefferson is a product of the District of Columbia Public Schools. She received her B.S. degree from North Carolina A&T State University, a M.S. from George Washington University and an Advanced Graduate Certificate in Education Leadership from the University of the District of Columbia. Ms. Jefferson is a third generation union member. He grandfather was a Pullman porter for the Pennsylvania Railroad that unionized under A. Phillip Randolph. Her father, while working in the insurance business, was responsible for forming the union to improve wages and working conditions. Ms. Jefferson is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Phi Delta Kappa, NABSE and an active member in her church Gethsemane United Methodist Church.