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SUBSCRIPT: A parody of pretentious 'paradigm shifting' overREACHing bullshit spews forth in Chicago from the highest-paid group of mercenary MBAs ever to steal public funds in the service of the Broad Foundation and corporate school reform nonsense

UNICORN STUDIES. That's what it is. What happens to teaching and learning for 400,000 children and 25,000 teachers if the leadership of the third-largest school system in the USA degenerates into mindless and pretentious babbling, the functional equivalent of insisting that everyone begin to believe in unicorns, track unicorn activities, and get down with the best methodologies to increase the unicornness of Chicago schools. Welcome to the world of REACH and "Value Added" teacher evaluations. We have now entered the Twilight Zone of Unicorn Studies, but nobody is supposed to giggle when the bosses pontificate on it and ponderously present their Power Points.

Less than a year ago, Chicago's teacher and principals were being terrorized by "Performance Management" (Ron Huberman version 1.2 or something) under an FNG named Sarah Kremsner who had been imported by Huberman from the Chicago Transit Authority and briefly sported the job title "Chief Performance Officer" and a salary of around $180,000 per year.

That was so 2011. Now we've got the latest model...

Cover of one of the REACH Power Points utilized to terrorize veteran principals (who were ordered not to snicker) by agents of the Broad Foundation and the Emanuel administration at meetings held in Chicago from April 10 to April 12, 2012. Substance graphic by CPS."This principal is a “paradigm-shift” principal according to the Year 1 principal typology. Her leadership in messaging this program and garnering teacher buy-in is a major strength at this school. “If you’re saying to me that you’re a life-long learner, you’re reflective, you want to grow in this profession…we’re going to try this tool because this is designed to help us do that.” The principal says, “it has become a part of what we do here.” The teachers agree that the Framework seems to have taken hold at this school. Teachers attribute this to the principal’s commitment. It’s “part of our daily conversation,” and it’s something that is used throughout the year.

"In terms of a tangible shift in instructional practice, the teachers are able to anticipate things that they weren’t before. According to the principal, teachers have come to see the Framework as the model for improving teaching practice. Almost all teachers felt that their practice had improved due to use of the Framework process. Some self-identified areas of improvement include planning, classroom management, assessment during instruction, differentiated instruction, and student driven learning..." (from Case studies on REACH distributed to Chicago principals on April 12, 2012 and about to be foisted on Chicago teachers on April 13, 2012).

All the jokes aside, however, "Performance Management" was the flavor of the year for a couple of years until Ron Huberman, who had no teaching experience or educational credentials in Illinois, played the bugout boogie and left CPS as soon as his clout (Richard M. Daley) announced he wasn't running for mayor. By November 2010, Huberman was gone, although Kremsner lingered for a few more months, until Rahm Emanuel brought in the latest Miracle Management Team of Jean-Claude Brizard, Noemi Donoso, Jennifer Cheatham, and a dozen or more "Network Officers."

Despite all of the pompous and pseudo-scientific verbiage, "Value Added Methodology" is as scientific as leeching, bloodletting, or alchemy. In practice, so called VAM is none of the above (from Slide 30 presented by CPS at the principals' training from April 10 to April 12, 2012). Nonsense is what all of the above is. A kind of UNICORN STUDIES that only works in a system where everyone is too frightened to note that the emperor and empress are really walking around naked. None of whom had any Chicago teaching experience.

And most of whom wouldn't have lasted a week in any real world of Chicago teaching.

So naturally Rahm Emanuel's school board voted to pay them twice as much as the average teacher, more than veteran principals, and more than almost anybody was making before the Reign of Rahm began.

But now it's getting serious. After nearly a year of babbling, Jean Claude Brizard and his cadre are now launching what amounts to the biggest bunch of bullshit ever foisted on Chicago's public schools.

Consider the following (from a REACH handout provided to principals on April 12, 2012). This Orwellian nonsense couldn't be parodied, but will soon be interfering with the teaching of children in every Chicago public school where teachers and principals are afraid to stand up, laughing loudly, and declaring that this Emperor has not only no clothes, but no nothing.

Again: from REACH...

This principal is a “paradigm-shift” principal according to the Year 1 principal typology. Her leadership in messaging this program and garnering teacher buy-in is a major strength at this school. “If you’re saying to me that you’re a life-long learner, you’re reflective, you want to grow in this profession…we’re going to try this tool because this is designed to help us do that.” The principal says, “it has become a part of what we do here.” The teachers agree that the Framework seems to have taken hold at this school. Teachers attribute this to the principal’s commitment. It’s “part of our daily conversation,” and it’s something that is used throughout the year.

In terms of a tangible shift in instructional practice, the teachers are able to anticipate things that they weren’t before. According to the principal, teachers have come to see the Framework as the model for improving teaching practice. Almost all teachers felt that their practice had improved due to use of the Framework process. Some self-identified areas of improvement include planning, classroom management, assessment during instruction, differentiated instruction, and student driven learning.



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