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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Superintendent Vitti goes on a charm offensive.

Now that's offensive.

Yesterday he touted improvements to the school culture survey, despite the fact ten percent of the district staff didn't even bother to fill it out, full disclosure I was one of them. 

Further more a long time reader pointed out, The surveys show improvement because they only ask about how teachers feel about admin leadership. We feel better about how our principals are running our buildings. The surveys do NOT ask about the culture created by district arrogance and incompetence that continues unabated under current leadership.

Today he is celebrating an award from the National Council on Teacher Quality

From News4Jax

"It is an honor and a point of pride that the NCTQ selected us as an honorable mention in its first Great Districts for Great Teachers initiative," said Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti. "Over the last four years, we have revamped our thinking, strategy and systems to become more intentional on recruiting and retaining great teachers. There is no investment more valuable than in our teachers and no better way to support our students' futures and success."

Deep breaths, NCTQ is hardly the organization one should go to, to recognize teaching, though as we look into their background its no wonder why Vitti loves them. 

They were founded sixteen years ago through a huge infusion of Bill Gates cash to push market based reforms. Many people who follow education reform believe they are one of the chief drivers behind the punitive, blame the teacher evaluations that have become all the rage and high stakes testing that has had dubious results and has sucked the love out of education for many teachers and students alike.

In effect the have been blaming teachers for years but I guess nobody is to anti-teacher  enough for Vitti to turn down an award from.

Before they made up some award they were best known for rating teacher preparation programs while simultaneously pushing Teach for America.

Diane Ravitch had an interesting take on their formation, from the Washington Post:

NCTQ was created by the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation in 2000. I was on the board of TBF at the time. Conservatives, and I was one, did not like teacher training institutions. We thought they were too touchy-feely, too concerned about self-esteem and social justice and not concerned enough with basic skills and academics. In 1997, we had commissioned a Public Agenda study called “Different Drummers”; this study chided professors of education because they didn’t care much about discipline and safety and were more concerned with how children learn rather than what they learned. TBF established NCTQ as a new entity to promote alternative certification and to break the power of the hated ed schools.

John Thompson, had a similar take, from Ed Week,

The National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ), is a Gates-funded organization dedicated to data-driven, market-oriented "reform." It sees itself as a part of a coalition for "a better orchestrated agenda" for accountability, choice, and using test scores to drive the evaluation of teachers. Its forte is publishing non-peer reviewed opinion pieces under the guise of "policy analysis."

I could go on and on and on. Seriously google them.

The bottom line is NCTQ where well funded is the type of organization that respectable districts stay away from, and the super can put as much lipstick on the pig as he wants, but at the end of the day its still a pig.

In my estimation this award isn't worth the paper it is written on and it shouldn't distract you which I think is the super's intent, from the problems we have.

Here is a link to NCQT, explore if you like.


  1. I don't believe school cultures are getting any better. I think teachers are realizing that these surveys are useless. Those that actually take the survey understand that if they are honest they'll be forced to sit through team building exercises through the end of the school year. It's the lesser of two evils.

  2. Ha, ha, haw! Isn't NCTQ the group Peter Greene called out for evaluating the quality of education colleges by reviewing their graduation programs? He called them the laziest researchers on the planet.

  3. At my school we were told that if we didn't fill out that survey we would be forced to stay after school for a meeting. All because we didn't have the required percentage of completion. Furthermore, she stated that we were required to complete it so just get it done already!