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Sunday, August 12, 2018

Nick Howland's revisionist history about Vitti leaving and data

Nick Howland misses Superintendent Vitti. He has implied he was run off by the board and that has led to lowered student achievement several times. 

He says he talked to a previous school board member from district 2 who is not Scott Shine that said there is a three year period where student achievement lags behind when a superintendent is forced out.

How he explains the district improving last year from the one before is beyond me but it is amazing that somebody who touts his attention to detail has gotten Vitti's departure so wrong.

Now it is true in the fall of 2016 Ashley Smith Juarez then the board chair told Vitti that if he couldn't get with the program of establishing aggressive goals it may be time for him to take his talents elsewhere. I thought and even hoped Vitti was gone but he wasn't and he would remain for another 8 months.

During Vitti's tenure, teachers being afraid for their jobs, teacher intimidation and micromanagement for teachers were all ratcheted up. He led by fiat and through fear and intimidation.

We also got rid of books and went to handouts, libraries all of the district were closed, he had to be forced to let kids have recess and he threw idea after idea against the wall to see if any would stick and not may did.

Even with the things he did right like returning the arts he did in a ham fisted way. Having an art class is great, having fifty kids in it delivers diminishing return.

The thing is he wasn't run off despite all of that, he left on his own, when Detroit came a calling. The thing is I bet he would have been run off if he would have stayed long enough for the board to realize what a huge mess he had made with the district's financials. A lot of that 62 million dollar shortfall lands right on his shoulders.

Then he left after a little over 4 years after never holding the same job for 4 years ever. Howland and other Vitti supporters might have felt blindsided by his departure but the truth is was never in it for the long haul, something Detroit will discover sooner rather than later.

It was about two years past time for Vitti to leave if you ask me, but the truth is he wasn't run out of town like Howland has implied over and over.

Okay, lets switch gears.

When defending Teach for America he said according to their annual report in 2015, 84 percent of them returned for a second year when only 77 percent of other first year teachers did.

First that is like me going to the fox to read a report about hen house security but even if true its very flawed as well.

You see there are a lot more non first year TFA teachers than first year TFA teachers. The sample sizes really shouldn't be comparable.

Though the real question is how many teachers return for their third year and loner and quite frankly TFA has had an abysmal track record.,5810

Furthermore, that also means one in six TFA teachers with 11 grand on the line to pay off student loans and grad school said, nah, not worth it. Think about that for a moment.

Howland can definitely regurgitate facts especially if they are convenient for his argument but that makes him self serving not informed.

District 2 there are several very good candidates in district 2, which means you don't need to take a chance on Howland. The last two times you voted for a rich white conservative business without any education experience, it hasn't worked out so well.

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