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Posted at 10:00 AM ET, 12/15/2010

Principal seeks to replace student body, improve scores

By Valerie Strauss

Mr. Teachbad's Blog of Teacher Disgruntlement has some very funny posts, including this piece of fake education news. [Some of the language on the blog is raw; because The Post has different standards on this sort of thing, I've taken out some of the more colorful words and replaced them with synonyms in brackets.] As I’ve said before, sometimes you have to laugh through the pain.

KANSAS CITY, KS -- In a bold move sure to spark debate in political and education circles, Karen Herbst, principal of J.C. Harmon High School in Kansas City, KS, is making a most unusual request. Herbst has asked the Kansas State commissioner of education, Dr. Diane DeBacker, to replace the entire student body at J.C. Harmon High School with students from another high school where test scores are higher.

In a letter to the commissioner, Herbst writes:

Standardized test scores at J.C. Harmon have dropped or remained stagnant since No Child Left Behind started. We have fired all the teachers ... three times. We could fill the convention center with a Teach for America reunion from this school. We have fired principals. I am the fifth principal to run this palace of potential in the last eight years. We have increased the number of required meetings and useless documents and documentation of the useless meetings. We have SMART goals and data trackers. We say things like “increase the rigor” and “data-driven” and “authentic assessment” almost constantly. We have computers and smart boards and wireless this and that and smart [stuff] connected to the Interweb all over.... We have...I don’t, 50 non-profit groups running around here doing tutoring, mentoring, arts and crafts, poetry clubs, science clubs, handing out money, taking people camping who hate camping, and who knows what...else.

And, somehow, we [are still lousy].

J.C. Harmon High is ... a school. And we are proud to be a part of the State of Kansas, sort of. (That guy from that weird church who protests at funerals sort of creeps us out. And so does Sam Brownback.)

But the reality is that, as far as schools go, people don’t seem to be learning all that much and we are sort of out of ideas. Having exhausted all other avenues, I hereby request that you immediately replace all students currently enrolled at J.C. Harmon with students from some other school in the state that has historically performed well on standardized tests.

We have changed everything else here. And all it’s done is branded some good people as bad teachers. People have been demoralized and simply left the profession....

Let’s think outside the box. Let’s change the other side of the equation. I challenge you to give me students from the highest performing school in our district and we will see if my [lazy] ineffective teachers can keep the scores at J.C. Harmon down.

If we can bring scores down to regular J.C. Harmon levels in two to three years, the entire teaching and administrative staff will resign. Let us show you how ineffective we can be, no matter who you put in our classrooms.

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By Valerie Strauss  | December 15, 2010; 10:00 AM ET
Categories:  Laugh and cry  | Tags:  fake news, mr. teachbad, test scores  
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Next: Joel Klein's business model and the drowning of Nicole Suriel


When all else fails...laugh!

Posted by: educ8er | December 15, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

This is right on the money! I just went to a meeting yesterday where we talked about SMART goals and data. Sigh. It all sounds so good to people on the outside, but those of us on the inside who work with students every day know how meaningless it really is.

Posted by: TeacherTalk | December 15, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

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