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Posted at 6:30 AM ET, 07/29/2010

# Study: Error rates high when student test scores used to evaluate teachers

By Valerie Strauss

I don’t actually understand all of a new statistical study about error rates when “value-added” student test scores are used to evaluate teachers, but I do get this: The rates high enough to give even supporters of such measures some pause about using them for high-stakes decisions.

There’s a more in-depth analysis of the report, which was undertaken for the Education Department’s Institute of Education Sciences, on Bruce D. Baker’s School Finance 101 blog.

But here’s my takeaway from the report, entitled "Error Rates in Measuring Teacher and School Performance Based on Student Test Score Gains:"

Value-added measures have become all the rage in evaluating teachers. What does that mean? As explained in a guest blog this year by by FairTest's Lisa Guisbond, these measures use student standardized test scores to track the growth of individual students as they progress through the grades and see how much “value” a teacher has added.

An emerging body of research has found that these value-added estimates based on a few years of data can be imprecise. How imprecise?

According to thenew report by Mathematica Policy Research:

If three years of data is used there is about a 25 percent change that a teacher who is “average” would be identified as significantly worse than average, and, under new evaluation systems, perhaps fired.

*If one year of data is used, there is a 35 percent chance of the same misidentification.

Considering that teachers are now being fired based partly on test scores -- D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee just let go dozens of teachers based on such evaluations -- this error rate matters in a big way.

The report, written by Mathematica’s Peter Z. Schochet and Hanley S. Chiang, goes on to say that value-added estimates “in a given year are still fairly strong predictors of subsequent-year academic outcomes in the teachers’ classes.”

I wonder if the authors would like their evaluations to be based on such “fairly strong” criteria.

By the way, Baker’s analysis of the report mentions other major issues that he says undermine "the usefulness of value-added assessment for teacher evaluation and dismissal (on the assumption that majority weight is placed on value-added assessment)." According to Baker, they include:

*That students are not randomly assigned across teachers and that this non-random assignment may severely bias estimates of teacher quality.

*That only a fraction of teachers can even be evaluated this way, generally less than 20%.

By Valerie Strauss  | July 29, 2010; 6:30 AM ET
Categories:  Research, Teachers  | Tags:  error rates and value-added, evaluating teachers, high-stakes decisions and teacher evaluation, mathematica study, teacher evaluation, value-added measures
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Posted by: adamjefferey | July 29, 2010 6:43 AM | Report abuse

There is also this, Valerie:
"This view—that the right incentives (positive or negative) will produce the necessary changes in teaching—may be a very common one, but there is no data to back it up. Indeed, a close look at MCAS results shows there is surprisingly little difference between the quality of teaching in so-called “good” schools (wealthy, suburban schools with high MCAS scores)and “bad” schools (inner-city schools with low scores) when the results are averaged across all teachers in the district and disaggregated by student demographics, specifically race and poverty. Put another way, a low-income white student in a “good” suburban school tests essentially the same as a low-income white student in a “bad” inner-city school."

from:
Teachers are not to blame
Tools that help teachers, not firings, are the key to education success
http://www.commonwealthmagazine.org/Voices/Perspective/2010/Summer/Teachers-are-not-to-blame.aspx

Posted by: edlharris | July 29, 2010 7:44 AM | Report abuse

I smell a big, fat lawsuit coming from the fired teachers and rightly so. I hope they win and that it costs DCPS millions. Some of us have been crying out all along that Michelle Rhee doesn't know what she's doing however everyone seems to have jumped on her bandwagon and acted like she's some sort of popular new fad.

Posted by: UrbanDweller | July 29, 2010 7:46 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, UD, a lawsuit would be just fine. Who would suffer if, by chance, it succeeded? Other teachers whose pay would be affected, and, the children, who would have less budget.

Your desire is one more signal that some teachers, even presumably good ones, think they are the center of the school system, but not classroom education repsonsibilities.

If the suit halted the termination of ineffective teachers, who would suffer? Would you want your kids in their classrooms? Or maybe someone else's kids?

Is the DCPS teacher enrollment a defensible jobs program, in your view?

Posted by: axolotl | July 29, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

The point is that the value added system may not be accurate. In which case, effective teachers are being terminated. I would want my child in an effective teacher's classroom, not one who is teaching to the test to try to get a bonus.

Posted by: celestun100 | July 29, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

ax: I've finally come to the conclusion that you're on Rhee's payroll. You don't have an open mind at all. Furthermore, I'm your worst nightmare: a teacher in DCPS, who has data to prove my students achieve every year, was rated "highly effective" under IMPACT and am continually called upon by my department to do trainings and workshops for other teachers. The rub is that I disagree with Rhee's policies and her so-called reform. I, and others, expose her for what she is: a complete fraud who's in it for herself and herself only. I nearly vomit when I hear her constantly say, "...what's in the best interest of students." Michelle Rhee is concerned with her own best interest and her best interest only. We'll see that when she bails the minute Gray wins the primary on September 14.

I actually hope she stays. I'd like to see her work under Gray and would love to see him hold her accountable. But that won't happen. Once she has to begin to be accountable, she'll up and leave.

In a few years, the scales will fall from your and many others eyes and realize that you were drunk with the swill Rhee was feeding you.

Bottom line: under Rhee, the achievement gap has widened and test scores have fallen. Test scores were trending upward before she arrived. If she was performing miracles, like she said she did in Baltimore when she taught for 2 or 3 years, then we should be seeing improvements by now. I'm still waiting to see the data from her own days of teaching. That has mysteriously disappeared! How convenient.

No one is defending ineffective teachers. I'm still waiting to see the data which indicated that IMPACT actually is able to distinguish between effective and ineffective teachers. Where's the data to indicate it's a valid and reliable instrument of evaluation? Without that, it's unprofessional, not to mention unethical, to base employment on it.

You've bought into the rhetoric that urban teachers are poor performers. Go read all the studies by Harvard, Columbia and other major institutions who study public education. Time after time home environment is the key. That's why we constantly see that middle class and upper middle class students outperform poor students on tests.

Posted by: UrbanDweller | July 29, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

I smell a big, fat lawsuit coming from the fired teachers and rightly so. I hope they win and that it costs DCPS millions. Some of us have been crying out all along that Michelle Rhee doesn't know what she's doing however everyone seems to have jumped on her bandwagon and acted like she's some sort of popular new fad.

Posted by: UrbanDweller
......................................
I would not count on a lawsuit. Teachers have accepted a contract.

The teachers were sold down river by their stupid union.

Posted by: bsallamack | July 29, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Where is Randi Weingarten? She and her talking heads should have done their due-diligence and checked the integrity/appropriateness of the IMPACT instrument. Hey, Randi -- Where ARE YOU!!!

Posted by: hnjhat | July 29, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

There are statistical errors in all data. The most basic quantitative analysis class teaches this....so how will/does the margin of error play into the evaluation of teachers?

There is no way that that a teacher teaches under the exact same set of circumstances each year...therefore, statistically, scores will fluctuate, depending on the statistical biases the students bring to the class.

The union was duped and out-smarted by Rhee...plain and simple....and she was betting on that ignorance...and she won. I hope the union uses this as the proverbial "teaching moment.'

Posted by: ilcn | July 29, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Comming up Next on...

MEET the DCPS

Erin McGoldrick
Chief, Data and Accountability

Erin McGoldrick serves as the DCPS Chief of Data and Accountability, overseeing the organization’s efforts to create and support a culture of data-driven decision making, specifically around data systems, assessments, research and evaluation.

With a background in qualitative and quantitative research design and analysis, she ensures that quality data and analysis are used to inform decision making at DCPS.

Professional Experience:

Prior to her DCPS appointment, Ms. McGoldrick served as Director of Data Management and Analysis with the California Charter Schools Association. There, she partnered with schools, researchers and funders to address the data needs of the charter school movement in California.

Ms. McGoldrick has held a variety of positions in K-12 education, including analyst for the Board of Education for the Los Angeles Unified School District, executive director of evaluation, research, and policy for the Urban Education Partnership, and survey researcher at Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin and Associates.

Education:

Ms. McGoldrick earned a bachelor’s degree in the classics from the University of Notre Dame and a master’s degree in public policy from UCLA’s School of Public Policy and Social Research.

Posted by: AGAAIA | July 29, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

axolotl - where is your sense of justice, fairness or equity. Teachers and kid don't have a damn thing to do when it is Rhee's actions are subjective and inconsistent. Why do you not see the need for Rhee's administration to be accountable at any level?

Posted by: oknow1 | July 29, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

I'd also like to know who in the central office has a Ph.D. in psychometrics and can assure teachers and the public that the evaluation system is valid and reliable and the DCCAS scores are tabulated and interpreted correctly and that it's a valid and reliable test.

Posted by: UrbanDweller | July 29, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

AGAAIA - sounds like she took stats 101 or stats for social science and that's it. she has titles but she does not seem like a true data guru.

Posted by: oknow1 | July 29, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for posting McGoldrick's degrees AGAAIA.

All I can say is "wow."

Valerie, any response from DCPS yet?

Given that their head data person is a liberal arts major and that this is the same administration who completely blew the budget process, it's not any stretch of the imagination to believe that that they fouled up the IMPACT scores.

Come on Michelle, where is the accountability? You promised us a that you would be "transparent" when you join DCPS. I'm waiting.

Posted by: Title1SoccerMom | July 29, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, that should be "joined."

Posted by: Title1SoccerMom | July 29, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

UrbanDweller:

That's the point. Erin McGoldrick is the CHIEF of Data and Accountability. There are no real statistical wizards at DCPS. It is all Public Policy spin doctors, a.k.a. "Politicians in Sheep's Clothing."

Every academic statistical expert I have read or spoken to has significant problems with the most basic statistical conclusions that DCPS has reached by it's selective and wanton misuse of data.

What we have here is Chaos Theory:

Chaos theory is a field of study in mathematics, physics, economics and philosophy studying the behavior of dynamical systems that are highly sensitive to initial conditions. This sensitivity is popularly referred to as the butterfly effect. Small differences in initial conditions (such as those due to rounding errors in numerical computation) yield widely diverging outcomes for chaotic systems, rendering long-term prediction impossible in general.[1] This happens even though these systems are deterministic, meaning that their future behaviour is fully determined by their initial conditions, with no random elements involved.[2] In other words, the deterministic nature of these systems does not make them predictable.[3] This behavior is known as deterministic chaos, or simply chaos.

Posted by: AGAAIA | July 29, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

UrbanDweller:

That's the point. Erin McGoldrick is the CHIEF of Data and Accountability. There are no real statistical wizards at DCPS. It is all Public Policy spin doctors, a.k.a. "Politicians in Sheep's Clothing."

Every academic statistical expert I have read or spoken to has significant problems with the most basic statistical conclusions that DCPS has reached by it's selective and wanton misuse of data.

-------------

However, I do believe that within DCPS we do have a very good model of Chaos Theory:

Chaos theory is a field of study in mathematics, physics, economics and philosophy studying the behavior of dynamical systems that are highly sensitive to initial conditions. This sensitivity is popularly referred to as the butterfly effect. Small differences in initial conditions (such as those due to rounding errors in numerical computation) yield widely diverging outcomes for chaotic systems, rendering long-term prediction impossible in general.

[1] This happens even though these systems are deterministic, meaning that their future behaviour is fully determined by their initial conditions, with no random elements involved.

[2] In other words, the deterministic nature of these systems does not make them predictable.

[3] This behavior is known as deterministic chaos, or simply chaos.

Posted by: AGAAIA | July 29, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Time for teachers in this country to recognize reality.

1. You can do anything you want with numbers. Look at Enron. Look at Bernie Madoff with fake statements to investors.

2. There is no such thing as an "effective" teacher.

This is a meaningless phrase where everyone can make up their interpretation on the meaning of "effective".

If someone wanted to know the interpretation of an "effective" teacher in Washington D.C. all that would be needed would be to look at the characteristics of the new teachers that have been hired to replace the "defective" teachers with "effective" teachers.

These new teachers are young, cost far less in salary and benefits, have no recognized qualifications in teaching, and have no experience in teaching.

These are the qualities of "effective" teachers by the standards of Washington D.C.

The schools of D.C. are almost all Title 1 poverty public schools where violence and mayhem in class rooms are accepted by the parents. Why waste the high cost of teachers salaries and benefits on these schools?

The parents have already accepted schools without the basic standards of a school. No candidate for Mayor needs to call for safe schools in the approaching election. These parents so far have fully accepted using unqualified and inexperienced teachers.

3. Teachers need to abandon the Title 1 poverty public schools.

The Federal government has abandoned these schools. Political leaders have no intention of making these schools safe and without mayhem in class rooms.

The policy of the government is for public charter schools where the only role of the Title 1 poverty public schools is as the dumping ground for those students who create problems in the public charter schools.

In D.C. enrollment in the Title 1 poverty public schools have significantly decreased as parents seek entry for their children in public charter schools. Why have expensive, qualified, and experienced teachers in the Title 1 poverty public schools when these schools are simply the dumping ground of public charter schools?

Teachers have to recognize that public charter schools are better than the Title 1 poverty public schools. When you have schools that can simply dump the problem and prone to violence students, you have better schools than the schools that can not dump the problem and prone to violence students.

These schools do not even require qualified and/or experienced teachers since their environment is so much better than the Title 1 poverty public schools.

Teachers need to follow the lead of the political leaders and abandon Title 1 poverty public schools.

Posted by: bsallamack | July 29, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

All of this focus on test results and data are meaningless.

I once worked for a brokerage firm developing systems for clients that were pension fund managers.

The client was hoping the analysis I was developing would show that a particular money manager was under performing.

The analysis showed the reverse.

I told the client that since they paid for the analysis I would just go in and change all of the primary data for the result they wanted.

This client had the intelligence to say that they would accept the analysis without my "fixing" it.

The DC standardized tests are meaningless. They have actually been rigged to show more improvement. This is easily ssen when viewing the test results with the national tests of 2009.

Many teachers will be given bonuses that in reality they do not deserve while other teachers will be fired because of bogus tests and having the wrong students in their classes.

The problem is simply the fact that the union of teachers was stupid in accepting a contract where teachers could be fired based upon tests that can easily "fixed".

Posted by: bsallamack | July 29, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

At some point people hopefully will recognize that the current opinions and thought regarding public education simply indicate that Goebbels was correct. Repeat a lie enough and people will believe it and accept it as reality.

Every child should be proficient. Teachers speaking of effective teachers. The value of standardized testing. The need for class room management.

None of these ideas and thoughts have anything to do with the reality of Title 1 poverty public schools. These schools are not safe and mayhem rules in the class rooms. They do not even meet the basic standards of a school.

Yet the conversation regarding public education is always effective teachers, standardized tests, computer analysis of test results, and the unions of teachers.

None of these will make Title 1 poverty public schools safe and class rooms where teachers can teach and children can learn.

Teachers do not call for schools that are safe and class rooms where teachers can teach and children can learn. No political leaders sees the need to call for for schools that are safe and class rooms where teachers can teach and children can learn.

It is as though the numerous unsafe schools with mayhem in the class rooms do not exist.

The only thing that can be said about public education in this nation is that Goebbels was correct. Repeat a lie enough and people will believe it and accept it as reality.

Posted by: bsallamack | July 29, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

As a school board member privy to scores of tests which allow value-added conclusions in a local mostly white poverty elementary school, I can add anecdotal opinion that teachers should not be evaluated by the results of these tests alone, anymore than students should be.

Kids growth in academic achievement can vary dramatically from one year to the next depending on health, home life, etc., regardless of the teaching. Students below grade level, from various reasons not necessarily poor teaching, can show the greatest jump in achievement with just average teaching. Already high achievement kids may not show that same added value in a year of school even with excellent teaching.

Averaging the scores over a whole classroom of students over several years may even out the individual variation and give you some indicator of teacher performance, but it should never be the only parameter of an evaluation.

Posted by: speakuplouder | July 29, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Chaos theory is a field of study in mathematics, physics, economics and philosophy studying the behavior of dynamical systems that are highly sensitive to initial conditions. This sensitivity is popularly referred to as the butterfly effect. Small differences in initial conditions (such as those due to rounding errors in numerical computation) yield widely diverging outcomes for chaotic systems, rendering long-term prediction impossible in general.
Posted by: AGAAIA
..................................
I believe that chaos theory is the characteristic of all Title 1 poverty public schools.

Remember the old ten stout-hearted men.

Well I believe that only five children tolerated and accepted in each primary schools will have more effect on public schools than all the teachers that will not be able later to put Humpty Dumpty together again.

Remember only 1 of these is needed as a gang leader.

Interesting that our society is always willing to recognize the large effect of the willfully constructive while refusing to recognize equally the large effect of the willfully destructive.

Posted by: bsallamack | July 29, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

@UrbanDweller -- kind sir, I think we probably agree on a lot more than these channels allow me to express. Hardly a blind of fan of Ms. Rhee, I'm probably one of her greatest critics. I see what you see. The differences are, I think she has a lot of good qualities and some considerable achievements, as well as a long list of things to improve. But just think of the mess she found and all of the many people dug in to try to defeat any change, from the start, as well as all the sometimes spoken vicious personal attacks. Pretty gross, but I have lived here a long time and am not too surprised. I don't believe all urban teachers are ineffective -- just the expected minor fraction, whether Impact measured it right or not. You and I disagree on taking the most effective means to save those that are worthy of the effort, often repeated effort, and showing the door to others. You, and most teachers, persistently ignore the question: would you want ineffective teachers in your own kids' classroom? I know your answer, but you will be damned, even with an alias, saying in public what you know to be true --yes, there are plenty of ineffectives, and, yes, you don't want your kids "taught" by them. I know other strong teachers who just can't allow for any colleague to be fired for incompetence. Not one. That makes them complicit in disgraceful attacks on our children--barring them from a decent education. Janey and all the prior supts. had no cojones to cull the teacher corps. There has been a big buildup of ineffectives, because they rarely depart. And now, you want to tie up the system in a suit, defending every last one of them. For her part, Ms. efavorite would like to boo our president. Have at it, but you know who is going to suffer. Don't worry, it is not the teachers.

Posted by: axolotl | July 29, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

The differences are, I think she has a lot of good qualities and some considerable achievements, as well as a long list of things to improve. But just think of the mess she found and all of the many people dug in to try to defeat any change, from the start, as well as all the sometimes spoken vicious personal attacks...
Posted by: axolotl
..............................
No mention that Ms. Rhee inherited a school system that had made significant improvements based upon the policies of the previous head of the school system and that these improvements were demonstrated by national tests.

No indication that Ms. Rhee came in with the preconceived idea that teachers were responsible for the failure of the Title 1 poverty public schools.

Has Ms. Rhee made these schools safe with her policies of penalizing teachers that report school violence?

Has Ms. Rhee removed the mayhem of class room by setting up policies to deal with the disruptive or simply allowed the mayhem of class rooms to continue?

How Ms. Rhee brought in more experienced teachers with teaching credentials to replace the teachers she has fired or has Ms. Rhee simply brought in cheap replacements without teaching certificates and without experience?

Perhaps teachers and parents should ask if they want their children to be taught by cheap replacements without teaching certificates and without experience.

Ms. Rhee has offered no ideas or programs to deal with the real problems of Title 1 poverty public schools of unsafe schools and class rooms that are mayhem.

Teachers should not be expected to be prison guards to obtain order in a class room. It is the responsibilities of the principals and the head of the school district to provide an environment where teachers can teach and children can learn.

Oh and by the way axolotl, perhaps you should not make comments about efavorite since there have been no comments from efavorite regarding this article. This does present your ideas and motives int a very good light.

Feel free to attack me as I am posting in regard to this article.

Posted by: bsallamack | July 29, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

As a school board member privy to scores of tests which allow value-added conclusions in a local mostly white poverty elementary school, I can add anecdotal opinion that teachers should not be evaluated by the results of these tests alone, anymore than students should be.
Posted by: speakuplouder
..........................
How is your school dealing with the problem and disruptive children?

My personal experience of this problem in 2001 was at a white poverty school.

Nothing was done to remove the child from normal classes and the child was simply passed on to the middle school where I am sure the child created more mayhem.

Posted by: bsallamack | July 29, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

It is not necessary for you to understand the statistical information in the study. All that is necessary that you and policy makers understand that in social science one needs more than a single measuring device to come up with reasonably accurate information. There are too many variables to consider with humans to account for. Policy makers continue to hope for a silver bullet measuring stick. Value-added promoters feel they have the silver bullet. While there are very positive aspects regarding value-added it can not and will not be able to tell the whole story.
Multiple measures are necessary but they are costly, therefore, education policy makers will continue to jump from one yard stick to the next in search of the cheapest way to make policy decisions.

Posted by: pworfel | July 29, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Fetullah Gulen is described as the world's most dangerous islamic Imman, worldwide he operates over 700 schools, in the USA the Gulen Movement manages over 120 schools via the numerous Gulen foundations and Institutes. The uncredentaled teachers are immigrated to the USA via HB-1 Visas that are paid for by US Tax dollars visa money laundering with the Gulen foundations.
The American schools only allow Turkish males as the principals and they teach Turkish language, dance, singing and poetry. The Gulen movement showcases 5 Turkish Olympiads throughout the USA where the American children show their Turkish indoctrination with an Islamic Flag of Turkey displayed on stage. The children are also flown to Turkey for a big production for the politicians of Turkey. There is financial mismanagement, fraud and indoctrination. Be a part of your child's education not indoctrination. DO YOUR RESEARCH YOU DECIDE. This is NOT interfaith dialogue as Fetullah Gulen claims-it is lies. Charter schools are publically funded yet privately managed, high rate of unaccountability and corruption.

http://www.charterschoolwatchdog.com
http://turkishinvitations.weebly.com/

Posted by: SalesA1 | July 29, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Fetullah Gulen is described as the world's most dangerous islamic Imman, worldwide he operates over 700 schools, in the USA the Gulen Movement manages over 120 schools via the numerous Gulen foundations and Institutes. The uncredentaled teachers are immigrated to the USA via HB-1 Visas that are paid for by US Tax dollars visa money laundering with the Gulen foundations.
The American schools only allow Turkish males as the principals and they teach Turkish language, dance, singing and poetry. The Gulen movement showcases 5 Turkish Olympiads throughout the USA where the American children show their Turkish indoctrination with an Islamic Flag of Turkey displayed on stage. The children are also flown to Turkey for a big production for the politicians of Turkey. There is financial mismanagement, fraud and indoctrination. Be a part of your child's education not indoctrination. DO YOUR RESEARCH YOU DECIDE. This is NOT interfaith dialogue as Fetullah Gulen claims-it is lies.

http://www.charterschoolwatchdog.com
http://turkishinvitations.weebly.com/

Posted by: SalesA1 | July 29, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Below is a link to an advocacy tool kit that will give you various information in how to best voice your thinking on education policy.

http://www.forumforeducation.org/blog/forum-and-rethink-learning-now-release-esea-toolkit

Let's all do our part. I just called the two people running for senate on the democratic party in Colorado. Michael Bennett's office lacked any understanding of his views on education policy, but I know he's in line with Sec. Duncan.
Andrew Romanoff does get it and has read Diane Ravitch's book.
I'm voting for Romanoff. (By the way, he called me himself to explain his views.)
Bennett's office wouldn't even get my information to have someone who knew something about his education policy call me back.

Posted by: tutucker | July 29, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Multiple measures are necessary but they are costly, therefore, education policy makers will continue to jump from one yard stick to the next in search of the cheapest way to make policy decisions.

Posted by: pworfel
...........................
This gives the impression that scientific or mathematical yardsticks are used by educational policy makers to make policy decisions.

There is no evidence that any policy set by the new administration was based upon any yardstick other than a yardstick of political expediency.

What scientific or mathematical yardstick was used to chose public charter schools over fixing the problems of Title 1 poverty public schools.

I seriously doubt that any scientific or mathematical yardstick was used to formulate the policy that effective teachers will be sufficient to deal with the problems of inferior Title 1 poverty public schools that lack the basic requirement of schools.

Does any one believe that there are tables that provide the performance gains of students based upon the effectiveness of teachers in the inferior public schools that are unsafe and that have class rooms that are mayhem.

Are there table entries for teachers that need to spend 5 minutes , ten minutes and 15 minutes to obtain order in their class. Do these tables show the gains of students in relation to the number of disruptive students in the class or the number of disruptions per hour.

I am sure that every American will accept that a teacher will be more effective in a class room where the teacher is allowed to teach and children are allowed to learn.

But this apparently goes against current national policy since there is no policy to provide this type of environment in Title 1 poverty public schools. Current policy is that teachers are not only responsible for teaching, but are also responsible for "class room management", which is the current euphemism for riot control in Title 1 poverty public schools.

Investors are always looking for mathematical and scientific yardsticks to evaluate their decisions regarding their investments, but the educational policies of our nation have only been made with the yardstick of political expediency.

Posted by: bsallamack | July 29, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

A fundamental problem is that the law gives DCPS the total authority to design the teacher evaluation system--it is outside the collective bargaining agreement. The WTU (or AFT) can only challenge the process. The WTU tried hard to bargain with DCPS to make IMPACT a pilot project this year, but to no avail. There was a side letter to the contract that outside experts were supposed to evaluate the reliabilty and validity of IMPACT but that has not been done.

Posted by: tpv2 | July 29, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Below is a link to an advocacy tool kit that will give you various information in how to best voice your thinking on education policy.

http://www.forumforeducation.org/blog/forum-and-rethink-learning-now-release-esea-toolkit

Posted by: tutucker
.............................
I am in full agreement and I think that the best things the Democrats can do after November 2010 is choosing a new candidate for President in 2012.

Posted by: bsallamack | July 29, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Ugh... Obama is speaking on ed reform (lame half-alive blogging follows)

"Our goal isnt to fire teachers"

Well sir, I do believe that is a lie.

Or you are a blazing incompetent.

I would say both... a liar and an incompetent.

Just as infested with corporate and MIC bs as the next one... as most are (pols)

More Oblahblahblahma:

"Standards!... Every child must read!" RttT says there's nothing wrong with tests.... just need better tests to help teachers..." (lol!) "track our students so we know when theyre falling behind! No teaching to test!"

"Sometimes a school's problems run so deep - if a school isnt producing graduates ... dont do same thing over and over and expect different results" Expect states to turn around our 5,000 lowest performing schools" This isnt like NCLB, just throwing out the school Give them a chance... Make them charters! And if it doesnt work, we'll shut it down!"

(Er, just how many school openings and closings and openings and closing are you clowns going to make folks go thru? Y'know, quite a few of us dont like the job youre doing. Can we shut down the White House and move the presidency somewhere else if your value added approval ratings dont show improvement over the next year? Bush failed there big time. Yes, I think the WH is a failed presidential site... Shut it down! Let Bill Gates build you a new house... and if you cant do better... you are fired!)

"Turn low performing schools around with standards, partnering, etc... Arne Duncan... would be a problem if he wasnt trying to shake things up!"

Ugh.

Please, Teachers. Let us just show up en masse and tell him he has lost our vote and then some...

God help me - he just invoked: "Fierce urgency of now!"

Oh... "parents have to get more involved. Controversy! Parents need help too... I... I ... I know that. Folks say why you always talkin about parental responsibility in front of white folks?" And I say I talk about it wherever I talk about education!"

Where is his plan for parents? Where are the value added judgments of their performance?"

Empty words. Empty suit. BS-meter throbbing.

(Hand me an Vicoden... I'm done.)

Except for:

"I'm comin from the south side of Chicago. May feel sting of discrimination... kids there. Many reasons for them to say, No, I cant. Our job is to say to them (all together now):

"YES, YOU CAN!!!"

[Applause, Presidential music, exit]

Posted by: NYCee | July 29, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

A fundamental problem is that the law gives DCPS the total authority to design the teacher evaluation system--it is outside the collective bargaining agreement. The WTU (or AFT) can only challenge the process. The WTU tried hard to bargain with DCPS to make IMPACT a pilot project this year, but to no avail. There was a side letter to the contract that outside experts were supposed to evaluate the reliabilty and validity of IMPACT but that has not been done.

Posted by: tpv2
...........................
Any employer does not have to sign a contract with a union and neither does a union. The contract is negotiated.

The fault dear Brutus lies with the union.

Teachers that find their classes with large numbers of students that have failed the tests of the previous grade should consider that they will be out of a job in September 2011 and plan accordingly.

There is no way the union should have signed on to firing teachers based upon test results.

A "side letter" implies acceptance and will hinder any future action in the courts.

Posted by: bsallamack | July 29, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

A fundamental problem is that the law gives DCPS the total authority to design the teacher evaluation system--it is outside the collective bargaining agreement.
Posted by: tpv2
...........................
If it is outside the collective bargaining agreement then the union should have not accepted performance bonuses in the contract since these bonuses are based upon Impact.

This sounds like the most incompetent union in the nation.

Posted by: bsallamack | July 29, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

bsallamack- One thing the district has done has been to sacrifice smaller class sizes (now in the mid 20's and up) to keep as many counselors in the schools as possible. The teachers supported this decision.

Most schools are also implementing various Response to Intervention (RTI) strategies which use a group approach to identify and address the needs of struggling students as early as possible.

The lousy economy has added so much stress in families, I believe, that it has increased the number of students arriving at school doors poorly socialized. This is not necessarily just a problem of students in poverty.

We've already lost music, afterschool and summer programs, have no gifted student program to speak of, instituted pay to play athletics, and I fear may lose the school counselors next.

Having to spend additional funds on new staff evaluation programs, which we already have, and on new curriculum and training for new national standards when we haven't been able to buy new curriculum in years for the old/new standards should be at the bottom of any reasonable priority list. It's just ludicrous.

Posted by: speakuplouder | July 29, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Having to spend additional funds on new staff evaluation programs, which we already have, and on new curriculum and training for new national standards when we haven't been able to buy new curriculum in years for the old/new standards should be at the bottom of any reasonable priority list. It's just ludicrous.

Posted by: speakuplouder
..........................
Real insanity with billions to worthless standardized tests and computer systems. No thought that news standards require money, time and effort to implement.

The attack against teachers is simply counter productive and performance bonuses are really insane.

The New York Times did a story of a principal forced out by new regulations. A Popular Principal, Wounded by Government’s Good Intentions

Yes there are problems in the large cities but there should have been specific programs targeted to these problems.

This is one of the laziest administration. So much for vaunted intelligence for incisive thought and review.

I remember reviewing the Recovery Act. Was simply a cut and paste of previous programs. In public education a large amount was earmarked for building new schools. Looked like the whole thing for 787 billion was put together in a few days. A really thought out plan where now less than two years later public schools are laying off teachers because of lack of funds. Yes the major problem is inefficient teachers.

From a chicken in every pot, to a proficient child in every pot, and now an effective teacher in every pot.

Posted by: bsallamack | July 29, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

bsall. The only comment that most would share is: you may need something else to do.

Posted by: axolotl | July 29, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

axolotl
No need to be rude to Bsall just because you disagree. Iv'e been reading Bsall postings and they all have a lot of passion for educating children which is what education is supposed to be about...
My personal 2cents worth is this-In social science there is very little that can meet the level of scientifically verifiable causation and we therefor shouldn't be making decisions that impact childrens lives based on faulty science.

Posted by: rastajan | July 29, 2010 6:00 PM | Report abuse

speakuplouder

According to the New York Times the President stated:

“some controversy” about his education initiative, which he attributed partly to “a general resistance to change, a comfort with the status quo.”

Rather, he said the “Race to the Top” program,...were ultimately aimed at giving good teachers higher salaries

"Surely we can agree that even as we applaud teachers for their hard work, we need to make sure they’re delivering results in the classroom."

Appears the President can not determine whether teachers are underpaid or a bunch of bums.

I am sure that this is great comfort to all the poverty schools like yours that are laying off teachers because of lack of funds. If your state wins in the sweepstakes of Race To Top then you can start to deal with the process of deciding which of the remaining teachers to fire because of inefficiency.

...................................
“Sometimes a school’s problems run so deep that better assessments, higher standards, and a more challenging curriculum aren’t enough.

Apparently your school is not suffering from a lack of funds but from "better assessments, higher standards, and a more challenging curriculum".

Posted by: bsallamack | July 29, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Re: Barack

I knew we were lost the minute Ted Kennedy (author of NCLB) endorsed him.

Posted by: Nemessis | July 29, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

rastajan: that passion can sometimes be unacceptably verbose and tedious. I wish her good luck, nonetheless, in her quest to be DC's police chief.

Also, re being scientific or based on social science techniques. I am for it, but here is my one cent: in the context of "school reform," what all these plaints amount to is a big goose egg: interminable delay so that it (say, teacher evaluation) might (anti-changers hope) go away. It is a standard way to oppose change--ask for perfection of the methods, or another study, perhaps. That is why it will always prove hard to show the door to the subset of teachers who are ineffective/incompetent. Do you want one of them teaching your kid or grandkids? Why don't you answer the question that our edu-seers on these comment boards conveniently ignore. Unionistas.

Posted by: axolotl | July 29, 2010 6:57 PM | Report abuse

That is why it will always prove hard to show the door to the subset of teachers who are ineffective/incompetent. Do you want one of them teaching your kid or grandkids? Why don't you answer the question that our edu-seers on these comment boards conveniently ignore. Unionistas.
............................
Love how now everyone who opposes Ms. Rhee are unionistas.

Why are you and Ms. Rhee so simple minded that all of the complex problems of public education are because of teachers?

I suppose the public schools laying off teachers because of lack of funds should also fire ineffective teachers.

Time for you to respond to the comments regarding your first post instead of dodging that with another post of firing ineffective teachers. It appears that whenever someone responds to your posts about firing teachers, you simply post another comment about firing teaching.

I do not know about the supposedly large number of ineffective teachers but you failure to respond to comments about your posts indicates that your ideas are rather ineffective.

Posted by: bsallamack | July 29, 2010 7:14 PM | Report abuse

For axolotl who apparently cannot respond to comments regarding his/her previous posts but would rather simply repeat teachers should be fired.
........................
The differences are, I think she has a lot of good qualities and some considerable achievements, as well as a long list of things to improve. But just think of the mess she found and all of the many people dug in to try to defeat any change, from the start, as well as all the sometimes spoken vicious personal attacks...
Posted by: axolotl
..............................
No mention that Ms. Rhee inherited a school system that had made significant improvements based upon the policies of the previous head of the school system and that these improvements were demonstrated by national tests.

No indication that Ms. Rhee came in with the preconceived idea that teachers were responsible for the failure of the Title 1 poverty public schools.

Has Ms. Rhee made these schools safe with her policies of penalizing teachers that report school violence?

Has Ms. Rhee removed the mayhem of class room by setting up policies to deal with the disruptive or simply allowed the mayhem of class rooms to continue?

How Ms. Rhee brought in more experienced teachers with teaching credentials to replace the teachers she has fired or has Ms. Rhee simply brought in cheap replacements without teaching certificates and without experience?

Perhaps teachers and parents should ask if they want their children to be taught by cheap replacements without teaching certificates and without experience.

Ms. Rhee has offered no ideas or programs to deal with the real problems of Title 1 poverty public schools of unsafe schools and class rooms that are mayhem.

Teachers should not be expected to be prison guards to obtain order in a class room. It is the responsibilities of the principals and the head of the school district to provide an environment where teachers can teach and children can learn.

Posted by: bsallamack | July 29, 2010 2:29 PM

Posted by: bsallamack | July 29, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Obama Takes On Critics of Education Program
New York Times

Surely we can agree that even as we applaud teachers for their hard work, we need to make sure they’re delivering results in the classroom.
.....................................
Well the President finally has come out of the closet.

I hope that every American in states that are experiencing the loss of teachers at public schools because of budget problem finally understand that the President is more interested in pleasing the beer drinking crowd that wants to blame teachers for all the problems in public education, instead of providing the Federal funds that states so desperately need to prevent the layoff of even more teachers.

It is about time to inform this President that teachers that are let go because of lack funds can not deliver any results in the classroom.

Posted by: bsallamack | July 29, 2010 7:37 PM | Report abuse

If effective teachers are the only way to make students pass tests and Ms. Rhee thinks many teachers simply aren't effective enough, let's have all DC kids taught by effective teachers.

How to do that? Singapore, New Zealand, Finland, Canada, South Korea, Netherlands are countries that constantly do well and are always in top 10 on international assessments. Their teachers must be the best and most effective. Let's save all the money paying stupid lazy teachers in DC and instead use the money to hire teachers from those countries or send DC kids to those countries. Will kids magically learn and pass tests??? Will they??? I wonder....

Posted by: salukiindc | July 29, 2010 9:01 PM | Report abuse

How are President Obama's daughters' teachers measured for effectiveness?

Posted by: tutucker | July 29, 2010 9:34 PM | Report abuse

axolotl,

No one is asking for perfection only fairness.
I think you live in an alternate reality.

Posted by: stevendphoto | July 29, 2010 9:36 PM | Report abuse

"How are President Obama's daughters' teachers measured for effectiveness?"

That's a good question. I don't know. I do know that in California, private school teachers don't even need a credential. Also, private schools don't take the state standardized tests.

Posted by: stevendphoto | July 29, 2010 9:38 PM | Report abuse

bsallamack,

Keep posting.
Axolotl is just worried that your ideas might be gaining traction, which they are.

Posted by: stevendphoto | July 29, 2010 9:41 PM | Report abuse

I think some union leadership has gotten lazy as hell and/or too cozy with management and POLITICIANS. It seems most of what they do now is get more money for teachers as they bargain away all the protections... with the excuse of "this is the way it IS"... or "this is the new wave, you cannot fight it"... or "it's not in the contract."

It's easier. They like it easy. And when there isnt enough membership involvement and pushback to the union itself, you get crap.

Can you imagine if unions had mouthed those miserable excuses in the past, when they were WINNING? There would be no unions. Now they're just treading water.

And helping Ms Rhee achieve her aims... and Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Klein, as the UFT's Mulgrew did by flipping from his previous "stance" and selling out NYC teachers by tying evals to test scores and allowing for a huge increase in charters - ca ching - back in the running for RttT! And then there are all those Dem legislators in NY who were so excited to vote in these new reforms. And the Dem gov who signed it. Who'd a thunk that Crist would be more savior (Christ!) than Patterson. And, of course, all of these sell outs are assisting the biggest sell-out - Obama and his basketball buddy, Duncan.

When wasnt it "the way it IS"? When wasnt there a "new wave" that folks thought you couldnt fight? (the one who does, with numbers and strength, just might win! Er, like unions did, in the... past. And then that side becomes the "new wave you cant fight"). And when werent there things that werent in the contract, which needed a fight/s to get IN the contract, which, by golly, just so happened to happen.

(The following is preceded by the caveat that there are lots of veteran teachers who dont fight or participate enough in the unions, probably dont encourage young folks enough, either. But the tough ones often seem more veteran... oldER.)

I fear young people - who are now flooding the ranks - have gotten less activist, more passive, in general. Some dont even seem to understand the role of union, the purpose and good it can do if its membership is active and demanding. Or they are TFA types, perhaps, believing themselves Type A+++ wunderkinds who WILL grab that big merit bonus - they dont see the solidarity thing, the all for one, but rather, the one for one - me!

Posted by: NYCee | July 29, 2010 9:54 PM | Report abuse

stevendp -- no, am not worried about anyone's improvement ideas gaining traction.

Nor am I worried about our president doing right in this or other fields. I did not hear if he got booed today. The idea of booing him, recommended by one of our stalwarts yesterday, gained no traction.

Note that without him, we can forget about progress to many social goals in this country. That is particularly true in the District where after nearly four decades of home rule, we just can't do much right. Certainly, the state of our schools, long pre-existing Rhee, is a monument to our collective incompetence as citizens to provide perhaps the most critical service to citizens for the long term. Is DCPS into the world's most expensive jobs program; and Marion has long ago lost his influence. Well, if we elect Vince Gray, it will be a new day. And maybe he will indeed get Bsall. to be the head of MPD, as she wants.

Finally, it is interesting that none of the usual suspects has any objection to an ineffective/incompetent teacher teaching his/her kids. That's a big outlier, btw. Ask any parent with kids in DCPS.

Guess that means there are no ineffective teachers.

Posted by: axolotl | July 29, 2010 9:57 PM | Report abuse

NYCee - thank you for you contribution here and your live blog of the President's speech in particular (as sickening as it was)

Tutucker - you're welcome - too bad we have to be so cynical, isn't it?

Posted by: efavorite | July 29, 2010 10:09 PM | Report abuse

bsallamack,

Keep posting.
Axolotl is just worried that your ideas might be gaining traction, which they are.

Posted by: stevendphoto
...........................
Thank you, I will.

I think that more and more people are seeing that the teachers are simply being made a scapegoat.

Ms. Rhee may have gotten away to some extent with this for Washington D.C., but the President comes off as a buffoon when he suggests that all of problems of public education are the fault of teachers.

Apparently his staff did not make him aware that most Americans are happy with their teachers.

Americans do not know the teachers of Washington D.C. but they do know their own teachers.

Remember all of the stories of the high intellect and thoughtfulness of this President. I doubt that even George W. Bush would have accepted from his staff the idea of blaming all of the teachers of America for the problems in public education.

Posted by: bsallamack | July 29, 2010 10:15 PM | Report abuse

bsallamack- Fortunately our state lost the "contest" and a lot of us are doing the victory dance.

BTW, forgot to mention one of the first strategies our district had to give up in the state's budget crunch was a quality full day kindergarten program. It was showing really good results and enjoyed parent support, but it wasn't a state mandate and the state doesn't pay for more than a half day. If the feds just paid for a quality full day K program for all poverty schools it would do more good than the rest of the ideas put together, and then they could start working on quality programs from 1st grade on up.

Posted by: speakuplouder | July 29, 2010 10:21 PM | Report abuse

Finally, it is interesting that none of the usual suspects has any objection to an ineffective/incompetent teacher teaching his/her kids. That's a big outlier, btw. Ask any parent with kids in DCPS.

Guess that means there are no ineffective teachers.

Posted by: axolotl
...........................
Parents in D.C. are not concerned with whether teachers are either effective or ineffective.

They want their children in the public charter schools because they know Ms. Rhee is too busy firing teachers to make the public schools safe and with class rooms where teachers can teach and students can learn.

Let us see we have the experienced and certified teacher that is supposedly ineffective that will be replaced by an inexperienced and non certified teacher.

Great to know that this is Ms. Rhee's idea for improvement even though it sounds like a pig in a poke.

"Guess that means there are no ineffective teachers."

I love people who state that the presence of ___________ (fill in the blank ) means this is major problem in _______ ( fill in the blank).

The presence of a communist in government mean this is a major problem in government.

The presence of a sex offending member of Congress means this is a major problem Congress.

Posted by: bsallamack | July 29, 2010 10:37 PM | Report abuse

speakuplouder

Fully understand that there are probably plenty of poverty public schools that are hurting given this economy.

Not being the big urban areas I would imagine these schools are always almost invisible to the Federal government.

It is one thing if the Federal government was not spending money.

The idea that the Federal government is going to spend billions on local standardized testing and computer systems through Race To The Top is absurd.

We all know that this will be a farce with a race to lower proficient to below basic.

I wonder if it was even worthwhile to apply for Race To The Top since at one time it was mandatory to spend 40 percent on standardized testing and computer systems. Then there is the cost of implementing the new standards. On second thought having the use of 50 percent would have made it worthwhile to apply.

I guess your state can now drop the new standard and all of the time, money, and effort of implementing it.

It really is ludicrous that states without money for teachers had to say they would adopt a new standard to apply. This must have been definitely galling in states where the new standards are below the existing state standards.

Posted by: bsallamack | July 29, 2010 10:56 PM | Report abuse

speakuplouder

I should have mention that I also believe in the importance of kindergarten. I really wish there was public education involvement in pre kindgarten.

But then I remember the days in this country when the working poor had free day care and even public health centers.

I think we have to go back to the working poor designation. Even in most of the poverty areas there are majorities of the working poor.

But that was a different time when Americans were glad of what they had and were glad not to be the working poor.

Now middle class Americans are up in arms if the working poor would receive something for free.

Wish middle class Americans were up in arms about spending 28 billion for 2 years of Afghan policemen.

Posted by: bsallamack | July 29, 2010 11:17 PM | Report abuse

Update.
On a blog the other day, here at the Post, I made the suggestion that the "highly effective" teachers, especially those from well-scoring schools, ought to be moved to the low performing schools in DCPS.

Efavorite and axolotl liked the idea.

Well, I emailed that suggestion to Michelle Rhee and she responded
that DCPS have incentives for them to move to high need schools but obviously it's their choice to make.

So, no go on that.

Posted by: edlharris | July 29, 2010 11:19 PM | Report abuse

efavorite:

Thanks! And you're welcome!

I guess I captured at least some of the inanity of Obama's speech... and some is certainly more than enough.

I like what Valerie digs up here. (And reading comments.) Nice/helpful blog. Enjoyed her interview of Diane Ravitch too, on Cspan.

Wish Ravitch would show up, along with others who speak up for teachers, on the MSM... I was going to say on "more" of the MSM but that would imply that there is "something" there for teachers. It is amazing, the silence.

Posted by: NYCee | July 30, 2010 12:13 AM | Report abuse

What's the MSM?

Posted by: celestun100 | July 30, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

It should be no surprise that the Mathamatica report's conclusions do not match their data. This was also true of the report that TFA commissioned from them which concluded that TFA teachers were better than certified teachers, when the statistics in the report should that the were about as good as uncertified, untrained teachers and no where near as good as certified teachers. Of course TFA, and the media, focused only on the unsubstantiated conclusion, rather than the report itself.

Posted by: mcstowy | July 30, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Oops...

That should read ..., When the statistics in the report SHOWED that THEY were about as good as uncertified, untrained teachers...

Posted by: mcstowy | July 30, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

"If the feds just paid for a quality full day K program for all poverty schools it would do more good than the rest of the ideas put together, and then they could start working on quality programs from 1st grade on up.

Posted by: speakuplouder"

Arne Duncan massively reduced early childhood education in Chicago.

Posted by: educationlover54 | July 30, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

bsallamack-

I might use some of axolotl's comments as examples of misleading logic for a class lesson.

Posted by: aed3 | July 30, 2010 9:52 PM | Report abuse

aed3,

Here's my logic lesson.

Axolotl throws the baby out with the bath water.

Axolotl asserts that there are plenty of ineffective teachers. That may well be true;however, she ignores the convincing and reliable arguments that clearly state that using test scores to evaluate teacher effectiveness is specious at best. She figures it's acceptable if we have to break a few eggs (firing of possibly effective teachers) in order to purge the system of the small minority of ineffective teachers. Of course, the problem is that since the evaluation system is flawed there's no way to know if you got rid of all the ineffective teachers. And axolotl will likely counter that I am just a unionista who opposes change and wants to protect every teachers job at the expense of the students. Way to reframe the argument.

Axolotl truly holds a low view of the teaching profession. How can she compare reliable teacher evaluation to a jobs program? Census taking is a jobs program. Teachers have a bachelor's degree and a credential that likely took the better part of a decade and \$60K to earn. They have more responsibility everyday than you can imagine. Teachers are not on the dole. They earn every penny as do firefighters and police officers. If I follow axolotl's logic I can assume that she is also one of those people that wants to strip firefighters and police of their pensions and overtime. Yet I am pretty sure she would still want their services in an emergency.

Axolotl is antiunion. There was a time in this country when that sentiment would have been labeled unAmerican. Unions made this country great. Now everyone has to work until the day they die. Good luck being a greeter at Wal-Mart after corporate America has had its way with you until you were no longer cost effective and your worthless 401K won't pay the rent. Incorporated in Deleware. Made in China. Earnings deposited in the Caymans.

Posted by: stevendphoto | July 31, 2010 12:06 AM | Report abuse

Hi celestun

MSM is an acronym for "main/stream media" - I thought it was pretty widely used on political issue blogs, especially, but maybe I'm wrong.

Posted by: NYCee | July 31, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

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