Looking today at the war on our public K-12 teachers as global education corporations try to install its global brand of cheap, vocational schools tied to corporate campuses moving to online canned lessons written by those same global education corporations with narrow curricula with no thoughts to liberal arts and humanities----the DARK AGES apprenticeship for most of your life education reform.
Baltimore is ground zero for the Michelle Rhee/Bill Gates education privatization crew because a very, very, very neo-conservative Bloomberg Wall Street Johns Hopkins has complete control of Baltimore City public policy and our Baltimore City School Board is controlled by the State of Maryland and has a corporate school board. Right now over 1/2 of Baltimore's K-12 teachers are Teach for America or other temporary student teachers and the Baltimore Teachers' Union has been silenced by this total capture so cannot fight as they do in cities still having activism and civil liberties groups like Chicago.
O'Malley and Rawlings-Blake made downsizing our K-12 teachers and administration a priority while install Race to the Top and Common Core with all the corporate evaluation policies that go with NEW WORLD ORDER global education. So, yes I am sure city teachers may be found to be more absent than most and I know as well that much of the absences came from these Teach for America temporary workers who did not know how to handle an inner city school classroom. Baltimore has seen more turnover of teachers because of this Teach for America---or as the Bill Gates privatizers call them----URBAN TEACHERS-----meanwhile, parents and students in underserved communities are fighting just to have a public K-12 to attend and then are left shouting out about how bad all these education policies are-----
AND AS WE SEE AFTER SEVERAL YEARS OF THIS MESS-----BALTIMORE STUDENT SCORES ARE NO BETTER----AND STUDENTS AND PARENTS ARE MAD THAT CURRICULA IS SO NARROW AS TO BE MOSTLY MATH AND READING.
Below you see the Bill Gates and education privatization groups giving the thumbs up=====all of what they are doing is working----all are happy and feeling successful-----and it is all because of TEACH FOR AMERICA style temporary teaching where people are overworked for 4 years and then they quit.
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Alarming Number Of Urban Teachers Are 'Chronically Absent'
Posted: 06/03/2014 12:01 am EDT Updated: 06/03/2014 9:59 am EDT
Political battles over teaching in the last decade have focused on complexities of pensions, evaluations and standardized testing, often ignoring a basic but critical issue: Attendance.
Teachers in the nation's 40 largest school districts came to school 94 percent of the time in the 2012-2013 school year, according to the report released Tuesday by the National Council on Teacher Quality, a think tank that advocates tougher teacher evaluations. "Like clockwork," said Nancy Waymack, the group's managing director of district policy. On average, the urban teachers missed about 11 school days out of 186, and used slightly less than their allotment of short-term leave.
But the National Council on Teacher Quality classifies 16 percent of teachers in those cities as "chronically absent," meaning they missed 18 or more days per school year. Together, chronically absent teachers accounted for one-third of all teacher absences. Districts with formal policies designed to discourage teachers from missing class "do not appear to have better attendance rates than those without such policies," the report concludes.
The Washington-based National Council on Teacher Quality fueled many of the ongoing teacher evaluation battles, producing reports urging states to include test scores in teacher evaluations. The group, funded by philanthropists backing the so-called education reform movement, has also tried to shake up education schools by ranking them and evaluating their curricula.
As the group collected information on teaching quality, it presented findings to individual school districts. Year after year, Waymack said, district officials expressed surprise with teacher attendance numbers -- an area her team initially thought would be familiar to administrators.
"It occurred to us that teacher attendance could be a very easy win to increase teacher quality. Regardless of how effective a teacher is, it doesn't matter if they're not in a classroom," Waymack said. "There's a substantial cost both academic and financial to absences when they're larger than they need to be."
The study found that the 40 urban districts spent about $424 million on substitute teachers in 2012-2013. Of those districts, Cleveland and Columbus in Ohio, and Nashville in Tennessee, had the largest number of average days absent. Louisville, Ky., Washington, D.C., and Indianapolis had the fewest. In 11 districts, teachers had more absences than the number of short-term leave days offered by the district. The study speculates that those teachers took unpaid leave, or used those days for authorized professional development activities.
To minimize absences, the study suggests changing school culture by requiring teachers to call principals to report absences rather than using an online absence logging system. The group also suggests focusing on chronically absent teachers and finding why they're missing so many days. "You could cut absences significantly if you address those teachers' needs," Waymack said.
Segun Eubanks, who directs teacher quality for the National Education Association, the nation's largest teachers' union, said the study raises questions. "Thirty percent of the absences are professional and other. It's really hard to gauge what it means," he said. "Much of their professional absence could be productive absence -- teachers who are out expanding their professional growth." Some districts count these days as absences, while others do not.
Eubanks also took issue with the "chronically absent" label, because the study only includes one year's attendance statistics. "It takes a snapshot of a profession," he said. "You can't call teachers chronically absent unless there is some kind of pattern over time. It masks patterns -- if it's the same 16 percent over and over again, that's a problem. But we think if you did look at it that way, you wouldn't see that." He said teachers' attendance ranked only slightly below that of other professionals.
Waymack said the study's large sample of 234,000 teachers meant it "probably avoided some of these issues," and added that she would "encourage districts to look at multiple years and patterns."
Others said they found the report's findings to be positive. “While some, no doubt, will find fault with teachers in this attendance report, an overall 94 percent attendance rate shows the extraordinary dedication of teachers across the country, who come to school each day ready and excited to teach," said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers union. "This kind of stability is what our kids need to succeed.”
Waymack stressed that the study's expectations were feasible. "We are not trying to set an unrealistic measure of saying, who has perfect attendance," she said. "Teachers need the flexibility to be out sick or away that they need to attend to outside of the classroom."
The study was funded by the Abell Foundation, the Bodman Foundation, the Philadelphia School Partnership, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Gates Foundation is a major player in education philanthropy that has pushed amped-up teacher evaluations and the Common Core State Standards.
Johns Hopkins has of course marketed itself as best in Education as with all departments and has loaded our system with private education non-profits, the 'corporate donations' all go towards funding this privatized system ----and as usual---education data is juked to make thing look like they are working. Johns Hopkins literally runs several K-12s as a charter chain all tied to school building bonds that will default these schools into the hands of private investors. Remember, Baltimore Public Schools for decades was left underfunded----with misappropriation of those funds making it to Baltimore and classroom teachers were facing understaffed classrooms with huge behavior and learning challenges----THESE FEW DECADES. So, the problem was moving to well-funded and resourced schools---NOT CLOSING MOST PUBLIC SCHOOLS AND BRINGING ON TEACHING POLICY NO REAL EDUCATION ACADEMIC SUPPORTS.
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Urban Teachers seeks strong, passionate individuals who are ready to do what it takes to become effective teachers. We invest time in getting to know each applicant to ensure every person we accept has the qualities of a successful teacher-in-the-making.
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The 2015-2016 application is open. Apply by one of the following deadlines (midnight EDT):
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This is just an education business Hopkins is building that they will market globally.
Hopkins-teachers partnership expected to produce big results for Baltimore schools
Stacy M. Brown | 12/4/2015, 6 a.m. Baltimore Times
In the classroom of an Urban Teachers participant. (Courtesy Photo)
242BALTIMORE -- The new partnership between Urban Teachers and Johns Hopkins University is a game changer for the teaching profession and Baltimore area schools seeking more diverse and even better trained candidates, according to those involved in the new seven-year agreement.
The Johns Hopkins University School of Education, the top ranked institution of its kind in the country, and Urban Teachers, a heavily lauded and rigorous alternative teacher certification program, have formed a seven-year partnership to train teachers for public schools.
The arrangement includes a clinical residency model as rigorous as the Johns Hopkins residency model for doctors, according to officials from both organizations.
“It really is a game changer,” said Jennifer Green, the CEO of Urban Teachers.
“We have been working in Baltimore City for the past six years and we’re starting to see real results from our teachers. This partnership helps us to team with the number one school of education in the country.”
Formerly called the Urban Teacher Center, Urban Teachers was founded in 2009 to solve a critical challenge in urban education— new teacher quality. The organization built a “break-the-mold” teacher preparation program from the ground up to ensure every teacher would get the experiences and support they need to produce results with students.
They began in two of the highest-need districts in the nation, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. and since 2010, they’ve welcomed more than 500 aspiring teachers for district and charter schools in both cities, Green said.
“We think we have a real shot at 200 new teachers per year and, since we’ve announced the partnership, we have three times the applicants we had at this point last year,” she said. “If those numbers increase— and we think it’s a real possibility— we’ll see about 100 new teachers next year and certainly the local school districts have a need for that so the demand is there.”
For the current school year, Urban Teachers participants and alumni will reach more than 15,000 students, including 5,900 in Baltimore. They’ve also welcomed 206 residents in Baltimore and Urban Teachers, of whom 51 percent are individuals of color, will teach this school year in 40 Baltimore schools
For it s part, Hopkins said it has built the partnership to expand the number of well-trained, career teachers to enter into urban Baltimore classrooms and national low-income schools.
“The Johns Hopkins University has been a leader in producing both top-notch doctors and teachers,” David W. Andrews, dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Education, said in a statement. “We’re thrilled with the partnership with Urban Teachers. It will produce more excellent educators who are prepared to handle any obstacles they face from their first day in the classroom.”
The collaboration will directly benefit urban schools throughout the United States, including Baltimore City where, 84 percent of students are considered to be low-income and only 12 percent of fourth graders are performing at or above the proficient level in math, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
Also, just 11 percent are considered at or above proficient in reading.
The partnership will prepare an increased number of high-performing, committed teachers who are ready and able to improve the outcomes of thousands of students in urban settings who are in need of a great education, Green said.
It will provide an opportunity for aspiring teachers who enter the program to receive a Master of Science in Education with a concentration in educational studies that equips them to teach in urban environments and it will offer new teachers training in general and special education, equipping them to meet the needs of all learners.
All graduate coursework is clinically based, allowing for teachers to practice their skills immediately in the classroom.
“To ensure they are ready for the job, the program will provide candidates with a yearlong residency to practice effective teaching techniques before becoming responsible for their own classroom,” Green said. “We are excited to be partnering with the top-ranked graduate school of education in the country to provide new teachers with the training needed to help students learn and succeed.”
Teach for America failed all across the nation as parents and students didn't want temporary teachers and the people recruited didn't like the program. So, Bill Gates and the education corporations in all their infinite lack of knowledge about anything having to do with teaching and education REBRANDED and said we simply need to change the model and came back again this time with legislation from Congress and Obama tying getting rid of student loan debt to teaching in city schools.
TIE THESE TEACH FOR AMERICA WORKERS TO THE 10 YEAR INDENTURE TO SHED STUDENT LOANS AND VOILA---TEACHER RETENTION IS TOUTED.
Hmmmm....these recruited teachers for cities are now staying because if they leave they lose all credit towards vacating student loan debt. See how stats are juked?
Now we have people in teaching not with the passion of teaching----but to serve in the dismantlement of our strong public teacher's system and to install those education policies very few people support. They will be the test cases for the rollout of corporate evaluations and then leave en masse after their student debt requirement is done.
'Although I felt bad that TFA had created a system that caused a rift between corps members and traditional teachers, I didn’t have much time to worry about that'.
I Quit Teach for America
Five weeks of training was not enough to prepare me for a room of 20 unruly elementary-schoolers.
The Atlantic Daily newsletter
Teach for America Delta Institute, Julia Sweeney, HO/AP PhotoI am sitting in a comfortable gold folding chair inside one of the many ballrooms at the Georgia International Convention Center. The atmosphere is festive, with a three-course dinner being served and children playing a big-band number. The kids are students at a KIPP academy in Atlanta, and they are serenading future teachers on the first night of a four-day-long series of workshops that will introduce us to the complicated language, rituals, and doctrines we will need to adopt as Teach for America "Corps Members."
The phrase closing the achievement gap is the cornerstone of TFA's general philosophy, public-relations messaging, and training sessions. As a member of the 2011 corps, I was told immediately and often that 1) the achievement gap is a pervasive example of inequality in America, and 2) it is our personal responsibility to close the achievement gap within our classrooms, which are microcosms of America's educational inequality.
These are laudable goals. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, white fourth-graders performed better than their black peers on 2007 standardized mathematics exams in all 46 states where results were available. In 2004, there was a 23-point gap in mathematics scale scores between white and black 9-year-olds, with the gap growing to 26 points for 13-year-olds.
But between these two messages lies the unspoken logic that current, non-TFA teachers and schools are failing at the task of closing the achievement gap, through some combination of apathy or incompetence. Although TFA seminars and presentations never explicitly accuse educators of either, the implication is strong within the program's very structure: recruit high-achieving college students, train them over the summer, and send them into America's lowest-performing schools to make things right. The subtext is clear: Only you can fix what others have screwed up. It was an implication I noticed when an e-mail I received during Institute, the five-week training program, referring to “a system of students who have simply not been taught.” The e-mail explained, “That’s really what the achievement gap is—for all of the external factors that may or may not add challenges to our students’ lives—mostly it is that they really and truly have not been taught and are therefore years behind where they need to be.”
I later asked a TFA spokesperson if this e-mail reflects the organization’s official views on traditionally trained teachers. He denied that TFA believes “the shortcomings of public education” to be “the fault of teachers. If anything,” he added, “teachers are victims of more-structural problems: inequitable funding; inadequate systems of training and supporting teachers; the absence of strong school and district leadership.” Nonetheless, at the time, the dramatic indictment of America’s non-TFA teachers would stay with me as I headed into the scandal-ridden Atlanta Public Schools system.
In the weeks between accepting the offer to join TFA and the start of our training, I was told by e-mail that “as a 2011 corps member and leader, you have a deep personal and collective responsibility to ground everything you do in your belief that the educational inequality that persists along socioeconomic and racial lines is both our nation’s most fundamental injustice and a solvable problem. This mindset,” I was reminded, “is at the core of our Teach For America—Metro Atlanta Community.”
At the time, I appreciated TFA’s apparent confidence in me as a leader. I assumed that I would learn the concrete steps I needed to achieve this transformation during the training program. Instead I was immersed in a sea of jargon, buzzwords, and touchy-feely exercises. One memorable session began with directions for us to mentally “become” two of our students. After an elaborate, 32-slide reflection guide, we were asked to close the session with a “Vision Collage,” for which we were handed pre-scripted reflections. “One person will volunteer to read his/her line first. After one person reads aloud, another should jump in, so that one response immediately follows another—without any pauses.” At this stage in training, most of us were still struggling to grasp the basics of lesson planning. (According to TFA this exercise is not a part of the formal training program.)
Typical instructional training included only the most basic framework; one guide to introducing new material told us to “emphasize key points, command student attention, actively involve students, and check for understanding.” We were told that “uncommon techniques” included “setting high academic expectations, structuring and delivering your lessons, engaging students in your lessons, communicating high behavioral expectations, and building character and trust.” Specific tips included “you provide the answer; the student repeats the answer”; “ask students to make an exact replica in their notes of what you write on the board”; and “respond quickly to misunderstandings.” After observing and teaching alongside non-TFA teachers at my placement school, I can confidently say that these approaches are not “uncommon.”
I am shifting my weight uncomfortably in a plastic classroom chair on an Atlanta summer afternoon. Our adviser interrupts lunch by asking us to pause to spend a few minutes reflecting on what brought us to TFA in the first place. After the requisite reflection time, and after turning off the room’s lights, Alicia begins to share a story about growing up with a single mother, culminating in an emotional appeal to do whatever we can to help "our kids" in the future. Although I have always found Alicia to be rather stoic, she suddenly begins sobbing when relaying this story. After regaining composure, she makes it clear that we are meant to follow suit. One by one, until the 12th person has spoken, we deliver either tearful accounts of personal hardship or awkward, halting stories recounted by people uncomfortable with the level of intimacy. While talking to other TFA teachers from different schools over dinner, I learn that other groups had nearly identical sessions.
Once the school year began, I found myself teaching in a 500-student K–5 school with two other corps members and three TFA alumni. The school’s other 30 teachers had gone through some version of a traditional teaching program, involving years of studying educational theory and practice, as well as extensive student teaching. As I got to know my new colleagues and some level of trust was established, it didn't take long to discover that TFA's five-week training model was a source of resentment for these teachers. Not only were we youngsters going into "rough" schools with the stated goal of changing what they had not been able to, but we had done this with only half a summer's worth of preparation. I began to understand why my TFA status instantly communicated to other teachers that I found myself superior.
Although I felt bad that TFA had created a system that caused a rift between corps members and traditional teachers, I didn’t have much time to worry about that. The truth was, the five-week training program had not prepared me adequately.
During my training, I taught a group of nine well-behaved third-graders who had failed the state reading test and hoped to make it to fourth grade. Working with three other corps members, which created a generous teacher-student ratio, I had ample time for one-on-one instruction.
That classroom training was completely unlike the situation I now faced in Atlanta: teaching math and science to two 20-person groups of rotating, difficult fifth-graders—fifth-graders so difficult that multiple substitute teachers would vow never to teach fifth grade at our school again.
I had few insights or resources to draw on when preteen boys decided recess would be the perfect opportunity to beat each other bloody, or when parents all but accused me of being racist during meetings. Or when a student told me that his habit of doing nothing during class stemmed from his (admittedly sound) logic that "I did the same thing last year and I passed." The Institute’s training curriculum was far too broad to help me navigate these situations. Because many corps members do not receive their specific teaching assignments until after training has ended, the same training is given to future kindergarten teachers in Atlanta, charter-school teachers in New Orleans, and high-school physics teachers in Memphis.
I was not alone in my trouble with student behavior. Gary Rubinstein, a 1991 TFA alum and an outspoken critic of the organization, believes the training sets teachers up for failure: TFA teachers “don’t know how to deal with discipline problems, because they’ve never dealt with a class with more than 10 kids—there’s no way to deal with so many potential problems when they’ve never been practiced.”
Jessica Smith, a corps member I recently called up, agrees. “I’ve struggled with behavior management,” she admits. (As with all the names of teachers I spoke to for this article, “Jessica” is a pseudonym.) Though training includes some instruction in student discipline, “I didn’t really have the training to know how to give consequences consistently,” Jessica said.
I asked if she reached out for support. “I think I talked to every person I knew to talk to, even our region’s executive director,” Jessica recalled. Although TFA ultimately did send in a behavior-management expert, “The person who finally came in to help me came at the end of February for a 20-minute session.” Is this a representative experience? It’s hard to say. “We provide training in behavior-management techniques,” a TFA spokesperson said when asked about Jessica, “but corps members are expected to adapt their training to their unique school culture. We also provide continuing support for corps members who have trouble fitting in.”
Jessica has decided not to return to TFA for a second year. She said she was so unsupported that she felt justified reneging on her two-year commitment. “Yes a commitment matters,” she wrote, “but staying isn’t necessarily helpful to your kids or anybody.” Jessica said that after she notified local TFA leadership of her decision, the reaction was severe. “They chewed out my character and made personal allegations,” she said. She was told, she recalls, that she would “personally have to deal with remorse and regret.”
On its website, TFA makes a bold claim that “By the end of Institute, corps members have developed a foundation of knowledge, skills, and mindsets needed to be effective beginning teachers.” Training is supposed to include teaching “for an average of two hours each day … observed by experienced teachers,” “extensive lesson planning instruction,” and constant opportunities for feedback. Personally, I taught two 90-minute classes per week, a far cry from the 10 hours per week described in the publicity materials—and “experienced teachers” usually meant new TFA alumni with two years of classroom experience.
“It is certainly possible that [you] got less classroom time than promised,” the TFA spokesperson told me. “But we work to avoid that situation. During summer Institute, we work with 120 different schools, and there is variation in the schedule, which we don’t always control.” The spokesperson added that “as part of Institute, our CMs have access to two different coaches: a coach/adviser that we hire and train as well as a veteran teacher from the local school or district with whom we are partnering.” Although my group was assigned a veteran teacher during Institute, she did not have a substantive role in our training, and halfway through the summer she was implicated in the Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal.
Compared with the experiences of other Teach for America teachers, though, my placement and training were actually fairly lucky. I know more than one Religious Studies major who arrived in Atlanta ready to teach elementary school, only to be told that she was being reassigned to teach high-school mathematics. Of course, becoming "highly qualified" to teach upper-level math meant passing the state teaching test in that subject, and some recruits found out midway through the summer that they had failed. After being recruited by TFA, successfully completing training, and hearing time and again that we would be supported throughout the hiring process, we received the following e-mail, a terse reminder of how alone we actually were:
If you did not pass your exam, you will have to Emergency Release from the corps—your position will be reserved for the [next] Academic Year and you will not be required to attend Institute. You will be able to apply for open positions within Teach For America, receive guidance on how to apply to other opportunities within the Atlanta area, and be able to use the Teach For America Corps Member Computer Lab and Resource Room as needed during your transition.
At a party last year, I met one former TFA recruit who had failed the state’s notoriously difficult special-education exam. After I complimented her espadrilles, she replied that she'd gotten them at a discount through her retail job. Shocked that she hadn’t been placed elsewhere, I thought back to the e-mail we had received. Having a reserved spot in next year’s corps isn’t much help to 22-year-olds who have uprooted their lives for a teaching position they believe to be all but guaranteed.
I am standing, arms crossed, back hunched, whispering with Ms. Jones, as we sort supplies our students will need for the Criterion Referenced Competency Test. In the last few free minutes before testing begins, Ms. Jones is sharing her candid, and often hilarious, views on first-year teaching. “It’s wrong!” she whispers passionately, her eyebrows shoot up far into her forehead. Ms. Jones is known as a no-nonsense veteran teacher, and I had found her quite intimidating before I realized she is incredibly kind. “It’s wrong to put teachers in the classroom with no experience, Ms. Blanchard. I went through a teaching program, and I taught in four different classrooms before I ever had these kids on my own.” Looking at Ms. Jones’ perfectly behaved, high-achieving third-graders and comparing them with my own unruly students, I can see her point. The intercom buzzes to announce a five-minute warning before testing will begin, and that reminds Ms. Jones of the labyrinthine set of test procedures to come. “Make sure they have their pencils, Ms. Blanchard, we can’t have any testing irregularities. You know we have to cover ourselves. Everyone’s watching this building, and I don’t know about you, but Ms. Jones is not fixing to be on Channel 2 tonight.”
By the end of the school year, I felt like I would scream if I ever heard the phrase cover yourself again. Within Atlanta Public Schools, this phrase embodies a general spirit of fear and intimidation, not to mention sad tolerance for the fact that teachers are seen as little more than passive cogs in the wheel of the city's education machine.
Valuable minutes of classroom instruction time were lost to filling out accident reports when kids occasionally fell out of their chairs or poked each other with pencils. If two students began arguing and one child angrily vowed to “get” the other, I was always advised by fellow teachers to write up the incident on Atlanta Public Schools letterhead immediately, thereby “covering” the district if the threat materialized and parents were feeling litigious. What our students needed the most in these situations, it seemed, were conflict-management skills and character education, but unfortunately these interventions do not sufficiently “cover” the adult interests of the district. When I was once asked to fill in for an unexpectedly absent colleague, one of her second-graders chose to confide in me about his abysmal home life. He explained, with wide and trusting eyes, that his mother’s boyfriend enjoyed getting drunk, abusing the family, and sometimes shooting at the kids with a BB gun for fun. I immediately reported the incident to an administrator, who reacted with what appeared to be annoyance that one more paper had to be filed at 3:00 p.m. on a Friday. This was an administrator who really does care about children and wants to improve their lives—but the all-important duty of covering the legal interests of the district can make crucial social work feel like just another rubber stamp.
I’d been at TFA training, about to head into this system, when the official report on the cheating scandal in the Atlanta Public Schools was released. My immediate reaction was shock that so many teachers could be complicit in something so outrageously dishonest. Midway through the school year, though, I came to understand exactly how it had happened. APS has some of the best teachers in the country, but surviving in the district means covering yourself, and during standardized testing this means ensuring objective success. In a top-down, ruthless bureaucracy like APS, teachers are front-line foot soldiers, not educators encouraged to pursue their calling.
Atlanta Public Schools teachers spend countless hours teaching to exhaustion, spending their own money on classroom supplies, and buying basic necessities for their poorest students, only to be reminded constantly that their job performance will be judged according to test answers bubbled in by wobbly little fingers barely able to hold a pencil upright. Teaching children is inherently much more intimate, messy, and personal than any office job could ever be. It's about guiding, pushing, and spending most of your waking hours with other people's children, whether they need a Band-Aid, a bear hug, or a fresh set of markers that their parents can't afford. Many teachers in schools like mine would agree that often the most-struggling students improve in ways that will not be reflected on the state test. They might learn to say please and thank you, or they might master a set of academic skills that still will not be enough to pass on-level, or they might gain a healthy dose of self-respect. After a year in this environment, I realized I could understand how, when the annual testing frenzy rolled around, a lot of teachers chose to put their heads down, tune out, and cover themselves.
Teach for America cited the Atlanta scandal as a sad example of what is wrong with education's status quo, one of the many reasons America's schools need even more reform and innovation. But what occurred to me, as I worked my way, ill-prepared, through Atlanta Public Schools, was that the two systems are not as far apart as either might like to suggest. TFA is at least as enamored of numerical "data points" of success as APS is. TFA strongly encourages its teachers to base their classes' "big goals" around standardized-test scores. Past and present corps members are asked to stand to thunderous applause if their students have achieved some objectively impressive measure of achievement, and everyone knows that the best way to work for and rise through TFA ranks is to have a great elevator pitch about how your students' scores improved by X percent.
Nor is the organization a stranger to controversies involving performance measurement. On its website, TFA claims that “Teach For America corps members help their students achieve academic gains equal to or larger than teachers from other preparation programs, according to the most recent and rigorous studies on teacher effectiveness.” But TFA’s ability to rate the performance of its own teachers has been heavily criticized; a Reuters article in 2012 pointed out that TFA’s 2010 federal grant of $50 million was based on the organization’s internal data “showing that 41 percent of its first-year teachers and 53 percent of its second-year teachers advanced their students by an impressive 1.5 to 2 years in a single school year.” When asked about the origin of these statistics, TFA’s former research director, Heather Harding, admitted that many teachers provide performance statistics based on self-designed assessments. Reuters quoted Harding saying, “I don’t think it stands up to external research scrutiny.”
The TFA spokesperson maintains that the comment “was taken out of context,” and that Simon was “merely pointing out that internal research referenced in a grant application does not meet the same level of rigor as external research, although both show the positive impact our corps members are having on students.”
Whether or not the numerical data is broadly accurate, I can attest to the pressure within TFA to produce proof of student gains without much oversight or guidance.
By the end of my time at TFA and Atlanta Public Schools, I came to feel that both organizations had a disconnect between their public ideals and their actual effectiveness. APS invests in beautiful new buildings and glossy public-relations messaging, only to pressure its teachers into pedagogical conformity that often prevents them from reaching the district’s most remedial students. Likewise, TFA promotes a public image of eager high achievers dedicated to one mission, reaching “Big Goals” that pull students out of the achievement gap, where non-TFA teachers have let them fall. But in my experience, many if not most corps members are confused about their purpose, uncertain of their skills, and struggling to learn the basics.
Can simply being “at least as effective as other teachers” really be cited as success?TFA often cites research showing that its teachers perform well in relation to other teachers; a spokesperson I talked to said that, “In terms of the external research, the most-rigorous nationwide studies on TFA to date, by Mathematica and CALDER, found TFA teachers to be at least as effective as other teachers at the schools where they teach. A follow-up analysis of the Mathematica data showed that Teach for America teachers produce significant student achievement gains in math, regardless of how well students were performing beforehand.” Referencing statewide studies of teacher effectiveness, TFA’s website notes that studies in Louisiana, North Carolina, and Tennessee all “found that corps members often help their students achieve academic gains at rates equal to or larger than those for students of more veteran teachers.” A just-released U.S. Department of Education study of secondary math teachers showed Teach for America teachers to be more effective than other teachers at their schools. According to the study, students with TFA teachers scored higher on end-of-year exams than their peers in non-TFA classrooms—the difference is equivalent to 2.6 extra months of classroom time.
I have no reason to doubt studies showing that TFA teachers are more effective—after all, they are recruited from a pool of the country’s hardest-working college students, and good teaching is nothing if not hard work. But Teach for America aspires to close the achievement gap by training teachers that are significantly better than educators already in the system. Can simply being “at least as effective as other teachers” really be cited as success?
Below you see how the forces behind moving all this global neo-liberal corporate education is playing with all these temporary teaching assignment staffing to load public schools with people who are simply business people willing to support the installation of these education policies with no intentions of staying in what will become a totally different teaching environment----one that people having a passion for children and teaching will not embrace.
All this Teach for America and the outlet below originate in Republican states -----Texas being home for most. Here we see a California group tied to venture capitalists and the for-profit higher education corporations ground zero in this San Francisco region. Neo-liberal and neo-con equals global corporate neo-liberal education for all.
While media is printing stats on how teachers are adapting and hiding stats of how many actual public school teachers are leaving----this is the plan----load K-12 with rotating temorary teaching staff -----make them the test cases for installing these policies-----while pushing the teacher unions and professionally trained teachers who know all of this is bad policy for learning OUT.
THIS IS WHAT BALTIMORE'S TEACHING ENVIRONMENT IS TODAY IN THE MIDST OF MASS K-12 CLOSINGS MAKING PARENTS AND STUDENT FEARFUL OF PROTESTING.
America was #1 in the world while social Democrats built the strongest and well-funded public schools with broad education curricula and teachers allowed to decide what content they thought would allow children to learn objective goals............................IT WAS EASY PEASY-------NONE OF THIS PRIVATIZED VERSION IS NEEDED
'One potential liability for the Deans for Impact concerns its connections to the NewSchools Venture Fund, a group that provides seed funding to various K-12 ventures and that has been critical of traditional teacher preparation in the past'.
Published Online: January 26, 2015
Published in Print: January 28, 2015, as Ed. School Deans Join Forces To Bolster Teacher Preparation
Ed. School Deans Join Forces to Bolster Teacher Preparation
By Stephen Sawchuk
More than a dozen education school deans are banding together, aiming to design a coherent set of teacher-preparation experiences, validate them, and shore up support for them within their own colleges and the field at large.
Deans for Impact, based in Austin, Texas, launches this month with a $1 million grant from the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation.
The new group's embrace of data-informed changes to teacher-preparation curricula—even, potentially, based on "value added" information—is likely to generate waves in the insular world of teacher preparation. It's also a testament to teacher-educators' search for an alternative to traditional associations and accreditation bodies.
And, the deans say, it's a chance to move away from talking about which information on teacher preparation to collect to beginning the use of such data.
"This information is necessary but not sufficient," said Jack Gillette, the dean of Lesley University's graduate school of education. "You still need to make sense of it to create knowledge about the scholarship of teacher prep: What are the right sequencing, weighting, and design moves you need to make the best possible teachers?"
Benjamin Riley is helping to launch a group led by deans of education schools that will support revisions to teacher-preparation programs.
—Molly Landreth for Education WeekThe idea of Deans for Impact was generated through informal conversations over a two-year period led by Benjamin Riley, a former director of policy and advocacy at the Oakland, Calif.-based NewSchools Venture Fund; David Andrews, the education dean at Johns Hopkins University; and Tom Stritikus, a former education dean at the University of Washington. (Mr. Stritikus now works for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.)
Among the group's core principles:
• Using common measures for gauging graduates' classroom performance;
• Collecting, sharing, and using data as a basis for making changes to programs;
• Using research to identify the features of effective teacher-preparation programs; and
• Being transparent about and accountable for results.
"I think it's absolutely important that deans help lead efforts to mobilize ed. schools to take responsibility for what we do and our contributions to public education more broadly, to define those and drive improvements that are identifiable and detectable," said Robert C. Pianta, the dean of the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia and one of the participating deans.
Diverse MembershipThe idea of a partnership among education school deans aimed at improving teacher preparation isn't new. The Holmes Group, a consortium mainly of deans at research universities, issued several reports on teacher education beginning in 1986 and eventually built a research collaborative. But its work petered out in the 1990s.
The MembersThe 18 founding members of Deans for Impact represent a diverse mix of education schools, including public, private, regional, research, and alternative institutions.
Johns Hopkins University
University of Missouri–St Louis
Southern Methodist University
University of Southern California
University of Texas of the Permian Basin
Relay Graduate School of Education
New York City
Arizona State University
University of Idaho
Loyola Marymount University
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
East Carolina University
University of Virginia
Texas Tech University
University of Arkansas
Boston Teacher Residency
Hunter College, City University of New York
SOURCE: Deans for Impact
Deans for Impact's initial crop of 18 members represents a broader variety of institutions than that undertaking. The new group spans public universities supplying hundreds of teachers; small, private programs; and independent nonprofits, such as the Boston Teacher Residency, that partner with colleges and school districts.
That diversity is critical, said Mr. Riley, who will serve as the group's lead staff member. "It is not an elitist movement; we have the full gamut," he said. "We want to have a member dean participating at all times that any other dean at any ed-prep program could look at and say, 'They're leading a program kind of like mine.' "
It will be the deans' job to tackle substantive challenges to the work with their faculty members, as well as operational ones, such as securing more funding for experiments to take root. Not coincidentally, many of the participating deans have already, in one way or another, shaken things up at their respective colleges.
Hunter College's David Steiner helped pioneer the use of videos to critique and hone teacher-candidates' skills. The University of Southern California, under Karen Gallagher, now offers much of its teacher preparation online. Mari Koerner of Arizona State University has been featured in Education Week and elsewhere for revamping undergraduate education programming and doubling the length of student-teaching.
A shift to more outcomes-oriented, research-based, and nimble programming won't necessarily be easy, Lesley's Mr. Gillette acknowledged. But, he said, his college's faculty members have been more open to making use of data because of their partnership with the Urban Teacher Center, a nonprofit alternative route that prepares teachers in Baltimore and the District of Columbia.
The partnership has helped open new conversations among the college's faculty about high-quality student-teaching, coursework, and the rapid collection and analysis of data, he said.
"They feel they can model appropriate uses of data and are therefore much more open to alumni data coming back," Mr. Gillette said.
"That doesn't mean there aren't folks who think value-added data is the devil," he added, referring to the controversial technique that uses students' standardized-test scores to estimate teacher quality.
A second prong of the group's work involves building public and policy support for its goals. Among the group's first actions to that end will be issuing comments supporting the U.S. Department of Education's proposed regulations for teacher preparation.
Those rules, unveiled last month, seek to strengthen existing accountability provisions in the federal Higher Education Act by requiring states to rate programs on such factors as graduates' hiring rates, surveys of districts, and whether each program's teachers go on to boost student learning. The rules have already generated more than 1,700 public comments, nearly all of them critical.
Deans for Impact says the data generated from the rules will be necessary to build the systems the group envisions.
In its forthcoming comments, the group also encourages the Education Department to phase in the rules by 2018, two years earlier than the agency outlined in its plan.
"While some transition time is appropriate, delaying the consequences until 2020 runs the very real risk that these regulations will not be taken seriously by the field," the deans say in the letter.
Such comments already represent a perspective different from that of other groups in the field, especially the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.
That organization, along with most other higher education lobbying groups, contends that the rules would extend punitive sanctions to colleges and set a dangerous financial-aid precedent, because poorly rated programs would not be permitted to offer federal TEACH grants to support teacher preparation.
One potential liability for the Deans for Impact concerns its connections to the NewSchools Venture Fund, a group that provides seed funding to various K-12 ventures and that has been critical of traditional teacher preparation in the past.
While at the fund, Mr. Riley helped draft federal legislation to support the creation of "teacher-preparation academies," potentially circumventing university-based programs. His then-colleague, Julie Mikuta, is now the senior director of education at the Schusterman Foundation, and his former boss, Ted Mitchell, became the undersecretary at the Education Department in 2014 and is overseeing the federal regulations.
At least one critic of Mr. Riley's said he will maintain an open mind about Deans for Impact.
'However, there is still a lot of work to be done. The next step in the school construction plan is to figure out how schools should be designed to aid in educating and preparing city students for college in the 21st century global economy'.
Below you see the problem and the solution in reversing this K-career college privatization ----the date of 1996 was tied to Clinton corporatizing universities and moving to corporatize K-12. He sent funding to start this push towards charters and deregulation of public education policy. Schmoke----then Mayor of Baltimore allowed the State to take control of the Baltimore School Board for no reason other than to move these Master Plan and global neo-liberal education policies forward with Baltimore citizens having no say and indeed---that is what is happening these several years under Obama and Race to the Top. Schmoke is now making sure University of Baltimore, where the hotbed of student activism SHOULD BE HAPPENING----is silent and compliant to all Clinton/Bush global policies. You see at the top----all Baltimore public K-12 advance the policies of global markets with absolutely no talk of reversing all this with social Democratic education policy that was the best in the world before Clinton neo-liberals dismantled and defunded public education.
WE SIMPLY NEED TO GET CONTROL OF BALTIMORE CITY SCHOOL BOARD BACK TO BALTIMORE WITH A MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL WANTING REAL STRONG PUBLIC K-12 SCHOOLS IN EVERY COMMUNITY----IT'S EASY PEASY.
The ACLU under Bebe Verdery of ACLU allowed the Wall Street bond market fraud be tied to Baltimore City Public Schools for no reason-----and it is she that states the partnership brought steady improvement in student test scores WHEN IT DIDN'T. We can see what Baltimore student test scores are just this year. Alonzo came on board from Bloomberg's NYC education privatization to simply install all of the Wall Street policy ----juking the stats as was found a few years later to make it look as if his policies had made improvements.
JUKING THE STATS-----THAT'S A CLINTON NEO-LIBERAL AND BUSH/HOPKINS NEO-CON FOR YOU!
'The collaboration will directly benefit urban schools throughout the United States, including Baltimore City where, 84 percent of students are considered to be low-income and only 12 percent of fourth graders are performing at or above the proficient level in math, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
Also, just 11 percent are considered at or above proficient in reading'.
100 Years: The State Takes Over City Schools
Part of our "100 Years: The Twelve Events That Shaped Baltimore" series
By Molly Rath
Why It Matters
Baltimore lost control of its ailing school system in 1997; the system was turned over to a city-state partnership that was meant to fix a litany of woes. State education funding increased dramatically, but the system is still in poor shape.
Urban school systems are about more than education; the failure of Baltimore's schools is directly related to the city's ongoing struggles.
On November 26, 1996, Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke stood at a podium at downtown's federal courthouse and choked back tears. "I can tell you from the bottom of my heart, everything tells me this is the right thing to do," he said, to raucous applause among elected officials and education leaders and advocates.
Schmoke was formally announcing the creation of a city-state partnership—one that would, hopefully, transform Baltimore City's beleaguered public schools into something resembling a functioning educational system. It was the result of two lawsuits on behalf of students and their parents fed up with the school system's low levels of state funding, and its inability to meet federal special education requirements.
The schools, frankly, were terrible at education and horribly mismanaged. And these problems were contributing in no small measure to the general lack of social cohesion in mid-1990's Baltimore, which was in the midst of a crack epidemic that made the city one of the most dangerous in the nation.
The lawsuits led Baltimore and Annapolis to figure out a way to try to fix the schools. The solutions—the city-state agreement, in which Baltimore agreed to work with (or, as some saw it, work for) state government to repair the school system—was called a sell-out by the school board's die-hard supporters. The charges of betrayal rang in Schmoke's ears that day.
Still, he said that he hoped that this moment would be recalled as "the day that the adults stopped fighting one another and joined and started fighting for the children."
Much of the press's language in the months leading up to that ceremonial moment and the months that followed was similarly monumental: It was a "turning point," "historic," a "fresh start," editorials and news articles asserted; a "new day" that would have a "profound impact" on the city's poor-performing and poorly managed schools.
The partnership was expected to charge in and save the day; it should have been clear that the job of fixing the city's schools would be much, much more difficult.
The partnership became law the following spring, and on June 1, 1997, it went into effect. After almost a century as a city agency, run by a mayor-appointed superintendent and board (who were all fired), the Baltimore City Public School System was now in the trust of an independent body of school commissioners which hired a CEO to run things. "It was dysfunctional to a degree that unless you blew it up, you weren't going to be able to fix it from the inside," says former state Senator Barbara Hoffman, who, with the late Del. Howard "Pete" Rawlings, was lead architect of the legislation that created the partnership. The very next year, at a meeting with state legislators in March 1998, interim city schools CEO Robert Schiller used reams of documents to illustrate the decades of academic and administrative neglect he'd inherited: More than two-thirds of the city's first- through fifth-graders weren't reading or computing at grade level. Fifteen different reading programs were being used in its 122 elementary schools, and not one of those schools was meeting state academic standards. The administrative functions of the system were an even bleaker quagmire of antiquated computer systems that churned out inaccurate enrollment and testing data. The city's crumbling school facilities were in need of $500 million in repairs, and many staffers and teachers were inadequately trained.
Schiller's synopsis prompted state Superintendent of Schools Nancy Grasmick to declare the state of city schools "more sobering than [previously] articulated.
"This system," she said, "is considered the lowest-performing [urban] system in the nation."
A decade and a half-dozen CEOs later, the city-state partnership hasn't lived up to its promise. The school system largely remains a bureaucracy beset by responsibility-ducking and fiscal woes. Baltimore's high school graduation rate is still one of the lowest in the nation among large school systems. Yet the huge class and school sizes that have long impeded student learning have been reduced, and some student test scores have risen steadily and significantly over the years.
Still, even those who helped create the partnership are unsure of how to rate its performance. Says Hoffman: "It may be a failed experiment, and it may not be."
For others, the results are more clear. "I believe very strongly," Schmoke says today, "that if all of us who were involved in education had been able to substantially improve the system and guarantee a great education to all of Baltimore City's children over the last 20 years, we wouldn't have the levels of crime and some of the other problems we're facing in the city."
The city-state partnership brought to light the failings of Baltimore City's public school system, some of which reach back 30 and 40 years. It raised issues of accountability in the system, even if it hasn't necessarily gotten results from that accountability. Along with violent crime, it's the most important issue facing the city. Unfortunately, like homicide, education woes are one of the most debilitating ailments facing the city.
What's ironic is that the partnership may have benefited school systems across the state as much as, if not more than, Baltimore City. The partnership triggered the Thornton Commission, which reviewed state public education funding, and led to the infusion of nearly $8 billion into school systems across the state over the last six years. "One of the impacts of the reform effort is that there's a recognition that there is a constitutional duty by the state to adequately fund public schools," the American Civil Liberties Union's Bebe Verdery says. "That was caused by the ACLU suit, the Baltimore City reform effort, and the city-state partnership. Now, people want to run for elective office on it. There's a universal awareness now that just did not exist."
The road to the city-state schools partnership dates back to 1983, when education officials from Baltimore City and the Eastern Shore filed a lawsuit which argued that the state was not fulfilling its constitutional duty to adequately educate the state's children, namely its poor. The suit was based on the fact that the Maryland constitution says the state must ensure a "thorough and efficient system of free public schools."
One of the first "equity" cases in the country, the plaintiffs asserted that they weren't getting as much state education funding as Maryland's richer counties. And while the court agreed that their children should indeed get an adequate education, the decision was that the plaintiffs had no right to equal funding. Case closed.
But the ACLU saw opportunity, and spent the next decade laying the groundwork for another suit in which the plaintiffs weren't faceless jurisdictions but parents of at-risk students in Baltimore City, where the educational inequities in the state were most poignant. "In the early 90's," Verdery says, "there was an increase in recognition and acceptance of state standards, and that is when it became so starkly evident that the children of Baltimore City were not achieving at the levels of other districts."
In December 1994, the ACLU sued the state on behalf of lead plaintiffs Keith and Stephanie Bradford, arguing that, because the city had the lowest test scores in the state, the lowest graduation rates, and the highest proportion of disadvantaged students, the system was woefully underfunded. The state counter-sued, asserting that the problems were not a result of insufficient funding, but poor school system management. Baltimore City filed its own education funding lawsuit against the state in late 1995, and the cases were consolidated into the Bradford suit.
A series of meetings between the parties and Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Joseph H. H. Kaplan led to a settlement agreement signed on Nov. 26, 1996, a day before the case was slated for trial.
"The idea was to try to create a settlement that involved all parties of litigation and get them to focus on the common needs of the children, rather than the needs of the parties to the litigation," says Schmoke, now dean of Howard University's law school in Washington, D.C. "The partnership was an idea that came about by necessity. We came to a recognition that we were spending millions of dollars on litigation and that money could be better spent on students. But the only way the state was going to give us extra money was by gaining more control over the operations of the system."
Under the agreement, the state would give city schools, roughly, an extra $50 million a year for five years—but Annapolis wanted a voice in how that money was going to be spent and how the school system was going to be run. The mayor-controlled school board and superintendent would be dismissed, and the system would move under the control of a nine-member school board selected by the mayor and governor; that new board, in turn, would hire a CEO to run the system.
A mid-term evaluation showed that state education dollars still fell grossly short of what was needed to adequately educate Baltimore's children, and the city requested an additional $265 million in early 1999, with Judge Kaplan echoing its plea. Governor Parris N. Glendening denied the request, but not without state legislators from other distressed jurisdictions taking notice.
"I talked with a lawyer from Allegheny County, and Prince George's County was getting ready to sue," Verdery recalls. "So we had Judge Kaplan's ruling, and we had other counties starting to rumble and sending politicians the message that they were willing to sue, too."
With the constitutional question of the state's obligation to fund public education front-and-center, and a likely spike in litigation looming, the state legislature established the Thornton Commission on Education Finance, Equity and Excellence in 1999 to examine the state's school funding formula.
The commission's findings led to passage of legislation in 2002 that required the state to pump an additional $1.3 billion a year into public education over six years to bring all the state's school systems up to adequate funding levels. Between fiscal years 2003 and 2008, Baltimore's take has been $258 million; it's a lot, but it's still far short of the amount needed.
In the days following passage of the Thornton bill, a New York Times editorial lauded Maryland's "visionary school plan," saying that "More than 40 states have been sued for failing to provide poor districts with enough money to educate children up to the standards articulated in their own laws.
"Instead of fighting it out in court," the editorial continued, "Marylanders have decided to level the public school playing field as quickly as possible—so that all the state's children have a chance at decent lives. Other states, including New York and California, could learn from this enlightened example."
For 18 of the state's 24 jurisdictions, these are enlightened days: They will have exceeded "adequate" funding levels when the six years are up. But Baltimore City is one of the six areas that won't. With this year's shot of Thornton funds, Baltimore schools will still be inadequately funded, according to the measures the Thornton Commission used in its initial review. "The issue is still funding," Schmoke says, 20 years after he was elected mayor on a promise to turn around Baltimore City's then-as-now ailing schools.
But not all of the school system's problems can be remedied with more money. There's the oft-maligned "North Avenue" (the location of the school administration HQ) that, in the view of many, keeps the system from working efficiently. Other critics point out that the partnership was overly optimistic, and that it lacked foresight and was riddled with flaws—resulting in huge budget deficits and bitter political tangling between Governor Robert Ehrlich and wannabe Governor/Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley during the 2006 gubernatorial election.
Still, the partnership hasn't been all bad. Student achievement is up, if still lagging behind statewide averages. Since 1997, the city's giant (and often notorious) high schools have been broken up into smaller academies. A Kindergarten through Grade 8 model has replaced some middle schools. Pre-K classes have been expanded. And the amount of city school funding given by the state has more than doubled.
"Test scores in elementary schools have gone up every year since the city-state partnership," Verdery says. THIS IS NOT TRUE------"That is a remarkable trajectory that is probably unmatched by any other urban school system in the country. And the city school system has funded a number of reforms that would not have been possible without additional funding."
Ten years on, what differences has the partnership made? One of the biggest criticisms of the partnership is that there was never any real accountability built in, allowing the city, state and various other parties involved to alternately duck blame for mistakes and take credit where convenient. But at least accountability became an issue during the course of the last decade, and it's a regular part of the lexicon when it comes to discussing local education reforms. Prior to 1997, that clearly wasn't the case.
There's the simple fact that the very issue of education in Baltimore City has gained prominence and staying power. School stories consistently land on the front page of area newspapers, and lead the top of local television news hours.
And be it Ehrlich and O'Malley, or Mayor Sheila Dixon and her lead mayoral opponent Keiffer J. Mitchell Jr., politicians are increasingly using their positions on city school reforms to distinguish themselves from one another.
But ten years on, the only thing politicians can still agree on is that the school system is incredibly important to the citizens of Baltimore. "So many of the problems are interrelated," says former Mayor Schmoke. "If Baltimore could advertise having a great public school system, [it] would be a huge benefit to many other aspects of quality of life."
The partnership was born with unrealistic expectations, and it's been unable to complete its mission. But it did put education on the radar for local and state politicians, which has meant more money for schools across Maryland.
As well-regarded new CEO Andres Alonso takes the reigns of the Baltimore City schools, he faces more than just a system in turmoil. He has to deal with the mess Baltimore and Annapolis have made.