First, check out the TN DOE website makeover:
(website screenshot from March 2014)
(screenshot from August 2014)
It is kinda funny how the new website says, "We've redesigned and reorganized our site from the ground up with you in mind." Gee, thanks, for keeping me in mind, when in all honesty, we are sure that the only thing on your mind was: "How On Earth Do We QUICK Fix This Awful Image Problem That Governor Haslam and His Appointed Commissioner of Education, Kevin Huffman, Have Created Before Election Time in November So That The Governor Gets Re-elected And We All Keep Our Jobs?"
And, of course, this dishonest image is still on both websites:
TCAP scores weren't even released in time for student's final report cards in the spring because they had to adjust the cut scores, take out the non-common core questions to boost scores, and figure out a way for this new PR firm to triage the massive outrage and somehow put a positive spin on the dismal results.
Here is why that claim of "Largest Growth on 2013 NAEP" is not truthful:
The Governor and Huffman keep saying it everywhere they go, and probably even mutter it in their sleep, but they neglect to mention one ginormous fact: TN passed a new law the year before the 2013 NAEP test which drastically changed the pool of students eligible to be tested for NAEP. This new law prohibited 3rd graders in Tennessee from being promoted to 4th grade if they were not proficient. So, for the first time in TN history, 3rd graders were not socially promoted to 4th grade. The low-scoring students were left behind in 3rd grade! Voila! Don't let the non-proficient kids in to 4th grade to take the test and you magically lift the whole state's average score compared to other states in the nation!
(A note about NAEP tests in case you don't know: the NAEP is given every 2 years to randomly selected 4th and 8th graders in every state in the nation. It is required by the Federal Government to get our federal tax dollars for our schools. Click HERE and HERE to read more about the NAEP and how is manipulated to suit politicians).
I Heart You soooooooo much!!!
Subscribers to the TNDOE weekly emails noticed a big difference in the weekly emails, too. Prior emails were cold, factual, and condescending. The paragraphs were blocky and had the attitude of "Do This New Policy Or Else".
The new email sent to subscribers last week had hearts, smiles, friendships, relationships, unicorns, and rainbows. (Okay, so not the last 2, but we're not exaggerating about the difference being night and day.) Here's an excerpt from the new email:
Another big change to the emails is that they are now being sent through Mailchimp, which is an email service that allows the sender to track opens, clicks on links, reports, etc. The TNDOE loves, loves, loves data so they are probably in data heaven.
Save the best for last, a special LETTER:
U R MY BFF 4EVR! <3, Bill XOXOXO
Tennessee teachers were shocked - SHOCKED, I tell you! - last week to receive personalized emails from the Governor himself. These letters were addressed to their first names, which left some wondering if they are now considered friends with the Governor. Bill (we can call him by his first name now, right?) wrote about the way he traveled across the state and had 12 secret meetings with pre-screened teachers and how he listened, oh how he listened, and he just loves teachers and wishes he could pay them more but he has to take care of corporations first. Okay, so Bill didn't blatantly say that in the letter, but if you read between the lines and know the recent news, it is what our friend, Bill, really meant.
We bet someone from that fancy new PR firm wrote the letter anyway. Bill doesn't write letters. He certainly won't respond to any of ours. Of course, he has staff that sends out blanket responses because Bill does not have the time to correspond with commoners unless you are pre-screened and agree with Bill's views.
Not all teachers were fooled by the use of mail-merge fields or by the use of their school email address to try to gain their vote for Bill in November. Other candidates for Governor certainly don't have the luxury, ability, or staffpower to send personalized blanket emails to teachers using their school email addresses, but Bill does. (Click HERE if you want to see one of those blanket letters Bill sent to a TN teacher)
Nothing. Zip. Zero.
The same people are still doing the same jobs at the TNDOE and they have the same intentions of forcing Common Core on our children, requiring high-stakes tests on our children, punishing and firing our children's teachers based on our children's test results, and crushing our children's public schools to expand more charter schools in TN so their friends can make big bucks.
The difference is that our tax dollars are now being spent on the best Public Relations Firm our tax money can buy with the goal of fixing the horrible image of the TNDOE, Commissioner Kevin Huffman (for as long as Bill keeps him around as a puppet), and the person who just happens to be up for re-election in November: Bill.
HIDE & SEEK - THE TNDOE hides Common Core
See how the new PR firm has removed the toxic name from TNDOE's vocabulary to fool people