Posts Tagged 'David Catania'

David Catania leadership FAIL

Michelle Rhee’s Reign of Error

Rhee has publicly maintained that, if bureaucratic red tape hadn’t gotten in the way, she would have investigated the erasures. For example, in an interview[1] conducted for PBS’ “Frontline” before I learned about the confidential memo, Rhee told me, “We kept saying, ‘Okay, we’re going to do this; we just need to have more information.’ And by the time the information was trickling in back and forth, we were about to take the next year’s test. And there was a new superintendent of education that came in at the time. And she said, ‘Okay, well, we’re about to take the next test anyway so let’s just make sure that the proper protocols are in place for next time.’”

At best, that story is misleading.

Penetrating the Smokescreen

The Council hearing was called by David Catania, who chairs the newly reconstituted Education Committee. The key witnesses were Chancellor Henderson and Inspector General Charles Willoughby. Two other Council members, Kenyan McDuffie and David Grosso, joined Mr. Catania. One purpose of the hearing was to advance Mr. Catania’s own legislation to make cheating a crime (which it apparently is not under current District law). But he acknowledged that the publication of Dr. Sanford’s memo had given the hearing a second purpose: to look back at what transpired in 2008 and 2009.

Reading from what he called a ‘timeline’ of events, Mr. Catania said that Dr. Sanford had been asked to review the testing data on January 28, 2009 and wrote his memo the next day. Dr. Sanford actually traveled to Washington on January 25th and spent the next five days at DCPS, apparently writing his memo on the fifth day of his work there. (Dr. Sanford also billed DCPS for 16.5 hours of work done before flying to Washington.) He did not, as Mr. Catania’s timeline suggested, get the data one day and dash off a memo the next. He took it seriously, as well he should have.

While the timeline error is minor, it highlights a pattern of minimizing the memo itself, which both Ms. Rhee and Ms. Henderson have done publicly. They have cited Dr. Sanford’s warning that ‘the picture is not perfectly clear,’ while omitting the rest of his point: ‘the possible ramifications are serious.’

Chairman Catania kept pressing on the absence of an investigation of the 2008 erasures. Every other year has what he called a “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval” investigation. After all, Mr. Catania said, we have investigations by “independent outsiders” in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. Why not 2008?

And the Chairman made his own position clear: “If I found any evidence that suggested there was a coverup or significant cheating, this would be a different situation.”

Several times he contrasted the DC situation with Atlanta, usually saying something to the effect that ‘this is not Atlanta.’

Later he noted, “We may never really know what happened in 2008 because the trail runs cold.”

As the Chairman must know, the trail has not ‘run cold.’ And while there is no proof that cheating in 2008 was not as extensive as it was in Atlanta, the truth is out there: CTB/McGraw-Hill still possesses all of the materials from the 2008 DC-CAS. He, the entire City Council or the Mayor could demand a sophisticated erasure analysis to determine if the WTR erasures reveal patterns. We already know that hundreds of classrooms in about half of the schools had WTR erasures that were four, five and six standard deviations away from the norm. That suggests but does not prove hanky-panky.

A deep analysis might reveal that almost all the students answered the hard questions correctly–after erasing their original wrong answers. Bingo!

If someone wants to know the truth, it’s right there in the files.


Long-Lost Memo Stirs Allegation Of Cheating In D.C. Schools

David Catania’s plan to smash the public schools

D.C. parents, activists offer mixed reaction to Catania’s bills

Turnout may increase Tuesday for a hearing on some of Catania’s most controversial proposals, including a new local accountability system that would require DCPS schools to be closed or turned into charter-like “innovation schools” if they fail to meet performance targets.

This isn’t about improving education. This is about smashing the public school system, turning schools over to hedge funds, and driving black people out of DC. It isn’t about anything else.

David Catania’s proposed school deform

I am going to write a post about this, but in the meantime, At The Chalk Face has a great take down:

Saving DC Schools with Catastrophe Innovation!

David Catania’s conflict of interest

I just cannot believe the Washington City Paper‘s willful naivete about David Catania.

Catania has a well-earned reputation for being on the right side of ethical issues. He was the first to call for former Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr. to resign and took on Medicaid contractor Jeff Thompson, now at the center of the federal investigation into Mayor Vince Gray’s campaign, when Thompson was at the height of his powers.

How often have we seen that those the quickest to point the finger and make accusations are the most guilty? How many times? Cantania is a notorious advocate of the sort of privatization that his employer profits from.

David Catania’s Double Dipping

David Catania’s Double Dipping

The fight back:

In addition to his Council salary of more than $125,000, Office of Campaign Finance records show that Catania earns an additional $120,000 a year as general counsel to a company that does a huge amount of business with the District. Since at least 2006 Catania has earned more than $100,000 a year as general counsel for OpenBand LLC, a subsidiary of M.C. Dean. (It’s unclear how much Catania earned from M.C. Dean in 2005: On his “Honoraria and Outside Income Disclosure Statement” for fiscal year 2005, Catania failed to report his gross outside income and instead reported having earned “$10,000 per month” as General Counsel for OpenBand, LLC. For fiscal year 2006, Catania reported earning $101,538 from OpenBand LLC and $13,750 from Akin & Gump. Since 2007, Office of Campaign Finance reports show that Catania has earned $120,000 a year from OpenBand, LLC.)

Who/what is M.C. Dean? The Washington Post noted: “The company holds the contract to maintain and repair city traffic signals — one of the most lucrative contracts in city government. Last year’s contract was worth $9.3 million to the company… Since 1999, according to city billing records, M.C. Dean has done more than $130 million in business with the District.” Unmentioned in the Post’s article was that “one of the most influential… men in city government” is on M.C. Dean’s payroll to the tune of $120,000 a year.


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