Was Hurricane Katrina good for the education of students in New Orleans?

Posted on

Caroline Harris


Hurricane Katrina was the second most intense hurricane to make landfall on United States soil and most costly natural disaster in US history.  Hurricane Katrina formed over the Bahamas on August 23, 2005 and crossed southern Florida and then strengthened rapidly in the Gulf of Mexico.  Hurricane Katrina made its way along the Gulf coast from central Florida to Texas causing some damage ultimately hitting New Orleans, Louisiana fast and furiously on August 29th 2005, wreaking havoc on lives and property.  On August 28th, 2005 the National Weather Service sent out a warning under the heading of ‘Devastating Damage expected” to the city of New Orleans saying, “Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks, perhaps longer…” (McCallum and Heming, 2111).  Almost 80% of New Orleans citizens evacuated from their homes in hopes of finding shelter in a safer location.  When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, immense flooding occurred because massive storm surges triggered the breaches in the levees on 17th Canal Street, to break.  “This was quickly followed by a total of three levee breaches, resulting in 80% of the city being under water…”(McCallum and Heming, 2105) with some parts of the city under twenty feet of water.  Katrina severely destroyed 47 of the 128 New Orleans public schools and 38 more schools had moderate damage.  “…many of the…schools inspected were in various states of disrepair or had numerous life and safety code violations, some of which had preexisting problems that were not going to be covered under the mandates of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  These preexisting problems included fire code violations, boarded up windows, peeling paint…The Katrina-related problems in the various inspected schools included such things as blown out or broken windows, water damage, roof damage, fallen ceiling tiles, and moisture and mold in ceilings and tiles…” (Karen A. Johnson 433).  With all of this destruction, the people of New Orleans thought that maybe this could be a chance for change within the New Orleans school system.

New Orleans underwater after Katrina (http://densitykatrina.wordpress.com)

On August 29th, 2005 when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, the state government of Louisiana thought that this could be a chance to rehabilitate the education system.  Prior to Katrina, the state of Louisiana invested very little money in the predominately minority-attended public schools in New Orleans.  The state spent less money per student compared to national average spending and the student to teacher ratio was also above the national average.  From 1996-2005 the Orleans Parish School District had nine interim superintendents, which undermined the ability of educators to develop and sustain school improvement strategies.  New Orleans was known as the lowest performing school district in Louisiana and many of the teachers and students had lost hope and sight of a good education.  Many of the school buildings were over 50 years old and in disrepair from a lack of capital spending by the city and state.  They would most likely have had to be substantially repaired or even demolished had Katrina not forced the issue.   In 2003, the Louisiana State Board of Education declared the Orleans Parish School Board to be in “Academic Crisis” and they asked the Recovery School District (RSD) to take control of five of the failing public schools.  The RSD is a school districted created in 2003 by Louisiana legislation and is designed to transform underperforming schools.  After the storm hit in 2005, Louisiana’s governor Kathleen Blanco and the state legislature voted to overhaul a majority of New Orleans’ public schools and placed most of them under the RSD’s control. The Katrina Era of New Orleans brought about the rapid expansion of the RSD, did away with school attendance zones, brought about the rise of charter schools and a large group of teachers and administrators.  The question is: did these changes actually bring about a better education for the struggling students of New Orleans?  The people of New Orleans had hoped that this substantial effort in the wake of Katrina would bring about a drastic change in the education system.  The government hyped up the thought that since the hurricane destroyed so much of the infrastructure, it would be a fresh start for the city and it would be the perfect time to rebuild the education system.  The government was wrong and the rapid expansion of the RSD brought ushered in many unsupplied classrooms and inexperienced teachers.  The removal of school attendance zone caused confusion among parents and there were few transportation options for students to get to their school of “choice.”   It is true that Katrina made the country aware of how many underprivileged citizens lived in the city of New Orleans, and the poor state of its education system.   Unfortunately, this awareness and the best hopes and efforts by the state and the people of New Orleans that followed in the wake of Katrina did not substantial improve the quality of education being delivered to the students of New Orleans.

After Katrina hit New Orleans, government officials felt as though the New Orleans public schools need to be placed under state control, therefore many of the schools were put in the hands of the RSD.  This seemed like a positive step in the eyes of New Orleans citizens. .  The education system in New Orleans was split up into five different groups.  The Orleans Parish School Board (traditional public schools) made up 7% of the school system, OPSB charter schools made up another 20%, the RSD traditional public schools made up 36% of the system, RSD chapter schools made up 34% of the system and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) made up a small 2% of the educational system.  So the RSD, both traditional and charter schools made up more than half of New Orleans new education system.  The government passed Act 35, “…which requires lawmakers to (a) expand the state’s authority to take over failing schools in OPSD, (b) redefine failing to include many New Orleans public schools that previously had not met the definition of failing, and (c) expand the state-run RSD in New Orleans and allow the RSD to operate alongside the Orleans Parish School Board as a dual state-run and city-run school system,” (Karen A. Johnson, 436).  This act sounds very securing to the citizens of New Orleans.  It made the people of New Orleans feel as though the government was making changes to improve the education of students.  Although the government did try to get the education system back on track, there were many failures to the RSD plan initially.

Although the RSD tried to increase the standards of teaching in their schools, the teachers that they hired were unqualified or unprepared for the conditions in the New Orleans classroom.  When Katrina landed on New Orleans doorstep, the OPSB put many of the teachers and administrators on “disaster leave” and told them that they should look for jobs elsewhere because at first the government did not believe there would be any school facilities remaining or available for an extended period.  The RSD started its hiring process of teachers a little late in the game.  The RSD required teachers to pass a skills assessment test in addition to having an interview with a RSD official.  Many of the teachers that had previously worked in the New Orleans public schools had found jobs at other schools, some of them had retired and others did not want to deal with the skills assessment tests.  This left the RSD with only a few qualified teachers and many unqualified ones.  Many of these teachers did not know what they were getting into when they started working in the New Orleans classrooms.  Even now, in 2011, students reported that 70% of their teachers couldn’t effectively manage the classroom environment (Huynh).  The supplies they were given and the state of the school buildings were enough to cause many of the teachers to quit within the first week of school starting.  When teachers began at the new RSD schools, they realized how hard it was going to be to teach their students due to the students’ years of poor education and the unpreparedness of the school facilities.

In addition to hiring the RSD teachers too late, the RSD also started ordering the supplies for their classrooms very late after Hurricane Katrina.  In the fall of 2006, when the RSD had planned to open new schools, most were substantial short of supplies and in 2011, 70% of students reported not having enough textbooks in their classrooms (Huynh).  To the citizens of New Orleans it looked promising to see that the RSD was quickly opening schools, but once the students were inside the classroom they realized that these schools were not in good condition.  “RSD opened seventeen schools in the fall of 2006-schools that were inadequately staffed (many still have only a minority of certified teachers); that lacked books, food services, and other infrastructural necessities; and that started the year in school buildings that had either not been improved at all or were in the middle of reconstruction,” (Adamo 5).  As mentioned above in the introduction, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) would only cover the repairs for things that were caused by the hurricane, so preexisting problems in the schools were not fixed and New Orleans did not have any extra money for these repairs.  Things like fire code violations, old boarded up windows and peeling paint were not the top priority for the state so many of these classrooms were not in the safest or nicest of conditions.  The RSD also incorporated school choice for the existing families in New Orleans.

Before Katrina, most public schools in New Orleans had attendance zones that determined where students would attend school.  After Katrina, the RSD and OPSB ended the attendance zones, which allowed parents and students to have a choice in where they wanted to attend school.  The abolishment of the attendance zones sounded like a positive step to a better education to the students and parents of New Orleans because they could now pick a higher-quality school if their local school was low performing.  Although this plan sounded promising, it turned out to be an unsuccessful.  The application process for parents was a difficult one so the RSD made a guide for the parents to follow to help them locate the proper school for their child.  The guide was made up of sixty-eight pages of information to help parents learn about what each school had to offer to their children.  The guide also explained how to set up visits to tour the school, observe classes, and meet with principals.  If the student matches up to the standards of the school they can apply, but there were application deadlines.  The system of applying was hard for lower income parents because they did not have a surplus of time to take their children to these schools and most of them did not have readily accessible transportation.  Also in a 2011 study, 75% of students from limited-English proficient families reported that parents had insufficient information on school options and programs (Huynh).  Kristen Buras writes in her article, “While open enrollment may refer to schools that do not rely on traditional neighborhood attendance boundaries for student admission but instead admit students citywide, this does not mean that such schools are necessarily open access with respect to admissions policies,” (Kristen L. Buras, 317).  The idea of open enrollment gave New Orleans parents hope that they would start seeing better results in their child’s education because of better schooling options, but it was a false hope.  If their child did not get into one of the better schools, and many did not, they would be placed in one of the schools directly run by RSD.  Another problem with the choice policy was that the state did not factor in transportation costs, so there were no buses provided and few public transportation options to carry students to their new schools.   And, very few of the families had a car available at the times needed to get to and from school.

In addition to the teachers and the classroom conditions being unprepared and poor, the schools could not handle the number of students returning to New Orleans to go to school.  Since over 200,000 students from Louisiana evacuated after Katrina hit, the New Orleans government officials didn’t predict the influx of students in such a short period of time after Katrina but many families came back shortly after Katrina to try to get their lives back together.  As this realization gripped the RSD, it pushed to open more schools quickly, which only exacerbated the problem of ill-equipped facilities and unprepared or unqualified teachers.  One student, Linda Tran, who graduated from Abramson Science and Technology Charter School in 2011 stated, “I’m worried about going to college and not knowing anything, and then flunking out. I’m already too far behind.  Now, I just hope my sisters and brothers don’t have to go to a bad high school.  I don’t want them to experience what I had to experience,” (Huynh).  The quality of education six years after Katrina still hasn’t reached the same standard of the state average of Louisiana.  In a 2011 study of the state of Louisiana versus New Orleans, 33% of the state’s students were “college ready” while only 7% of the students in New Orleans were college ready.  The parents of New Orleans were yet again let down by their city and state, and their children once more were left wallowing in a grossly substandard school system.

Although Hurricane Katrina brought about a great sense of hope to the families and students of New Orleans, many of these hopeful feelings were crushed when realities set in.  While the RSD made the people of New Orleans feel confident by quickly opening schools and making changes in the way the education system worked, there were many immediate failures that came along with the RSD.  The unfinished and unsupplied classrooms made teachers and students’ teaching and learning experiences unpleasant.  In many cases it was a hazardous for students and teachers to be inside the classroom. While the RSD amended the attendance zones and improved some schools, many underprivileged families could not afford to get their children to far away schools, so they were forced once again to go to the worst schools in New Orleans.


Adamo, Ralph. “Squeezing Public Education: History and Ideology Gang Up in New Orleans.” Dissent Magazine. Web. 20 Apr. 2012. <http://www.dissentmagazine.org/article/?article=862>.

Buras, Kristen L. “Race, Charter Schools, and Conscious Capitalism.” Harvard Educational Review. 2nd ed. Vol. 81. Harvard Education. 296-20. Web. 22 Apr. 2012.

“Hurricane Katrina and the New Orleans Built Environment.” Hurricane Katrina and the New Orleans Built Environment. Web. 28 May 2012. <http://densitykatrina.wordpress.com/>.

Huynh, Dan. “Six Years After Katrina, New Orleans Youth Release Report on Deficiencies at Six Public High Schools.” UNAVSA ». Sept. 2011. Web. 03 May 2012. <http://www.unavsa.org/six-years-after-katrina-new-orleans-youth-release-report-on-deficiencies-at-six-public-high-schools/>.

Hill, Paul, and Jane Hannaway. “The Future of Public Education in New Orleans.” The Urban Institute, Jan. 2006. Web. 24 July 2012.

Johnson, Karen A. “Hope for an Uncertain Future.” Urban Education. July 2008. Web. 18 Apr. 2012. <http://uex.sagepub.com/content/43/4/421>.

Liu, Amy. “Chapter 3.” Resilience and Opportunity: Lessons from the U.S. Gulf Coast after Katrina and Rita. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 2011.

McCallum, Ewen and Heming, Julian. Philosophical Transactions: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, Vol. 364, No. 1845, Extreme Natural Hazards (Aug. 15, 2006), pp. 2099-2115

“The Equity Report.” Recovery School District. 2012. Web. 1 May 2012. <http://www.rsdla.net/Libraries/Equity_Reports/RSD_Overall.sflb.ashx>.

Was Hurricane Katrina good for New Orleans public school?

Posted on

Was hurricane Katrina good for the New Orleans public schools and what changes occurred within the school systems after Katrina hit? Post Katrina, New Orleans was a mess.  New Orleans was known as the lowest performing school district in Louisiana and many of the teachers and students had lost hope and sight of a good education.  The city of New Orleans was in desperate need of help; in 2004, two thirds of the schools in New Orleans were rated “Academically Unacceptable” under Louisiana’s accountability standards.  After Katrina hit, government officials took quick action and New Orleans was declared to be in “Academic Crisis.”  The Recovery School District (RSD) took control over the failing public schools and turned many of them into Charter Schools.  The Pre-Katrina Era of New Orleans brought about, the rapid expansion of RSD, the removal of school attendance zones, the rise of charter schools, and a new group of teachers which improved the education system in New Orleans.

While researching the questions of “Was Hurricane Katrina good for the New Orleans Public Schools,” I came across many conflicting articles.  For this assignment I thought it would be good to write about two sources that contradicted each other.  One book called “Resilience and Opportunity” gave the impression that Katrina was good for New Orleans, while an article called “Squeezing Public Education: History and Ideology Gang Up on New Orleans,” by Ralph Adamo explained the shortcomings that Hurricane Katrina brought to the education system.

In chapter 3 of Resilience and Opportunity written by Andre Perry and Michael Schwarm-Baird, we see a whole chapter about the rebuilding of public schools after Hurricane Katrina.  Perry and Schwarm-Baird say that Hurricane Katrina brought about three positive things to the school system: the rapid expansion of Recovery School District (RSD), the removal of School attendance zones and the rise of charter schools.  With the RSD system, the state was able to take over failing public schools and turn them into better schools.  RSD turned many of these schools into charter schools.  During this time the government passed Act 35, which expanded the RSD schools because of its new rules.  Schools were now considered failing if their School Performance Score (SPS) was below state average and now RSD only applied to schools that were in districts that were consider to be in “academic crisis” (the district operated more than 30 academically, inacceptable schools or had more than 50% of its students in such schools) which was helpful for New Orleans obviously because their district was in academic crisis.  The last part of this act said that the RSD had authority over the land and building occupied by the school that it took over therefore there was rapid reconstruction of all the school buildings.  The RSD had five years to operate before the BESE can decide whether to return the school to local control.  From what Perry and Schwarm-Baird explained, these schools sounded like they were making a difference in New Orleans.  Perry and Schwarm-Baird also said that Post-Katrina most schools in New Orleans had attendance zones, which decided where students should attend school.  Students were forced to go to schools that were in their local neighborhoods no matter if there were better schools around them.  Pre-Katrina the government abandoned these attendance zones and gave students and parents free choice of their schools and most charter schools were required to take any student in the city.  RSD made a common application process in order to help parents apply to these schools.  Parents were please by these new rules but this also they also posed questions for the government, such as how will students get to these schools; transportation became a problem.  While Perry and Schwarm-Baird stated all these great things that happened to New Orleans Pre-Katrina, Ralph Adamo seems to think differently.

In Ralph Adamo’s article he states that there was a rapid expansion of Recovery School District (RSD), there was the removal of School attendance zones and there was the rise of charter schools after Hurricane Katrina, but he say that some of these things were not good for Katrina. RSD came in and quickly took over most of the Public Schools in New Orleans but they did not open these schools in good conditions, Adamo says, “RSD opened seventeen schools in the fall of 2006-schools that were inadequately staffed (many still have only a minority of certified teachers); that lacked books, food services, and other infrastructural necessities; and that started the year in school buildings that had either not been improved at all or were in the middle of reconstruction,” (Adamo 5).  Also the RSD staff realized that they had not opened enough schools for the amount of students that were attending these schools so they were forced to open more schools quicker, which turned into a disaster.  Adamo also comments on the abandonment of the attendance zones.  He explained that although it was good for parents to get to choose their school for their children, it lead to confusion.  “…when the school year began in fall 2006, we saw a spectacle of confused and harried parents wandering all over town trying to make sense of their new “choices.” Instead of genuine community input…” (Adamo 4-5).  Adamo also tries to argue that in times of crisis private companies try to make a profit off of these districts and they end up making a bigger mess and more confusion.

I am doing more research to come up with my answer to the initial question, but from these two sources it is interesting to see how many people have different opinions about the topic.


Adamo, Ralph. “Squeezing Public Education: History and Ideology Gang Up in New Orleans.” Dissent Magazine. Web. 20 Apr. 2012. <http://www.dissentmagazine.org/article/?article=862>..

Liu, Amy. “Chapter 3.” Resilience and Opportunity: Lessons from the U.S. Gulf Coast after Katrina and Rita. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 2011. Print.

Posted on

Question: How has the establishment of charter schools changed over time?  How has the enrollment in charter schools changed over time because of these changes?

Significance: After watching the documentary “The Lottery” I was moved to see parents crying over their children not gaining admissions into charter schools.  There is clearly something very special about the charter schools in NYC that causes parents to show up to the lottery each year and gamble with their children’s futures.  I would like to research what makes these parents keep coming back and how charter schools have improved over the years to make them even better and more attractive to parents.  Parents deserve the right to send their children to a high quality school despite geographical placement, demographics, race or socio-economic background and income.  I want to learn what charter schools in NYC are doing that puts them in position where they are in such high demand to gain admission.  I think it’s worth researching the rise of charter schools in NYC, the conflicts they faced over time in establishing themselves and finally I’d like to look into how the desire from parents to enroll their children in Charter schools over regular public schools has changed overtime.  Many articles are also suggestion that the charter schools have been improving over the years and they have increased their technology and parent involvement in the schooling system.  Lastly my good friend works with Success Charter Academy, (the largest charter school network in NYC) and has invited me to come watch the lottery and to spend a day in one of her schools and talk to a facility member.


Primary Sources:
I will be going to interview with a member of the Success Charter Academy.
I will be going to the Lottery in April.

Secondary Sources:
Brill, Steven. Class Warfare: Inside the Fight to Fix America’s Schools. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2011. Print.

Green, Elizabeth. “GothamSchools — Daily Independent Reporting on NYC Public Schools.” For the First Time, Charter Schools Will Open up to 4-year-olds. 29 Jan. 2011. Web. 04 Apr. 2012. <http://gothamschools.org/2009/01/29/for-the-first-time-charter-schools-will-open-up-to-4-year-olds/>.

“Harlem Success Academy Case Study.” – CellTrust®. 2011. Web. 04 Apr. 2012. <http://www.celltrust.com/products/sms-gateway/celltrust-harlem.html>.

Madeleine Sackler. The Lottery. Video documentary, 2010. http://thelotteryfilm.com/.

Phillips, Anna M. “Budget Analysis: Charter Spending Squeezing Education Budget.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 29 Mar. 2012. Web. 04 Apr. 2012. <http://www.nytimes.com/schoolbook/2012/03/29/budget-analysis-charter-spending-squeezing-education-budget/>.

Interagency Council on Ending the Achievement Gap

Posted on

HARTFORD, CT – On February 29, 2012 the Interagency Council met at the Legislature Office Building to discuss the Achievement Gap in Hartford.  The meeting was called “Interagency Council on Ending the Achievement Gap Meeting.”  About 20 people attended this meeting and there were 9 delegates on the panel.  The meeting started with Shefan Dryor speaking about “Community Schools for Connecticut.” Community Schools for Connecticut’s motto is “Every child and every school is capable of excellence given the right conditions for learning. “  Dryor touched on many different components of the Community Schools, like what does a community school look like, how do they accomplish the schools, and what do Community Schools cost.  He continued to demonstrate the various details of his plan through the usage of 6 key principles. In order of 1-6 his principles state:

1. Enhance families’ access to high-quality early childhood education opportunities

2. Authorize the intensive interventions and enable the supports necessary to turn around Connecticut’s lowest-performing schools and districts

3. Expand the availability of high quality school models, including traditional schools, magnets, charters, and others

4. Unleash innovation by removing red tape and other barriers to success, especially in high performing schools and districts

5. Ensure that our schools are home to the very best teachers and principals working within a fair system that values their skill and effectiveness over seniority and tenure

6. Deliver more resources, targeted to districts with the greatest need provided that they embrace key reforms that position our students for success

These six principles were all accepted and applauded by the members of the panel.

One of the panel delegates responded to Dryor by saying “I applaud what you did, it was very well executed,” she followed this compliment by telling Dryor that she believes education is the cornerstone of economic success so whatever she could do to support him, she’d be more than willing.

After we heard from Shefan Dryor, Miguel Cardona, and the Principal of Hanover Elementary School, spoke a few words about how he was excited to hear about the new plans for Community Schools in Connecticut.  Cardona said, “I’m really glad to see urgency, we need urgency!”  Cardona stressed that although the students are their first priority in education, people need to reach out to the parents in order to really help schools succeed.  Miguel expressed his hopes that they’d get many people to come and support these new Community Schools.  He also quickly mentioned the fact that there were hundreds of people at the meeting to keep liquor stores open later in Connecticut (a fact that many people in the audience were snickering about) and that he hoped they could get a similar turn out.

One of the more interesting parts of the meeting was when David Fink spoke about housing and how it can relate to educational success.  Fink started first by saying that he supported the new ideas for the Community Schools but he said that failing to address the period between 3pm and 9am when students are out of school could make the classroom gains “unsustainable.  Fink gave us some solid facts right away saying, “The problems faced by children and their families are quite simply, the lack of supply of affordable homes.  We don’t have a wide enough array of affordable options. Because of a supply shortage, 51% of renters and 39% of homeowners spend more than 30% of their income on housing.  Of about 400,000 renting households in CT, 27% make less than half the median income and spend more then half that meager income on housing!”  Fink also continues by saying that parents who cannot afford nice housing, generally live in old houses that may still have lead paint and asbestos which can lead to bad health problems for the children.  I found these facts to be disheartening.  It is very interesting to think that while everyone is worried about education reform, there are so many factors outside of the classroom that influence a students education.  Fink told us that in order to develop more affordable housing, we should build these houses along the railways so that low-income families are in easy access of transportation to schools.

The panel agreed with Fink saying that housing and support outside of the school are both extremely important but they questioned what the zoning boards in many towns would say about creating low income housing in their neighborhoods.  Fink was well prepared with answers.  He told us that you have to tell the zoning boards things like, there won’t be criminals moving into the houses, there will be hard working parents who want to help their kids succeed.  He says, “You tell the zoning board these things, and they’ll believe what they want.”

Overall, the feeling of this meeting was very hopeful.  People called this year “the year of education” and everyone seemed excited and positive about the Community Schools.  The next meeting for the Leadership Team is on April 12th.

Bobby and Caroline inside the Legislature Building

Plagiarism Exercise

Posted on

Example 1: Plagiarize the original text by copying portions of it word-for-word.

So, a teachers who has ranked at the 43rd percentile compared to his or her peers might actually be anywhere between the 15th percentile and the 71st percentile. The value-added scores also fluctuate between years.

Example 2: Plagiarize the original text by paraphrasing its structure too closely, without copying it word-for-word.

There will always be unsteadiness in these rankings, some of which will mirror “real” performance changes. But it is hard to trust any performance rating if the probability of getting the same rating next year is no better than a coin toss.

Example 3: Plagiarize the original text by paraphrasing its structure too closely, and include a citation. Even though you cited it, paraphrasing too closely is still plagiarism.

No calculation is just right, but the approximations of value-added and other “growth models,” which attempt to separate the “true effect” of an individual teacher through his or her students’ test scores are frighteningly error-prone in any given year. Sean Corcoran, an economist at New York University, observed the teacher evaluation systems in New York City and Houston. He found that the average “margin of error” of a New York City teacher was plus or minus 28 points (The Death and Life of the Great American School System).

Example 4: Properly paraphrase from the original text by restating the author’s ideas in different words and phrases, and include a citation to the original source.

A teacher’s ranking compared to her students test scores is not always accurate.  The students could have high test scores and still have a subpar teacher.  There is a lot of error in the data that tries to explain that a teachers rankings is in correlation with her students (The Death and Life of the Great American School System).

Example 5: Properly paraphrase from the original text by restating the author’s ideas in different words and phrases, add a direct quote, and include a citation to the original source.

A teacher’s ranking compared to her students test scores is not always accurate.  The students could have high test scores and still have a subpar teacher.  There is a lot of error in the data that tries to explain that a teachers rankings is in correlation with her students, “The value-added scores also fluctuate between years. A teacher who gets a particular ranking in year one is likely to get a different ranking the next year. There will always be instability in these rankings, some of which will reflect “real” performance changes. But it is difficult to trust any performance rating if the odds of getting the same rating next year are no better than a coin toss,” (The Death and Life of the Great American School System).