Principal Seeks to Replace Student Body, Improve Scores


–Kansas City, KS

In a bold move sure to spark debate in political and education circles, Karen Herbst, principal of J.C. Harmon High School in Kansas City, KS, is making a most unusual request. Principal Herbst has asked the Kansas State Commissioner of Education, Dr. Diane DeBacker, to replace the entire student body at J.C. Harmon High School with students from another high school where test scores are higher.

In a letter to the Commissioner, Principal Herbst writes:

Standardized test scores at J.C. Harmon have dropped or remained stagnant since NCLB started. We have fired all the teachers…three times. We could fill the convention center with a Teach for America reunion from this school. We have fired principals. I am the fifth principal to run this palace of potential in the last eight years. We have increased the number of required meetings and useless documents and documentation of the useless meetings. We have SMART goals and data trackers. We say things like “increase the rigor” and “data-driven” and “authentic assessment” almost constantly. You should hear us. We mutter these things in our sleep.

Plus, we have computers and smart boards and wireless this and that and smart shit connected to the Interweb all over this goddamn place. We have…I don’t know…like, 50 non-profit groups running around here doing tutoring, mentoring, arts and crafts, poetry clubs, science clubs, handing out money, taking people camping who hate camping, and who knows what the hell else.

And, somehow, we still suck.

J. C. Harmon High is…a school. And we are proud to be a part of the State of Kansas, sort of. (That guy from that weird church who protests at funerals sort of creeps us out. And so does Sam Brownback.) But the reality is that, as far as schools go, people don’t seem to be learning all that much and we are sort of out of ideas. Having exhausted all other avenues, I hereby request that you immediately replace all students currently enrolled at J. C. Harmon with students from some other school in the state that has historically performed well on standardized tests.

We have changed everything else here. And all it’s done is branded some good people as bad teachers. People have been demoralized and simply left the profession because of how much they have been told they suck. And that’s all for the good, perhaps. But perhaps not.

But let’s think outside the box. Let’s change the other side of the equation. I challenge you to give me students from the highest performing school in our district and we will see if my lazy-ass, ineffective teachers can keep the scores at J.C Harmon down. I mean, this is what we do, right? Low-Scores-R-Us. If we can bring scores down to regular J.C Harmon-type levels in two to three years, the entire teaching and administrative staff will resign. Let us show you how ineffective we can be, no matter who you put in our classrooms.

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40 Responses to Principal Seeks to Replace Student Body, Improve Scores

  1. louise says:

    How I love the “palace of potential.”
    They can have my students, provided I can shade the truth about their scores just a little.

  2. Sean says:

    “smart shit connected to the Interweb all over this goddamn place.”
    I laughed until I cried……Good shit man, good shit……

  3. Matt says:

    My favorite part was “taking people camping who hate camping”. HA!

    Hilarious, and too true. Well done.

  4. amy says:

    i read often. love you. like seriously, i’m in love.
    this is brilliant.

  5. adinasi says:

    I laughed until it hurt, because the truth hurts often.
    The 1959 Packers went from also-rans to champions when they hired Lombardi.
    If an Air Force fighter Wing fails an inspection, you fire the commander, not the pilots.
    The Iraq war was a mess until Patraeus showed up.
    GE was great under Jack Welch, but now sh@@ty under Immelt.
    Schools’ stink because the leadership stinks: superintendents, school boards, principals. It’s not the teachers, but the leadership; we must direct folk’s ire where it needs to be directed.

    • Maria Trippett says:

      I am in total agreement with that, it is not our teachers that suck, it is the leadership that stinks, get rid of your good teachers and what are u left with teachers that are there for the money ha! and for the vacations, give your good teachers a chance, but also look at the kind of students we have in our classrooms now, some don’t even care they are there because they have to be there and for no other reason, This no child left behind is a pile of shit

    • Curtis says:

      To Adinasi,
      Not all the time will the leadership stink. My wife is a teacher and I have noticed that the leadership here is great. The staff wonderful and caring of students. A lot of the problems lie with the students not giving one care about their grades since they are probably dealing drugs and making more money than the teachers and admin. But there lies the root, why are the kids dealing? Maybe because they learned the trade from their parents or the parents have not given the kids the home life and role models they need, and then send the kids to school at a form of babysitting.
      Overall, yes there are bad teachers, there is bad leadership, but most of the problems lie with the students and parents. And of course the useless unions that suck money from the teachers who are opposed to getting rid of bad teachers and hiring good ones.

    • Gigi says:

      So true….my principal is the epitome of incompetence, inefficiency and unprofessionalism…yet my future is in her hands because I am probationary. My kids have the highest grades in the 2nd grade at my school…consistently outperform everyone on the district exams…and yet, she doesn’t want to renew me for next year…why? Because she doesn’t like me. That’s it. Bitch.

  6. Erin says:

    I wish I could replace my 7th period. Ooops…did I say that?

  7. wardad says:

    Jeffery Canada did this with one of his 7th grade classes. Fired all the teachers and the entire 7th grade student body.

  8. Sabrina says:

    Laughed till I cried. This is awesome.

  9. coachmere says:

    I this post so much…

  10. coachmere says:

    Dang…can’t edit posts? I put the word “heart” between > and < (but in the opposite direction). That's what I get for posting before I see whether HTML tags work or not…

  11. Kim says:


  12. Doug Rogers says:

    Perhaps this school does exist and the principal is as frustrated as many teachers! It is a reflection on our cynical society to blame. It is time to place the stones beneath our feet and use them as support for our future steps. The stones to which I am referring are the stones that we are hurling at public education. The learning process is unique and once we recognize that teachers are capible of finding the appropriate technique for each student’s unique learning style then we will return the freedom to teach to the teacher. Support your favorite teahcer this year with a thank you note!

  13. Sandy says:

    How are you connected with J.C. Harmon and/or the area? Just curious!

    • mrteachbad says:

      Not connected at all. All Fake Education News stories will reference a real school, and sometimes some real people. I pick them alphabetically. The first FEN was about a school in a city that starts with A. The second was about a city that starts with B. And so on. I find a city, find a school, do a bit of easy research and then write.

  14. gateach says:

    “increase the rigor” and “data-driven” and “authentic assessment”
    I think they feel if they say these words often enough, someone will eventually know what they mean and understand them. Kinda like “Beetlejuice” or “Candyman”

  15. Jenny says:

    I loved this post! I laughed so hard my stomach still hurts. However, my boyfriend who is a teacher is not laughing. He teaches at a school much like the one you described and your post perfectly described the nightmare of wacked-out expectations that the teachers at his school have to deal with every day.

  16. A HS Math Teacher in DCPS says:

    Wow, this is on point and brilliant. First time I am reading this blog, and am bookmarking it for future laughs. Thanks for exposing the ridiculousness of the situation teachers are faced with everyday…

  17. T.L says:

    WOW! Truth hurts huh? I would love to see the results of an entire new student body, how do you explain those results statistically. The sad truth is all this blah,blah, blah with our education system is $$$$$$$$ and how much can the big wigs get. They don’t care about the student just dumb test scores.

  18. Elina M. says:

    I would not mind at all if my Co- teacher could have been one of the fired teachers!!!!

  19. Rick Nelson says:

    I’ll take some of those students…the ones who throw colored pencils, stand on desks..why I asked..”Because the bell hasn’t rung yet!” ??? Has anyone ever been in a school with no administration….they run pretty smoothly….why not grant administrators more sick leave!!!

    • Why do they do that?

      According to our administration, the only reason kids misbehave is that the teacher failed to engage them in the lesson.

      I guess this also covers fighting in the hallways, selling drugs and gambling in the bathrooms, cursing out adults, and leaving school any time you feel like it.

    • dickrichy says:

      I worked at a school with no administrator, or at least the world’s laziest administrator and it doesn’t run smoothly. It doesn’t run at all. fish rot from the head first.

  20. Curtis says:

    This was a great story. I was laughing myself silly.

  21. Shaun says:

    I’m a teacher writing a novel with this kind of craziness in it. Some of the scenes I have made up–but most come from my day to day experience! I just found your blog from a facebook link–thank you so much for this!

  22. Our superintendent just said our teacher evaluations would be linked to our student’s standardized test scores. Sign me up for a new boatload of kids please. By the way, I just started my own teaching blog on wordpress–also with fake news (that has more truth than reality).

  23. JimN says:

    Correction please At GE, Immelt is doing poorly BECAUSE Jack Welch did so well. Welch was expert at making things look good today without caring about tomorrow. As a manager, he was full of great ideas that never seemed to get implemented because there was no money and no management backing. But the PR sounded good. I think he actually believed his PR. His mantra was “work smarter;” i.e., he didn’t know how to make us more efficient or effective, he just cut the workforce and told us to get the work done anyway. Sound familiar?

  24. Dave Briggman says:

    Odd how this piece contains much of what’s going on in my local school system.

  25. This was greatness!! A fantastic piece of fake news!

    Don’t you just love the “Your entire worth as a teacher is tied to student test scores, BUT don’t you dare teach to the test,” dichotomy?

  26. Miss Teacher says:

    Laughed out loud at this part: “We have SMART goals and data trackers. We say things like “increase the rigor” and “data-driven” and “authentic assessment” almost constantly. You should hear us. We mutter these things in our sleep.”

    Sounds like me and my coworkers!

  27. ASTRAKA says:

    Terrific take on all the nonsense that we have to accept. One minor suggestion….You forgot to include “differentiated instruction” in a class of 45 students.

  28. Pingback: America's Students Achieving the Possible (ASAP) » Satire or Not, this Post is Spot-on

  29. Maria says:

    This was FAKE?

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