Students First? Michelle Rhee’s report card: Is the issue more choices or better choices?

Michelle Rhee's advocacy group, StudentsFirst, released state report cards, but the grades have no relation to student achievement.

Michelle Rhee's advocacy group, StudentsFirst, released state report cards, but the grades have no relation to student achievement.

All the discussion about expanding school choice through private school tax credits, charter schools and vouchers glosses over a critical caveat: More choices don’t necessarily lead to better choices.

Earlier this week, Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst organization released a report card on state education policy determined in large part by the extent of school choice afforded families and the effort to dismantle teacher unions.

By focusing on public policy, the StudentsFirst report card looked more on State Houses than schoolhouses. Georgia earned a D-plus because StudentsFirst felt the state doesn’t go far enough in providing information and choices to  parents.

While the StudentsFirst report card considerations are extensive, they don’t include student outcomes, which is why Louisiana dramatically outscores Massachusetts, the state that leads the nation in academic comparisons.

StudentsFirst awards its highest marks to Louisiana ( B-), Florida (B-) and Indiana (C+). Massachusetts earned the same grade as Georgia, a D-plus.

My first reaction on reading the StudentsFirst report card: Does it matter whether a state offers parents more choices or gets rid of unions if neither impacts student achievement?

Does StudentsFirst believe parents would prefer their children attend school in Louisiana over Massachusetts because Louisiana offers wider school choice and weaker teacher unions?

Here’s what another report card — issued by the Council for a Better Louisiana — said about Louisiana’s academic performance: “On the most recent national skills test, NAEP, Louisiana ranks 50th among states in the number of 4th graders who read at the proficient level. And, there has only been a dismal 5% gain in the past 17 years for 4th graders reading at the ‘Basic’ or above level. Just as disconcerting, the number of 8th graders reading at the ‘Basic’ or above level has only increased by 1% in the past 11 years. Both 4th and 8th graders in Louisiana, however, now score significantly better in math than in 1992.”

Massachusetts students ranked first among states in 4th grade reading and in 8th grade mathematics, and tied for first in 4th grade math and 8th grade reading in the 2011 NAEP tests.

In its release on Georgia, StudentsFirst said:

Nationally, nearly 90 percent of the states received less than a “C” grade on the State Policy Report Card, and no state earned higher than a “B-”. Georgia was awarded an overall grade of “D+,” with a grade point average of 1.42, for its performance in three critical areas: elevating teaching, empowering parents and spending public dollars wisely.

The state ranked 15th nationally, but was praised in the report for elevating the teaching profession by eliminating seniority-based layoffs, and requiring districts to use educator performance as the primary factor in determining layoffs.

“The StudentsFirst Policy Report Cards serve as a road map for leaders and lawmakers at the State Capitol, and an opportunity to cultivate meaningful reforms that put students first,” said Bradford Swann, Georgia state director for StudentsFirst. “We believe that every child in Georgia can achieve at a high level regardless of their background or circumstance, but we must have the right measures in place that provide a supportive and enriching education environment for reform to thrive. This includes continuing to elevate the teacher profession by identifying and retaining quality teachers, as well as ensuring that tax dollars are being spent wisely to improve outcomes for students.”

“The StudentsFirst state report card is a thoughtful, well-researched tool that will help guide lawmakers toward putting policies in place that have the power to transform our schools,” said Senate Education Chairman Fran Millar. “It focuses on the right policies, such as those that give parents more information, reward good teachers, and force government to spend tax dollars wisely.”

“Moving forward I expect StudentsFirst to be an integral partner to the education reform community because their singular focus on putting student-centered laws and policies in place at the state level is a vital part of improving our schools,” said Rep. Alisha Thomas Morgan, D-Cobb. “There is no one silver bullet to solving the crisis in American public education, but it’s clear that putting the right laws in place can truly transform student achievement, and I’m glad StudentsFirst is waging that battle.

Ross Eisenbrey, vice president of the Economic Policy Institute, had a different reaction to the inaugural StudentsFirst report card than Millar and Morgan.

From his blog:

Michelle Rhee and her misnamed school privatization organization, StudentsFirst, recently issued a report card on the nation’s schools that has been roundly criticized, and rightly so. Rhee ranks all 50 states and the District of Columbia by how closely they hew to her vision of school “reform,” which involves high stakes testing, maximizing the number of charter schools, expanding voucher programs that use tax dollars to pay for private schools, and eliminating teacher tenure and pension plans.

Rhee is so keen to reduce the pensions of teachers and their reward for longevity that she makes their elimination an “anchor policy” and gives it triple weight in her ranking methodology.

She also cares deeply about and grades the states on removing school governance from local control and the influence of democratically elected school boards. She prefers giving governance instead to the kind of mayoral control or state control that put her in charge of the D.C. school system under Mayor Adrian Fenty. That gets triple weight, too.

Curiously, despite Rhee’s love of high stakes testing, student performance as measured by the gold-standard test of student achievement, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), plays no role in her ranking of the states. These “rankings” put Louisiana and Florida (both bottom 10 on the NAEP), for example, far ahead of high-achieving states like Massachusetts, Minnesota, and New Jersey, all of which ranked in the top three on the NAEP.

Doug Henwood took a close look at Rhee’s rankings and found they have a negative correlation with success on the NAEP: “[T]he higher the StudentsFirst score, the lower the NAEP reading score. The correlation on math is even worse, -0.25.”

{Here is an excerpt from Henwood’s “Left Business Observer” blog: “StudentsFirst has Louisiana at #1 in its rankings — but the state ranks 49th in reading and 47th in math. North Dakota, which StudentsFirst ranks 51st, comes in at #14 in reading scores and #7 in math. Massachusetts, which ranks #1 in both reading and math scores (and which is also the most unionized state for teachers in the country), comes in at #14 on the Rhee scale.

If you group the states by their StudentsFirst grades and look at the average test scores and rankings, you can understand why Rhee & Co. didn’t bother to get into outcomes. The two states that got B-’s did almost 8 points worse on math than those that got F’s, and over 9 points worse on reading. The B- states were toward the bottom of the rankings, and the F were above the middle.}

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

55 comments Add your comment

Mary Elizabeth

January 10th, 2013
4:25 am

More from Doug Henwood’s blog (cited above), regarding Rhee:

“Rhee herself has a rather checkered history. When she was being vetted to run the DC public schools, she claimed miraculous results in her previous work in Baltimore—but, as the Washington Post put it, ’she could not produce data to support [her] statement.’ That didn’t stop her from getting the job. And when she left the Washington post, an investigation by USA Today found strong evidence of cheating behind her claims of vastly improved test scores. And now she has a foundation, promoting the same agenda using data that can’t survive fact-checking. But the corporate and financial elite loves her education agenda, and when the elite loves you, there’s no blemish that can’t be overlooked.”
____________________________________________________

And more from Ross Eisenbrey’s blog (cited above), regarding Rhee:

“When you consider that Rhee’s rankings actually punish states that limit class size, it’s easy to understand their negative correlation with achievement.

Rhee’s right-wing agenda of privatization, de-unionization, and the funneling of public tax dollars into corporate coffers is becoming clearer to the public—and perhaps even to her own staff. Coupled with her recent stumble over the shootings at the elementary school in Newtown, Conn., her reluctance to oppose a Michigan bill to allow concealed weapons in schools, and the PBS Frontline exposé about cheating scandals during her tenure as chancellor in D.C., Rhee and her agenda may be losing their glitz and appeal.

We can only hope so.”

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/education-of-michelle-rhee/
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It is not surprising to me that Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst organization is supported by Georgia’s Senate Education Committee Chair Fran Millar, a member of ALEC, as well as state Rep. Alisha Morgan, a strong proponent of the Charter School Amendment to Georgia’s Constitution.

Private Citizen

January 10th, 2013
5:17 am

If Michele Rhee ain’t got it, who are contemporary education ideologues who have the right idea, so to speak? Any suggestions? And I mean individuals, not “foundation people” where the tank is more important than the driver.

crankee-yankee

January 10th, 2013
5:20 am

Michelle Rhee is a fraud who prostitutes herself to the far right power brokers. Anyone who has researched her “accomplishments” would see what she is, there is a reason she no longer is in charge of a major metropolitan education system or even a small town system. Just look at her verifiable record of student achievement. She’s just another Beverly Hall.

fjeremey

January 10th, 2013
5:43 am

P.S. on Florida – Last year when the results of their new, more rigorous, state exams came in the scores were lower than they would have liked. Did they view this as baseline data gathered from a new assessment instrument to judge future performance? Did they use this data to examine instructional strategies and make positive change? No. They lowered the pass score, which had the effect of raising the pass rate, and patted themselves on the back for a job well done.

Rhee, and her ilk, have no interest in authentic student learning. To be honest, I am not sure what drives them. The grades given out here are meaningless without using student achievement as part of the rating, and even more worthless as the grades are based on whether or not the states’ policies agree with Rhee or not. If I graded students on whether they agreed with me or not, and failed those that did not regardless of actual performance, I would, and should, be fired. Let’s fire Rhee, she’s not helping

Married with (School) Children

January 10th, 2013
5:49 am

“Adell Cothorne was principal of the District’s Noyes Education Campus for one year, in 2010-11. She told “Frontline” that just after students took a midyear practice version of the city’s annual standardized test, she stumbled upon three staff members sitting late at night in a room strewn with more than 200 test booklets.

One of the adults was at a desk, holding an eraser. The other two sat at a table, booklets open before them.

“One staff member said to me, in a lighthearted sort of way, ‘Oh, principal, I can’t believe this kid drew a spider on the test and I have to erase it,’ ” Cothorne told filmmakers, offering the first such direct testimony about potential tampering with answer sheets in D.C. schools.

Source:
http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-01-04/local/36209509_1_school-reform-rhee-long-troubled-schools

Cindy Lutenbacher

January 10th, 2013
6:21 am

Thank you, Mary Elizabeth, for I couldn’t remember the details about Rhee’s past that make her so untrustworthy. I think I also read that she’s taking in something like a half million in salary from her organization, so she has quite a stake in the continuance of Students First (sic).
In theory, having choices about education is not a bad thing. BUT I believe that Eisenbrey gets it exactly right: Rhee is all about “privatization, de-unionization, and the funneling of public tax dollars into corporate coffers.” These goals have nothing to do with real choices.

d

January 10th, 2013
6:42 am

I’m still trying to figure out in the wake of the cheating scandal in DC, how Michelle Rhee isn’t receiving the same demonization that Beverly Hall did. The situations are very similar, but Rhee is deemed by the right as the savior of education.

teacher&mom

January 10th, 2013
6:57 am

Michelle Rhee : Education Reform

Karadashians: Parenting Skills

Just because someone is an expert at “selling” themselves to the national media, doesn’t mean they have right answers.

catlady

January 10th, 2013
6:59 am

From my post on measuring teacher effectiveness the other day: “I also note that Michelle Rhee’s group has rated each state’s education situation and (surprise) NO STATE got higher than a B-. How about that? Of course, if Michelle were in charge of it, HER state would get an A because she would just make up the scores (see her previous “work”)

Colonel Jack

January 10th, 2013
7:57 am

Could someone — ANYONE — explain to me why anybody actually listens to this ridiculous woman? Michelle Rhee is, as has been noted, just another Beverly Hall. I have no idea what she’s really about, but I can tell you this … whatever it is, has nothing to do with educating children. Why do people still listen to anything she has to say?

Bette Holland

January 10th, 2013
8:04 am

The frightening thing is that Rhee is getting national coverage on major TV programs/news. Many states are doing the things she says will improve education, when all that will be improved is tax dollars used for private schools and for-profit management companies. If two of our state legislators praised her report you can bet in the next general assembly our legislatures will be looking into expanding vouchers and instituting the parent trigger. They have already begun attacking teacher pensions. And yes, there are many things we can do to improve public education, but no one in these states are asking what it might be. Maybe we should talk to Massachusetts and ask what they do to have such high student achievement. We also need to focus on ways to lower our drop out rate. But all we are doing in Georgia is touting charter schools. That’s not reforming public education, it is degrading it!

catlady

January 10th, 2013
8:14 am

We grant authority to the sorriest people sometimes! Guess there is always a sucker waiting to be taken.

Private Citizen

January 10th, 2013
8:29 am

The frightening thing is that Rhee is getting national coverage on major TV programs/news.

There’s a lot of things like that. In the United States, since Ronald Reagan removed the anti trust laws that protected us from centralised ownership of industry, it seems weird stuff gets spotlighted in the media – almost like a guiding counsel is sending us a message, and I don’t mean an elected guiding counsel. Have you seen this? It’s plenty weird. And note how the official big name news agencies seem to be lined up on a calendar to give this guy bandwidth. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=QNfesyWUeZk# Somebody online researched this guy and said he is the town representative for cable advisory council for Connecticut, although he is represented as a dog groomer / retired psychologist. “The Cable Advisory Council is a Legal entity of the State of Connecticut, composed of appointees who serve and perform the work of the Cable Advisory Council.”

This guy’s acting is weird, and he’s even got it rehearsed in Spanish. The question, why is this guy featured on major media, FoxNews, CNN, CBS Morning News, the Today Show, Inside Edition, and Nancy Grace.

Dewey Cheatham & Howe

January 10th, 2013
8:30 am

All of this personal,ad hominem invective aimed at Rhee is indicative of one thing- She represents a threat to the status quo,so she must be demonized.

You people in education created her. You did it by your arrogant,disrespectful attitude toward the people that own the school system that you work for-The taxpayers. You hate them. You malign,impugn and condescend to them daily in your jobs and by a factor of ten on these pages.They’ve finally had enough and they are turning to people like Rhee because they don’t know what they want,but they don’t like what they’ve got.

If you people and your authority figures would offer some real leadership on education issues instead of finger pointing and name calling,people like Rhee would never see the light of day.

Private Citizen

January 10th, 2013
8:33 am

And no one has corroborated his story of “the six children” or “the school bus driver” and on Google maps there is a fire dept located between the school and these guy’s house and his weird story that is distributed via U. S. major media. No one has even confirmed this bizarre repeated emotion-laden testimony prior to it being distributed via the major outlets -> delivered to the people, the public.

sneak peak into education

January 10th, 2013
8:35 am

Let;’s not forget Michelle’s brief stint as a TFA teacher in Maryland. She openly admitted to duct taping her students’ mouths closed. When she removed the tape, their lips were sore and bleeding. She apparently found this quite funny. This is just one tiny piece of a puzzle that should make us RHEEject everything about this woman. There is such a huge list of highly questionable things about this woman, from her own bleating about how she raised test scores in Maryland at such a dramatic level, but has no evidence to prove it, to the huge cheating scandal in D.C, and failed to have them properly investigated.

teacher&mom

January 10th, 2013
8:40 am

It certainly doesn’t hurt to give most states a failing grade and then take a trip on the news circuit touting the “solution” to the problem.

To create a grading scale that proves your organization has all the answers is very savvy business move.

Never doubt for a minute that education is a money maker for Rhee. It is her key to stardom and riches.

Rhee is a master of media sound bites. She rarely places herself in a situation where she has to debate an expert. The few times it has happened she ends up sorely lacking.

sneak peak into education

January 10th, 2013
8:41 am

@Dewey, Cheatham and Howe-You forget that teachers, principals, central-office staff, etc… are tax payers too.

living in an outdated ed system

January 10th, 2013
8:43 am

You might find my POV surprising, but I was actually not planning on reviewing the report until someone told me I should. I take it “with a grain of salt.” I have concerns about not including student achievement; however, I do believe some of our policies are not constructive to education reform, and I find the data access to be extremely frustrating. The problem I have, is actually as @Maureen pointed out, which is that the comparisons make no sense. We are near the bottom on graduation rates, yet we rank 15th in this report? That makes no sense to me, and what does it say about the state of public education in our country??

I will say that Rep. Morgan is correct when she says we need to create better student-centered laws in place at the state level.

Private Citizen

January 10th, 2013
8:44 am

Mikey D.

January 10th, 2013
8:44 am

I guess that when it’s facts and reality vs. ideology, Rhee and those like her will fall on the side of ideology. Not much of a surprise. Pathetic, but not surprising.

CA Maestro

January 10th, 2013
8:47 am

…in other news, the Bible is true because the Bible says so…

Clarence

January 10th, 2013
8:48 am

My favorite part is where the report card implies teachers are dying to be saved from TRS…

Pride and Joy

January 10th, 2013
8:54 am

Eisenbery’s essay lost all credibility with me when he spoke of the “democratically elected school board” as a good thing. Anyone with any knowledge of the APS or Dekalb systems knows that the “democratically elected school boards” are rotten, corrupt, and a pox on our public schools.
Rhee’s evaluation system is equally ridiculous. Anyone who would give praise to the LA school system obviously has a screw loose.
MA kids get a decent education. I don’t care how they are doing it as long as they are doing it. We should look to them to help GA along, not praise LA.
A decent education is the backbone of our democratic society. We better figure this out before our nation become servants to regimes like China.

lahopital

January 10th, 2013
9:01 am

I know they are just allegations at this point, but it’s enough to make one wonder whether Rhee is simply a Beverly Hall who got out before getting caught.

Amazed

January 10th, 2013
9:25 am

Why are you giving Rhee and her Students First group the time in your blog? She was not a successful superintendent in D.C. She was just a lighting rod for a specific agenda. I guess those that create chaos get the exposure. Wonder where the funding comes from to continue to push the issues you have mentioned?

William Casey

January 10th, 2013
9:40 am

I must agree with DEWEY, CHEATHAM & HOWE that Michelle Rhee is a threat to the status quo. She’s a threat in precisely the way Al Capone was in the ’20’s. Michelle Rhee is all about Michelle Rhee’s career.

frankie

January 10th, 2013
9:58 am

michelle Rhee is a joke, she is no authority on anything othr than how to turn a trick. How can anyone really believe anything she says….
The idiots on the washington DC school board had to change the position descrription to fit her resume..she could not be hired as a superintendent of shools she had to hired as chancellor of shools….why ask…because she wasn’t qualified from the beginning. her husband is the only reason she got consideration…

I hope states go forward with testing teachers like they do lawyers…Michelle Rhee would not pass it or even get 30% of the answers right….

Georgia

January 10th, 2013
10:28 am

Donald Trump actually sued Rhee for saying, “You’re fired” so many times in the advancement of her career. I guess he lost. Don’t worry, Rhee only fired the ones who weren’t cheating. The Peter Principle before our eyes. This is the perfect look at how data gets skewed from reality, in real time, with the best intentions…the Three R’sRus. Rhee cut through those schools like she was the star of The Apprentice video game….Lara Croft: Homeroom Raider…….and that hair!

[...] Because the Education Week rankings are untainted by any political or philosophical underpinnings, they are taken more seriously than some other rankings. They are largely a data-driven measurement but they do look at a wide range of indicators. (For a more ranking with a more limited, see earlier post this morning on the StudentsFirst state report cards based on education policies.) [...]

Mary Elizabeth

January 10th, 2013
11:01 am

From the link provided by Married with (School) Children at 5:49 am:

“Much of the film, ‘The Education of Michelle Rhee,’ draws on footage previously broadcast in a dozen of Merrow’s ‘PBS NewsHour’ reports. It chronicles the failings of the school system and the chancellor’s efforts to turn it around by closing schools with low enrollment and firing ineffective teachers, principals and central office workers.

In one well-known scene, Rhee fires a principal on tape, telling him in front of the film crew that his leadership had been “completely unimpressive.”
——————————————————————–

I have seen the documentary “The Education of Michelle Rhee.” For anyone to publicly “fire a principal on tape, telling him in front of the film crew that his leadership had been ‘completely unimpressive,’ ” indicates, to me, that that educational leader probably has the sensibility of the bully. Michelle Rhee spoke, with relish, in that documentary about having fired more people than anyone else. For educational leaders to have the sensibility of the bully is not good for education. Education, throughout our nation, needs genuine reforming, but it needs reform that will come from educational leaders who have historical and social insight, and who are equipped to handle, with care, all who are part of the education of our young – the students, their parents, teachers, and principals. Educational leaders who have wisdom, instead of the sensibility of the bully, will better be able to implement changes in education that will have positive, long-lasting results for students.

Georgia’s General Assembly cannot expect long-lasting, positive results – in the education of all of Georgia’s students – if they continue to cut Georgia’s public educational budget and if they continue to dismantle public education through cutting teachers’ benefits, such as teachers’ pensions. Georgia’s public school teachers (and other state employees) will likely receive no cost-of-living increases again this year. See below:
====================================================

AJC OnLine, Posted: 7:25 a.m. Monday, Jan. 7, 2013:

“Lawmakers face another year of spending cuts
By James Salzer

Georgia lawmakers head into the 2013 session next week facing the same problem they had in 2012. And 2011, 2010 and 2009: more people using state services, not enough money to pay for them.

So the Legislature will get a plan from Gov. Nathan Deal that funds the basics, includes another round of spending cuts and probably not a lot else. There will be few if any new major initiatives and likely no cost-of-living raises for 200,000 teachers and state employees. Deal will release his plan Jan. 17. . . .”
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bigbill

January 10th, 2013
11:48 am

Why would Georgia State Representative Alisha Thomas Morgan, an African-American Democratic Representative from Cobb County with ostensibly progressive, civil-rights-oriented credentials, give a ringing endorsement to StudentsFirst in it’s press release about Georgia’s score on StudentsFirst survey? Why would Representative Morgan vigorously support the passage of the Georgia charter school amendment when progressive Democrats like Senator Vincent Fort and civil rights leaders like Joseph Lowery opposed it? Why would Representative Morgan appear last September 21, 2012 (just before the election) as a panelist on a panel discussion in connection with StudentsFirst’s Michelle Rhee’s screening of the (ALEC-drafted parent-trigger law) school choice propaganda movie, “Don’t Back Down” (financed by radical right-wing billionaires Philip Anschutz and Rupert Murdoch)? I do not know. I do know the following, however:

On October 8, 2012 StudentsFirst joined dozens of out of state pro-public school privatization, pro-choice, pro-charter school, pro-school voucher mostly radical right-wing Republican organizations and individuals in making huge contributions to Families for Better Public Schools, the main funding source supporting the charter school amendment. StudentsFirst contributed $250,000.00. StudentsFirst also contributed $2000.00 to Representative Morgan’s 2012 re-election campaign.

Extreme right-wing Republican billionaire Betsy Devos’s American Federation For Children (AFC), a major player in the pro-privatization “school choice” movement, contributed $2400.00 to Representative Morgan’s 2010 re-election campaign and $2000.00 to her 2012 re-election campaign. AFC also gave Representative Morgan an award.

Representative Morgan is married to David Morgan, a recently re-elected Democratic member of the Cobb County School Board. According to an article in the March 20, 2012 Marietta Daily Journal entitled “Morgans Campaign For School Choice,” Mr. Morgan’s “day job” is as “a registered lobbyist for the American Federation For Children which was previously named All Children Matter.”

http://mdjonline.com/view/full_story/17750748/article-Morgans-campaign-for-school-choice?instance=secondary_story_left_column

This article details Mr. Morgan’s extensive employment background in the world of charter schools. It makes for interesting reading. There are hundreds of news articles and opinion pieces on the internet about the hugely influential role of Betsy Devos and the American Federation For Children in the public school privatization-for-profit movement pushed nationwide by Devos and scores of other billionaire radical conservatives.

Private Citizen

January 10th, 2013
12:08 pm

Rhee might even believe what she promotes, but one thing is certain about the logic of her system, she is going to be paid more than the people she is “governing,” possibly and up to one of these foundation executive salaries.

bootney farnsworth

January 10th, 2013
12:25 pm

seem to remember Rhee left under a cloud of cheating questions concerning her DC miracle.

would I like to date her? goodness yes, she’s darn purty.
would I like to hire her? goodness no. if I want that kind of leadership, I’ll go get Beverly Hall. she did it better, more brazenly, and longer.

bootney farnsworth

January 10th, 2013
12:27 pm

Rhee should petition to be the next president of GPC.
after nearly two decades of Belcher and Tricoli, she’s fit right in

bootney farnsworth

January 10th, 2013
12:33 pm

@ william casey

are you thinking her excesses and out of control ego are going to eventually bring her down and take a lot of us with her?

bootney farnsworth

January 10th, 2013
12:36 pm

@ dewey

you got me curious: exactly how do we “hate” taxpayers?
please be as specific as possible.

I’m curious for a glimpse into how your mind works

Contempt for Change

January 10th, 2013
12:48 pm

Such comtempt for change. The gaurdians of the status quo are out in full force today.

Colonel Jack

January 10th, 2013
1:34 pm

@Contempt … Change is a good thing when it is progressive, proper, and beneficial. Change for the sake of change, or change that follows a purely political agenda, or change that is designed around a flawed idea, is not a good thing. I don’t think the status quo is very good, but I am quite certain that the lead being offered by Michelle Rhee is not very good either.

fjeremey

January 10th, 2013
1:34 pm

Good change is good. We need good change. Rhee does not bring good change. Let’s look to working models and emulate those elements that do work. Look to what the most successful schools and systems are doing; IB, Waldorf, Montessori, among others. These programs are high quality and produce excellent results. Of course they also emphasize student responsibility and eschew standard tests and/or curriculum; they don’t assume students are mere cogs for the machine, so I fear there is little chance of them being implemented on a large scale. It would just be too much for many in leadership to wrap their minds around.

Private Citizen

January 10th, 2013
2:13 pm

PBS Frontline program “The Education of Michelle Rhee” (53:40) http://video.pbs.org/video/2323979463/

10:10 am

January 10th, 2013
2:16 pm

Michelle Rhee’s credibility goes up with each union shill attacking her (above).

Beverly Fraud

January 10th, 2013
3:13 pm

“Such comtempt for change. The gaurdians of the status quo are out in full force today.”

Weren’t you the one praising Mussolini for making the trains run on time?

Private Citizen

January 10th, 2013
3:18 pm

Lady’s use of language:

Forthright: “I AM a change agent.”

“trying to hit (visit) as many schools as I possibly can this week before my one on one start with principals”

to a principal: “What academic gains can you guarantee this year?”

Private Citizen

January 10th, 2013
3:35 pm

She made a pretty serious error with the community by using some dishonest Delphi technique on them. She wanted to productively manage resources (sounds good) and close some half empty schools. The dishonest part is holding community meeting to “hear what the public had to say” whereas in truth she had zero interest in what the public had to so, so doing the “community meeting” ruse completely undermined her credibility is re: to trust.

Delphi technique: Hold community meetings seeking “input” for something with a predetermined outcome.

bootney farnsworth

January 10th, 2013
3:38 pm

@ 10:10

what is it about Rhee you like – besides most educators don’t like her?
or is that enough for you

FlaTony

January 10th, 2013
4:27 pm

The rating scales that were used were horribly stilted to factors that have no track record for improving student achievement. She has a single agenda and has lots of funding to back her. Very dangerous.

10:10 am

January 10th, 2013
4:37 pm

@ blabney feignsworth:

What do I like about Michelle Rhee? The revulsion of the education monopoly is, I admit, an attraction—just as it might be to inner city parents desperate to save their children from the failed education theories and practices your side(?) fights to continue.

BTW, how do you deduce “most educators don’t like” her? Just because teachers’ union bosses and their blog shills don’t?

But mostly I like her because she dares to speak truth to power—the teachers’ unions and their Democrat Party protectors. And because she stands for more education choices.

Maureen certainly could benefit from listening to Rhee.

Mary Elizabeth

January 10th, 2013
4:39 pm

@ Cindy Lutenbacher, 6:21 am

You are most welcome, Cindy.

Private Citizen

January 10th, 2013
4:57 pm

In the Frontline program, Rhee folds pretty badly when asked about the thoroughness and methods of the company she hired to investigate test cheating. She basically does not take responsibility for knowing if the investigation was yielding accurate result. In this instance, she appears to be very dishonest, especially considering her whole game is about moving test numbers. Meanhwile she has a high rate incidence of erasure of test answers to make correct answer, and yet she fobs off taking this seriously, or giving direct answers to questions about the investigation method she commissioned (found and paid for). It makes it look like despite her effort for good work, there is something incomplete in her character and methods.