Did Michelle Rhee ignore her own cheating scandal? A new memo suggests clear evidence was discounted.

Michelle Rhee speaking to Georgia lawmakers last year. (AJC Photo)

Michelle Rhee speaking to Georgia lawmakers last year. (AJC Photo)

PBS education reporter John Merrow writes about the erasure analyses, clear evidence of cheating and concealment of that evidence.

No, he is not writing about Atlanta Public Schools and former Superintendent Beverly Hall. He is writing about Washington, D.C., and former Chancellor Michelle Rhee.

Merrow questions why the strong evidence of cheating in the District of Columbia Public Schools — revealed now in a confidential memo — was not followed up as it was in Atlanta, and puts the blame on Rhee.

He says an inexperienced and ambitious Rhee arrived in Washington and imposed a  “Produce or Else” reform model. He notes that Rhee met one-on-one with each principal and demanded a signed guarantee of exactly how many points their test scores would increase.

Rhee has become a national leader in education and holds great sway with state Legislatures, including here in Georgia. She is winning converts to the strategies that she employed in Washington, strategies that she contends improved student performance there. So, a true telling of her impact in Washington is important even now since Rhee is shaping education policy in many states.

Rhee failed to act on evidence of cheating because it undermined her success narrative, according to Merrow. He concludes his lengthy piece with:

This story is bound to remind old Washington hands of Watergate and Senator Howard Baker’s famous question, “What did the President know and when did he know it?” It has a memo that answers an echo of Baker’s question, “What did Michelle know, and when did she know it?” And the entire sordid story recalls the lesson of Watergate lesson, “It’s not the crime; it’s the coverup.”
That Michelle Rhee named her new organization “StudentsFirst” is beyond ironic.

Here is an excerpt, but please read his full piece:

Michelle A. Rhee, America’s most famous school reformer, was fully aware of the extent of the problem when she glossed over what appeared to be widespread cheating during her first year as Schools Chancellor in Washington, DC.

A long-buried confidential memo from her outside data consultant suggests that the problem was far more serious than kids copying off other kids’ answer sheets.  (“191 teachers representing 70 schools”).  Twice in just four pages the consultant suggests that Rhee’s own principals, some of whom she had hired, may have been responsible (“Could the erasures in some cases have been done by someone other than the students and the teachers?”).

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 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.

The rash of “wrong to right” (WTR) erasures was first noticed by the DC official in charge of testing, who, after consulting with the test-maker, asked Rhee to investigate, in November, 2008.  Through her data chief,  Rhee turned to Dr. Fay G. “Sandy” Sanford for outside analysis.

I have a copy of the memo and have confirmed its authenticity with two highly placed and reputable sources. The anonymous source is in DCPS; the other is DC Inspector General Charles Willoughby. A reliable source has confirmed that Rhee and Deputy Chancellor Kaya Henderson discussed the memo in staff gatherings. Sanford came to Washington to present his findings in late January, 2009, after which he wrote his memo.

In response to my request for comment, Rhee issued the following careful statement:  “As chancellor I received countless reports, memoranda and presentations. I don’t recall receiving a report from Sandy Sanford regarding erasure data from the DC CAS, but I’m pleased, as has been previously reported, that both inspectors general (DOE and DCPS) reviewed the memo and confirmed my belief that there was no wide spread cheating.”

After receiving this statement, I sent her the memo; her spokesman responded by saying that she stood by her earlier statement. Chancellor Henderson did not respond to my request for a response.
Sanford wanted the memo to be kept confidential. At the top and bottom of each page he wrote “Sensitive Information–Treat as Confidential,” and he urged, “Don’t make hard copies and leave them around.” (The memo.)

The gist of his message: the many ‘wrong to right’ erasures on the students’ answer sheets suggested widespread cheating by adults.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

243 comments Add your comment

d

April 12th, 2013
9:08 am

I doubt very seriously that Ms. Rhee was ignorant to what was going on or was really tied up by red tape to do anything about it. She put the same pressure that Beverly Hall did on teachers and principals here in Atlanta. What did she think was going to happen? She has admitted that she was a bad teacher during her time as a TFAer and yet we (and by that I mean our elected officals) take her word in education as gold.

Mountain Man

April 12th, 2013
9:14 am

Michelle Rhee = Beverly Hall. Rhee has not been indicted (yet).

crankee-yankee

April 12th, 2013
9:14 am

Same crime, Beverly Hall gets caught & Michelle Rhee makes hay. Is this a great country or what? (heavy sarcasm)

Dr. John Trotter

April 12th, 2013
9:15 am

Michelle Rhee’s “performance” in Washington, D. C., is, in my opinion, just as scandalous as Beverly Hall’s “performance” in Atlanta, and I have been saying this for years. I have called her an educational phony time and time again. She’s the Elmer Gantry of Public Education, and the Georgia General Assembly were lapping up here snake oil recently like starving, mangy dogs.

Jack ®

April 12th, 2013
9:16 am

Rhee suffers the same superego that drove Hall to excesses.

Dunwoody Mom

April 12th, 2013
9:16 am

This should not surprise anyone – it has been talked about openly for years now. I was very disappointed and alarmed to see many our own state legislatures fawn over this woman as if she was some type of education authority. Will anyone stand up for the children of D.C.?

Clutch Cargo

April 12th, 2013
9:21 am

True reformers know that these “Rock Star”, quick fix attention hounds are not the answer to what ails public schools. The real answer is choice.Let the money follow the student and the Michelle Rhee’s and Beverly Hall’s of the world will have to find honest work.

Centrist

April 12th, 2013
9:24 am

It’s good to have strong political connections, and ones that don’t get cut when the stink of corruption is noticed by a few.

Too bad for Beverly Hall that she didn’t get enough cover.

crankee-yankee

April 12th, 2013
9:25 am

Rhee did not impress me from the start, it is disheartening to know I was right. Will she be brought to justice? I’m not counting on it, too many powerful backers, many more than Hall ever had. Her fingerprints are now on so many education reform plans it would be viewed as political suicide for those in power to go after her.

Lets hope it will also be political suicide if they do not go after her.

crankee-yankee

April 12th, 2013
9:36 am

Clutch Cargo
April 12th, 2013
9:21 am

You are incorrect, the answer is not to turn your back on public education through the “choice” code word, but rather it is to stop having non-professionals dictate how professionals do their jobs.

Teach

April 12th, 2013
9:37 am

Teach For America…what a joke
The “hmm..I dont have anything to do after college, so I will go teach for three years.”

the moment you stop programs like these that prey on failing school systems is a great place to start for true reformation in public education

Rhee is an idiot by the way. My mentor teacher said anyone who jumped into administration or educational policy making with less than 5-7 years teaching experience are not to be trusted.

living in an outdated ed system

April 12th, 2013
9:39 am

Contrary to what some might think of me on on this blog, I am NOT Michelle Rhee fan. Regardless of whether these new allegations are true, I was not pleased when she tried to use Roland Fryer’s controversial research about bribing children for good grades. Rhee was ok testing a program that gave students financial rewards if their grades improved. You all might remember that Time Magazine ran a cover story about bribing kids and featuring Dr. Fryer’s research. What Michelle Rhee proved unequivocally was that Clayton Christensen’s “Disruptive Innovation Theory” is not a theory, but “law.” You don’t disrupt by taking the establishment head on.

what's best for kids?

April 12th, 2013
9:44 am

FINALLY!!!! The curtain has been pulled up on Rhee. How can someone who was in the classroom for so few years become that high up in policy?
But she rode the gravy train on this. Maybe her due will come.

Google "NEA" and "union 101"

April 12th, 2013
9:48 am

And yet Washington D.C.’s black and Democrat run school district (not to mention local government) sees no such “conspiracy.”

Maureen, you and your teachers’ union compatriots should give up trying to discredit Michelle Rhee and focus on cleaning up the very real problems here in Georgia.

Atlanta parents and taxpayers will be the final judges of how well you accomplish that.

Mountain Man

April 12th, 2013
9:49 am

Everyone knows that the effective management style is to yell and threaten to get the job done. Sales down? Just yell at the salesmen, threaten their jobs, and sales will increase. How? You don’t want to know. A friend of mine told me about how he kept one account – his job was to procure a hooker for an aged client – once a year. That was what it took to keep sales up. That was what he did. Want the space shuttles to launch on time? Just threaten the people making decisions. Oh, they blow up – just a little side issue. Want to increase home mortgage sales? Tell your salesmen to produce – or else. Don’t have an income? Oh, we don’t ask about that. No edoc loans. We want the bond agencies to certify us as AAA – on these no-doc house loans. Either certify us or we will take our business elsewhere. AAA certification coming up. Can’t get the business on pipe-laying because you are too costly – don’t use trench shoring. Most of the time you will get away with it and no one will die. You want your soldiers to kill all the Jews – just order them and attach very bad outcomes if they refuse. History is replete with examples of top-down, do-it-or-else management. You want an increase in test scores, that is what I will give you. You didn’t say you wanted any increase in REAL learning.

10:10 am

April 12th, 2013
9:55 am

These continuing attacks on Asian-American Michelle Rhee have an unmistakable odor of racism about them.

Maureen Downey

April 12th, 2013
9:59 am

@Google, I suggest that you “Google” high achieving school systems around the world and see if any of them have succeeded without a focus on teacher and teacher quality. Your single-theme — teacher unions are the cause of all that is wrong with schools today — is not just tedious, but false. Many high achieving U.S. states have unions. Many of the lowest performers do not. Worldwide, the highest performing countries give teachers far more benefits. You make a simplistic assumption absent any facts or data that teacher unions — which we do not have in Georgia despite your continued espousal of the “dues” as proof — without any regard for what reality tells us.
These simple-minded arguments — of which legislators are quite fond — explain why education reform in this country continues to falter. We have people like you who spend all their energy creating a boogeyman while ignoring the evidence of what really ought to be done.
And the evidence contradicts your little fable of the evil teachers holding back schools. No country in the world has reformed its schools and educated its populace to higher standards without a strong focus on recruiting and keeping teachers.
So, keep singing the same discordant note. It falls flat every time because there is no data to support it.
Maureen

Dr. John Trotter

April 12th, 2013
10:07 am

2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Reading 44.14%, 61.53, 84.21, 61.36, 32.40
Math 34.24%, 57.69, 62.79, 53.64, 28.17

Pay attention to the last columns on the right, the year was 2011, the first year that Michelle Rhee was no longer tormenting the educators in Washington, D. C. I see that Math scores dropped from almost 54% to 28%, and Reading scores dropped from 61% to 32% — all in one years.

Can we say “massive, systematic cheating”? Yet, our legislators look to this Educational Phony for guidance. Ha!

I hate to have to say it again, folks, but here it comes… I was right about Michelle Rhee too, wasn’t I? The same for Crawford Lewis, Beverly Hall, and Mark Elgart. I didn’t call Rod Paige’s massive cheating ahead of time in Texas…because I simply unaware his situation. But, if I had known about the sudden jump in scores, I could have called it. It just doesn’t happen. It violates the Law of Large Numbers. For example, would you expect Mitt Romney to have carried South DeKalb last election? Does that mean that no African Americans for him? No. But, the Law of Large Numbers indicates that South DeKalb is a strong Democratic stronghold, especially in national elections.

Naïve politicians (e. g., George W. Bush) lapped up Rod Paiges’s “success” and actually named him the United States Secretary of Education, and he presided over perhaps the worst cheating scandal in United States school history in Houston, Texas until the Beverly Hall Snake Oil Show hit town in Atlanta, Georgia. Michelle Rhee is cut from the same cloth. What, by the way, happened to the actual tests that her students took – when she was a classroom teacher? Those tests, from what I have read, seem to be mysteriously missing. Hmm.

Michelle Rhee, Beverly Hall, Arne Duncan, Mark Elgart, Rod Paige, Crawford Lewis…educational hypocrites. I have been calling them this for many, many years now, and I have not vacillated one scintilla form my assertions.

Dr. John Trotter

April 12th, 2013
10:11 am

Maureen, Thank you for that word of 9:59 AM. I couldn’t have said it better, but I usually just use my scroll bar. Ha! Note: We have teacher unions in Georgia but no collective bargaining with the respective school boards.

Google "NEA" and "union 101"

April 12th, 2013
10:13 am

@Maureen:

The teachers’ union talking points you’re reading from purposely obfuscate the effect of NEA money poured into states like Georgia to frustrate education reform. You prefer to pretend it’s all used to buy bigger, more expensive limos for fat-cat union bosses?

And readers who Google “NEA” and “donations” will see where union political money ends up.

indigo

April 12th, 2013
10:14 am

Only a very naive person would believe this cheating only happened in the Atlanta area.

I suspect it’s a nationwide problem and Atlanta’s educators were just the first to get caught.

crankee-yankee

April 12th, 2013
10:14 am

Google “NEA” and “union 101″
April 12th, 2013
9:48 am

Lets see,
GA = 34 criminal indictments against APS CRCT cheaters.
DC = no comment
pointing out the no comment = GA “union compatriots” trying to discredit Rhee
“Google, etc” = deflection

Tell me, are the “Atlanta parents and taxpayers” & you refer to white, black, or all inclusive?

Rick L in ATL

April 12th, 2013
10:15 am

@cranky–you may think Clutch Cargo is wrong, but surely you’d acknowledge that the failures of both Hall and Rhee to produce real improvement (vs. illusory, temporary, cheating-fuelled gains) is yet another nail in the coffin of the “traditional” public school model, and that money-follows-the-child is inevitable if not imminent.

You want to bet me that public-school apologists will suddenly find some magic potion to reverse the model’s inexorable slide into oblivion, and that fed-up parents will buy this new-and-improved snake oil? And that the obvious momentum for vouchers and more vs. less school choice will wither away? I’ll take that bet and give you double odds.

Maureen Downey

April 12th, 2013
10:17 am

@Google, Again, where is your evidence that the points you make over and over again have any bearing on student achievement? You have one comment that you apparently think is searing and enlightening. But you simply repeat yourself with no larger context of how teachers impact student achievement.
Apparently, that is not a factor in your view. You simply want to rant about unions without any regard for whether they play any role in student performance.
It’s boring. It’s lazy thinking. And it’s without a single shred of research support.
Maureen

(By the way, I don’t need anyone to give me talking points. After 15 years writing about education, covering hundreds of panels and legislative hearings and reading even more research reports, I have no problem coming up with my own points. Why don’t you try looking at the research?)

same ole same ole

April 12th, 2013
10:17 am

what really offends me is Deal meet with Rhee privately: what kind of crap is that. Rhee is just like Hall

Ray

April 12th, 2013
10:18 am

Interesting new evidence that Rhee knew about erasure problems, but ignored it or tried to cover it up. Also interesting that John Merrow is revealing this. I think he’s a good journalist, but he took some flack for his Frontline piece maybe being a little too soft on Rhee. In subsequent interviews he’s seemed a little more critical of Rhee than his piece came across, and I think some of the criticism of his piece has caused him to keep looking at Rhee and now he’s uncovered this memo and is publicizing it Good for him — that’s what good journalists should do.

I’m not intimately familiar with the detailed timeline of Rhee’s tenure as DC superintendent, but it does seem that a difference between her and Hall was she had just heard about one year of possible testing and erasure irregularities when she was removed — not years and years of it like Hall had. However this memo and some other evidence is still pretty damning that her immediate reaction was to hide it or sweep it under the rug. It’s also very interesting to me that DC schools employed the Caveon company (from Indiana?) to look into the erasure analysis, which concluded inconclusice evidence about cheating or erasure changes — and then APS employed Caveon to do the exact same investigation, and, surprise surprise, Caveon again said the evidence was inconclusive on cheating. It would appear that DC/Rhee may have established part of the blueprint for how to deal with cheating allegations, and APS/Hall followed.

The bottom line is that it’s a bit hypocritical to vilify and criminally charge Hall, while Rhee remains an annointed saviour in some circles, traveling the country and making speeches.

SNEAK PEAK INTO EDUCATION

April 12th, 2013
10:21 am

@GOOGLE-you constantly try to muddy the waters with your constant decrying of teachers unions as if they are the big, bad, boogeyman. Thanks Maureen for addressing this issue. What google doesn’t admit to is the HUGE amount of money that is being poured into the caustic reform movement to further “enrich” the lives of the few by putting public money into the hands of privateers. Why do you think Gates, Murdoch, The Walton Foundation, Michelle Rhee, et al are pushing reforms? It’s not for the children; it’s to create a direct line from the public coffers to their bank books.

Dr. John Trotter

April 12th, 2013
10:24 am

Compare the test scores of Georgia (no collective bargaining) to Minnesota (collective bargaining). Comapre the test scores of South Carolina (no collective bargaining) to New Hampshire (collective bargaining). Compare the test scores of Alabama (no collective bargaining) to Michigan (collective bargaining). Texas to Indiana. Mississippi to Idaho. Should I continue, Google? Ha!

You have a hobby horse, and you like to ride it. I think that your biggest problem with NEA is their political donations which go almost exclusively to Democrats. I understand this. We don’t endorse or send money to any politicians.

crankee-yankee

April 12th, 2013
10:25 am

Rick L in ATL
April 12th, 2013
10:15 am

I’ll take your bet, and double down on your double down.
So long as you let real education professionals be in charge, not the Halls nor Rhees of the world.

Google "NEA" and "union 101"

April 12th, 2013
10:27 am

Maureen, you and your teachers’ union allies fear and loath parental choice … precisely because you know your decades of excuses for failing public schools, and for maintaining the traditional public school monopoly, simply aren’t believed.

Free choice and competition would only benefit all involved. Except for the union bosses and the Democrat Party those anti-reform bosses bankroll.

Mountain Man

April 12th, 2013
10:28 am

“@Google, I suggest that you “Google” high achieving school systems around the world and see if any of them have succeeded without a focus on teacher and teacher quality.”

Google is decidedly anti-union. I am not usually a fan of unions (seen too much union destruction), but don’t know how I would feel about teachers’ unions (real ones with bargaining power). What would the advent of those unions do for the STUDENTS? It would probably help teachers in the area of pay, but that does not automatically translate into “better” teachers and increased student performance.

Teacher quality, by itself, will not solve education’s issues. I have consistently said that you could take all the Teachers-of-the-years from systems such as Walton High in East Cobb and send them to South Dekalb, and you would not see an appreciable rise in test scores. Why? The best teacher in the world cannot teach an empty desk. The best teacher in the world cannot overcome a culture where education is looked down upon. The best teacher in the world cannot effectively teach when his/her classroom is constantly disrupted by discipline problems that the teacher is not allowed to address, but administrators will not address.

If you want to truly increase learning, and not just artificial test scores, you have to address the BASIC issues that plague these failing school systems: attendance, discipline, and social promotion.

Mountain Man

April 12th, 2013
10:31 am

“Compare the test scores of Georgia (no collective bargaining) to Minnesota (collective bargaining). Comapre the test scores of South Carolina (no collective bargaining) to New Hampshire (collective bargaining). Compare the test scores of Alabama (no collective bargaining) to Michigan (collective bargaining). Texas to Indiana. Mississippi to Idaho. Should I continue,”

Sorry, Dr. Trotter, can’t let you get away with that one. Take all those comparisons you just made and use racial makeup (as an indicator of SES status) and you will see what the real reason for the difference is. Same with comparing USA and Finland.

I want those scores raised 'by any means necessary'...sound familiar?

April 12th, 2013
10:31 am

“Rhee met one-on-one with each principal and demanded a signed guarantee of exactly how many points their test scores would increase.”

How is this any different from the threats and intimidation done by Beverly Hall?

Let’s see if the Washington Post has the same guts and spine as the Atlanta Journal-Constitution did in uncovering the true story of what’s been happening in their schools.

Beverly Fraud

April 12th, 2013
10:34 am

Despite the fact that I abhor Jay Bookman’s complete refusal to take any responsibility for enabling Hall by not having a sustained push for answers pre-2009 (unlike Clayton County…and yes if I am called upon-like “Google” above-to produce evidence, I will indeed have several noteworthy stories that Jay either took a pass on or didn’t sustain a “watchdog” like push) one must admit if Rhee is going to be brought to account, it’s because the AJC laid the groundwork with their stories on APS.

At least now (post 2009) the AJC has put SYSTEMIC cheating front and center as far as sunlight on the issue; good to see a little of it getting pushed in Michelle Rhee’s direction.

And no, it’s by no means her only ethical misstep; research what she did to protect her future husband…

Rick L in ATL

April 12th, 2013
10:34 am

@CY: Those imaginary people you speak of? The “real” education leaders, with the superpower to reform traditional schools? I saw them playing pinochle with a gaggle of leprechauns and the tooth fairy. So they’re busy now, but maybe later.

Public schools as we have them now are the decapitated chicken still racing around the barnyard: doomed but unaware. My only problem is that the death throes are taking way too long to play out, to suit me.

Mountain Man

April 12th, 2013
10:34 am

“Compare the test scores of Georgia (no collective bargaining) to Minnesota (collective bargaining). ”

By the way Maureen, if you wanted to do such a comparison, what test scores should you use? What national test system is there that all students are required to take? Thanks,

teacher&mom

April 12th, 2013
10:35 am

Michelle Rhee will be aggressively protected by the “reformers” who push her brand of school improvement. They have invested heavily in Ms. Rhee and will not allow her to suffer the same fate as Beverly Hall.

http://scholasticadministrator.typepad.com/thisweekineducation/2011/07/reform-michelle-rhee-wont-say-if-murdoch-is-funding-her.html

Maureen Downey

April 12th, 2013
10:37 am

@Google, Where is the evidence? Show us the research.
M

Astropig

April 12th, 2013
10:37 am

@Cranky

“So long as you let real education professionals be in charge…”

Real educational professionals have screwed it up. You seemingly don’t understand that the reason reform is gaining traction is that the taxpayers/parents don’t see anything in the current system that’s too valuable to lose.That sound you hear? The one thats faint, but getting a little louder by the day? Thats the clock ticking on the unions and the educrats and the chair warmers.

Tick, tock…

Google "NEA" and "union 101"

April 12th, 2013
10:37 am

@Trotter:

While you’re comparing test scores, also include those of Chicago (union collective bargaining) or Washington D.C. (union collective bargaining) or Los Angeles (union collective bargaining).

Any question why leading Democrats in those cities opt for private schools for their own kids?

But thanks for continually trying to help Maureen admit to herself there are teachers’ unions operating in Georgia.

This is Mrs. Norman Maine

April 12th, 2013
10:39 am

Mountain man basically has no credibility with his statements about “a culture where education is looked down upon and discipline.” Code words, how quaint. Where is the evidence to support your theory? Before you bore us with statistics, be sure you can prove there is a correlation between those stats and African-american culture since that is clearly who you were trying to indict with your statements. I’m not interested in false deductive reasoning. By the way, they have quality teachers in South Dekalb also.

Mountain Man

April 12th, 2013
10:40 am

“Compare the test scores of Alabama (no collective bargaining) to Michigan (collective bargaining).”

Example: Alabama – 26% black, Michigan – 9% black

Dunwoody Mom

April 12th, 2013
10:40 am

That term “educrats” is really getting over-used, thus becoming irrelevant in my opinion. My guess is that many that are tossing that term around have no idea what it means. Let’s try working together to address education issues instead of name-calling, teacher bashing and using questionable “facts”. We should all be on the same side here.

crankee-yankee

April 12th, 2013
10:44 am

Rick L in ATL
April 12th, 2013
10:34 am

“Those imaginary people (I) speak of?”

They exist, they are dismissed & discredited by those with a political flag to wave, but they are there, doing their jobs in spite of the uneducated blanket statements made by the uninformed.

Thurston Howell IV

April 12th, 2013
10:46 am

“Free choice and competition would only benefit all involved. Except for the union bosses and the Democrat Party those anti-reform bosses bankroll.”

Hear ! Hear ! Eloquent, to the point and most importantly,true. There was a time when parents were afraid to take on the educrat cartel,but the vote on the charter school amendment last fall proved that the cartel is a paper tiger. The systems always isolated and divided parents before then (”You’re the only parent that’s ever complained “!) and when they had a chance to deliver a message,they did it in spades. It also changed the terms of the debate. Now the question is not whether we will see reform,but which reforms we’ll see. And all of you mossback teachers and administrators that theatrically threaten to quit if they occur- Well, take an economics class sometime. There will be 10 candidates for your job,ready to answer the bell tomorrow. They couldn’t possibly do any worse.

Mountain Man

April 12th, 2013
10:51 am

“Mountain man basically has no credibility with his statements about “a culture where education is looked down upon and discipline.””

So I call upon the teachers that post on this blog, since that is the evidence that I have seen. Have you had issues with students who view education as not important. Yes, I am specifically targeting that culture where education is viewed as “acting too white”. Heck, even Bill Cosby addresses THAT. Oh, I forgot, Bill Cosby is an “Uncle Tom”. Is it only a black problem? No, there are lots of whites up here where I live who think that education does not matter – but they find out when they move out into the real world. It is a problem here, too, and is not a “black” problem. We have a problem up here with teenage pregnancies, but we see those teenagers walking at graduation, so at least they are finishing high school (with their toilet paper diplomas).

As for discipline, again, I ask the teachers on this blog if they think that lack of discipline is an issue at school – especially those of you who teach at low-SES schools.

And I NEVER said ANYTHING about the quality of teachers in South Dekalb. I merely pointed out that everyone thinks that Walton High teachers are so great becasue their students score the highest, but put them into South dekalb and they would do no better than current South Dekalb teachers – because most South Dekalb teachers are “quality teachers”. But you have to have “quality students” in order to have good test scores, and that is what is lacking in South Dekalb – not always their fault, but goes with the territory.

Mountain Man

April 12th, 2013
10:54 am

“Let’s try working together to address education issues instead of name-calling, teacher bashing and using questionable “facts”. We should all be on the same side here.”

So, Dunwoody Mom, what ARE the issues. That is what seems to be in disagreement. Some say the only issue is the lack of money – fully fund QBE and all problems would disappear and there would be a 100% graduation rate with improved standards.

Rick L in ATL

April 12th, 2013
10:56 am

We have to have a high-functioning public school system, and we will have one, once we kill off the current one. (In its next iteration, Public Schools 2.0 will have contracts with parents, and remorselessly eject disruptive and disinterested students, and give teachers wide latitude, and emphasize creativity over test-taking…and when that happens, parents like me will come back).

But your idea (to fix the problem by installing better people) won’t work, CY, because a charismatic opportunist like Bev Hall (and arguably Rhee) is always lurking around the corner. Who is going to prevent these con-artists from infesting the system? Who gets to decide whether an “educational leader” has the right stuff or not?

No, the solution can’t be based on new people. It must be based on new rules.

Colonel Jack

April 12th, 2013
10:58 am

In other words, Google, you don’t have an answer for Maureen’s question.

You just keep saying the same thing over and over again, expecting that at least once it will stick – when all of its sticky substance has long since worn off (if it was ever there in the first place).

You don’t like unions. We get it. Now bring up some facts that support your position.

bootney farnsworth

April 12th, 2013
11:03 am

Michelle Rhee isn’t perfect? who knew.
said it before: would love to date her, but would not hire her.