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Sun Sep 9, 2012, 06:50 AM

How Michelle Rhee Is Taking Over the Democratic Party

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/09/how-michelle-rhee-is-taking-over-the-democratic-party/262082/

In a major shift, education reformers are now influential at the highest levels of the party once dominated by the teachers unions.


CHARLOTTE -- Michelle Rhee is accustomed to having to insist she's a Democrat. "It's funny," she tells me, "I'm not just a Democrat -- I feel like I'm a pretty lefty Democrat, and it is somewhat disappointing when I hear some people saying, 'She's not a real Democrat.'"

Rhee, the controversial former Washington, D.C., schools chancellor known for her hard-charging style, has worked with Republican governors to push her reform ideas in states across the country. Her ongoing pitched battle with the teachers unions has put her at odds with one of the Democratic Party's most important traditional constituencies.

Yet there are signs that Rhee's persona non grata status in her party is beginning to wane -- starting with the fact that the chairman of the Democratic convention, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, spoke at the movie screening Rhee hosted at the convention earlier this week. Another Democratic star, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, spoke at the cocktails-and-canapes reception afterward. Across the country, Democratic officials from governors like Colorado's John Hickenlooper to former President Clinton -- buoyed by the well-funded encouragement of the hedge-fund bigwigs behind much of the charter-school movement -- are shifting the party's consensus away from the union-dictated terms to which it has long been loyal. Instead, they're moving the party toward a full-fledged embrace of the twin pillars of the reform movement: performance-based incentives for teachers, and increased options, including charter schools, for parents.

The inroads made by the education reformers go all the way to the top -- to President Obama, Education Secretary Arne Duncan and the "Race to the Top" initiative that required states to make reforms to get federal education funds -- and they amount to a major shift for the Democratic Party on one of its signature issues. "These are some of the most high-profile Democrats out there," Rhee says, also mentioning Chicago's Rahm Emanuel, Philadelphia's Michael Nutter, and her husband, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson. "They are taking on the unions. They are fighting for what they believe in. It definitely signals a new day."

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Arrow 38 replies Author Time Post
Reply How Michelle Rhee Is Taking Over the Democratic Party (Original post)
xchrom Sep 2012 OP
snappyturtle Sep 2012 #1
Confusious Sep 2012 #2
PONTING12 Sep 2012 #3
nopedontlikeitatall Sep 2012 #4
charmay Sep 2012 #5
Frustratedlady Sep 2012 #6
Starry Messenger Sep 2012 #7
xchrom Sep 2012 #9
Starry Messenger Sep 2012 #11
xchrom Sep 2012 #12
Starry Messenger Sep 2012 #13
xchrom Sep 2012 #14
jsr Sep 2012 #17
Starry Messenger Sep 2012 #18
xchrom Sep 2012 #20
Salviati Sep 2012 #27
xchrom Sep 2012 #29
Odin2005 Sep 2012 #32
leveymg Sep 2012 #8
Odin2005 Sep 2012 #33
magical thyme Sep 2012 #10
a kennedy Sep 2012 #15
jsr Sep 2012 #16
marmar Sep 2012 #19
xchrom Sep 2012 #21
mathematic Sep 2012 #22
devilgrrl Sep 2012 #23
Guy Whitey Corngood Sep 2012 #25
xchrom Sep 2012 #26
LineReply .
Guy Whitey Corngood Sep 2012 #24
gaspee Sep 2012 #28
Starry Messenger Sep 2012 #34
gaspee Sep 2012 #35
Odin2005 Sep 2012 #30
hfojvt Sep 2012 #31
woo me with science Sep 2012 #36
xchrom Sep 2012 #37
porphyrian Sep 2012 #38

Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun Sep 9, 2012, 06:57 AM

1. .......

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun Sep 9, 2012, 07:04 AM

2. Republicans attack our base

And measly mouth little weasel dems rush to do the dirty work and finish them off.

I've heard over and over again about charter school closings and failures and rip offs, leaving parents in a lurch, kids with sub standard eductions, the taxpayer poorer, and wall street richer.


It's fucking trickle down all over again.

30 years from now, people will realize how fucking stupid it was.

If the country survives.

Ps. Rhee is part of what's really rotting this country from the inside. A. Famous for being famous, and B. being part of the idiot pundit class, where you don't have to fucking know anything, just sound like you do.

Pps. For profit colleges. Same shit. Kids with sub standard educations, the taxpayer poorer, and wall street richer.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun Sep 9, 2012, 07:19 AM

3. Spam deleted by Violet_Crumble (MIR Team)

 

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun Sep 9, 2012, 07:26 AM

4. The way both Dems and Pubs are attacking Public education

 

I am about to the point of no longer wanting to support ANY education with my tax dollars.

Our tax dollars are now going to religious schools and corporations and it is destroying public education.

Education policy is one of my biggest problems with Obama.

Seeing that Carter was the last President who was the closest thing we had to a Liberal President, the continued reichward shift is to be expected.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun Sep 9, 2012, 08:22 AM

5. Rhee, Duncan and followers are what has always been a problem with education.

Just on a largter scale.

So-called educators who have taught very little or have never taught, who take whatever lame-brained idea that they can come up with on the road and "teach" other educators how their teaching ideas are the next greatest thing that's going to revolutionize education. There are thousands of them out there that make money from school districts by doing the inservice circuit. As a result, administrators force teachers to jump from lame-brained idea to lame-brained idea rather than build and improve on solid teaching skills and curriculum.

Rhee's so-called "reforms" and Duncan's Race to the Top are just snake oil programs to give them money and fame. Unfortuately, President Obama and the governors are the administrators forcing the snake-oil on teachers.

I will be voting for President Obama, but I am disappointed with his embrace of Rhee and Duncan's snake oil.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun Sep 9, 2012, 08:23 AM

6. The teachers in my family are very upset over this.

They are all public school teachers and are proud of what they do for the children. My daughter used to stay at school and work until nearly 6:00, volunteer for all kinds of activities and donate supplies so her pupils had all they needed to learn.

This year, she is leaving school when her day is up at 3:45, no longer volunteering for the extra activities and won't be adding those extras anymore.

It makes me sad to see her this way, as her spirit is broken.

I think one of the biggest improvements Obama could have made to education was to end NCLB and to find a new Secretary of Education. I am very disappointed in this one area of this administration.

I can see that Obama wants to improve schools, but all schools are not the same. Not everyone can send their children (or even have children) to top-performing schools like his girls are privileged to attend. If he is wanting all children to have the same advantage as them, it just "ain't" gonna happen and they are disrupting well-performing schools to make it happen.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun Sep 9, 2012, 08:27 AM

7. I've had to insist to people that she's a Democrat too.

One person even tried to make the case that she was a ratfucking crypto-Republican. I can understand since she sure acts like it.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #7)

Sun Sep 9, 2012, 08:29 AM

9. yes - as difficult as that is -- she is a democrat. nt

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Response to xchrom (Reply #9)

Sun Sep 9, 2012, 08:44 AM

11. And she has allies, as the article points out.

The only advantage to that, IMO, is that there is potential to shame them for having a Republican position on unions. But I worry that this movement will gain even more momentum. It sucks having to fight this on two fronts.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #11)

Sun Sep 9, 2012, 08:49 AM

12. ED 'reformers' are far from done yet - and with allies

Like bill gates - I'm not liking where this could end.

And isn't it interesting how ED reform tracks so close to poverty programs.

Makes me wonder what is happening.

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Response to xchrom (Reply #12)

Sun Sep 9, 2012, 09:23 AM

13. Well, they are both dependable tax-payer funded revenue streams

If you wanted to divert that into corporations, it would make sense to keep the operations associated. Plus at-risk communities are easier to get ones' lunch-hooks into.

Why well-respected Democratic politicians would want to be a part of something like that escapes me. My rosiest gloss is that their understanding of the underlying issues is not very informed, and in their instinct to improve something, they are being slipshod. I'm still on my high from the DNC though and trying to be charitable.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #13)

Sun Sep 9, 2012, 09:26 AM

14. you've hit the nail on the head -- taxes are an ever renewing well.

that must be a very tempting resource for our corporate masters.

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Response to xchrom (Reply #14)

Sun Sep 9, 2012, 09:44 AM

17. Specifically, property taxes

which MUST be paid by homeowners.

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Response to xchrom (Reply #14)

Sun Sep 9, 2012, 09:49 AM

18. A writer I like calls it "autophagic accumulation"--

a fancy term for the powers that be taking our nice public resources that we've been building up collectively, and turning them upside and shaking all the money out of them.

Finance has gotten so bloated that they are getting even more weirdly parasitical. There are several billions in education funds in the US, just sitting there not going to Wall Street...who is standing in your way? Unions, little schoolmarms? Child's play to a sector that has started war over less. You can practically see the drool...

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Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #18)

Sun Sep 9, 2012, 09:53 AM

20. Amen, Sister Starry Messenger, Amen. nt

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Response to xchrom (Reply #12)

Sun Sep 9, 2012, 11:03 AM

27. IMO the push for "education reform" is to undermine the moral case for doing anything about poverty.

Children born into poverty have no say about their situation, but if we can "show" that kids raised in poverty do just as well in school than others, then it stands to reason that anyone who is poor got there through their own bad choices or general unfitness as a human being, or so they would like us to think.

In fact what we've seen is that the conditions of poverty are likely the proximate cause of the difficulty that poor children of all ages have in school, not "bad teachers", and that the best way to help them out and give them a fair shake at life is to help their families out of poverty.

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Response to Salviati (Reply #27)

Sun Sep 9, 2012, 12:44 PM

29. Indeed. It has to be a combined approach w/ poor kids

Real education for the kids and real support for their families.

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Response to xchrom (Reply #9)

Sun Sep 9, 2012, 12:50 PM

32. So is Zell Miller.

That doesn't tell you much because our party has been invaded by Neo-Liberal corporatists.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun Sep 9, 2012, 08:27 AM

8. The unqualified use of the term education "reformer" rather than "privatizer" tell me this is a push

poll type of article by The Atlantic. This reflects what the centrist-right apparachiks and Wall Street venture capitalists want for the Democratic Party, not what necessary has to happen, unless we let let it happen.

No, Michelle Rhee is not a real Democrat.

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Response to leveymg (Reply #8)

Sun Sep 9, 2012, 12:52 PM

33. The PTB rarely use the term "privatize", anymore.

They have replaced it with the euphemism "public-private partnership".

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun Sep 9, 2012, 08:37 AM

10. I'm not a teacher but over my near 60 years have been a student in many capacities.

I saw Rhee on a PBS program once, long before I read about her here at DU.

I immediately, and I mean immediately, disliked her. I could see right through the veneer. Frankly, she enraged me.

She was rude. She was obnoxious. And she was so very, very wrong, to my non-teacher eyes.

Her thinking was wrong, and her way of implementing it, nothing short of cruel. So glad I don't have children. The embrace of Rhee, and her grifter teaching methods, is just another of Obama's failures, imo.

To be honest, if the GOP had run somebody truly decent I would have considered voting republican for the first time in my life based on a number of Obama's appointments and disappointments. Obama is lucky they've been taken over by the total nutcases.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun Sep 9, 2012, 09:32 AM

15. All you have to do is follow the money.....

This movie tells it all about the "education reforms" wanted by the Koch brothers..... JUST FOLLOW THE MONEY.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun Sep 9, 2012, 09:41 AM

16. How can any progressive be enamored with that corporate whore?

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun Sep 9, 2012, 09:52 AM

19. k/r


Sadly representative of the modern corporate Democratic Party, 1992-present.


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Response to marmar (Reply #19)

Sun Sep 9, 2012, 09:54 AM

21. ...

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun Sep 9, 2012, 10:45 AM

22. How can any woman be a republican?

Those are words I see on DU all the time. The idea is that republicans are so bad on women's rights issues that a woman would have to be crazy or something to be a republican, regardless of her other beliefs and values.

Rhee is a democrat. She may be a democrat because she's in favor of a progressive tax system, environmental laws, abortion rights, or any number of other issues that democrats substantially differ from republicans. Maybe she's against unions or public sector unions or just teacher's unions. Perhaps it's none of that and she has a more nuanced position on unions. These (alleged) democratic principles have absolutely nothing to do with each other. Speaking generally, considering how many reasons there are to vote D and not vote R regardless of your position on eduction policy, why is it hard to believe that she's a democrat?

There's an interesting consequence to the rhetorical question in my subject line. If women are democrats simply for the women's rights issues then otherwise conservative women will be democrats and that will move the party to the right. So we shouldn't be surprised when we see democratic women proposing ideas that seem more at home in the republican party. I think the relevant data would be the economic opinions of democratic women that earn more than, say, the median wage compared to the opinions of the same democratic men.

Back to Rhee. As the article points out, it seems like she's winning the ideological war. Eventually her positions may become the principles future democrats adhere to. I really don't know where that will leave her democratic opponents. Presumably the women will still vote for democrats, barring a complete reversal of republican positions on women's rights issues.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)


Response to devilgrrl (Reply #23)

Sun Sep 9, 2012, 10:52 AM

25. Not only that, her bullshit seems to be gaining more acceptance. nt

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Response to devilgrrl (Reply #23)

Sun Sep 9, 2012, 10:53 AM

26. not just around -- she was busy tap dancing her feet off at the DNC. nt

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun Sep 9, 2012, 10:51 AM

24. .

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun Sep 9, 2012, 12:35 PM

28. Why can't people see through this

It's all about privatizing the schools and getting their grubby hands on the money!

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Response to gaspee (Reply #28)

Sun Sep 9, 2012, 12:55 PM

34. Corporate propaganda has a large microphone--

They have now released several movies ("Won't Back Down" is the third of a group that also included "Waiting for Superman" and "The Lottery").

Education corporations like Kaplan also own newspapers. http://www.aim.org/aim-column/washington-post-continues-kaplan-cover-up/

If Le Resistance (us) had billionaire funding, we could probably get our side of the story to the public.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #34)

Tue Sep 11, 2012, 02:44 PM

35. Good point

It's all about the propaganda, isn't it?

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun Sep 9, 2012, 12:48 PM

30. She's a Corporatist infiltrator.

She is much like the RW troll who says "I'm been a liberal Democrat all my life, but..."

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun Sep 9, 2012, 12:49 PM

31. How disgusting

but unfortunately, money talks.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Sep 11, 2012, 02:54 PM

36. Education is under bipartisan assault, and we had better not ignore this.


Michelle Rhee being courted by Democrats.
Obama, Duncan, and Rahm backing corporate solutions.
Chicago teachers, and all teachers, without a strong Democratic voice


We are in serious, serious trouble, because historically it has been ONLY Democrats who have stood between our kids and disastrous right-wing, profit-centered policies.

Education: The Big Enchilada
http://www.democraticunderground.com/1002967097

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Response to woo me with science (Reply #36)

Tue Sep 11, 2012, 03:15 PM

37. +1

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Tue Sep 11, 2012, 03:21 PM

38. We do need education reform, just not like this.

 

Why does education continue to be cut first from every budget when the biggest chunk of the pie goes to defense when they don't need it? A leader needs to answer that and we need another choice on education that what we are being offered. Does anyone have any good ideas?

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