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Tue Jan 8, 2013, 02:02 PM

Esquire writes about Michelle Rhee and the empire she built.

The education reform efforts of Michelle Rhee are finally getting attention in some media, and it is not always the glowing praise she is used to receiving.

And Frontline tonight. Hope they are fair and honest.

The Empire Michelle Rhee Built

The author speaks of the problem with the education "reform" movement...."it is shot through root and branch with patent-medicine remedies pitched by for-profit grifters and hustlers."

They have their own genre of richly financed propaganda, like 2010's Waiting for Superman and this year's Won't Back Down. There are an awful lot of hedge-fund gunslingers involved in the movement toward charter schools, a phenomenon about which, to his eternal credit, Bob Somerby — who actually has taught in the public schools — has been banging his tin drum at The Daily Howler for some time now. (It should also be said that Somerby's knee does not jerk. He readily gives some reform programs, and even some of Rhee's work, the props he thinks they deserve.) Some of the hustlers, alas, have the ear of this administration, and one of those people is Michelle Rhee.

Rhee's entire (and very lucrative) career as a proponent of educational "reform" is based on her time as chancellor of the public schools in Washington, D.C. Between 2007 and 2010, she did everything that sends a thrill up the leg of the "reform" community. She bashed teachers, scapegoated principals, and shined up her own armor for public consumption every chance she got. She also instituted a system of standardized testing by which Michelle Rhee would be able to judge the awesome awesomeness of Michelle Rhee.


The article is very blunt about the standardized testing industry.

Standardized testing is a crack cocaine of education. It is rife with problems. It is also a multimillion industry without which might not exist, among other things, The Washington Post. A reliance on standardized testing as a metric for progress is generally a reliable "tell" that "reform" has ended and that the grift has begun. A reliance on standardized testing as a metric for progress — and, it should be said, as a Procrustean scoreboard to judge whether a teacher, an administrator, or a school system are doing their jobs properly — almost guarantees that some finagling with the numbers will take place. It is a sub rosa way to install a corporate model on public education and, since the corporate model for everything in this country right now is a moral and ethical quagmire, it encourages cheating on a massive scale. Hence, the very real possibility that the empire built by Michelle Rhee, tough-talking "reformer," may be built upon a wilderness of crib sheets.


The ending paragraph really hit home for me as a retired teacher.

The current model for education "reform" in this country — a corporate model with transparency problems and severely decreased political accountability — is broken. Handing over "our" schools to hedge-fund managers, and to the people like Michelle Rhee who volunteer as well-remunerated middle managers, privatizes public education without having the basic cojones to admit that it's happening. This is not the way it's supposed to work.


Another of the "reformers" whose policies tend to be punitive toward teachers, had this to say in 2009 on Arne Duncan's appointment as Secretary of Education.

Eli Broad: "with election of Obama and his appointment of Duncan, the stars are aligned"

The election of President Barack Obama and his appointment of Arne Duncan, former CEO of Chicago Public Schools, as the U.S. secretary of education, marked the pinnacle of hope for our work in education reform. In many ways, we feel the stars have finally aligned.

With an agenda that echoes our decade of investments—charter schools, performance pay for teachers, accountability, expanded learning time and national standards—the Obama administration is poised to cultivate and bring to fruition the seeds we and other reformers have planted. (emphasis added)


Crossposted at Daily Kos



22 replies, 1476 views

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Arrow 22 replies Author Time Post
Reply Esquire writes about Michelle Rhee and the empire she built. (Original post)
madfloridian Jan 2013 OP
badhair77 Jan 2013 #1
madfloridian Jan 2013 #7
WillyT Jan 2013 #2
madfloridian Jan 2013 #4
KamaAina Jan 2013 #3
madfloridian Jan 2013 #6
jsr Jan 2013 #13
Blue_In_AK Jan 2013 #5
KoKo Jan 2013 #8
Orrex Jan 2013 #9
madfloridian Jan 2013 #12
Ernesto Jan 2013 #10
madfloridian Jan 2013 #11
Starry Messenger Jan 2013 #14
Luminous Animal Jan 2013 #15
Skidmore Jan 2013 #16
madfloridian Jan 2013 #20
Blue_Tires Jan 2013 #17
MichiganVote Jan 2013 #18
madfloridian Jan 2013 #19
duffyduff Jan 2013 #21
madfloridian Jan 2013 #22

Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 02:27 PM

1. This gives me hope that somehow someone will finally

understand what's going on. Have people so quickly forgotten to "follow the money"? She and her friends certainly have their eyes on public school funds.

Thanks for posting. I really appreciate your work with exposing this education fraud.

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Response to badhair77 (Reply #1)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 02:55 PM

7. It gives me hope as well.

The "reformers" have had nothing but praise in the media. Thanks for the kind remarks.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 02:28 PM

2. HUGE K & R !!! - Thank You !!!




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Response to WillyT (Reply #2)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 02:48 PM

4. About time for stuff like this, isn't it?

I was impressed by the article. The media has fawned over her way too long.

And thank Willy T for the kick and rec. Always good to see you around.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 02:37 PM

3. How did Will Pitt miss a Charlie Pierce rant?



The compleat Rhee:

http://www.rheefirst.com/

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Response to KamaAina (Reply #3)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 02:53 PM

6. That's a great website...RheeFirst.

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Response to KamaAina (Reply #3)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 04:50 PM

13. Great post.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 02:50 PM

5. K&R

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 02:55 PM

8. K&R--!

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 03:01 PM

9. You shouldn't use "Procrustean," "sub rosa," and "quagmire" in the same 100-word segment

But otherwise this article is awesome--and long overdue!

K/R!

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Response to Orrex (Reply #9)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 03:50 PM

12. Amen to that. Long overdue.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 03:04 PM

10. She needs to get lost......

so does her husband!

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Response to Ernesto (Reply #10)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 03:09 PM

11. Did you see this about her hubby from Dec. 4?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/04/kevin-johnson-ethics-fine_n_2237592.html

"Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson has been fined $37,500 for failing to report over $3.5 million in donations he solicited for charity organizations.

The Associated Press reports the Fair Political Practices Commission said on Monday that it had identified 25 cases in which Johnson failed to file timely reports on donations to a nonprofit made at his request. Since Johnson is an elected official, he must report such donations, otherwise known as “behest payments.”

Johnson is married to former D.C. Schools Chancellor and education reformer Michelle Rhee, who has come under fire for being tight-lipped about funding to her StudentsFirst organization, a national lobbying and advocacy group that pushes for rigorous teacher evaluations and school choice. Rhee is not said to have any connection to the charges against Johnson.

The FPPC investigation was sparked by a September Sacramento Bee report that revealed thousands of dollars in donations to the mayor's Think Big arena task force had gone unreported past the required deadline. In some instances, they were reported several months late."

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 04:54 PM

14. Marking to read tonight.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 04:54 PM

15. Wow! I am really glad to see this! Thanks for posting it. - Off it read it in full.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 04:57 PM

16. She's just given Iowa the scarlet "F" so she can get her foot in the door here.

Iowa's schools have always been pretty good. They are the one reason I remained in the state. I hope we continue to stand strong.

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Response to Skidmore (Reply #16)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 08:14 PM

20. That means Iowa stood up to her demands.

So I give them an A.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 05:03 PM

17. I'm glad she's been exposed as a fraud

Rhee had way too many fans and defenders on DU back when her movie came out...

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 05:36 PM

18. A "C-" for Michigan with how many emergency managed schools??? What complete BS.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 06:08 PM

19. Hope I am wrong, but Frontline ad for tonight makes it sound like a puff piece.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/education/education-of-michelle-rhee/michelle-rhee-the-bee-eater/

I don't give a flip if she ate a bee or didn't eat a bee. I want an honest analysis or none at all.

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #19)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 08:18 PM

21. Since John Merrow is the "reporter,"

I don't hold out much hope it is an investigative piece.


However, I could be wrong:

http://www.salon.com/2013/01/08/michelle_rhee_to_actually_be_held_accountable_by_press_for_once/



Michelle Rhee is the subject of tonight’s “Frontline” on PBS. Considering that Rhee, the former head of Washington, D.C.’s schools, is one of the most deified figures in contemporary American politics, you’d be forgiven for predicting another gauzy follow-up to “Waiting for Superman,” the pro-”education reform” propaganda picture that made Rhee a national figure. But this interview with the episode’s lead reporter, John Merrow (via Dana Goldstein), suggests a much more critical take than Rhee is used to. Because unlike so many other outlets, “Frontline” is going to report on all the cheating.

3. Do you think the documentary will change anyone’s opinion of Rhee?

I don’t think people know how strongly she resisted the investigation of the erasures. That might give some people pause. In Atlanta, the lead investigator told me that they considered three or more standard deviations from the norm to be a strong indication that cheating took place. In the district, there were classrooms that were five, six, seven deviations from the norm. That’s staggering. This is of course the evidence that was presented to Michelle Rhee.


However, take a look at the interview here:

http://www.edmediacommons.org/forum/topics/five-questions-for-pbs-newshour-correspondent-john-merrow-on-fron


This twerp actually thinks the New Orleans Recovery District is a "success" story.

Merrow is full of shit.

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Response to duffyduff (Reply #21)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 08:41 PM

22. Good links. I just read he had "unprecedented access" to Michelle Rhee.

Like that is the most wonderful thing in the world??? Yep I would be surprised if it is critical.

"FRONTLINE correspondent John Merrow was granted unprecedented access to Michelle Rhee, the former chancellor of the Washington, DC public schools as she attempted to fix a broken school system. Rhee is one of the most admired — and reviled — school reformers. What legacy did she leave in D.C.? Can it help save the failing school system?"

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/inside-frontline/whats-coming-up-in-january-on-frontline/

I may just read comments on line. I get too angry watching her speak. She has done so much harm to teachers, been so insulting toward them.

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