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Sat Jan 12, 2013, 05:42 PM

Sioux City Journal's clueless editorial defends Michelle Rhee's

This is a pathetic editorial. The editorial board seems unaware of all the controversies surrounding Rhee and her fellow education "reformers". Many who write about this rush to "reform" are now calling it privatization...reform is too mild a word.

This kind of puff piece is why Michelle Rhee has had such an impact when she should not even be on the radar at all.

OUR OPINION Education reform demands open-mindedness

They do not even seem to know that the two states receiving the highest grade of B- were Florida and Louisiana, whose test scores were among the worst and whose teacher salaries are near the bottom of the chart.

Iowans, particularly those charged with delivering public education, can take one of two positions with respect to an "F" grade our state's education policies were given by StudentsFirst.

We can either dismiss the grade and criticize StudentsFirst or we can study the reasons for the grade and perhaps learn something of value we can use to improve.


The writers truly seem to believe that Students First is a "grassroots movement" instead of a group funded by big money groups who favor charters or vouchers instead of public education.

"(Iowa) trails most of the country when it comes to enacting critical education reforms," according to the StudentsFirst report. "Iowa does not evaluate teachers and principals in a meaningful way, and it does not link student performance, educator performance, and district personnel decisions.


Translation: Iowa is not bowing down to the likes of Michelle Rhee.

And this quote about Arne Duncan shows the paper has fallen for his divisive policies.

One of the biggest, if not the biggest stumbling block to education reform in Iowa is closed-minded, dismissive attitudes by entrenched interests. Only through open-mindedness to new perspectives and strategies, like those offered by StudentsFirst, can our state begin to end the "stagnation" in our state's public school system described by U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan.


In regard to the "report card" just put out by Students First, the MSNBC website of Melissa Harris-Perry points out the problems with Florida and Louisiana winning top grades.

http://tv.msnbc.com/2013/01/09/the-problem-with-michelle-rhees-report-card-for-public-schools/

This report mentions that "the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, set up by former Gov. Jeb Bush, is scandal-ridden, and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s voucher program to send students to private schools that deny basic scientific facts was recently ruled unconstitutional by a state judge."

But a key area that StudentsFirst leaves out of its grading system also happens to be one of Rhee’s most talked-about issues: student test scores. Maryland, which ranked the highest in Education Week‘s 2012 state report card in terms of achievement and standards, only received a D+ from Rhee.

As the Washington Post points out:

One of the measures that was not used was standardized test scores — which is ironic given that she is a big supporter of test-driven accountability for students, teachers and principals. This allowed StudentsFirst to give bad grades to states with high standardized test scores, such as Massachusetts. The reason? StudentsFirst says that while the state is consistently ranked first in National Assessment of Educational Progress scores for 4th grade and 8th grade reading and math, there was a large gap in scores in 2011 between white and Hispanic students.


Even the Washington Post has had its share of puff pieces for Rhee. When a study was published praising Rhee's effort, the Post did not mention something important. Both the group that did the study and the group that publicized the study were formed or run by Michelle Rhee.

Bunch of Spin. Study that praises Michelle Rhee in DC schools done by group formed by her

The Washington Post editorial links to the site that did the study, but fails to mention that Michelle Rhee was its founder and leader for ten years. She founded The New Teacher Project in 1997. Makes it hard for me to accept what they say as convincing.

Here is the editorial from the Washington Post.

" REMEMBER THE predictions that former D.C. Public Schools chancellor Michelle A. Rhee’s overhaul of teacher evaluation and compensation would lead to damaging upheaval? That there would be an exodus of good teachers? Those claims — like much of the criticism of D.C. school reform — have been proven baseless: Three years of dramatic change in personnel policy has made the District a model for smart teacher retention.

A study released this week by the nonprofit New Teacher Project lauds the District for its record of retaining good teachers while shedding low performers. Most school districts, as the group has established in previous reports, retain their best and worst teachers at similar rates. It’s the result of a cookie-cutter approach to personnel that enshrines mediocrity, tolerates ineffectiveness and has terrible consequences for students."


If a paper runs an editorial praising a study vindicating Rhee, then they should reveal that the group was founded and run by her.

Crossposted at Twitter



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Reply Sioux City Journal's clueless editorial defends Michelle Rhee's (Original post)
madfloridian Jan 2013 OP
madfloridian Jan 2013 #1
OswegoAtheist Jan 2013 #2
madfloridian Jan 2013 #3
madrchsod Jan 2013 #4
madfloridian Jan 2013 #8
proud2BlibKansan Jan 2013 #5
madfloridian Jan 2013 #6
jsr Jan 2013 #7
progressoid Jan 2013 #11
madfloridian Jan 2013 #9
madfloridian Jan 2013 #10
progressoid Jan 2013 #12
madfloridian Jan 2013 #13

Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 06:29 PM

1. Thoughtful paragraphs on why people listen to folks like Michelle Rhee.

I don't like to quote conservative websites here, but this is a very good take on why Rhee is considered important.

From the America Thinker website, January 10, about Rhee's report card. I hope my post won't be alerted on because I KNOW it's a conservative site....but they are so right in these 4 paragraphs.

And our side doesn't want to pay attention.

Michelle Rhee's modus operandi of jack-booting teachers, principals, and anyone else who gets in her way is all for show. The very data she so heavily endorses and depends on to make tough decisions in hiring and firing apparently means nothing when it comes to moving the needle on the "equality gap" inside inner-city classrooms.

So when StudentsFirst issued its merciless "report card" on states' policies, why should anyone believe what it says? Yet the press promotes the group as though they are experts when it comes to education reform.

The two highest-ranking states were Florida and Louisiana - each with a B-minus. Alabama, California, Iowa, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming all flunked, according to StudentsFirst. They were given F's.

Who even asked Rhee to weigh in? Well, if we tweak Alinsky a little -- it's not the power you have; it's the power they think you have -- when someone without the data to prove it acts like she's in charge, then everyone will think she's in charge, right?

Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2013/01/michelle_rhee_on_the_move_big_media_blitz_changes_at_the_top.html#ixzz2Ho49s9FD


So true, she acts like she's important and the media does puff pieces.

AND neither our Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, nor President Obama say a single word of warning about the harm she is doing.


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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 06:33 PM

2. X-Posted to Iowa

http://www.democraticunderground.com/1051925

Oswego "F for Freedom " Atheist

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Response to OswegoAtheist (Reply #2)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 06:49 PM

3. I keep forgetting the state forums.

I used to post a lot in the FL forum, but tend to forget. Thanks for the crosspost.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 07:53 PM

4. two people got it and the other is clueless

to bad the president believes in this shit.

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Response to madrchsod (Reply #4)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 09:21 PM

8. He's had no opposition.

So it's easy for his administration to push this all through.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 07:58 PM

5. Sioux City is very right wing.

I believe it's in Steve King's district. And he's insane.

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Reply #5)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 08:06 PM

6. That editorial sounds like it may be.

It has been so easy to make teachers and public education the bad guys when you don't have a media keeping watch. AND when there is too much bipartisanship and coziness about education reform.

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Reply #5)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 08:32 PM

7. It is in Steve King's district

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Reply #5)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 11:49 AM

11. Yes it is and yes he is insane too.

I know a lot of the people around there.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Sat Jan 12, 2013, 11:28 PM

9. Des Moines Register says "F" grade to be taken with grain of salt. Good for them.

Glad to see the questioning. Iowans should not accept that their schools deserve that F grade.....Michelle Rhee gave herself the authority to issue such grades. They only show that Iowa schools are not bowing down to her.

http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20130111/OPINION/301110047/-1/NEWS04/What-Others-Saying-F-rating-schools-isn-t-what-seems

"News that Iowa received a failing grade for state education policy by the education reform group “Students First” needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

The group dealt out 11 “F” grades in a nationwide report card released Monday. Only two states received above a “C” — Louisiana and Florida. Those were B-minuses.

The nonprofit group was founded by former Washington, D.C., Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee and is actively working in 17 states. Last year, Rhee visited with Gov. Terry Branstad and select lawmakers on education reform topics. The organization spent more than $300,000 on state legislative races last year, more than any other independent expenditure group in the last cycle.

In awarding Iowa an F, the group wrote: “The state trails most of the country when it comes to enacting critical education reforms. Iowa does not evaluate teachers and principals in a meaningful way, and it does not link student performance, education performance and district personnel decisions.”

That means Iowa hasn't fallen for Rhee's so-called "reforms".

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 02:54 AM

10. Good, another Iowa article critical of Rhee's report card

http://ottumwacourier.com/local/x1633448492/-Grade-not-based-on-student-achievement

"OTTUMWA — The state of Iowa may have received an F on a report card, but the grade only reflects how Iowa measures up to one group’s idea of good education policy.

“The danger is in not reading the report carefully, thinking that this the state of education in Iowa,” said Art Sathoff, superintendent of Fairfield schools.

What these various grades from groups demonstrate, say Iowa officials, is how well a state or a school district is doing implementing the policies supported by that group.

“Any organization that’s out there is essentially going to try to promote their agenda, their policies,” said Superintendent Russ Reiter of the Oskaloosa school district. “As superintendent of a school district, I have to seek policies that are going to be best for our students.”

Good to see this.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 11:51 AM

12. I see an "F" from Rhee as a good thing.

Unfortunately, the right wing asshats that read this in the SC Journal will believe it.

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Response to progressoid (Reply #12)

Sun Jan 13, 2013, 12:09 PM

13. So will many other readers of many other papers. Where's Arne Duncan?

He's in charge of our schools in this nation...why isn't he saying to everyone..."hey don't worry about what she says....she doesn't have the authority to grade schools"

The fact is that his silence speaks very loudly.

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