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Tue Feb 5, 2013, 01:35 PM

Let them eat cupcakes. Plus why Michelle Rhee is lawyering up.

Edushyster does herself proud with the story of the whistleblower about the DC testing scandal. And a few words from Jersey Jazzman as well.

Today Michelle Rhee's book comes out, so the article is well-timed.

Let Them Eat Cake

In case you’ve somehow managed to miss it, today marks the release of Michelle Rhee’s new advertorial, Radical: Fighting to Put Students First. So to mark this special occasion I’d like to propose a toast, although not to Rhee, whose ghastly edu-celebrity may at last be waning (see book sales, declining number of). Let’s raise our collective wine boxes in honor of the woman who has emerged as perhaps the sharpest thorn in Rhee’s side: former Washington DC principal and whistle blower extraordinaire Adell Cothorne.

If you are a regular reader of Diane’s blog, you are likely familiar with Adell’s story; it’s one we certainly haven’t heard the last of. Adell has spoken out, boldly and bravely, about Erasergate, the epidemic of answer changing on standardized tests that took place while Michelle Rhee was in charge of the DC public schools. Her story stings in part because it was Adell’s admiration of Rhee that drew her to Washington in the first place. But when she witnessed what she was convinced was test tampering by teachers at her school she spoke up, and when officials failed to act she filed a whistleblowing suit, alleging that the DC Public Schools were defrauding the government.


Adell Cothorne says that now for the first time in her life she can be googled.

Taking on Rhee, Inc. hasn’t come without personal costs. Adell gave up her job as principal and abandoned, at least for now, the doctorate she was close to finishing, a study of the use of culturally competent instruction to eliminate the achievement gap for elementary school-age African American males. She says that she felt she had no choice but to walk away from her job and her studies because of a fight that felt more important than either. “I needed to do what was right for not only those kids in DC but all students. Testing is killing our education system.”

In the coming days we’ll be treated to endless news stories and puff pieces about Michelle Rhee. Thanks to the bravery of Adell Cothorne, much of this coverage will now include words like “investigation,” “tampering,” “suspicion” and “cheating.” So let’s toast to Adell and hope for better days ahead. And since a little something sweet is just the thing to accompany that toast, why not sample a fresh baked cupcake? Adell thoughtfully provided the following recipe, one of dozens of varieties of cupcakes that she bakes at her new shop, Cooks n’ Cakes. She named this one in honor of Rhee and her successor, Kaya Henderson. It’s called “Let Them Eat Cake.”


The article links to Jersey Jazzman's blog from January.

Rhee Lawyers Up

Yes, folks, it's true: Michelle Rhee has hired the lawyer for Bernie Ebbers and Roman Polanski. Ebbers, at the center of one of the biggest fraud cases Wall Street has ever seen. And Polanski, one of the highest-profile celebrity criminal cases in American history.
(BTW, several people have confirmed to me Weingarten is no relation to Randi Weingarten, the president of the AFT, the teacher union. It's a funny coincidence, though.)

Here's what I'd really like to know: Merrow says he got phone calls from Weingarten this summer. How did that happen, exactly? Did Weingarten call unsolicited? Was he calling in response to an inquiry made to Rhee? And why did Rhee feel she needed a prominent criminal defense attorney to answer Merrow?

This entire thing is getting stranger and stranger. It's time for the rest of the DC press and national education beat reporters to get in on this story.


I gather the reference to Merrow is about the recent Frontline piece on Rhee.

This lady seems to be one of the reformers who have been given carte blanche over public schools. It's infuriating, and I find myself wondering why there is absolutely not a word from any Democratic leaders about the harm she is doing in the name of education reform.

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Reply Let them eat cupcakes. Plus why Michelle Rhee is lawyering up. (Original post)
madfloridian Feb 2013 OP
JPZenger Feb 2013 #1
bvar22 Feb 2013 #12
madfloridian Feb 2013 #13
bvar22 Feb 2013 #14
madfloridian Feb 2013 #19
Ed Suspicious Feb 2013 #21
ReRe Feb 2013 #33
RainbowSuperfund Feb 2013 #68
madfloridian Feb 2013 #36
progressoid Feb 2013 #22
just1voice Feb 2013 #20
ReRe Feb 2013 #34
JaneyVee Feb 2013 #2
madfloridian Feb 2013 #3
Squinch Feb 2013 #26
madfloridian Feb 2013 #46
Squinch Feb 2013 #47
leftyohiolib Feb 2013 #4
HiPointDem Feb 2013 #5
Starry Messenger Feb 2013 #6
madfloridian Feb 2013 #9
madfloridian Feb 2013 #7
ReRe Feb 2013 #35
madfloridian Feb 2013 #37
liberal_at_heart Feb 2013 #8
KG Feb 2013 #10
Ernesto Feb 2013 #11
formercia Feb 2013 #16
Blue_In_AK Feb 2013 #15
madfloridian Feb 2013 #48
Blue_In_AK Feb 2013 #49
FloriTexan Feb 2013 #17
madfloridian Feb 2013 #42
OriginalGeek Feb 2013 #18
Squinch Feb 2013 #27
OriginalGeek Feb 2013 #32
madfloridian Feb 2013 #38
OriginalGeek Feb 2013 #39
kmlisle Feb 2013 #23
madfloridian Feb 2013 #40
HiPointDem Feb 2013 #52
madfloridian Feb 2013 #54
HiPointDem Feb 2013 #55
madfloridian Feb 2013 #57
jsr Feb 2013 #24
Smilo Feb 2013 #25
Frustratedlady Feb 2013 #28
madfloridian Feb 2013 #29
Frustratedlady Feb 2013 #30
madfloridian Feb 2013 #31
Smarmie Doofus Feb 2013 #41
madfloridian Feb 2013 #43
hay rick Feb 2013 #44
madfloridian Feb 2013 #45
jazzimov Feb 2013 #50
madfloridian Feb 2013 #51
reteachinwi Feb 2013 #53
hay rick Feb 2013 #56
diane in sf Feb 2013 #58
madfloridian Feb 2013 #60
Nevernose Feb 2013 #59
senseandsensibility Feb 2013 #66
madfloridian Feb 2013 #78
Blanks Feb 2013 #61
hay rick Feb 2013 #62
Blanks Feb 2013 #64
madfloridian Feb 2013 #63
Blanks Feb 2013 #65
madfloridian Feb 2013 #69
Blanks Feb 2013 #70
hay rick Feb 2013 #71
Blanks Feb 2013 #73
madfloridian Feb 2013 #72
Blanks Feb 2013 #75
obamanut2012 Feb 2013 #67
BlueCheese Feb 2013 #74
Erose999 Feb 2013 #76
leveymg Feb 2013 #77

Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 01:38 PM

1. Jon Stewart threw some pointed questions at her last night.

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Response to JPZenger (Reply #1)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 02:28 PM

12. Yes! I saw that.

Its sad, but I have come to rely on from Jon Stewart for most of my political commentary and important news.

Rhee was on last night pimping her book, and also doing damage control,
posturing as the great rescuer of Washington Schools.

Without knowing what I know, I would have sensed that there is something-not-right with that woman.

Jon did his usual wonderful job.
He can open doors, without being abusive to his guests.

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Response to bvar22 (Reply #12)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 02:44 PM

13. Is the video out yet? I did not watch.

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #13)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 03:06 PM

14. Go to this link now.

It won't work later.

Exclusive - Michelle Rhee Extended Interview Pt. 1
http://www.thedailyshow.com/

and back at ya.
I've always loved you!

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Response to bvar22 (Reply #14)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 03:20 PM

19. Thanks for the link. Struggled thru Part 1.

Will worry about the rest later.

She infuriates me so much.

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #19)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 03:36 PM

21. She reminds me of a heartless CEO chopping away inefficiencies and implementing standard metrics.

It's all so B-school sounding to me.

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Response to Ed Suspicious (Reply #21)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 05:46 PM

33. "She reminds me of a heartless CEO"..

... and that, basically, is what she is. Business and education don't mix. It's like oil and water. My sissy is an aerospace engineer and they brought in some big business guy to work his magic one time... Didn't work. He caused so much turmoil that they threw him out. Business and science don't mix either.

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Response to ReRe (Reply #33)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 11:25 AM

68. +10 :) I'm Glad to see someone say it. They don't mix at all. nt

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Response to Ed Suspicious (Reply #21)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 05:56 PM

36. I think Stewart should have pushed harder.

I watched portions. He had good questions, but he did not push her like I have seen him do with others. It could have been a stronger interview if he had pushed.

Everyone handles her with kid gloves.

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #19)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 03:40 PM

22. I'm not going to watch part 2

Good luck if you do. Part one nearly made me lose my dinner.


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Response to bvar22 (Reply #12)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 03:21 PM

20. Try RT, Al-Jazeera and Democracy Now for news

 

They blow the doors off of American corporate media. A person will learn more watching any of them in any one day than they will watching the corporate media for a year.

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Response to just1voice (Reply #20)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 05:47 PM

34. Amen...

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 01:41 PM

2. I have to question the sanity of a woman who swatted a bee in her classroom then ate it in front

of her 2nd grade class. Yes, that woman is Michelle Rhee.

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Response to JaneyVee (Reply #2)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 01:43 PM

3. Yep, the "Bee-eater" herself.

She's her own greatest admirer.

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #3)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 04:37 PM

26. Didn't she also duct tape a kid to a chair?

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Response to Squinch (Reply #26)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 09:46 PM

46. She laughed and said she put tape on their mouths.

And that it caused some bleeding when it came off. Funny to her.

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #46)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 09:48 PM

47. Oh. Ha ha ha.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 01:44 PM

4. may she choke on the coals she's about to be dragged acrossed

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 01:46 PM

5. "allegations not yet made public"...i can't wait.

 

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 01:52 PM

6. A hearty toast to Adell Cothorne.

She could have kept silent and let the Rhee-train go smoothly down the media tracks she had in front of her in 2009. I didn't know she'd put her degree aside to take on Rhee.

Incredibly heroic. Note to Democratic politicians--this is what courage looks like.

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Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #6)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 02:07 PM

9. I join you in that toast.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 01:54 PM

7. From the comments at Jersey Jazzman's post, quote from a link. Stunning.

http://www.pbs.org/ombudsman/2013/01/michelle_rhee_reformer_zealot_both_or_somethi.html

From the article: "After interviewing Cothorne, Frontline also attempted to interview Chancellor Rhee. It is accepted form in journalism for the subject of a program to be given 'the last word,' a final opportunity to respond to what others have said, and we wanted that to be the case in this instance. We negotiated with Rhee's attorney, Reid Weingarten, who insisted on seeing written questions that we would be asking. Frontline submitted a number of written questions, which we will not release because they include references to other allegations not made public. Weingarten had indicated that Rhee would respond in writing and, at the same time, consider an on-camera interview. In fact, she did not respond in any way."

http://jerseyjazzman.blogspot.com/2013/01/rhee-lawyers-up.html?showComment=1358653611093#c3651804778957447141

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #7)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 05:55 PM

35. Bingo!

Actions speak volumes. Hi madfloridian. I've been lost in this thread for a couple hours now. And I'm still not thru reading and haven't even formally replied to your original post yet!

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Response to ReRe (Reply #35)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 05:58 PM

37. There is so much at each blogger's links. They've done amazing research.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 01:55 PM

8. thank you Adell Cothorne

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 02:11 PM

10. piss on Michelle Rhee

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Response to KG (Reply #10)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 02:16 PM

11. Works for me.......... NT

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Response to KG (Reply #10)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 03:12 PM

16. She might like it.

It's not a great leap from bee to pee.
One buzzes, the other tinkles
another case of trickle down
can you feel the warmth yet?

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 03:08 PM

15. K&R, MadFlo

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Response to Blue_In_AK (Reply #15)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 09:50 PM

48. Just visited your pic of the day site at Smug Mug.

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #48)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 10:28 PM

49. Oh, thanks.

That makes my day.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 03:13 PM

17. Kicked and Rec'd n/t

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Response to FloriTexan (Reply #17)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 07:43 PM

42. Thank you.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 03:14 PM

18. I'd never heard of Rhee before TDS last night

and now I read this and see my suspicions have a reasonable foundation. Yes, she sounded like a woman on damage control duty. She seemed off and evasive to me.

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Response to OriginalGeek (Reply #18)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 04:40 PM

27. I am actually very glad to hear this. I have been watching her for years, and it's been like one of

those situations in middle school, where everyone loves the kid you know is a complete snake in the grass.

I'm glad to hear that for people who are just becoming aware of her, she's not fooling anyone anymore.

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Response to Squinch (Reply #27)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 05:31 PM

32. Yeah the whole time I was watching

It seemed like she thought she was being Mrs Fix-it but everything in my brain was screaming "NOOOOO - THEY LIVE!"




Especially regarding testing - I think she is harmful to teachers and nothing short of deceptive trickery would ever get me to support anything that harms teachers. I felt like she was being deceptive and tricky.

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Response to OriginalGeek (Reply #32)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 06:00 PM

38. Ha. That was a great movie.

Put on those special glasses and see an ed reformer behind every smiling greedy face. lol

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #38)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 06:08 PM

39. I know right?

My wife still teases me 20something years later because it was my turn to pick a movie for us to go see on movie night and I picked that. I loved it!

A few years later when I picked Shakes The Clown she took away my movie picking privileges for a while.


I think she just doesn't know good cinema when it bites her on the ass.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 04:00 PM

23. Book Radical is available for review on Amazon

I just wrote a review for her book on Amazon. Its waiting review. You can go on and do the same. Here is the link:
http://www.amazon.com/Radical-Fighting-Put-Students-First/dp/0062203983/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1360096487&sr=1-1&keywords=rhee+radical

just scroll to the bottom where it says write a customer review. Keep it clean and truthful or they will not publish.

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Response to kmlisle (Reply #23)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 06:16 PM

40. Wow, I bet Rhee is cringing over those reviews.

No holding back. Even the reviews are drawing responses. Thanks for the link.

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #40)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 11:50 PM

52. wow. 21 1's, 3 5's. how times have changed, eh? little golden girl no more. where's the

 

clean-up crew?

there seems to be prosecution lurking in the background...

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #52)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 11:53 PM

54. There's one that says bad reviews are from teacher union trolls.

There's a lot of strong stuff there. I am surprised some were let through screening.

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #54)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 11:54 PM

55. even if they are, that's more action than there would have been where rhee was the toast

 

of the town.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #55)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 12:08 AM

57. There are even more good ones when I go back and check.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 04:04 PM

24. Recommend

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 04:33 PM

25. Sadly as with most things that would upset the right

our Democratic leaders are found wanting.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 05:15 PM

28. I got some blurb from her last week, thanking me for my support.

I immediately shot back a response that I DID NOT support her and to take my name off their mailing list. I have NO idea how it got on there. Rhee is a dragon lady in my book.

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Response to Frustratedlady (Reply #28)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 05:18 PM

29. You might have signed the petition for Students First accidentally.

You will never ever ever get off that list. Never.

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #29)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 05:22 PM

30. Well, then...I'll fight back by spreading how I feel about her.

I think she is an evil woman. Our educational system has taken enough hits which will take forever to repair. It sure doesn't need a person of her ilk.

As for signing any petition with her name on it, fat chance. I can't say for sure on Students First. I sure hope not.

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Response to Frustratedlady (Reply #30)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 05:26 PM

31. I think it was generally worded about putting students first. Sounded good.

I think Diane Ravitch got on her list that way, and she can't get off either.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 06:19 PM

41. She's RHEE-diculous.

And RHEE-pulsive.

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Response to Smarmie Doofus (Reply #41)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 07:46 PM

43. And more at Outside the Box.

http://teacher-anon.blogspot.com/2013/02/in-honor-of-michelle-rhee-and-her-soon.html

" Rheeality: an existence devoid of facts
Rheeally: used to express surprise, interest or doubt as in “RUFKM?” Serheeously!
Rheeap: to obtain employment, wealth or stature through the efforts and/or contributions of sugar daddy billionaires
Rheecall: to cancel, take back, or revoke – sort of – a lie one has told
Rheecipient: an individual receiving kudos or monetary prizes based on false data
Rheecommendation: a suggestion made by a highly unqualified person
Rheedact: to delete factual information from written or oral communication because said information does not support the rheetoric"

And more at the link.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 09:22 PM

44. From the Frontline story-

As reported in USA Today: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/01/07/frontline-dc-schools-cheating/1814139/

Washington's Noyes Education Campus was the subject of a 2011 investigative series by USA TODAY, which first reported on unusually high numbers of wrong-to-right pencil erasures on standardized test papers going back to 2008.
...

The PBS Frontline documentary "The Education of Michelle Rhee," ... offers the first testimony from Adell Cothorne, who in the 2010-11 school year was principal at Noyes. Cothorne tells the filmmakers that she alerted officials on Nov. 3, 2010, to an afterschool incident in which she stumbled upon three staffers sitting in an office with students' completed practice test booklets and pencils.
...

She immediately reported the incident, but was never contacted by administrators. "I kind of trusted that somebody would follow through on it and it didn't really happen that way," Cothorne said.

Cothorne filed a federal complaint against the district in 2011, alleging that cheating essentially defrauded the U.S. government, since Washington receives millions in federal funds annually for education. That triggered an investigation by the U.S. Department of Education, which said on Monday that cheating was limited to just one school, which it didn't specify. The department said it couldn't substantiate any false claims and the U.S. Department of Justice declined to intervene.


When Cothorne saw the staffers with the completed booklets she noticed that "the erasers were down and the pencil points were up."

Michelle Rhee announced her resignation as D.C. Schools Chancellor on October 13, 2010.

More on the "investigation": http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/education/education-of-michelle-rhee/education-department-finds-no-evidence-of-widespread-cheating-on-d-c-exams/

The confidential lawsuit was brought in 2011 by Adell Cothorne, a former principal of the Noyes Education Campus. In her complaint, which was recently unsealed, Cothorne alleges that the district provided results from tampered student exams to the Department of Education while applying for federal grants, including $75 million in Race to the Top funding ultimately rewarded to D.C. in 2010.
...

As chancellor from 2007 to 2010, Rhee placed an emphasis on student test scores, tying exam results to the pay and employment status of teachers and principals. The approach produced higher scores, but also became the focus of public controversy in 2011 after a USA Today investigation documented an unusually high number of wrong-to-right pencil erasures on standardized test papers going back to 2008. The testing company, CTB-McGraw/Hill, however, pointed out the erasures to then state superintendent Deborah Gist in 2008.
...

The D.C. inspector general’s report (pdf) did not investigate erasures during Rhee’s first year as chancellor, 2007-2008, the year with the highest number of suspicious erasures. Rather, it looked at only one school, even though approximately half of district schools had been flagged for a high rate of erasures.
...

In one instance, Cothorne reported walking in on a teacher teaching materials that were going to be on the DC BAS exam while test booklets were in front of the students. In a separate incident, a Noyes teacher allegedly told her, “You know they cheat on their tests,” according to the complaint. When test security was later tightened at Noyes, according to Cothorne, scores fell by 25 percent.

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Response to hay rick (Reply #44)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 09:26 PM

45. Our district kept tests locked in the office until minutes before.

Monitors delivered them, or we had to go get them....and started testing immediately.

I remember so well that there were many items so confusing as I walked the aisles monitoring, ones that I could not pin down to one answer. That was at 2nd and 4th grade levels.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 10:32 PM

50. As a long-time lurker, I have read many of your posts

and I have noticed is that all you do is shoot-down any attempt at any type of reform.

In many cases, you make valid points. However, you always seem to shoot down any ideas in favor of the status quo, and if there is ANYTHING that is clear is that the status quo is NOT WORKING.

If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

I appreciate your experience, so you should be able to offer some ideas to make the system work better.

You tend to rail against the "blame the teacher" mentality, when actually most education reformers are trying to reward good teachers. Your reactions tend to make me think you were in the minority of teachers that simply "floated by" without actually contributing.

So, do you have anything positive to contribute? Or do you just wish to "blame" everyone else?



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Response to jazzimov (Reply #50)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 11:38 PM

51. Please do not use the talking points words "status quo".

Those are the words that the reformers used to start their bulldozing of public schools.

No, most reformers are not out to "reward good teachers". They are out for profit.

Actually I AM part of the problem, a very very big part of it. I am a problem for reformers who lie about what they are doing to public education in America.

Yes, I do rail against "blame the teacher" mentality. It is stupid and ridiculous and doesn't get to the real problems.

Yes, since I have been in a classroom, because I know stuff about education....I positively absolutely realize that taking funds and resources from public school to give to charter and private schools....is an undeniably stupid and ignorant thing to do.

So yes, I am a problem. I am proud of it.

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Response to jazzimov (Reply #50)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 11:51 PM

53. status quo is NOT WORKING

 

Inform yourself of the status quo.
http://www.dosomething.org/tipsandtools/11-facts-about-education-and-poverty-america
http://billmoyers.com/2013/02/04/its-time-to-take-on-concentrated-poverty-and-education/
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130204184304.htm

Unemployment and individual poverty rates have increased since 2000, and there is every reason to assume that concentrated poverty rates are on the increase again, although complete data on concentrated poverty will become available only after a more thorough analysis of the 2010 census.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/wilmot-allen/urban-poverty-in-america_b_2516832.html

Michelle Rhee is misinformed on the issues facing students and cannot offer meaningful solutions to the problems schools confront.

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Response to jazzimov (Reply #50)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 12:02 AM

56. Lurker demands comforting answers, offers cliches as a starting point.

and I have noticed is that all you do is shoot-down any attempt at any type of reform.

In many cases, you make valid points. However, you always seem to shoot down any ideas in favor of the status quo, and if there is ANYTHING that is clear is that the status quo is NOT WORKING.

If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.


A couple of points:
1. Anybody can call themselves a reformer...but maybe they are not. Maybe they are just shills for corporations that want to suck profit out of public education funding and don't care if they have to put teachers through a wood chipper to get what they want.
2. Madfloridian is not defending the status quo, she is, sadly, defending the status quo ante- the way things were before NCLB, RTTT, using public funds to support private schools, teaching to the test, etc.
3. You seem to think that if you use a lot of caps for emphasis... "if there is ANYTHING that is clear is that the status quo is NOT WORKING."...then your assertions are obviously true. If you want to make a case for "reform" you could present evidence that, given similar resources and similar student bodies, charter schools outperform public schools. I think your final question could be more appropriately directed to yourself- "do you have anything positive to contribute? Or do you just wish to "blame" everyone else?"

More:

You tend to rail against the "blame the teacher" mentality, when actually most education reformers are trying to reward good teachers. Your reactions tend to make me think you were in the minority of teachers that simply "floated by" without actually contributing.


Two points:
1. You give "reformers" credit for wanting to reward good teachers, but you're just looking at the carrot and not the stick. Race to the Top authorizes four intervention models for under-performing schools. The first method is called the "turnaround" model and requires replacing the principal and rehiring no more than 50% of the staff... more here...http://www.ed.gov/blog/2010/03/whats-possible-turning-around-americas-lowest-achieving-schools/
2. Your Ad hominem attack on Madfloridian, suggesting she just "floated by", is inappropriate and mostly serves to discredit your own post.


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Response to hay rick (Reply #56)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 12:22 AM

58. Thank you for your support of Mad Floridian, that fly-by-night seems like a charter shill to me.

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Response to hay rick (Reply #56)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:04 AM

60. Thanks for the last part. Appreciated.

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Response to jazzimov (Reply #50)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 12:30 AM

59. I find it ironic that the more "reform" our schools get

The worse the reformers tell us those schools are doing.

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Response to jazzimov (Reply #50)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 10:55 AM

66. Most "reformers" are not trying to reward good teachers.

Last edited Wed Feb 6, 2013, 05:50 PM - Edit history (1)

There is no reward, only blame and punishment. Just putting it in boldface doesn't make it so. I have a challenge for you: post one link proving that any "reform" group is trying to reward good teachers. Obviously, you won't be able to do that for Rhee's group, although you probably don't know that. But you won't be able to do it for any of them. I am so tired of random people thinking they know what is going on in education today because they once went to elementary school as a student. Your attitude is why people like Rhee can become powerful without anythig to back it up. Critical thinking skills are required, and too many don't have any.

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Response to senseandsensibility (Reply #66)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 06:43 PM

78. A hearty amen to that.

The "reformers" or as Diane Ravitch calls them now...the "privatizers", have goals that have little to do with teachers or students. It's about profit for EMCs, Testing companies like Pearson, Textbook companies, and so on.

It's becoming a big industry for the Billionaire Boys Club.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 08:18 AM

61. I can see that everyone dislikes Michele Rhee...

...and I am not surprised.

However, the John Stewart interview that I saw did not go unfavorably for her.

What he said was something along the lines of "there hasn't been any innovation in teaching for a long time."

Did I really read a post up-thread where someone was recommending that people go to amazon and write a review about her book without having read it?

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Response to Blanks (Reply #61)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 10:06 AM

62. You seem to be reading between the lines.

Unless I missed a post, nobody suggested posting a review without having read the book. The initial post (#23, kmlisle) states: " Keep it clean and truthful or they will not publish." Further down, madfloridian noted that "teacher union trolls" are being blamed for negative reviews. Maybe somebody posted a review on Amazon without reading the book, but that is not being advocated here.

Count me among the non-members of Michelle Rhee's fan club. She claims to be a Democrat but she's pushing non-union schools with no real tenure. I also thought her claim that she was surprised that people made a big deal of firing a principal on camera was disingenuous at the very least...

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Response to hay rick (Reply #62)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 10:18 AM

64. The first mention I read was this...

I just wrote a review for her book on Amazon.


Perhaps it is reading between the lines to assume that a book that just came out was not read prior to the writing of a review, but it takes me a while to read a book. Longer, even still, to read a book that I don't agree with.

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Response to Blanks (Reply #61)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 10:14 AM

63. Yes, Jon Stewart did go easy on her. No one ever really challenges her at all.

I did not post a review of her book. I am quite sure others probably did. To that I respond that Amazon should know that those reviews are probably made up as the book just came out.

I think people are so angry that someone so clueless has been allowed so much power by this administration, that they are venting....wrong or right.

So now that the innovation is taking taxpayer money to fund private companies to run schools....that is to the shame of those allowing it. I hope you do not approve of her crazy stunts like the Olympics ad. Watch and ask yourself why an Olympics ad was not held to higher standards. Does her power come from money?

Here's her groups "explanation" for the ad:

http://journals.democraticunderground.com/madfloridian/8465

I believe Jon Stewart was way too easy on her. I believe all interviewers go easy for the same reason they went easy on Sarah Palin....her "followers" make life hard on anyone who speaks out.

Of course the truth is that education has had too much "innovation" by too many people who are not educators. I thought he used that as a hypothetical, but I am not going to watch the thing again to prove it. It is not worth seeing her face or hearing her voice.



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Response to madfloridian (Reply #63)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 10:42 AM

65. I have no particular affection for her.

I didn't watch the follow-up on the net (I don't really care to listen to her either).

She did talk about some of the kind of reforms that I'd like to see. It looks as though she has abused the system (according to the lady that was interviewed in the OP). While I can't get behind her abusing the very system that she is trying to implement; it doesn't change the fact that her performance in the interview didn't damage her reputation among non-educators.

Obviously I can't support someone who gets a group of adults together after school and erases tests to improve scores as she allegedly did, but I suspect that there is a disconnect between what the children are being taught and what the tests cover; which is one of my issues with the current system.

I expect a lot of us 'outsiders' believe that the system needs updated (for example the length of the school day and summer vacation) and for educators who believe that the system is just fine the way it is; I warn you that unless you get a better PR campaign - it isn't gonna be pretty.

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Response to Blanks (Reply #65)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 11:50 AM

69. Tell me how public schools can afford good PR when they are losing money to privateers.

Public schools do not have the money and the power that people like Rhee, Gates, Broad, and the Walton family have.

They go on TV and lie about the school systems, how bad they are, and people believe them.

I am retired, it's no skin off my face.

But I care about those still in the system.

Our schools have been jerked around with "innovations" until there really is no system given a chance to work.

When I retired most of our teaching was scripted, chosen by those who had no idea what really works with children.

After all, PR is everything you know.

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #69)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 01:22 PM

70. I appreciate your position on this.

I can't tell you how to do it. I don't have the solution.

All I'm trying to tell you is that there is a problem. Unfortunately, the education system has been trying to fix this for years and it doesn't seem to be getting better.

If it can't be fixed within the system; it isn't difficult to conclude that it needs to be fixed from outside the system.

I don't think dragging this woman through the mud (as well as anyone who disagrees with you) helps your case. I've been insulted, bullied and ignored when I point out that the system could improve.

If educators don't believe the system can improve; they will be pushed aside and people outside the system will try to improve it. I think that's what we're seeing here.

What you have to keep in mind is that those of us who aren't involved in education were taught our professions by folks with no education - in education. The best teachers that I had probably never took an education class in their life. So when I am attacked by being told that there are all kinds of educational tools that I am not privy to as a mere engineer...

History professors teach history because they have a passion for history; not because they've been trained to teach. I had no interest in history until college for that reason; history with no passion is boring.

I don't know what teachers need to do in order to win this battle, but I'm sure all of the draftsmen who lost their jobs were bitter when CAD software replaced them. The ones who continued working learned the new system, I expect that's what's going to happen with education.

It isn't fair, it isn't ideal, but it's the reality. I don't know what this new 'system' is going to look like, but if I were an educator I'd be trying to figure out how to fit into this system. Either that or devising a plan to compete with it, but I don't think there's any stopping change.

To continue the draftsmen analogy; CAD software takes a long time to get set up and made things a lot worse initially. Once the kinks were worked out; there was never talk of going back. I imagine its easy to find short-comings with these education reforms for the same reason, but once the kinks begin to show positive results; the people complaining will not have much credibility.

When I complain about my experience with the education system; I am not typically complaining about teachers. The teachers take offense, but my criticism is not directed toward the teachers themselves. Most if the issues that I have had; have been with administration, but if the teachers want the system to work; they are going to have to involve themselves in cleaning up the administration. Since that is outside the scope of a teachers responsibility; it falls to someone else. That 'someone else' is who teachers are complaining about.

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Response to Blanks (Reply #70)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 05:07 PM

71. First, define the problem.

I accept the sincerity of your dissatisfaction with our educational system, but you haven't provided enough specifics or examples for me to understand the problem that you see.

On what I assume is your take on Michelle Rhee and "reformers" you say "If educators don't believe the system can improve; they will be pushed aside and people outside the system will try to improve it. I think that's what we're seeing here."

From what I have seen, the problem, according to Michelle Rhee and her allies, is mostly bad teachers. The solution to that problem is to take away tenure, and by extension, the union contracts and unions that make tenure possible. They seem to believe that if teachers are cowering, browbeaten "at will" employees, they will teach more effectively and the results will show up on standardized tests. By mere coincidence, such a regime will result in lower salaries and benefits for teachers and the money saved can be redirected to owners of charter school companies and large corporations providing educational services.

Obviously, I don't think the Rhees of this world are selfless saints trying to improve our educational system. I think they are mostly opportunists. I think it's unfair to teachers to characterize them as not believing the system can be improved just because they call bullshit on Race to the Top style "reforms." They see themselves as scapegoats for problems that are largely beyond their control.

My view:
The whole "fixing education" debate is misdirection. I don't think today's schools are significantly better or worse than they have been in the past. The real "education" problem is an economy that is changing in ways that ensure that most high school (and college) graduates face declining employment prospects. Our economy is a game of musical chairs where ever more players are competing for ever fewer "middle class" chairs. This problem can not be solved by adjusting the educational system. If our schools turned out nothing but PhDs, somebody would still have to flip burgers, change bed pans, and collect the garbage.










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Response to hay rick (Reply #71)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 12:48 PM

73. When confronted with the question:

"How can kids be graduating from high school without the ability to read".

The answer seems to be: "We get these kids, and they haven't been taught the fundamentals in the earlier grades".

The obvious solution is to evaluate these children early on and identify the teachers that were unsuccessful at teaching those fundamentals. Once educators acknowledge that in some instances teachers aren't teaching; a system to evaluate those teachers had to emerge. When evaluating teachers is left up to teachers; they seem to want to evaluate teachers. That's not gonna work. There's no getting around the fact that if you want to evaluate a teacher; you have to test the students. They need to be tested before the teacher sees them and they need to be tested after the teacher taught them. This seems to be the notion that educators reject. Since everyone who works in any other industry can see the logic behind this; it's a little confusing that educators are fighting it so hard.

I don't think the solution is to fire teachers, but if they aren't teaching; they need to go through re-training. Often intelligent people make lousy teachers because they can't relate to students who have trouble learning. Frequent tests should be used to identify those students and they should get additional assistance. I don't know how you identify the students who aren't learning without testing them.

I also think we are operating on an obsolete model. Beginning with the fact that we have a summer vacation and short school days. At the time the system was created; it made sense to send kids home to perform their chores and help with the summer harvest (pre-air conditioning too, I expect). We haven't been living in an agrarian society for decades; isn't it time to adjust our education system to take that into account?

Kids are sent home to empty houses even in rural environments. It was a part of the overall education for children to come home and help; clean house, feed the chickens, milk the cows etc. The university doesn't close up shop at 3:30 in the afternoon; learning should take place all waking hours of the day. Learning needn't be a painful thing, so why don't we have school hours and activities that reflect the activities in the rest of the country?

I don't agree that the education system is as good now as its been mostly for that reason (parents aren't available after school or over the summer). School buildings are paid for by tax money and they should be a resource that is available to the local community - year round. I used to jog around the track in the evening (over the summer) at the local middle school; I would regularly hear what sounded like AC units starting up. If we're climate controlling a building; we should be using it.

Until we make fundamental nationwide changes that take societal evolution into account; it will continue to get worse.

As far as PhDs; I think we make too many. At the same time we don't make enough janitors, carpenters, masons, painters etc. We put too much emphasis on formal education and not enough on 'hip pocket training' (as we called it in the army) where we identify someone as not possessing some important piece of training; and they are taught that skill on the spot (frequently by their peers).

The one point that I've tried to make consistently in my discussions with educators is that I recognize that there are places that take advantage of some of the things I talk about. I understand that there are really good programs; that doesn't change the fact that there are really bad programs. We get good educators in here lambasting me because everything is working fine where they are at. It would make more sense to me if we were trying to spread those good programs around; it seems like the educators are defending the bad programs (that they have no knowledge about) instead.

A lot of it doesn't make sense to me, and I imagine it doesn't make sense to a lot of parents; that's why educators have reformers breathing down their necks. The old cliche': "if you aren't part of the solution, your part of the problem" seems to apply.

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Response to Blanks (Reply #70)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 05:49 PM

72. Yes, it's reality now.

I think most of us who post about education understand that since a Democratic president has now joined the Republicans in this new type of corporate reform.....there will be no turning back.

It's been like a steamroller that is way too powerful for teachers with only the voices of a few bloggers to hold back.

I think that now our taxes for schools will be going to Education Management Companies backed by billionaires who have the power.

As for schools being failures, no they are not. Public schools have been the heart of this country, neighborhood schools. So even though parents are organizing at ground level to plead for their schools to stay open, even though teachers' contracts are being voided by outside interests, the schools are not failures.

They have to call them failures so they could turn them over to outside influences.

So you are right about the reality.

I think it is already too late now for public education. I think I will still point out the injustices of someone like Rhee who has contempt for teachers (no matter her words)....being allowed to control things like she does.

If anyone gets satisfaction from that reality, then they can smile now.

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #72)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 01:12 PM

75. I don't support all of the privatization.

Educators aren't the only ones victimized by privatization either. There are privately owned utility companies that squeeze engineers for profits too.

Hopefully some of these things can be turned back with more government over-sight, but it really is a political issue and until enough people turn their backs on the old Reagan 'the government is the problem' thinking; we will never get things turned around.

I don't always think privatization is bad. A little competition in the marketplace can be a good thing. I've worked in the private sector for a contractor, a large engineering firm and twice for small engineering firms and I worked for the state government as an engineer. I liked working for the government, but the government can be very unproductive. Sometimes they behave as though they are above the law and it isn't always large corporations who are asking for change.

We are at a point in history where jobs are being replaced by computers and machines. To a point; that is a good thing. I'm afraid that we've passed that point. Unfortunately, so much of what is squeezing us; is as a result of cheap energy, and when it isn't cheap anymore we are going to be in a world of hurt (even more than now).

We are all being squeezed by these advances and unless we all work together to make it better (even though it may not improve our own personal station in life) we are going to lose even more.

As I said before; I don't know what the answer is. I think we're more likely to stumble on it the more we talk among ourselves. Particularly if we behave in a manner that makes it appear as though we are all in it together.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 10:57 AM

67. I love cupcakes and loathe Michelle Rhee

Good on Adell Cothorne.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 12:59 PM

74. Bob Somerby does very good work on this subject as well.

I learned a lot about the background of Rhee and her "reforms" from his blog.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 01:16 PM

76. She laughed while Jon Stewart talked about teachers being fired.


She really needs to be taken down a peg. To hell with her. And to hell with Jon Stewart and the rest of the media for giving airtime to that platform.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Thu Feb 7, 2013, 01:30 PM

77. News that Michelle Rhee's lawyered up just made my day. ;-)

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