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Wed Feb 6, 2013, 06:20 AM


Michelle Rhee's education reform record: total failure and corruption (Meet Adell Cothorne)

Michelle Rhee is, of course, the central character in our Frontline film, “The Education of Michelle Rhee,” but I want to tell you more about Adell Cothorne, the former DC principal who appears at the end of our film. She was one of a small handful of DC educators willing to speak on the record about the widespread erasures that occurred during Michelle Rhee’s tenure in Washington–and I think what she has to say is important...

“I grew up in poverty. I’m a minority, of course, (laughs). (And the daughter of a) teenage mother. So I absolutely understand the value of a strong public school education. It will take you places you’ve never been before.”

Education enabled Adell Cothorne to rise from those unpromising circumstances, and she ended up as an Assistant Principal in Montgomery County, Maryland. For those unfamiliar with the Washington, DC, area, Montgomery County is a wealthy suburb of the Capital with excellent ‘Blue Ribbon’ public schools. It’s one of the top-ranked school districts in the nation.

Her idealism burned brightly, and so she applied for a job in Washington, largely, she told Frontline, because of her admiration for Michelle Rhee...Rhee installed Cothorne as principal of Noyes Education Campus, a ‘Blue Ribbon’ school that had achieved remarkable gains on the DC-CAS in previous years....


Long story short: Cothorne found that what she saw in the classrooms didn't mirror what the test scores showing great gains indicated. Students were struggling. She found staffers were cheating on standardized tests and reported it. She found that this cheating had apparently begun during the reign of her predecessor, who was promoted by Rhee. She was basically told by this person (her superior) to shut up and play nice.

She found that when she tightened testing security, scores dropped precipitously:

With heightened security, Noyes’ DC-CAS scores dropped 52 points in reading (from 84.21% in 2009 to 32.40%) and 34 points in math (from 62.79% to 28.17%). In fact, in 2010-2011 Noyes performed below its 2007, pre-Rhee, level.

JOHN MERROW: How do you explain the drop?
ADELL COTHORNE: Those were the true test scores.
JOHN MERROW: I’m sorry?
ADELL COTHORNE: Those were the true test scores, in my opinion. Those were what the students in that school actually were able to produce.

Adell Cothorne, a dedicated educator who was completing work on her doctorate, resigned her principalship and gave up a reported annual salary of roughly $130,000. She has opened up a bakery, “Cooks ‘n Cakes,” in Ellicott City, Maryland, surely a gamble in these difficult economic times.

I hope it’s a rousing success. When you stop by (to buy), please congratulate her on her courage.


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Reply Michelle Rhee's education reform record: total failure and corruption (Meet Adell Cothorne) (Original post)
HiPointDem Feb 2013 OP
xchrom Feb 2013 #1
Katashi_itto Feb 2013 #2
daleanime Feb 2013 #3
erodriguez Feb 2013 #4
HiPointDem Feb 2013 #9
jsr Feb 2013 #5
obamanut2012 Feb 2013 #6
Starry Messenger Feb 2013 #7
ReRe Feb 2013 #8

Response to erodriguez (Reply #4)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 02:18 PM

9. and possible felon


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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Wed Feb 6, 2013, 09:30 AM

8. Adell Cothorne...


...I had time to read through the whole interview and thru the top 10-20 comments. Yeah, Frontline needs to do a follow-up program on Rhee. Not even invite her to be in it. I was fascinated by the reply of the statistician! Bush's NCLB has got to come to a complete halt. I was almost sure our kids were being dumbed-down, and now I know it for sure. Thank you so much for posting this...

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