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Sioux City Journal's clueless editorial defends Michelle Rhee's "F" for Iowa schools. [View All]

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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-12-13 06:32 PM
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Sioux City Journal's clueless editorial defends Michelle Rhee's "F" for Iowa schools.
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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.

Michelle Rhee's 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 Jindals 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 Rhees most talked-about issues: student test scores. Maryland, which ranked the highest in Education Weeks 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. Rhees 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. Its 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.

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