Michelle Rhee Gets Called Out By NY Times

It seems that the Gray Lady has noticed Michelle Rhee is frantically avoiding any discussion of the cheating that occurred under her watch as Chancellor for the DC Schools:

Eager for Spotlight, but Not if It Is on a Testing Scandal

WASHINGTON — Why won’t Michelle Rhee talk to USA Today?

Ms. Rhee, the chancellor of the Washington public schools from 2007 to 2010, is the national symbol of the data-driven, take-no-prisoners education reform movement.

It’s hard to find a media outlet, big or small, that she hasn’t talked to. She’s been interviewed by Katie Couric, Tom Brokaw and Oprah Winfrey. She’s been featured on a Time magazine cover holding a broom (to sweep away bad teachers). She was one of the stars of the documentary “Waiting for Superman.”

These days, as director of an advocacy group she founded, StudentsFirst, she crisscrosses the country pushing her education politics: she’s for vouchers and charter schools, against tenure, for teachers, but against their unions.

Always, she preens for the cameras. Early in her chancellorship, she was trailed for a story by the education correspondent of “PBS NewsHour,” John Merrow.

At one point, Ms. Rhee asked if his crew wanted to watch her fire a principal. “We were totally stunned,” Mr. Merrow said.

She let them set up the camera behind the principal and videotape the entire firing. “The principal seemed dazed,” said Mr. Merrow. “I’ve been reporting 35 years and never seen anything like it.”

And yet, as voracious as she is for the media spotlight, Ms. Rhee will not talk to USA Today.

So the press is beginning to notice that the publicity hound is avoiding them.

Perhaps they should look more closely at her stories, because even a cursory examination of her record reveals that she consciously juiced those numbers through her official actions:

This conclusion is premature. A review of the record shows that Michelle Rhee’s test score “legacy” is an open question.

There are three main points to consider:

  • First, (by Rhee’s own admission) two simple policy changes enacted in 2007 were made, in part, to generate artificial test score gains during her first year (when roughly 75 percent of the DC-CAS increases occurred).
  • Second, the district’s DC-CAS test was introduced in 2006, and a year or two after any new test is introduced – as students, teachers, and administrators become more familiar with it – it’s common to see an artificial inflation in scores. The beginning of Rhee’s tenure coincided with this period. 
  • Third, the students enrolled in DC public schools in 2010 were a significantly different group compared with the students of 2007, and this demographic shift may have driven some of the improvement in DC-CAS performance. A deeper look at the best evidence we have – from the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) – suggests that the increases in D.C.’s average NAEP scores between 2007 and 2009 (widely touted by Rhee and her supporters as confirmation of her effectiveness) could, in part, be a result of this demographic change. Math increases may be somewhat overstated, while reading scores may have been flat.

This is not particularly surprising.  The educational reform establishment (an bit of an Orwellian concept) is all about finding a way to turning the education system into a for-profit Education-Industrial Complex, and no one would stand for it if they heard the truth.

Let’s hope that the worm turns for Michelle Rhee and their corrupt ilk like it has for Alan “Bubbles” Greenspan.

Leave a Reply