Michelle Rhee, the publicity hound, education reformer and savior, finds herself in even more trouble than previously known to the public. Education reporters and advocates knip at her heels but receive no real response to questions pertaining to the cheating scandal during her time as Chancellor of Schools in Washington D.C. Maybe the federal government will get some real answers.
Since last summer, the Office of the Inspector General in Mr. Duncan’s department has been investigating whether Washington school officials cheated to raise test scores during Ms. Rhee’s tenure.
Rhee embarked upon a nationwide effort to reform schools with a new organization called StudentsFirst, since she left D.C. She proclaimed she would raise $1 billion dollars for the kids while she charges $50,000 per speech plus perks.
The New York Times article linked above aims to raise questions about Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s public appearances with Rhee. They quote Richard Hyde, the lead in investigating a cheating scandal in Atlanta that ensnared 178 teachers and principals.
“I’m shocked that the secretary of education would be fraternizing with someone who could potentially be the target of the investigation,” he said. “The appearance of a conflict of interest is troubling because it can cause the public to lose faith in the investigation.”
Hyde specifically says Rhee could be a target in the ongoing investigation. And she should be.
The Atlanta and Washington situations are similar in several ways. Ms. Rhee and Beverly Hall, the former Atlanta superintendent, both relied on fear to motivate, relentlessly driving their work forces. Dr. Hall told principals that if scores didn’t go up enough in three years, they’d be fired. Ms. Rhee bragged about how hard she pushed. “We want educators to feel the pressure,” she said.
Fear drives people to do things they would otherwise not do. This idea of testing and more testing in schools leaves teachers handcuffed and reliant upon students performance on a random day. Some smart kids do not test well. Nerves, fear, or just a bad day in general can cause one to fail.
I once purposely answered questions wrong on a state run test. The result does not matter for the student, only the teacher. I did not like the teacher and showed through the state testing.
The cheating in D.C. schools needs to be fully investigated and Rhee’s fear driven, performance bonus bull shit methodolgy needs to be held to account.
© Aaron Krager 2008-2013 | Have any questions? Send me an email.