Yeah, there was this report right here on how much floor polish we needed, and this one right here about the possibility of changing dairies that supply our milk, and there’s the annual assessment on crayon-munching and paste-eating, especially among my own personal staff. I am a busy woman. I can’t be expected to remember every report, especially one that might indicate that the things upon which I have based my entire career, and which have brought me considerable fame and fortune, are the functional equivalent of swampland in Polk County. – Charles P Pierce
Michelle Rhee is playing this situation like such a politician. It almost reminds me of Anthony Weiner denying over and over again that the tweeted picture was not him, until it became so apparent that it was… that he needed to stop the wall of denial and admit to his transgressions. Rhee is in super denial, not that she didn’t know about it, but that it isn’t that big of a deal. HA! That is rich. She made THE BIGGEST deal about these results and their inherent affirmation of her policies. Now, she wants us to believe that when she was made aware that her cherished results were suspect… that she didn’t find it important enough to follow up on. Shenanigans.
And I wouldn’t care about this at all, except Rhee sucks all the air out of the educational reform conversation. She has spent years beating up the profession with her record. She is unapologetic and flip about a situation that needs to be of the utmost concern for those truly interested in educational reform decisions that will yield a more effective educational program for students and learning. As someone who has spent a lifetime in teaching and learning, let me let you in on a little secret – there is no silver bullet, there is not magic solution to ‘fixing’ schools. True educational shift and change is brutal to accomplish. It needs to be systemic and structured and intentional and persistent and it still might not work. Its hard. Really hard.
And here’s another little nugget of obvious – 20%+ gains in standardized test scores will 9 times out of 10 be related to testing fraud, not magical no excuses approaches to teaching and learning. Gains like that are indicative of either heavy coaching or straight up cheating a la Atlanta and Philly and DC. This is not the learning that will make anyone college and career ready for the 21st century to complete in a global economy*. At all.
There are hundreds of thousands of teachers and principals getting out of bed every morning to serve the kids in their charge. Let’s put them on the cover of magazines. Let’s have them interviewed on TV. Let’s have them receiving the praise of the public. Teachers and principals are working toward a better version of education and school and learning each and every day. The work is being done. Progress is being made. But let’s be clear, it is not because of the efforts of Rhee, it is in spite of it.
*trying to invoke all of the buzzword phrases that are currently in use to describe what our educational system needs to be yielding