Former D.C. schools chancellor Michelle A. Rhee, known for her crusade to use standardized test scores to help evaluate teachers, is facing renewed scrutiny over her depiction of progress that her students made years ago when she was a schoolteacher.
A former D.C. math teacher, Guy Brandenburg, posted on his blog a study that includes test scores from the Baltimore school where Rhee taught from 1992 to 1995. The post, dated Jan. 31, generated intense discussion in education circles this week. In it, Brandenburg contended that the data show Rhee "lied repeatedly" in an effort to make gains in her class look more impressive than they were.
Rhee, who resigned last year as chancellor, denied fabricating anything about her record and said Brandenburg's conclusion was unfounded. But she acknowledged this week that she could have described her accomplishments differently in 2007, when then-Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) selected her to be chancellor.
At issue is a line in Rhee's resume from that year that described her record at Harlem Park Elementary School: "Over a two-year period, moved students scoring on average at the 13th percentile on national standardized tests to 90 percent of students scoring at the 90th percentile or higher."
But, even though Rhee admits sheOn Wednesday evening, Rhee said she would revise that wording if she could. "If I were to put my resume forward again, would I say 'significant' gains?" Rhee said. "Absolutely."
Rhee addressed questions about her resume in 2007. At the time, she acknowledged that there was no documentation to back up the assertion of performance at the 90th percentile. She said then that the source of the information was the school's principal, Linda Carter.
Let's give her the benefit of the doubt. If so, Rhee - who is supposed to be an expert on all things educational and is the designated champion of "reform" - is so stupid as to think she moved all of her students from averaging at the 13th percentile to higher than the 90th percentile in two years.In 2007, Carter and others connected with the school corroborated Rhee's account in general terms without citing specific figures. A Baltimore schools spokeswoman said Thursday that Carter no longer works for the system. Efforts to reach the former principal were unsuccessful. On Wednesday, Rhee reiterated what she had said in 2007. "All I can go off of is what my principal told me," she said.
Anyone with teaching experience will tell you a claim like that is just absolutely ridiculous. In fact, anybody with half a brain in their head will tell you a claim like that is ridiculous. You can bring kids a long way, but that many that far? Come on.
And yet the media and the reform elite eat this crap up and think it's ice cream. St. Michele is so extra-special super wonderful that we should listen to her spout off about gutting tenure, even though she didn't even teach long enough to earn it.
Bob Somerby, who's been on to Rhee's cons for a long time, has more.