First, there has been an educational consequence. There’s no need for serious education reform if you believe such miracle tales. Low-income children deserve intervention from the earliest years of their lives. They also deserve to go to schools with careful, well-designed instructional programs—programs carefully designed for kids who may be years behind traditional grade level. But why bother planning piffle like that if you believe Rhee’s miracle tales? It’s so simple! You just wait till the children are in the third grade! At that time, you give them a teacher from Cornell and watch all the flowers bloom!
A serious search for real reform is undermined by Rhee’s glory tale.The second major societal consequence involves Rhee’s endlessly noxious message about teachers and teachers unions.
Amen.We’re sure that such unions have been wrong many times, as almost everyone else has been. Beyond that, we would agree that some of Rhee’s basic ideas make perfect sense; if some teacher can’t or won’t teach, he shouldn’t keep his job for the next forty years. But few people have aimed so much venom at teachers and their infernal unions as Rhee has done in the past few years. Rhee is weirdly unbalanced—unhinged—on such matters. She has helped advance a noxious attitude about unions in general, a message which extends well beyond the narrow educational focus.