I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Frontline on Rhee: Only Part of the Story

So the big Frontline special on Michelle Rhee aired last night. Diane Ravitch says most of what's on my mind right now; I'll only add a bit more:

- How can any report about Michelle Rhee talk about her years teaching in Baltimore yet not mention the reporting this year that shows she greatly exaggerated her "success" as a teacher there? And that now she disavows the very specific claims she made on film that were shown on Frontline last night? How could John Merrow, the reporter, miss this in his piece?

- The test scores that Merrow talked about were all related to the DC-CAS, Washington D.C.'s local test. But Rhee admitted that many of her "gains" were due to simple changes designed expressly to increase scores, and not overall learning. Where was the discussion of this?

- And where was the discussion of the national test results for Washington? Or the demographic changes in DC that probably led to test score gains? For that matter, where was anyone to cast doubt on the entire notion that standardized tests are a good barometer of student learning?

- Where was the discussion of the teachers who were fired by Rhee, yet reinstated when a judge ruled the firings were improper?

- How about the merit pay bonuses Rhee instituted? They were funded by private sources - sources who withdrew their support when Rhee left the district.

- Finally: why was no one, like Matt DiCarlo, invited on the put Rhee's claims of success in D.C. into their proper context?
Put simply, Ms. Rhee’s own evidentiary standards are so flawed that we must ignore the fact that, in this case, if anything, they actually work against her.
I'm glad John Merrow put the serious questions about cheating in D.C. on the record. But that is only part of the story of Michelle Rhee. Merrow missed a chance to out the full, ugly truth about Rhee on the record.

And so the task falls to us bloggers. So be it.

You bloggers better stop vetting my record!

1 comment:

Galton said...

Imagine the SGP implications for the teachers that get these students when the cheating stops!
The last sentence in the article below is a time bomb waiting to explode on teachers.