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

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Rhee Enters Panic Mode

So Michelle Rhee is scheduled to appear tomorrow on Morning Joe, talking about StudentsFirsts's new "state report card" (wow, what an original idea!). And that's followed by a presser at 11 AM.

Golly, why ever would Michelle Rhee want to draw the press's attention at this very moment?
Student standardized-test scores at an award-winning D.C. school dropped dramatically in 2011 after the principal tightened security out of concern about possible cheating, according to a new “Frontline” television documentary to be broadcast Tuesday [1/8/13].
The hour-long program raises questions about whether District officials have adequately investigated persistent suspicions that public school employees may have tampered with tests during the tenure of former schools chancellor Michelle A. Rhee. 
The newspaper’s report revealed an unusually high number of wrong-to-right erasures on students’ answer sheets at more than 100 D.C. schools between 2008 and 2010. Such erasure rates aren’t proof of cheating, but they are signals of potential tampering.
Current Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson asked D.C. Inspector General Charles J. Willoughby to investigate further. Willoughby reported in August that he’d found no evidence of answer-sheet tampering, a conclusion that Henderson said should finally put cheating allegations to rest.
The “Frontline” documentary, however, suggests the inspector general’s investigation may have been incomplete.
The 17-month probe focused on just one school: Noyes, which was named a National Blue Ribbon School in 2009 after students made impressive gains on reading and math tests. It also twice won an award from Rhee that brought cash bonuses for staff, and it had some of the highest erasure rates in the city.
Investigators found some test-security problems at Noyes but no evidence of answer-sheeting tampering. Based on those findings, they decided not to examine other schools.
But Cothorne, the former principal who alleges that she saw staff members after hours with erasers and test booklets, said investigators never interviewed her.
“My speculation: They didn’t want to hear what I had to say,” she told “Frontline.”
The inspector general’s office declined “Frontline’s” request for an interview about its investigation, saying the report speaks for itself. The office also declined The Post’s request for comment Friday. [emphasis mine]
Remember this: Katherine Bradley, the wife of the publisher of the reformy Atlantic and National Journal, gave Michelle Rhee $100,000 for an image makeover back in 2010. Rhee is a woman who has learned to cultivate her image very, very carefully.

Now she's being called on to the carpet for overseeing a culture of cheating in Washington. So what does she do? Distract, distract, distract...

Nice try, dear. But even the rats are leaving your sinking ship. After this Tuesday, your halo may not have quite the sheen it used to...

Hey, everyone, there's a new Betty White special Tuesday night! Let's watch that, and not PBS, OK? Please...

ADDING: Here's a thought: I wonder how SF's report card on the states will line up with this report card on whether the states have policies that promote school funding fairness?

Do you think Rhee and SF even care?


Anonymous said...

My DVR is set for Tuesday. Thanks for the heads up!

JackS said...

'The inspector general’s office declined “Frontline’s” request for an interview about its investigation, saying the report speaks for itself.'

Yes, that it does.

ed notes online said...

I asked John Merrow if they are including stuff on Rhee's husband's sex abuse scandal which she helped cover up. I guess not.

Anonymous said...

While Rhee is the sociopath we all love to hate, the problem goes beyond her.

Her successor has continued the cover-up, with the apparent connivance of investigators, and there has been little pressure - hopefully the Frontline piece will change that - to do otherwise. Meanwhile, the plans to close DC public schools proceed.

A few perp walks by administrators might be of help, but instead we're more likely to see witchhunts of teachers, and more money going down the rat-hole of "test security."

Joe Schwartz said...

I had to leave something here - an article was posted on the NY Times website about the StudentsFirst "report card" and how poorly NJ fared on it. But the NY Times doesn't allow comments or replies.

Michelle Rhee is what I call a "Koch Joke" - fully funded by the Koch brothers and their slimy brethren and only in the education sector for profit. She's not even worth discussing anymore.

be careful said...

Getting an F or D on her "report" is an honor. Condolences to the states who scored C's and B's....funny how test scores don't matter when they don't fit your rheeformy ALEC agenda.

Anti-Rheeform is the way to go.

be careful said...

How does one get in touch with Merrow?