More on Rhee’s Alleged Baltimore Miracle

An alert reader brought my attention to the US General Accounting Office report on the EAI charter school experiment in Baltimore during the mid-1990s. It tends to discredit Michelle Rhee’s claims of having brought 90% of her students from performing below the 20th percentile to performing above the 90th percentile. After all, given that her school, Harlem Park, wasn’t very large, such a jump would have had some sort of impact. Look for yourself:

Notice that I highlighted the line for Harlem Park. “Effect Size” means whether the school in question did better (positive) or worse (negative) than its comparison regular public school(s). Apparently, in reading, Harlem Park did significantly WORSE than its comparison school(s).

And here is the data for math:

Published in: on August 13, 2010 at 7:24 pm  Comments (6)  

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  1. Guy,
    Thanks very much for highlighting this report.
    Just to let you know, if you are very adventurous and can work with Microsoft Access or a similar database program, the 1995 MSPAP results are available here:

    So, to reiterate, these claims from Michelle Rhee’s resume, as posted at the New Teacher Project, are false:
    Her teaching career started at Harlem Park Community School in Baltimore, MD, where her outstanding success in the classroom earned her acclaim on Good Morning America and The Home Show, as well as in the Wall Street Journal and the Hartford Courant.

    (There’s is a TFA alum who comments over at Eduwonk where he has taken an abusive attitude with me for calling him out for believeing in Michelle’s Baltimore Miracle without evidence. He taught high biology as part of his two year stint with TFA and did not like being compared to a creationist for his belief in the face of evidence.)


  2. Please research this further, I knew there had to be data out there somewhere on the Baltimore Miracle, it gets talked about less but the story is still out there. Also, what happened to the students she taught, why is there not one follow-up story on this miracle worker, it doesn’t make sense? Also, not one reporter spoke to a teacher, principal, student, or parent – have they been paid off or what. No one has come forward to say anything, I find this very unusual considering all the press Rhee gets.


    • Rhee’s former principal did come forward when the DC City Council was attempting to look into Rhee’s bogus claims. The principal gave no numbers, but merely said that Rhee did a good job. A worshipful quote from WaPo:
      “When people say, ‘Do you have documentation?’, I’ve been saying no,” [Michelle A. Rhee] said yesterday. “I think this is an important thing going forward for teachers to have documents to say, ‘This is what the data look like.’ My lesson is: How do we set up a system so teachers can have this kind of information on their students?”
      Linda Carter, who served as principal of Harlem Park when Rhee was there, said the jump in the achievement level was “dramatic” and the scores were “pretty high.”
      Deonne Medley, who was Rhee’s teaching intern, recalled students’ scores increasing from roughly the 15th percentile to about the 80th or 90th percentile. “I remember her looking at a lot of the indicators for this testing and using that to design some of her lessons,” said Medley, 36. “She tried to get her kids to maximize their results on the test.”

      ( Nikita Stewart and V Dion Haynes – Washington Post Staff Writers Date: Jun 30, 2007 Start Page: B.2)

      and from the Daily Howler, a blog written by a Baltimore teacher (

      <<STEWART: Three people who worked closely with [Rhee] at the school and a student say the scores rose in the range Rhee suggested.


      • From reading the link to the Howler and today’s Post article about taping kids mouths shut at the school it still doesn’t make sense. If it was a miracle why did no one mention it at the time. We have miracles, bee eating, taping kids mouths shut, and a weird story about driving a kid around in her car – this just sounds more and more weird. Was this a school or some kind of experimental project?


  3. The rersearchers for GAO report spoke with school officials (Ms. Carter?) as well as EIA officials. They also allowed them to respond to the report and their response in at the end of the report.

    No claims of 90% at the 90 percentile from them!


  4. […] including from frauds like Michelle Rhee, who made up fables about her mythical and fantastic successes during her three years as a TFA newbie in […]


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