Some Comments in the NYT on Rhee and Cheating

Here are a few comments that ran in the New York Times in response to Michael Winerip’s article on Michelle Rhee’s sudden inability to talk to the press:

(1) By kathynj in new jersey on August 22nd, 2011 at 11:14 pm
It’s very disturbing that a person who derives such satisfaction from publicly humilitating others (in this case, the principal whom she fired in front of cameras, along the lines of a public execution)should be allowed anywhere near children. Rhee’s admission (which she seemed to find funny at the time) that she slapped duct tape over her young students’ mouths during her very short-lived teaching career should have been enough to keep her out of education altogether. The fact that this kind of appalling behavior does not faze her billionaire backers should put to rest once and for all the idea that the current education reform campaign has anything to do with improving education or the lives of poor and middle-class kids. (And if you need more evidence, check out Geoffrey Canada’s prescriptions for improving the economy in last Sunday’s NYT. Canada, another hedge-fund darling and hero of Waiting for Superman (who makes $500,000 a year as head of the Harlmen Children’s Zone) said that “those who make the minimum wage” must “sacrifice” and that “those of more modest means must also do their part” to “pay our great country back” through changes to “sacred cows” like Medicare, Social Security, and tax cuts for the middle class.” What a disaster for our kids and our country if these two continue to play such a prominent role in the public discourse on education.
(2) by Jennifer in Portland, OR on August 22nd, 2011 at 8:59 pm
Rhee’s style of “reform” — give underpaid teachers no job security, weak negotiating rights, and make their livelihoods dependent on questionable exams — provides enormous incentives for cheating. Far from being “a few bad apples”, I would expect cheating to become the norm. A good academic question would be, does cheating increase when focus on tests for job security increases? No wonder Rhee doesn’t want to talk about it as it is a striking indictment of her entire reform philosophy.
(3) by Jen from Texas on August 22nd, 2011 at 5:46 pm
Great article. I’m really surprised, though, that you didn’t make one important connection. Caveon, the company that cleared DC of wrongdoing, is the same group that investigated Atlanta last year and found no evidence of wrongdoing. The Georgia governor called their probe,”woefully inadequate.”
(4) by Barbara from Virginia on August 22nd, 2011 at 12:18 pm
Michelle Rhee is fast becoming the grifter of the for-profit education movement — she seems to have fabricated statistics about her performance as a teacher in Baltimore, and now it’s clear that her success in Washington is nothing more than a fraud, even if the fraud was perpetrated by others. Of course she doesn’t want her self-serving educational “reform” movement to be exposed for the fraud that it is.
(5) by SLD from Sierra Foothills, CA on August 22nd, 2011 at 12:18 pm
Always beware of ‘gonzo’ style professionals who don’t have any respect or affinity for the people in their own profession. Rhee has always been a fraud – I was appalled by Winfrey’s show with Rhee and no teachers or administrators present to give a full picture of what it means to be an educator. Shame on Winfrey for supporting Rhee and calling her a hero. The true heroes are the teachers who work day in and day out for low pay and receive no respect for educating our children. I hope this story is as ‘gonzo’ on Rhee as she has been on educators.
Not everybody agrees, however:
(6) by Sarah S from Austin, TX on August 22nd, 2011 at 12:19 pm
Michelle Rhee wouldn’t have done this. An increase in test scores at those schools doesn’t benefit her that much–why would it have been worth it, even if she were a dishonest person? If anything, some principals may be guilty.

But I think Michelle Rhee is rational to avoid a group of reporters who obviously doesn’t wish her well and doesn’t believe her. She probably thinks this story is getting way out of hand, since this occured years ago and has already been investigated.

But most of the comments were like the following:
(7)  by Tom from NYC on August 22nd, 2011 at 12:19 pm

She always struck me as someone much more interested in self-promotion than in educating children, so this isn’t that surprising. I can see why her union-busting message was popular with the right-wingers, though I’m not sure why anyone else was interested.
(8) by Chris from New York, NY on August 22nd, 2011 at 12:19 pm
While it’s wonderful to see Ms. Rhee finally receive some long overdue public scrutiny, I’m sadly confident she has made the leap from those of us who are judged on our merits into the class of people that are able to “fail upwards” and she will now be paid handsomely to spew a message, no matter how untrue and unproductive it is.
(9) by Edd Doerr, President, Americans for Religious Liberty from Silver Spring, MD on August 22nd, 2011 at 12:19 pm
Rhee has been exposed repeatedly as a loudmouth bitter discredited former school district head who now tries to lead the “blame-the-teacher” and “let’s-divert-public-funds-to-private-schools” gang. She evidently missed the mid-August Gallup/PDK poll showing that by 65% to 34% Americans oppose diverting public funds to private, mostly religious, schools, almost precisely the percentage by which US voters have rejected vouchers and all other schemes to channel tax dollars to nonpublic schools in over two dozen statewide referenda from coast to coast. Rhee also missed Gallup’s finding that 79% of Americans polled give the public schools attended by the oldest child an A or B rating despite the nationwide problem of public school underfunding and the loud conservative campaigns to slam public schools. It’s time for people to quit listening to the whining of Rhee and her ilk.

(10) by Anne from Seattle on August 22nd, 2011 at 12:20 pm
I wish the principal and all others bullied by Ms. Rhee well in their lawsuits. Her behavior towards teachers and employees is despicable. What example are we setting for our children when their teachers are continually humiliated and abused by officials and a cheerleading media?

As a nation we not only accept, but celebrate sociopathic treatment and behavior from superintendents, principals, CEOs, and managers. At what point do we reject the continual destruction of our dignity and joy for corporate profits?

Published in: on August 24, 2011 at 8:01 am  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. […] by Guy Brandenburg on GFBrandenburg Blog.  Read the original here. We have excerpted Guy’s piece and added some visuals to underscore some of the comments by […]


  2. “Michelle Rhee wouldn’t have done this.”

    This is my favorite comment, because it shows how blinded some people have become by all the positive press reports. This person simply refuses to believe that the paragon that Rhee has become in her mind would ever do anything to harm children. Thus she makes a definitive statement and then makes up a reason why she must be right. She hasn’t looked at the evidence and probably never will. She’ll just continue on in denial, defending her hero.

    Hopefully, there aren’t many people like this and hopefully those who are, are not journalists.


  3. Hey efav and Guy.
    Did you see this:

    We are now being called deniers.
    I guess Richard Whitless’ libel with birthers didn’t work.

    The only other group I’ve read as being labeled “deniers” are the Holocaust deniers.

    (Doubters of global warming are called “skeptics.”)

    So, does Steven Brill think we are consigning poor minority kids to extermination camps?


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