Repeat: Michelle-Rhee-Style Reforms Didn’t Work in DC!

It bears repeating:

Michelle Rhee’s reforms have been going on now in DC for nearly five years.

SHE CLAIMED SHE WOULD PRODUCE MIRACLES if she was given full, dictatorial powers to REFORM education in DC and in America.

FUNNY THING.  THERE WERE NO MIRACLES.

She and a few other folks predicted that as soon as she got to DC and had full, unilateral control with no place for the public to interfere with anything, then heaven would descend to the educational earth, and miraculously, low-income children of color would all reach the magic 90th percentile in reading in math in DC. They also predicted that if we created enough charter schools to break the monopolies on education by evil, selfish, cynical, bigoted-by-low-expectations, unionized teachers and administrators, then student scores would rise like crazy.

Yea, verily, they predicted, miracles will happen as soon as we dangle fat paychecks in front of teachers to get them off their fat butts and up teaching like they were supposed to be doing all along…  and then replace all the veteran teachers who weren’t any good at all, just lazy slobs (a euphemism) who were coasting to retirement.

Yes, they predicted! The scores will rise DRAMATICALLY!

Oh, yes, get rid of all of those veteran public-school teachers and things will be great!

The scores will rise! Or so they claimed.

None of that happened.

Instead, now 40% of all students going to public schools in the District of Columbia, are now enrolled at Charter schools. Where the scores look an awful like the scores at the rest of the public schools, especially if you look at the details (as depicted by myself and by a number of other bloggers).

AGAIN: WE GAVE AWAY THE ENTIRE STORE TO THE DEFORMERS. THEY HAVE HAD ALL OF DC TO MESS WITH FOR FIVE FULL YEARS.

WHAT DID THEY PRODUCE?

NOTHING.

WHAT HAVE WE, THE PUBLIC, LOST?

* ANY CONTROL OVER ANYTHING.

* LOSS OF ANY FORM OF DUE PROCESS FOR TEACHERS AND OTHER PUBLIC SCHOOL STAFF.

* STUDENTS AND THEIR PARENTS HAVING EVEN LESS SAY IN ANYTHING REGARDING PUBLIC POLICY THAN EVER BEFORE.

* LOSS OF COLLECTIVE MEMORY IN HAVING NO UNIFIED PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM.

* EDUCATION BEING REDUCED TO DOING TEST PREP ALL YEAR LONG FROM A SCRIPT, AIMED AT GETTING HIGH SCORES ON STUPID TESTS.

* TEACHER AND STAFF UNIONS UP FOR ATTACK.

* PENSION PLANS FOR ALL EXCEPT THE 1% BEING STRIPPED BARE.

* MORE YOUNG, INEXPERIENCED TEACHERS THAN EVER BEFORE IN THE LOW-INCOME SCHOOLS, QUITTING SOONER THAN EVER.

* KNOW-IT-ALL POLITICALLY-CONNECTED BILLIONAIRES, WHO NEVER WENT TO PUBLIC SCHOOLS, TRYING TO DEFORM PUBLIC EDUCATION ACCORDING TO SOME WEIRD NONSENSICAL SCHEME THEY DREAMED UP.

 

Published in: on November 28, 2011 at 7:44 pm  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Pretty good, Guy – even though you left out some school-based stuff that not only didn’t get better, but actually got worse — like elementary test scores, NAEP reading scores, cheating and cheating cover-ups, middle school options, teacher morale (oh — that’s not important according to reformers), ability to attract and keep good principals.

    I notice reformers glossing over their many failures and now talking about the “Second wave” of reform . I think we critics have an obligation to point out that it really means undoing the first, failed wave of reform.

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  2. Geo.–you and Madame Efavorite seem to be relishing perceived failures. Why not turn yo cracked lens on teachers (we’d be lucky if they fit a bell curve of performance, but we’d be dreaming) , their corrupt and incompetent union, the hapless and corrupt City Council, and the mayor(s) that we all elected?? Still want to blame everything on Rhee? Oh, I know, there is poverty and all the demographically based attacks that the foes of reform like to harp on as well and seed into discussions so they will get sidetracked. The weighted avg. quality of teaching has something to do with that, no?

    Resistance to change produces destruction of education. Next thing ya know, you will be saying, “We had to destroy this school system in order to save it.”

    And for goodness sake, stop using all CAPS and looking for perfect data or perfection in anything. We’d be lucky if DCPS emps. just did their jobs adequately.

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  3. Well, it must be admitted that a few of these shrill objections are fairly raised. There certainly are cultural problems underlying the failed efforts of all sides. But unionised education has had much, much longer to perfect schools, and has floundered at least as dismally as Rhee is claimed to have. Unionised teaching still reeks of entitlement and fear of departure from paradigm. Overprotected students still underperform, essentially wasting the resources devoted to them, and still walk away unlearned and unreached. Union money still corrupts politics. “Bargaining power” has only benefitted the few as it drains district after district of cash. These problems pre-date serious privatisation attempts. Those who complain of lost pensions are the very ones who doomed the pensions in the first place with their own slavish collectivism. Much like other social welfare systems in the U.S., purely public education has grown into an insupportable mass, leading to cuts everywhere and tremendous strains, for which the terrified responsible parties, the unionised, will only continue to blame the change agents. If Rhee’s ideas have had shortcomings in some areas, well, yes, let’s be thoughtful about them — but good for her for implementing them. That’s what innovation is, trial and error, as opposed to stagnation. But instead of innovating again, the unionised will flee straight back into their swamp, and nothing will ever be gained. The answers, whatever they are, cannot lie in the same deprivation of choice that we are so well accustomed to, nor in the same centralisation that turns the failure of one into the failure of all.

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    • There is a huge lack of actual facts in your post, but it’s a pretty good fact-free put-down of teachers and their perceived control of public education.

      Funny thing is, teachers don’t and never did control the public schools, whether they belong to a union or not. The stupid aspects of public education in America are mandated from on high.

      Another funny thing: if you control for student poverty or wealth levels, American public schools do quite well indeed in comparison to other nations’ public schools, as many studies have shown.

      A final funny thing – especially in the light of your claim that it’s the teachers themselves who are bankrupting America – is that Michelle Rhee personally told me and the other teachers at my school that she wanted to make us wealthy beyond our wildest dreams.

      Sorry, if I wanted to be wealthy like that I wouldn’t go into teaching for mostly a pittance for 30 years. Instead, I’d either use my college education and math skills to figure out some way to scam local, state, and federal governments and shareholders and mortgage holders out of billions of dollars. In other words, I would become one of the very hedge-fund traders who bankrupted the country (have you forgotten) or become a lying con-woman like Michelle Rhee herself.

      Or perhaps like you, Agkcrbs….?

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