Frontline: The Education of Michelle Rhee

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Frontline: The Education of Michelle Rhee

Haim-5
Naturally, this is grist for my mill.  Michelle Rhee is an obviously intelligent and energetic woman, wholly motivated by the desire to improve public education.  She had the full backing of the mayor, extraordinary bureaucratic power, and for four years she moved mountains.

   The only problem:  her aim was to reform the existing system.  She failed, of course.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/education-of-michelle-rhee/

Haim
No representation without taxation.
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Re: Frontline: The Education of Michelle Rhee

GS Chandy
Haim posted Jan 9, 2013 11:04 AM (GSC's remarks at end):
>
> Naturally, this is grist for my mill.  
>
Naturally.

>
> Michelle Rhee
> is an obviously intelligent and energetic woman,
> wholly motivated by the desire to improve public
> education.  She had the full backing of the mayor,
> extraordinary bureaucratic power, and for four years
> she moved mountains.
>
> The only problem:  her aim was to reform the
> the existing system.  She failed, of course.
>
> http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/education-of-m
> ichelle-rhee/
>
> Haim
> No representation without taxation.
>
Of course she failed.

And how many members of the 'Education Mafia' have YOU managed to put in jail to date?

GSC
("Still Shoveling Away!" - with apologies if due to Barry Garelick for any tedium caused; and with the observation that the EASY way to avoid all such tedium is simply to avoid opening any messages purported to originate from GSC)
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Re: Frontline: The Education of Michelle Rhee

Haim-5
In reply to this post by Haim-5
GS Chandy Posted: Jan 9, 2013 8:55 AM

>And how many members of the 'Education Mafia' have YOU
>managed to put in jail to date?

   The question is:  how many members of the Education Mafia did Michelle Rhee put in the jail?

Answer:  None.

And, after four years, super-human effort, and lots of money, did Rhee succeed in reforming what is certainly one of the worst school systems in the country (ie, lots and lots of low-hanging fruit to pick)?  Hardly.

   Correlation?  I think so.

   According to Frontline, there is evidence of some improvement in some schools.  I believe it.  But, as we all know and as Frontline documents, the Education Mafia comprehensively defeated the reformers politically.  The only reasonable expectation is a speedy return to status quo ante, and Rhee's tiny perturbation of the system probably has already dampened to nothing.

   Such has been the case in every other reform effort, for example:  California, as Wayne Bishop knows only too well.

   To my friends on the right side of the debate I say again:  reform of the existing system is impossible.  If we want to do something constructive, if we want to avoid the specter, a generation from now, of people just like us (our own children) in forums just like this one carrying on the same debates in virtually the same words, we must, must, must explore alternatives to the sisyphean job of reform.

   Must.

Haim
No representation without taxation.

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Re: Frontline: The Education of Michelle Rhee

GS Chandy
In reply to this post by Haim-5
Haim posted Jan 9, 2013 8:23 PM (GSC's remarks interspersed):

> GS Chandy Posted: Jan 9, 2013 8:55 AM
>
> >And how many members of the 'Education Mafia' have
> YOU
> >managed to put in jail to date?
>
> The question is:  how many members of the
> the Education Mafia did Michelle Rhee put in the
> jail?
>
> Answer:  None.
>
Did she shout from the rooftops "PUT THE EDUCATION MAFIA IN JAIL!"?

No?  Then I should think she has not failed to do what she had not promised to do.  

But you have shouted - and you have failed.

>
> And, after four years, super-human effort, and lots
> of money, did Rhee succeed in reforming what is
> certainly one of the worst school systems in the
> country (ie, lots and lots of low-hanging fruit to
> pick)?  Hardly.
>
>    Correlation?  I think so.
>
> According to Frontline, there is evidence of some
> ome improvement in some schools.  I believe it.  But,
> as we all know and as Frontline documents, the
> Education Mafia comprehensively defeated the
> reformers politically.  The only reasonable
> expectation is a speedy return to status quo ante,
> and Rhee's tiny perturbation of the system probably
> has already dampened to nothing.
>
That is generally what happens to perturbations in complex systems, as anyone will tell you who understands system.
>
> Such has been the case in every other reform
> orm effort, for example:  California, as Wayne Bishop
> knows only too well.
>
The 'knowledge' that you speak of is entirely specious, as all of us know only too well.
>
> To my friends on the right side of the debate I
> e I say again:  reform of the existing system is
> impossible.  
>
Well, maybe.  But shouting from the rooftops "PUT THE EDUCATION MAFIA IN JAIL!" has not made it any more possible, either.

To all on any side of the debate that wishes actually to "Improve the US educational system" (and not merely sloganeer about it), I say again: there are practical means readily available to help you improve the system (any system) - "AS A SYSTEM".  Seek them out.  Learn to use them in practical ways.  In just a few years, you will have the systems that you richly deserve.  No sloganeering, no shouting needed at all - which will also get you just the systems you richly deserve.

>
> If we want to do something constructive,
> if we want to avoid the specter, a generation from
> now, of people just like us (our own children) in
> forums just like this one carrying on the same
> debates in virtually the same words, we must, must,
> must explore alternatives to the sisyphean job of
> reform.
>
>    Must.
>
> Haim
> No representation without taxation.
>
"Must, must, must, must...".  Well, do go right on full tilt ahead.

We know that male elephants in mating frenzy sometimes go into "musth", during which period they become uncontrollable: reason and commonsense means nothing to them.  Your frenzy seems to have lasted all of years (alas to no purpose whatsoever).

Rational folk might try things like "Improving the US educational system" and *working out* what may be the THINGS TO DO that would best contribute to that most (not "must") worthwhile goal.

GSC
("Still Shoveling Away!")
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Re: Frontline: The Education of Michelle Rhee

Michael Paul Goldenberg
In reply to this post by Haim-5
Well, careful you don't destroy your mill, Haim. Here's a bit more grist for it on the Rhee front: http://bit.ly/XNQJfU

"The Empire Michelle Rhee Built"
By Charles P. Pierce
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Re: Frontline: The Education of Michelle Rhee

Bishop, Wayne-2
In reply to this post by Haim-5
Among other things that the Frontline piece documented was that Michelle Rhee did fire some ineffective principals.  After watching the public education system and experiencing an excellent private school for several decades, I have become convinced that the most important single factor in the first 5 or 6 years of a child's education in our system of education is the principal.  A sensible and assertive principal with the authority of exercising her convictions, including the ability to get rid of those teachers for whom there is no hope, (a highly unusual situation) can be extremely effective (a la Nancy Ichinaga).

LA Unified has never had a Michelle Rhee but we do have a writer, Jill Stewart, who writes about such things and one of her most famous was the "Dance of the Lemons" in the (since deceased) New Times of LA:
http://www.newtimesla.com/issues/1996-12-05/columns.html/1/index.html
"This disastrous state of affairs has given rise to the Dance of the Lemons, a treacherous yearly practice in which the worst principals are transferred to unsuspecting schools--most often in poor areas where unknowing local parents will not figure it out for a year or more."
I'll email her and see if she can give me a current URL of the article or, failing that, a copy of the article itself..

Wayne

At 06:53 AM 1/9/2013, Haim wrote:
GS Chandy Posted: Jan 9, 2013 8:55 AM

>And how many members of the 'Education Mafia' have YOU
>managed to put in jail to date?

   The question is:  how many members of the Education Mafia did Michelle Rhee put in the jail?

Answer:  None.

And, after four years, super-human effort, and lots of money, did Rhee succeed in reforming what is certainly one of the worst school systems in the country (ie, lots and lots of low-hanging fruit to pick)?  Hardly.

   Correlation?  I think so.

   According to Frontline, there is evidence of some improvement in some schools.  I believe it.  But, as we all know and as Frontline documents, the Education Mafia comprehensively defeated the reformers politically.  The only reasonable expectation is a speedy return to status quo ante, and Rhee's tiny perturbation of the system probably has already dampened to nothing.

   Such has been the case in every other reform effort, for example:  California, as Wayne Bishop knows only too well.

   To my friends on the right side of the debate I say again:  reform of the existing system is impossible.  If we want to do something constructive, if we want to avoid the specter, a generation from now, of people just like us (our own children) in forums just like this one carrying on the same debates in virtually the same words, we must, must, must explore alternatives to the sisyphean job of reform.

   Must.

Haim
No representation without taxation.

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Re: Frontline: The Education of Michelle Rhee

Michael Paul Goldenberg
In reply to this post by Haim-5
Must be a big day for grist. Here's even MORE for Haim's mill:

http://bit.ly/TLNbqI

From Bruce Baker's school finance blog: "RheeFormy Logic & Goofball Rating Schemes: Comments & Analysis on the Students First State Policy Grades"

With all this grist about the fabulous Ms. Rhee, the still bubbling DC cheating scandal she left in her wake when she rushed out to be with her equally-squeaky-clean paramour, Mayor Kevin Johnson of Sacramento, CA (former NBA star, I'm sure hoops fans recall) and found StudentsFirst, raise a billion or so dollars, and generally dedicate herself to doing good, all good, and nothing but good for underserved children, should not be ignored. Former active member of this list, Guy Brandenburg (and retired DCS mathematics teacher), has been in the forefront of an on-going look at that cheating scandal and Rhee's role in the apparent attempts to cover it up or, barring that, keep any official investigation as shallow as possible.

Now, normally, that would be grist for SOMEONE'S mill around here, but if someone has "right thinking," well, she gets a lifetime pass from serious scrutiny, doesn't she?
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Re: Frontline: The Education of Michelle Rhee

Michael Paul Goldenberg
In reply to this post by Haim-5
Poor Michelle Rhee: the Education Mafia is relentless:

http://takingnote.learningmatters.tv/?p=6070

That mill is getting very gristy.
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Re: Frontline: The Education of Michelle Rhee

GS Chandy
In reply to this post by Haim-5
Michael Paul Goldenberg (MPG) posted Jan 10, 2013 12:32 AM:
> Well, careful you don't destroy your mill, Haim.
> Here's a bit more grist for it on the Rhee front:
> http://bit.ly/XNQJfU
>
> "The Empire Michelle Rhee Built"
> By Charles P. Pierce
>
As a total outsider to US education (in fact, someone who was once commanded by Haim to *"BUTT OUT!"*) - but someone who is nonetheless most keenly interested in the 'state of education' in the US - may I say the article "The Empire that Michelle Rhee Built", by Charles P. Pierce, was excellent.  Thank you, MPG, for providing that link - and may I say that it's good to see you back here, even if only thus on rare occasion.

At least as good as the article itself (perhaps even better!!) were the comments from readers.  

In fact - after spending a fair bit of time to read through ALL of those reactions - I believe you already have practically all the makings of a truly effective public school education system for the US available right there in the many ideas expressed.  All that's required is to gather them up and to develop an Action Plan from them, i.e., an 'action path' showing clearly how things you could do right now - today, tomorrow, every day - might "CONTRIBUTE TO" desirable aims and goals of the US public school education system.  It will take a while to get done, but it certainly can be done.

(REMARKABLE FACT OBSERVED:  I found there, amongst those reader-commentators, one Brian Yoder, who seemed to be almost the spitting fanatic image of Haim over here!  Except that he did not actually write "PUT THE EDUCATION MAFIA IN JAIL!" in those very words, that was in fact his theme-song).

*For those of you who may be interested (including Haim) I do NOT intend to obey Haim's command.  I'll jus' keep on "Shoveling Away"!*

GSC
(With apologies if due to Barry Garelick for any tedium caused; and with the observation that the EASY way out of all such tedium is to refrain from opening any message that purports to originate from GSC).
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Re: Frontline: The Education of Michelle Rhee

jk@israeliteknight.com
In reply to this post by Haim-5
It was really stupid of Rhee (no connection with Syngman Rhee, I hope) to have dismissed so much evidence of widespread cheating in DC.  It was when she did that, in spite of all her  other putative accomplishments, that she lost me.  What she could have done is proven that even the NAEP is in on this cheating scandal, as the former governor of Georgia indicated.  Their scores (and in particular their claim about no gender gap in math at the 12th grade level) are completely inconsistent with far more credible tests like TIMSS and PISA (and even SAT and ACT).

I would REALLY like to see the procedure they went through to  gerrymander that conclusion.
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Re: Frontline: The Education of Michelle Rhee

Michael Paul Goldenberg
In reply to this post by Haim-5
Oh, the grist, she burns!

http://wapo.st/VRxPiL

D.C. principal slammed for reporting cheating
By Jay Mathews
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Re: Frontline: The Education of Michelle Rhee

Domenico Rosa
In reply to this post by Haim-5
In my opinion, Michelle Rhee should have promoted the hugely successful teaching methods used in the schools that are operated in Chicago by Marva Collins. Instead, Rhee focused on fraudulent "mastery" test scores.
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Re: Frontline: The Education of Michelle Rhee

Haim-5
In reply to this post by Haim-5
MPG Posted: Jan 9, 2013 7:12 PM

>Must be a big day for grist. Here's even MORE for Haim's
>mill:
>http://bit.ly/TLNbqI
>> From Bruce Baker's school finance blog: "RheeFormy
>> Logic & Goofball Rating Schemes: Comments & Analysis
>> on the Students First State Policy Grades"
>With all this grist about the fabulous Ms. Rhee,

 To me, Rhee is just one more example of failed reform. True, she is a particularly interesting example because of the extraordinary political support she enjoyed for approximately four years, but that just proves my point all the better: reform is not the way.

 The history of education reform is long and detailed. It is a history of unrelieved failure. Precisely because this history is so well known, when somebody comes along, like a Walter Annenberg, Bill Gates, Eli Broad, or Michelle Rhee, and claims to want to reform the existing public school system, I wonder what they are really after.

 For example, Bill Gates never did in his business career what he is doing in education reform. In business, if Gates had assembled a team to accomplish a task, and that team had failed comprehensively, would he give them even more money to keep on doing what they were doing?  I think not. Gates would conclude that either he does not have the right people for the job or there is something fundamentally wrong with the job. One way or another, there would be some radical changes, and rather quickly, too. This is the history of successful business enterprise ("sunk costs", "don't throw good money after bad", "never reinforce defeat", etc.), yet, as soon as it comes to education reform, these very same titans of industry pump their money into the pockets of the architects of failure and keep on doing so, seemingly forever. Whatever is really going on with Gates and Broad and Annenberg, etc., I can only guess at, but I am damn sure of what is not going on:  these men are not real!
 ly interested in improving the public school system.

 Just the same with Michelle Rhee. Maybe, Rhee wants to do well by doing good, in which case: good on her, but who cares, since nothing can come of it? Maybe, Rhee just wants her piece of the Educo-Political pie, as Charles Pierce implies, in which case she is just one more cog in the Old World Order.

 Whatever the truth about Rhee, I could not care less. Well, alright, I admit I watched her efforts with some hope and interest, but if pressed, I would have bet against her and given odds, to boot. My contention, now as before---years before the tenure of Michelle Rhee as doyenne of the DC public schools---is that reform of the existing system is impossible. Furthermore, I think that intelligent people like Gates, like Broad, and probably Rhee, know this. So, my question, now as always, is: I wonder what they are really after.

Haim
No representation without taxation.
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Re: Frontline: The Education of Michelle Rhee

GS Chandy
In reply to this post by Haim-5
Responding to Haim's post dt.  Jan 11, 2013 6:13 AM (pasted below my signature for ready reference):

And your 'solution' to handle all those complex problems noted?  

"PUT THE EDUCATION MAFIA IN JAIL!"  (!!!)
(This despite the main underlying problems already being known to you - and you being fully aware that the above just cannot work.  

(Just as the underlying problems are mostly pretty well known to all those highly intelligent people who've been 'handling' or trying to come to grips with educational issues).

Do you - at this stage of your and the USA's life in education - HONESTLY and TRULY believe this kind of simplistic 'solution' will ever help resolve the host of complex issues involved?  Or are you just attempting to pull the wool over someone's (/everyone's) eyes?

Quoting Haim:
> Furthermore, I think that intelligent
> people like Gates, like Broad, and probably Rhee,
> know this. So, my question, now as always, is: I
> wonder what they are really after.
>
My question too: I too tend to wonder what you are really after.  

What's your real game?

Actually resolving the difficulties in US education will only involve effectively 'integrating' the good ideas about US education that are already available to the stakeholders in US education - and firmly rejecting the nonsensical ideas such as:

"PUT THE EDUCATION MAFIA IN JAIL!"


GSC
("Still Shoveling!")

Haim posted  Jan 11, 2013 6:13 AM:

> MPG Posted: Jan 9, 2013 7:12 PM
>
> >Must be a big day for grist. Here's even MORE for
> Haim's
> >mill:
> >http://bit.ly/TLNbqI
> >> From Bruce Baker's school finance blog: "RheeFormy
>
> >> Logic & Goofball Rating Schemes: Comments &
> Analysis
> >> on the Students First State Policy Grades"
> >With all this grist about the fabulous Ms. Rhee,
>
> To me, Rhee is just one more example of failed
> d reform. True, she is a particularly interesting
> example because of the extraordinary political
> support she enjoyed for approximately four years, but
> that just proves my point all the better: reform is
> not the way.
>
> The history of education reform is long and
> d detailed. It is a history of unrelieved failure.
> Precisely because this history is so well known, when
> somebody comes along, like a Walter Annenberg, Bill
> Gates, Eli Broad, or Michelle Rhee, and claims to
> want to reform the existing public school system, I
> wonder what they are really after.
>
> For example, Bill Gates never did in his business
> s career what he is doing in education reform. In
> business, if Gates had assembled a team to accomplish
> a task, and that team had failed comprehensively,
> would he give them even more money to keep on doing
> what they were doing?  I think not. Gates would
> conclude that either he does not have the right
> people for the job or there is something
> fundamentally wrong with the job. One way or another,
> there would be some radical changes, and rather
> quickly, too. This is the history of successful
> business enterprise ("sunk costs", "don't throw good
> money after bad", "never reinforce defeat", etc.),
> yet, as soon as it comes to education reform, these
> very same titans of industry pump their money into
> the pockets of the architects of failure and keep on
> doing so, seemingly forever. Whatever is really going
> on with Gates and Broad and Annenberg, etc., I can
> only guess at, but I am damn sure of what is not
> going on:  these men are not real!
>  ly interested in improving the public school system.
>
> Just the same with Michelle Rhee. Maybe, Rhee wants
> s to do well by doing good, in which case: good on
> her, but who cares, since nothing can come of it?
> Maybe, Rhee just wants her piece of the
> Educo-Political pie, as Charles Pierce implies, in
> which case she is just one more cog in the Old World
> Order.
>
> Whatever the truth about Rhee, I could not care
> e less. Well, alright, I admit I watched her efforts
> with some hope and interest, but if pressed, I would
> have bet against her and given odds, to boot. My
> contention, now as before---years before the tenure
> of Michelle Rhee as doyenne of the DC public
> schools---is that reform of the existing system is
> impossible. Furthermore, I think that intelligent
> people like Gates, like Broad, and probably Rhee,
> know this. So, my question, now as always, is: I
> wonder what they are really after.
>
> Haim
> No representation without taxation.
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Re: Frontline: The Education of Michelle Rhee

Bishop, Wayne-2
In reply to this post by Haim-5
At 04:43 PM 1/10/2013, Haim wrote:

>  The history of education reform is long and detailed. It is a
> history of unrelieved failure. Precisely because this history is so
> well known, when somebody comes along, like a Walter Annenberg,
> Bill Gates, Eli Broad, or Michelle Rhee, and claims to want to
> reform the existing public school system, I wonder what they are really after.

I am cynical but not that cynical.  I think they all mean well but
Michelle Rhee is the only one who knew anything about our system of
education including its entrenched problems.  The big bucks guys knew
they knew nothing about the system except that it was highly
dysfunctional especially in communities that need it most.  What to
do?  Contact the "best" schools of education and hire the "best"
education leaders.  DOA.

By contrast, through Teach for America, Michelle Rhee learned
firsthand about how effective bright, well-educated, youthfully
energetic teachers can be after graduating magna cum laude from
Cornell and knows what is possible however improbable effective
implementation would be.
http://www.studentsfirst.org/pages/about-michelle-rhee

I think she underestimated how powerful the highly corrupt  DC
teachers union is both within the system and how much money and
legwork they were willing to put into the defeat of the mayor over her.
http://nlpc.org/category/keywords/washington-teachers-union

I do think she believed the dramatic jump in standardized test scores
at a few schools, but should've looked into it at once and never
did.  Moreover, she would do well to point out those problems at her
Students First website but has not done so and.  From all
indications, however, the general increase was legitimate and
meaningful.  Very threatening to the powers-that-be.

Wayne
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Re: Frontline: The Education of Michelle Rhee

Robert Hansen

On Jan 11, 2013, at 1:56 AM, Wayne Bishop <[hidden email]> wrote:

I do think she believed the dramatic jump in standardized test scores at a few schools, but should've looked into it at once and never did.

That is easy to say now, after the experience, but I don't think so easy prior to. I remember well my first excursions into test scores. It wasn't until later, albeit maybe only a year for me, that I noticed things not "adding up". And then I realized.

Bob Hansen
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Re: Frontline: The Education of Michelle Rhee

Michael Paul Goldenberg
In reply to this post by Haim-5
Wayne wrote: "I do think she believed the dramatic jump in standardized test scores at a few schools, but should've looked into it at once and never
did. Moreover, she would do well to point out those problems at her
Students First website but has not done so and. From all
indications, however, the general increase was legitimate and
meaningful. Very threatening to the powers-that-be."

You were doing so well until your penultimate sentence. And as for your last one, in case you missed it, Michelle Rhee WAS the power that bee(d), and under her iron fist, cheaters were highly rewarded, while honest people of courage were routinely kicked to the curb, sometimes publicly and to her open delight. This is a woman who brags of taping shut the mouths of elementary students. What a fine symbol of education deform.
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Re: Frontline: The Education of Michelle Rhee

Bishop, Wayne-2
In reply to this post by Domenico Rosa
At 03:01 PM 1/10/2013, Domenico Rosa wrote:
In my opinion, Michelle Rhee should have promoted the hugely successful teaching methods used in the schools that are operated in Chicago led Marva Collins. Instead, Rhee focused on fraudulent "mastery" test scores.

I do not disagree with your suggestion on the importance of sensible classroom standards of behavior, instructional materials, and sound teaching but Rhee's focus on the importance and validity of standardized test scores is not misguided; it is by far the best we have on a global scale that correlates very well with future success in math-based studies which, in turn, correlates very well with general education success and, one step further, correlates very well with upward mobility through education for kids who need it most.  I am sure that she did not want, let alone encourage, fraudulent manipulation of the DC schools' student performance but, if she turned a blind eye instead of applying a hawk eye, she deserves to be criticized but not to dump her efforts in DC and elsewhere.  Some formula for people other than the teachers of their same classes overseeing external testing needs to be employed and principals who are confirmed of such flagrant cheating should be dismissed and blacklisted from employment as principals anywhere as is done with disbarred lawyers.

In contrast to traditional assessment and from one of the follow-up postings, Adell Cothorne regurgitated some of the education assessment idiocy supporting her criticism of Rhee's: focus on improving test scores:
"And you’ve got to get it [test score improvement]. So children who need a little more processing time, children who may be able to give you the idea, but they have to write a song about it, or they have to create a picture about, (but) … when the rubber meets the road, it’s not about differentiation at the end of the day. That teacher is judged on, ‘What scores did those children get on that test?’ And that test doesn’t look at, ‘Could you sing the information?’ or ‘Could you create a poem?’ It looks at, ‘Could you write a short essay and could you bubble in the right answer?’ So that has been the focus. How do they pass that test? Not ‘Did they learn anything?’ but ‘Are they able to pass numerous tests?’ "
The PBS ombudsman's assessment of the program is worth a read:
http://www.pbs.org/ombudsman/2013/01/michelle_rhee_reformer_zealot_both_or_somethi.html

Wayne

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Re: Frontline: The Education of Michelle Rhee

Michael Paul Goldenberg
In reply to this post by Haim-5
More on the Rheemarkable scandal in DCS that, were anyone here REALLY interested in pursuing ALL wrongdoers in education, would be serious grist for serious mills: http://dianeravitch.net/2013/01/11/adell-cothorne-contacted-me/

People who can't manage to see how deeply the high-stakes testing, faux accountability insanity has corrupted many people and undermined the very idea of meaningful assessment and feedback in our schools really should read this and related pieces and think deeply about people like Adell Cothorne vs. Michelle Rhee. What happened at Noyes (http://bit.ly/RLcp92) was criminal. What happened to Cothorne for her efforts to blow the whistle was also criminal (as will be shown when she wins her whistleblower's suit).

But that kind of corruption vs. heroism doesn't seem to play in the world of self-proclaimed Education Mafia-busters. Ms. Cothorne's heroism doesn't fit the political mind-set that wants Michelle Rhee to be the ultimate hero(ine) and anyone who shows her feet of clay to be part of the establishment/status quo/Ed.Maf. She's so at the heart of all that that she's working at a cupcake shop. Probably an Ed.Maf front where they launder all the money they get for blowing the whistle on test cheats.
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Re: Frontline: The Education of Michelle Rhee

Haim-5
In reply to this post by Haim-5
Wayne Bishop Posted: Jan 11, 2013 1:56 AM

>At 04:43 PM 1/10/2013, Haim wrote:
>> The history of education reform is long and detailed.
>> It is a history of unrelieved failure. Precisely
>> because this history is so well known, when somebody
>> comes along, like a Walter Annenberg, Bill Gates, Eli
>> Broad, or Michelle Rhee, and claims to want to reform
>> the existing public school system, I wonder what they
>> are really after.

>I am cynical but not that cynical. I think they all mean
>well...

   It is flatly impossible. Wayne, your hypothesis very likely describes what happened the first time.  That is, when the first rich white man pumped his first million dollars into the first reform effort, back before The Flood.  Today, however, there have been too many rich white men pumping too many millions of dollars into too many efforts over too many years at reforming American public education.  To suggest what you are suggesting is to ignore a very long and very detailed and very well known history.

   Who does this?  Who starts a program of reform without first asking what happened the last ten times somebody tried to reform public education?  Furthermore, every serious executive knows the importance of gathering people of opposing views into the decision-making process.  Presidents of The Republic do this;  CEO's do this;  general officers do this.

   Examining the historical record, listening to opposing views, avoiding the Sunk Costs Fallacy
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunk_cost_fallacy#Loss_aversion_and_the_sunk_cost_fallacy
aka
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Escalation_of_commitment
is not 20/20 hindsight.  This is all standard material in managerial literature that is studied in every business school and practiced by all successful leaders.

   It is perfectly clear, in other words, that in the matter of education reform, a man like Bill Gates is behaving in a way strictly contrary to everything he had ever done as the architect of one of the most successful companies in recent history.  Even if he were a wide-eyed naif when first starting down the road of education reform, how long could it possibly take him to figure it out?  

   This much we know for sure:  the man is not an idiot.  The only reasonable assumption is that if we can figure it out, Bill Gates can figure it out.  It took our Bob Hansen about one year to figure it out.  Bill Gates has been at it for almost 20 yrs.  How slow a learner do you think he is?

   Wayne, I am appealing to your common sense.  Which do you think is more likely, that Bill Gates (or Walter  Annenberg, or Eli Broad, or any of the other rich white men who have tried their hand at education reform) cannot learn or that he has another agenda?  Were they all idiots?

   Of course I am not saying that Bill Gates is against reform.  Unless someone has specific knowledge to the contrary, I am sure that Gates would be delighted if something good came out of his education reform efforts.  But, clearly, education reform cannot be his primary goal.

   Furthermore, as I have pointed out a few times, we have many examples of real institutional change.  They never involve trying to change the corporate culture of an individual organization.  Invariably, when serious people want serious change, they create new institutions.  

   Recent American examples are the Department of Homeland Security and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  In each case, Congress was not going to spend the next 20 yrs begging and pleading and haranguing the SEC and the INS for the changes they wanted.  Congress wanted change, they wanted it now, so they created new agencies and hired new people to do the job they want done.  One could go on and on with such examples, in the U.S. and around the world.

   Seen in its historical and social context, nothing about education reform, as it is currently being practiced, rings true.  Nobody throws good money after bad, forever.  Exactly what these "reformers" really want I can only guess at, but it cannot be reform as you and I understand the concept.

Haim
No representation without taxation.
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