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Posted at 1:41 PM ET, 10/14/2010

Michelle Rhee's greatest hits

By Valerie Strauss

D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee gave us many reasons to remember her when she is gone.

There's the schools she closed. The teachers she fired. The contract she signed with the Washington Teachers Union. Her frequent use of the word “crap.”

Here’s some quintessential statements that Rhee made as chancellor. Thanks for many of these to my colleague, Bill Turque, who often stood alone in his strong coverage of Rhee’s tenure.

I think my favorite is the one about taping students' mouths shut.

Let me know what I’ve missed.

--

“We will no longer describe failure as the result of vast impersonal forces like poverty or a broken bureaucracy."
July 2007 confirmation hearing

--

“My job is to hear all the input, and then as the leader, then decide which are the things that I think are going to move student achievement forward in this district. And I have to make those decisions. That doesn’t mean that I’m not listening. It just means I have to choose to take into consideration all of that input."
During an interview with The Washington Post’s editorial board in January 2008

--

"I’m a serial monogamist, not a job hopper," she said in a June 2008 interview, adding that she was prepared to stay for two full terms of Mayor Adrian Fenty. That plan went awry when he lost last month in the Democratic primary to Vincent Gray, chairman of the D.C. Council.

--

Addressing teachers at an August 2008 back-to-school rally at the D.C. Convention Center, she said the following, referring to the closing of 23 schools that uprooted hundreds of teachers, buyouts and relentless pressure put on teachers to raise standardized test scores.

"I know I haven’t made your jobs easier this last year. I’ve heard all the rumors. ‘Rhee is trying to get rid of the veteran teachers. Rhee is trying to get rid of the black teachers.’ … I understand the anxiety."

"What I need is for you to have trust, in me and in the school district. I know that trust doesn’t come overnight, and I have to earn that trust."

--

“I think if there is one thing I have learned over the last 15 months, it’s that cooperation, collaboration and consensus-building are way overrated.”
September 2008 Aspen Institute’s education summit at the Mayflower Hotel

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“People often say to me the teachers unions are here to stay, that they are big players, that I have to find a way to get along. I actually disagree with that. It’s important for us to lay out on the table what we’re willing to do, but what our bottom line is for kids. The bottom line is that if you can’t come to agreement then you have to push your agenda in a different way, and we’re absolutely going to do that."
September 2008 Aspen Institute’s education summit at the Mayflower Hotel

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"People tell me the unions are an inevitable part of this [school reform]. My thing is, what has that gotten us so far? All the collaboration and holding hands and singing ‘Kumbaya’?"
2008 round table at the Fordham Institute.

--

“The reality in Washington D.C. is if you live in Tenleytown versus if you live in Anacostia, you get two wildly different educational experiences. It’s the biggest social injustice imaginable. What we are allowing to happen in this day and age, we are still allowing the color of a child’s skin and the Zip code they live in to dictate their educational outcome, and therefore their life outcome. ... We are robbing them every single day of their futures. And everybody in this country should be infuriated by that.”
In a speech at a D.C. restaurant in May 2008

--

"Korean people are not the most tactful. I grew up with Korean ladies who’d say, ‘Gee, you’ve put on some weight.’ It has for as long as I can remember driven me crazy when people beat around the bush instead of saying, ‘Look, I need you to do this.’ ”
Quoted in a Washington Post Magazine profile by Marc Fisher, September 2009

--

Rhee was pictured on the cover of the Nov. 26, 2008, edition of Time magazine, holding a broom while standing in a classroom, a symbol of her determination to sweep out the old and bring in the new. From that cover story by Amanda Ripley:

Then she raises her chin and does what I come to recognize as her standard imitation of people she doesn’t respect. Sometimes she uses this voice to imitate teachers; other times, politicians or parents. Never students. "People say, ‘Well, you know, test scores don’t take into account creativity and the love of learning,’ ” she says with a drippy, grating voice, lowering her eyelids halfway. Then she snaps back to herself. "I’m like, ‘You know what? I don’t give a crap.’ Don’t get me wrong. Creativity is good and whatever. But if the children don’t know how to read, I don’t care how creative you are. You’re not doing your job.

--

"I have talked with too many teachers to believe this is their fault. I know they are working furiously in a system that for many years has not appreciated them -- sometimes not even paying them on time or providing textbooks. Those who categorically blame teachers for the failures of our system are simply wrong. "
Rhee wrote in an opinion piece in The Washington Post published Feb. 9, 2009.

--

“I got rid of teachers who had hit children, who had had sex with children, who had missed 78 days of school. Why wouldn’t we take those things into consideration?"
Feb. 9, 2010, to Fast Company magazine.

She sent a report to D.C. Council Chairman Vincent Gray in February 2010 saying that she had fired 10 D.C. teachers for administering corporal punishment and two for sexual misconduct since July 2007.

This was different from an account she gave after the Fast Company interview, in which she said that five had been suspended for corporal punishment and one was under investigation for sexual misconduct.

--

“When you cut our budget by $20 million, you didn’t call me to ask me if it was okay to cut summer school or not.”
Said to the D.C. Council on Oct. 29, 2009, in a hearing after she laid off 266 teachers Oct. 2, saying she had just discovered a $43.9 million shortfall in the 2010 budget. The panel was angry because it had cut the school budget $20.7 million July 31, 2009, as part of a citywide belt-tightening, but at the time, Rhee kept hiring new teachers. She actually hired more than 900 teachers in the spring and summer of 2009.

Then, last April, it became public that Rhee had found that there really was a $34 million surplus in the school system budget back in February. Why didn’t she reveal the surplus earlier? She said:

"We got this information very late in the game. The most important thing is for people to look forward."

--

In August 2010, she offered two anecdotes to a group of new teachers, both of them describing her struggles 18 years ago as a fledgling second-grade teacher at Baltimore’s Harlem Park Elementary, which she said was “the worst and in many ways definitely the toughest year of my entire life.” Reported by Bill Turque on his D.C. Schools Insider blog.

The first:

Rhee said she had poor class-management skills, recalling that her class "was very well known in the school because you could hear them traveling anywhere because they were so out of control."

On one particularly rowdy day, she said she decided to place little pieces of masking tape on their lips for the trip to the school cafeteria for lunch.

"OK kids, we’re going to do something special today!" she said she told them.

Rhee said it worked well until they actually arrived at the cafeteria. "I was like, ‘OK, take the tape off. I realized I had not told the kids to lick their lips beforehand. ...The skin is coming off their lips and they’re bleeding. Thirty-five kids were crying."

Later, Rhee tried to clarify in an e-mail, saying that the students’ mouths weren’t covered. "I was trying to express how difficult the first year of teaching can be with some humor. My hope is that our new teachers will bring great creativity and passion to their craft while also learning from my own challenges."

The second:

This involved an after-school trip to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor that Rhee took with four students as a reward for good behavior.

As she drove them home, she asked where each of them lived. Three gave their addresses, but despite repeated attempts, the fourth would not respond. It was early evening and the school was locked, meaning she did not have access to their emergency contact information.

"I start to panic ... my heart is beating 100 miles a minute," she said. Then the other three children, sensing her worry, chimed in. She recalled one little boy saying:

"Lawwwd Ms. Rhee, whatchu gonna do!!!!??" Rhee boomed, drawing a big laugh. "Lawwwd Ms. Rhee, whatchu gonna do!!!!??"

Rhee said she eventually found a neighbor who was able to take the girl home.

Asked by Turque about what the teachers thought about her anecdotes, she said:

"The feedback that I got was positive and folks said my stories were humorous and helpful."

You can listen to Rhee's address to the teachers here.

--

"Yesterday’s election results were devastating, devastating. … Not for me, because I’ll be fine, and not even for [Mayor Adrian] Fenty, because he’ll be fine, but devastating for the schoolchildren of Washington, D.C."
Sept. 15, 2010, a day after Fenty lost the Democratic primary to Gray

--

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By Valerie Strauss  | October 14, 2010; 1:41 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. Schools  | Tags:  d.c. schools, greatest hits, michelle rhee, rhee, rhee quits, rhee's greatest hits, rhee's tenure, school reform  
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Next: Are we still capable of educating for 'us-ness?'

Comments

Rhee was on the right track but good old croniysm and stupidity the same that got M Barry elected over and over again and made DC a laughingstock, won out and who says racism is dead said day . The sense of entitlighment lives on to the detriment to the children wow you have to wonder just how stupid people can be....

Posted by: lildg54 | October 14, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure what your point here is, but if it's to ridicule Rhee you're falling flat.

Posted by: postreader38 | October 14, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Too Funny. Oh so glad to see her go. Will be toasting this weekend :-). We know whats best for our kids, if you dont like it - MOVE :-)! Oh the joy.

Posted by: missboo | October 14, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

The United States and one lone state in Australia are the only parts of the industrialized world that allow students as young as FOUR to be hit with a wooden paddle in schools. (Corporal punishment may have been abolished in 30 states, but it’s still legal in 20 states, routinely practiced in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Texas and Tennessee.) This is one thoroughly shameful and shaming practice. It’s an egregious form of adult bullying. And we call it discipline.

20 states school disciplinary practices promote violence and sexual abuse of children. Physical/Corporal Punishment is especially disturbing as today it is legal for teachers to hit school children with wooden paddles to deliberately inflict physical pain and suffering as punishment in schools in 20 U.S. states, (these actions constitute sexual assault when done to a non-consenting adult),when the practice is already illegal in schools in 30 states and prohibited by Federal law in prisons and juvenile detention centers.

An Enfield, Conn. High School Teacher is facing sexual assault charges after being accused of spanking a female student in class in stark contrast to a recent incident where over a dozen high school girls in Alabama received "Spankings" for prom dresses that were too revealing. Note the disparity.

For a real education of what is really happening to our children in our tax-payer funded schools simply type "A Violent Education" and "School is Not Supposed to Hurt" into an internet search engine to review recent shocking reports.

Please don't allow our children's fundamental human rights to be Politicized.

Please urge your U.S. Congress Rep. to Co-Sponsor/Support H.R. 5628 "Ending Physical/Corporal Punishment in Schools Act"

Posted by: gworley1 | October 14, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Great selection of quotes, Valerie.
If people cannot detect right here Ms. Rhee's two-facedness and arrogance, there is no helping them.

Posted by: 1bnthrdntht | October 14, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

You wrote: "Let me know what I've missed."

Well, you've missed the point. Rhee was certainly on the right track to the extent her goal was to make sure kids received an education that was functional and at least hopefully marketable.

You've also missed the boat when it comes to dismissing standardized tests. Unless and until colleges and employers ignore transcripts and SATs, the kids need to know how to take tests, need to take tests, and need to succeed at taking tests.

Perhaps your next blog entry can be on the sports page, where you can argue that the Nationals are a great baseball team, despite their record on "standardized tests" of baseball ability (i.e., wins and losses).

Posted by: lawtalkingguy | October 14, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Val, Michelle Rhee is so yesterday.

Let's talk about the next neoliberal domino to fall--the for-profit sub-prime universities like The Washington Post Company's Kaplan University Empire. The stock is down another 9% today. Check out this story on the parasitic universities from Bloomberg today.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-10-14/apollo-group-s-forecast-withdrawal-drags-down-for-profit-education-shares.html

Posted by: natturner | October 14, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Michelle Rhee did some good also. She proved

that a teacher CAN be dismissed.

why teachers need "due process" and unions. Without them hundreds of teachers can be fired for contrived reasons only to be replaced by teachers from agencies favored by the "chancellor."

that a person can have a high IQ, an excellent education, and still be "clueless."

that a person can have a high IQ, an excellent education, and still be of poor character.

that a person can have a high IQ, an excellent education, and still have no "people skills."

that we are very fortunate to live in a democracy and not an autocracy where the leader decides what's "best" for all the people.

God bless America.

Posted by: Linda/RetiredTeacher | October 14, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

You wrote: "Let me know what I've missed."

Well, you've missed the point. Rhee was certainly on the right track to the extent her goal was to make sure kids received an education that was functional and at least hopefully marketable.

You've also missed the boat when it comes to dismissing standardized tests. Unless and until colleges and employers ignore transcripts and SATs, the kids need to know how to take tests, need to take tests, and need to succeed at taking tests.

Perhaps your next blog entry can be on the sports page, where you can argue that the Nationals are a great baseball team, despite their record on "standardized tests" of baseball ability (i.e., wins and losses).

Posted by: lawtalkingguy

No you've missed the point. Rhee was never on the "right track." She had no qualifications to lead a school system and no ability to understand how to implement a successful education program (like the one Richmond, VA adopted 10 years ago that has allowed them to outperform some of the wealthiest districts in America). Because of her lack of experience, education and critical thinking skills, she chose a program based on disproven cult biases, rather than evidence-based research. The result: She turned the poor but steadily-improving results of DC students on standardized tests into poor and declining results. Change; but not for the better.

Posted by: mcstowy | October 14, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Val, Michelle Rhee is so yesterday.

Let's talk about the next neoliberal domino to fall--the for-profit sub-prime universities like The Washington Post Company's Kaplan University Empire. The stock is down another 9% today. Check out this story on the parasitic universities from Bloomberg today.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-10-14/apollo-group-s-forecast-withdrawal-drags-down-for-profit-education-shares.html

Posted by: natturner

Good point. I had the unfortunate experience of working at a Kaplan College for a brief time. It is an unfortunate scam, of both the poor students and the taxpayers.

Posted by: mcstowy | October 14, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

lawtalkingguy wrote: "You've also missed the boat when it comes to dismissing standardized tests. Unless and until colleges and employers ignore transcripts and SATs, the kids need to know how to take tests, need to take tests, and need to succeed at taking tests."

No, they don't. They need to know how to use a computer, how to write professionally, and how to fill out job applications. Teaching kids the fine art of filling in bubbles on an answer sheet does not teach these skills.

Posted by: thebandit | October 14, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

PREACH!!!! - thebandit!!!

Posted by: missboo | October 14, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

The best thing Rhee did was get the unions to sign a contract using teacher performace as the main part of their evaluations. That and the fact that she actually managed to get rid of teachers despite seniority is why they and all the union die-hards hate her. I've always had to do a good job to get a promotion so why do these teachers think they can go year after year with no progress, always passing the blame to everyone but themselves and still get promotions and job security?!

Posted by: workingmother | October 14, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

She only got one union, the WTU to sign onto evaluating teachers with test scores. So, expect more tests in all subjects in all grades.
Maybe there will be time to teach.

Another good quote:

when I ask if she'd grown up religious, she shoots back, "Oh, God, no!"

http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/128/the-iron-chancellor.html?page=0%2C1

Posted by: edlharris | October 14, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

I have a idea for a great article, how about you post the performance scores over the last 15yrs and compare them to the last 3 yrs. Show us the pathetic performance scores and achievement gap before Rhee and we can really get a good laugh. The Distict is dominated with ignorance and is very close in some wards to being a 3rd world country.

Posted by: c10655 | October 14, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Valerie. Yes, this would be funny, except that my kids are living with the damage she brought to their school. A narrowed curriculum and a focus on nothing but standardized test scores in math and reading doesn't exactly make children excited to attend school.

I'm relieved that she's going, but when I think about the opportunities Rhee missed and the good people she drove out, it makes me ill. (And for the record, I'm pro-reform and was at first, pro-Rhee.)

This is the final year for my family in DCPS.

I've worked long and hard to make the District of Columbia Public Schools a better place for my children and all of their little friends, but I've had it. Kaya Henderson is more of the same and I can't let my children be an experiment for the next under qualified media wh*re who waltzes into town.

Posted by: Title1SoccerMom | October 14, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Interesting, I can't Post the word "Wh (insert an o) re" on the Washington Post website, but Rhee can use "crap" and "suck" freely in the national media.

Good to know...

Posted by: Title1SoccerMom | October 14, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

C10655 - You’re the one who looks ignorant. If the Washington Post posted the DC achievement scores for the last 15 years, it would show just how much of a cipher Rhee has been. The DC scores on the US Department of Education standardized test given to 4th and 8th graders around the county every two years have been going UP slowly and steadily for over a decade. See for yourself and please check the reference at the end.

DC National assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) MATH SCORES

4th grade Math
1996 – 187
2000 – 192
2003 – 205
2005 – 211
2007 – 214
2009 – 219

8th grade Math
1996 – 233
2000 – 235
2003 – 243
2005 – 245
2007 – 248
2009 – 254

DC NAEP READING SCORES
[reading scores dipped a little between ‘02-’03 (4th grade) and ’02-’05 (8th grade) but rebounded and improved before Rhee arrived in July ’07. The tests were taken in spring, ’07.]

4th grade Reading
1998 – 179
2002 – 191
2003 – 188
2005 – 191
2007 – 197
2009 – 202

8th Grade reading
1998 – 236
2002 – 240
2003 – 239
2005 – 238
2007 – 241
2009 – 242

Source: http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/states/ (then click on “District of Columbia”)

Posted by: efavorite | October 14, 2010 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Valerie -Don't forget the Rhee quotes you published back in January:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/answer-sheet/dc-schools/rhee-in-her-own-words.html

For example:

On Teacher Responsibility
2/9/09: “I do not blame teachers for the low achievement levels.” (Washington Post Op-ed)
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/02/08/AR2009020801711.html

2/9/09: Those who categorically blame teachers for the failures of our system are simply wrong. (Washington Post Op-ed, cited above)

11/08: “As a teacher in this system, you have to be willing to take personal responsibility for ensuring your children are successful despite obstacles .... You can’t say, ‘My students didn’t get any breakfast today,’ or ‘No one put them to bed last night,’ or ‘Their electricity got cut off in the house, so they couldn’t do their homework.” (The Atlantic magazine)
http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200811/michelle-rhee

10/29/08 “Too many of our teachers are not up to the demanding job of educating our youth effectively. We therefore plan to identify and transition out a significant share of the teaching corps in the next two years.” (D.C. Schools Five Year Plan)
DCPS_Five-Year-Plan_Draft_Oct_29_2008.pdf page 26

Posted by: efavorite | October 14, 2010 6:46 PM | Report abuse

I heard her last day is October 31st. I have been wondering ever since if she is planning to leave on her famous broom from the Time Cover.

In my district our worst performing (and incidentally most poverty stricken) elementary school had a "Michelle Rhee" done to it last year - complete change over of staff - fired them all. Guess what happened to their test scores? Even lower than before!

Nobody seemed to consider the effect on elementary students, whose lives are already unstable, of a complete change over of their teachers.

"Deform" ala la Rhee et al is working if you want to raid the public coffers but its not working for the kids.

Posted by: kmlisle | October 14, 2010 8:36 PM | Report abuse

This woman is very unbalanced.

Posted by: rsryland | October 14, 2010 8:47 PM | Report abuse

I wish you would mail these to Jay Matthews and Matt Lauer, be cause they have both overdosed on Rhee Kool Aid.

Posted by: topryder1 | October 14, 2010 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Now that scientists have solved the question of what came first, the chicken or the egg (the chicken), maybe we can now train their eye on quality public education. What came first: the poor student or the failing school? Until then, I will continue to do my best to serve the students I teach. I suspect I am not alone in this. To read about my experiences teaching, please visit my blog at teachermandc.com.

Posted by: dcproud1 | October 14, 2010 9:01 PM | Report abuse

We forgot another one of Rhee's famous terms: referring to teachers as "human capital." Teachers are human beings, not economic products.

Posted by: thebandit | October 14, 2010 9:54 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry - I just don't get this need to bash Michele Rhee. As a parent of two kids in the DCPS system for the past 5 years, I think she has done a very good job. Better than any previous D.C. government official.

What's sad is that the Post doesn't like her -- maybe because she denied the Post the access it thinks it's entitled to -- and the Post has allowed that dislike to color its reporting about her. It's a shame. The Post, sadly, is not the paper it once was. The reporting on the schools has been atrocious -- motivated by animus against Rhee and knee-jerk sympathy for the entrenched DCPS administrators and the Teachers' Union.

And what do you mean by "my colleague, Bill Turque, who often stood alone in his strong coverage of Rhee’s tenure"? By "strong" do you mean "biased and incompetent"? I've never seen any reporter strain so much to find fault with so little basis regarding an improving school system.

And the greater mystery is just discerning what the Post thinks would have been better for the schools these past few years -- Maintaining the appalling status quo? Handing the keys over to the Teachers' Union and the administrators? Keeping open the underperforming schools, which had been on notice for years that they were failing and which had been so bad they haven't been able to sustain their enrollment?

It's easy to stupidly bash the accomplishments of those who had to make the hard choices and who, all in all, did pretty well by the students. But it's not so easy to write thoughtfully about those changes. Any idiot can mindlessly carp and find baseless fault. But more is required for real analysis and thoughtful reporting -- something you, your colleague Mr. Turque, and the Post generally are incapable of when it comes to education reporting. For shame.

Posted by: ConcernedDCparent | October 14, 2010 10:26 PM | Report abuse

ConcernedDCparent:

You sound like a sensible person who truly cares about education in DC. Would you like to know why many of us look upon Rhee as a disgrace?

Find out who was hired to replace the teachers who were dismissed due to budget cuts. How were these teachers recruited? Were they experienced? Did they have proven track records of success? Were inexperienced teachers hired to replace teachers with good evaluations? Did the district pay agencies for each teacher hired? What agencies were these? Was Rhee or anyone related to her connected with these agencies?

Everyone seems to agree with one thing: Teachers should be highly qualified and very effective. You can help DC children by insisting that only teachers with proven track records of success are hired for low-performing schools. Nothing has hurt poor children more than the shameful practice of hiring the least experienced teachers for their schools. Rhee continued this practice. Why?

Obviously not all of us believe that she "did pretty well by the students." Find out more about the situation before you judge us.

Posted by: Linda/RetiredTeacher | October 14, 2010 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Are you trying to make Rhee look bad? Because all those quotes made her look good.

Posted by: RL68 | October 15, 2010 12:50 AM | Report abuse

concernedDCparent -- did you read the NAEP scores I posted above. I purposely provided the reference so anyone could check the accuracy themselves.

There is nothing hateful about it. No bashing of Rhee - just facts that have been misrepresented by the Post and that people like you now refuse to believe. You prefer to believe the myth.

Posted by: efavorite | October 15, 2010 12:51 AM | Report abuse

From what I hear, her leadership style has it's roots in North Korea.

Posted by: mountainsister41 | October 15, 2010 8:06 AM | Report abuse

Rhee ruled like an autocrat with narcissistic personally traits in a public school system owned by the people. She failed as a result of her own agenda, words, and actions.

Posted by: nfsbrrpkk | October 15, 2010 8:17 AM | Report abuse

"Hit me with your best shot ... FIRE AWAY!!!"

Posted by: AGAAIA | October 15, 2010 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Valerie Strauss should get the Pulitzer for this column. Excellent, Outstanding Reporting!

Posted by: AnnsThought | October 15, 2010 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Residents Of Washington D.C.,

Ms. Rhee's exit will ensure that the Washington D.C. Public School System will return to its position as a failure. Specifically, what was new will be old again including horrendous graduation rates, inability of the students to read, write, master math skills, demonstrate self-discipline and problem solve. In a word reform has ended and it will be business as usual.

Ms. Rhee inherited a reclamation project and just when she began to scratched the surface and it became clear that reform was possible the residents of Washington D.C. did what the underserved consistently do, vote against their own self-interest and in the process ensure the failure of their children.

If students have teachers, principals and other education leaders who are not only competent and committed but are able to design, instruct and implement programs which will enable children to acquire and master essential fundamental skills (reading, writing, math and technology) they will succeed in education and in life. Let me be very clear the individuals who were paid to deliver the educational services, prior to Ms. Rhee's arrival failed miserably. Yes, parents must advocate for their children, the children must self-advocate, the community must advocate for the children but above all the system must advocate for the children if education goal are to be met and exceeded. Years of failure to deliver educational services by the D.C. Public School system at all levels of responsibility is confirmation that individuals at the school and district levels failed to do their jobs which ensured that the lives of the children would be stunted.

The years that Ms. Rhea and her team invested in initiating reform will be lost and I challenge anyone to prove me wrong. If the community truly wanted or appreciated reform they would have supported her advocacy for their children's future. The teachers and administrators that were dismissed by Ms. Rhee are polishing their résumé’s preparing to return to their previous positions. Yes, the reforms are over and it is business or rather failure as usual. Parents you killed the dreams of your children. Parents and D.C. residents you rejected Self-preservation and have continued your usual pattern and committed education suicide. Maybe you will overcome in the next century.

A Very Sad,
Mudcat Jackson

Posted by: albany | October 15, 2010 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Mudcat says, "The years that Ms. Rhea and her team invested in initiating reform will be lost and I challenge anyone to prove me wrong."

Dear Mudcat, please read my post at 6:22 pm, check the references and then explain how this information that scores have been rising for over a decade shows evidence of Rhee's reforms, given that previous superintendents showed similar and sometimes higher levels of student achievement?

Posted by: efavorite | October 15, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

You probably won't get a response from albany, efavorite.
Supporters of Miss Rhee and her pack are fact challenged.
The few times they try, they distort the evidence as the 2 year Teach For America Chris Smyr does over at www.eduwonk.com


(PS I'm not going to put up the site, but Miss Rhee has created her own self promoting website.)

Posted by: edlharris | October 15, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Turque was often alone in telling the truth about her.

And I have worked with many Koreans, they are polite and kind. I've never heard a Korean say a harsh word about anyone. I respect them.

Posted by: jlp19 | October 15, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

lawtalkingguy,

I never took standardized tests in elementary school, and I got fine without them. I also got a Master's degree without standardized tests.

Having worked with the standardized tests I see many weaknesses that people that do not work in education do not understand and are not aware of.

By the way, how did Michelle Rhee improve education?

Posted by: jlp19 | October 15, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

albany ,

And what reform did Rhee invest in? The only reform I know of is early childhood education. Otherwise, there was no reform.

Posted by: jlp19 | October 15, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Actually test scores rose MORE before Rhee came. However, standardized tests have many weaknesses. So I am not sure that any judgement of Rhee should be made based on them.

Except for early childhood education, I don't see one thing Rhee has done to reform the school. People keep telling us she has improved education, but they don't tell us how.

Posted by: jlp19 | October 15, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Albany said, "If students have teachers, principals and other education leaders who are not only competent and committed but are able to design, instruct and implement programs which will enable children to acquire and master essential fundamental skills (reading, writing, math and technology) they will succeed in education and in life."

It was Janey, not Rhee who improved the curriculum. Are you giving credit for Janey's work to Rhee?

Do you know anything about what Rhee did in DC? When you praise someone without knowing what really happened people are not going to listen to you.

I hope you didn't judge Rhee by "Waiting for Superman". People who are familiar with what Rhee did in DC know it is not the truth.

I hope you take the time to go beyond "
Waiting for Superman" and learn what she really did in DC.

Posted by: jlp19 | October 15, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

This will turn our better than anyone would have thought, provided Vince Gray can hold the line against the virulent unionistas. Everyone else is rooting for success--for the children.

Posted by: axolotl | October 15, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

What was your point in offering this? I am making the assumption that it was to disparage Michelle Rhee, rather than her efforts to reform DC schools i.e. an attack on her methods and personality rather than her intentions. However, you have not made anywhere in this post explicit around what your intentions were.

Posted by: bastille49 | October 15, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Rhee tried news things, some right and some wrong. However day in and day out it was more about Rhee than the students, teachers, principals or parents. I'm right, your wrong was her motto.

In the end Rhee is just another Sarah Palin - she left with the job half done and ran for the $$$$$$$$$ money.

Posted by: chucky-el | October 15, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

This blog is the weirdest, most biased thing on this website. I don't give a crap about Michelle Rhee and don't live in DC, but you don't even make any attempt to hide the fact that you despise her. It seems you have an issue with her unrelenting pushing of her agenda, but aren't you doing the same thing here? How is this strange post mocking her quotes that you disagree with helpful to anyone? The title of the blog says it's a "School Survival Guide for Parents". How does this post fit into that idea? "Dear Parents, I hate Michelle Rhee and am now going to shove this opinion onto you. Good luck finding anything worthwhile about education on here. Sincerely, Valerie Strauss." I'm surprised this blog still exists on a respectable newspaper's website. You're writing about education, not music or books. Keep your personal vendettas to yourself, lady.

Posted by: Gnillew9 | October 15, 2010 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Rhee was the best thing to have happened to the criminally dysfunctional and apathetic system that is DCPS. Gray's election WAS devastating to the children of Washington, DC.

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Posted by: oneshopping29 | October 15, 2010 10:39 PM | Report abuse

These quotes actually make Michelle Rhee sound more like a sane person than she actually is.

Posted by: iubica2 | October 17, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

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