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Rhee: Republicans Do Education Reform Better

She's said it before, but Michelle Rhee keeps hammering away at the Democratic Party for being weak on education accountability and reform. Last night, Rhee appeared before the Ward 4 Democrats at Emery Recreation Center and explained that she appeared on an education panel discussion in Denver during the Democratic National Convention to "make a statement to the Democratic Party" about why it needs to get tougher on unions and other "political interests."

Rhee stressed that she has been a lifelong Democrat, but then she lit into the Party.

"Republicans are much better at education policy than Democrats," she said. "Democrats are soft on accountability and they're anti-NCLB [No Child Left Behind], they don't want to test anyone. This attitude in my mind does nothing for the neediest students who need help the most."

To Rhee, Democratic leaders pander to unions and other interest groups who are "driving the agenda on school reform. Everyone thinks Republicans are for the rich, white oil guys to whom they give tax breaks and Democrats are for kids and the underclass. I don't think the Democratic Party operates that way. So we were there [in Denver] speaking out and pushing the Party to move in a different direction."

Of Barack Obama, Rhee said: "If he is to live up to the promise of change, he needs to look carefully at how are we going to ensure every child gets the access to an excellent education?"

By David A Nakamura  |  September 4, 2008; 1:00 PM ET
Categories:  Education  
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Since when did testing equate to higher quality instruction? Besides firing people and closing down my local school, what has Rhee done to improve instructional quality? Is hiring inexperience Teach for America teachers (who will leave within 2 years) the answer? My research says that experienced teachers improve student outcomes...

Posted by: Rhee Fails My Test | September 4, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Not to be too picky, but the word is inexperienced in the above posting. Before any of you complain about standardized testing, have you ever seen the test? I administered the DC CAS last school year where I work. Children not performing well on it are showing that they cannot do some of these essential skills: summarize a passage read,determine which meaning a word with multiple meanings has in a sentence, determine whether a passage is fantasy or reality, identify the author's purpose in a text, distinguish between the main idea and supporting details in a passage, identify the main character in a story, pick out a synonym for a word, etc, etc, etc.

Posted by: A Teacher | September 4, 2008 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Experienced doesn't always mean talented, and in DC it only means you were able to surpass a bar that has historically been set pretty darn low. I cringe every time I hear someone say, "I been in this system 20-something years..." To me, that is not a badge of honor. "Never mind that," I want to say. "How good are you?"

One of this year's initiatives is to improve instruction, and they're going about it in a big way. Is the focus too much on testing? Absolutely. But what other benchmark does anyone care about these days?

Posted by: Anonymouse | September 4, 2008 7:48 PM | Report abuse

A teacher, in your haste to correct the previous poster (for what reason???) you, in turn, made a mistake. I guess the old adage, "those who live in glass houses...

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2008 7:01 PM | Report abuse

I think she hates mayor Fenty. Why is she trying to bring so much attention to herself. With Mayor's Fenty career teethers to hers, please muzzle this woman.

Posted by: Why??? | September 8, 2008 11:46 PM | Report abuse

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