Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

E-mail Bill | RSS Feed | In-depth coverage: Education Page | Follow The Post's education coverage: Twitter | Facebook

Michelle Rhee, first-year teacher

Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee's talk to the new DCPS teachers Wednesday included two anecdotes I had not heard before -- one remarkable for its content, the other for its delivery. They described her struggles 18 years ago as a fledgling second grade teacher at Baltimore's Harlem Park Elementary.

"The worst and in many ways definitely the toughest year of my entire life," she said.

Rhee had poor class management skills, she said, 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."

Rhee said in an e-mail Friday 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." Still, it's difficult to imagine a DCPS instructor, first-year or tenth-year, surviving the masking tape stunt without suspension at a minimum.

The other story involved an after school trip to Baltimore's Inner Harbor--a reward for good behavior--that Rhee took with four students. She said as she drove them home, she asked each of them where they 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 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 eventually found a neighbor who was able to take the girl home. She also said Friday that the new teachers appreciated the anecdotes.

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

You can listen here.

Follow D.C. Schools Insider every day at schools. And for admissions advice, college news and links to campus papers, please check out our new Higher Education page at Bookmark it!

By Bill Turque  |  August 13, 2010; 5:07 PM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: DCPS non-teachers decry IMPACT
Next: Twenty-eight schools to open with new principals


Putting tape over a child's mouth, even presented to them as a game, is nothing less then corporal punishment - and this is specific to DCPS rules on corporal punishment. To suggest this as creative thinking to new teachers is nothing less than negligent on our Chancellor's part. What else does she have to do to demonstrate her inadequacy for the position she holds?

Posted by: adcteacher1 | August 14, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

What Rhee is really saying is:



Posted by: efavorite | August 14, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

And if any DCPS teacher had put tape on a single child's mouth or driven students in a POV for a field trip, would that DCPS teacher be teaching?

These stories remind of when the two KIPP founders used a U-Haul for field trip transportation.

The amusing tales of TFA.

Posted by: Nemessis | August 14, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

How long will we have to endure the idiocy of this imbecile? Furthermore, if she knows how poorly she performed her first year, why not give new teachers a break instead of holding them to IMPACT right away? Would she have survived her first year of teaching if she had been judged under IMPACT? Highly doubtful! So I wonder what changed for her? She seems to be forgetting how difficult and challenging teaching in a poor urban school system is. Considering the tape on the mouths and the failure to get a child home without a backup plan, seems like someone cut her a break back then. She should extend the same courtesies to her own teaching corps and be a little more empathetic rather than such a vindictive witch.

These comments are a clear display of her immaturity and lack of professionalism. I hope she sticks to her word and leaves like she said she would when Gray wins the primary on September 14.

Posted by: UrbanDweller | August 14, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

" she said she decided to place little pieces of masking tape on their lips for the trip to the school cafeteria for lunch.

...The skin is coming off their lips and they're bleeding. Thirty-five kids were crying."

Wow, I thought the story about Rhee eating a bee in front of her students was bad. Looks like she tried all sorts of "strategies" because she had no classroom management skills and did not know what else she could do to get her students to listen.

Rhee could have had charges pressed against her by one of the parents for something like this. But then again she was teaching poor black kids so I guess they have to suffer the effects of having a teacher who is completely incompetent with zero experience save a few weeks of TFA training.

This story exposes what a bad idea it is to have young people who are clueless thrown into a challenging teaching environment.

Posted by: letsbereal2 | August 14, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

"The skin is coming off their lips and they're bleeding."

What did she do, rip the masking tape off before the principal caught her and caused bleeding in the process?

Posted by: educationlover54 | August 14, 2010 6:39 PM | Report abuse

If she had 35 kids with masking tape on their mouths - some of them (if not most) would have removed it themselves before they got to the cafeteria .

Posted by: educationlover54 | August 14, 2010 6:43 PM | Report abuse

This reminds me of how clueless I was as a first year teacher when I was teaching poor black kids in the "inner-city" of Cleveland. Well, what else is new?

If Gray becomes mayor I hope the first thing he does is insist that all new teachers are fully credentialed and have a past history of success in the classroom. TFAs are fine but they should be paired with experienced teachers. The last thing poor black (or white) kids need is an inexperienced teacher.

And parents, if you are reading this, please insist on qualified teachers for your children. They have a right to that.

Posted by: Linda/RetiredTeacher | August 14, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Amen, UrbanDweller and letsbereal2!

Posted by: schooletal | August 14, 2010 9:57 PM | Report abuse

Urbandweller, teachers do get leniency if they are classified as ineffective and it is their first year teaching. Why do you think they are not? At the IMPACT system roll out, at least at my school, the principal said that's the ONLY situation someone could avoid the pink slip.
Even so, DC public school students deserve and need experienced, highly qualified teachers.
Also, many new teachers were ranked as highly effective. Even if the district weren't lenient with them, why shouldn't they be moved out of the classroom? If I were a parent of a student in dcps, hell would freeze over before I thought my kid deserved to waste a year with a teacher who doesn't know how to manage a class and/or has no qualifications to teach what they do.

Posted by: saucy4 | August 14, 2010 10:42 PM | Report abuse

also, the students WANTED to put the masking tape on their mouths, educationlover54

Posted by: saucy4 | August 14, 2010 10:45 PM | Report abuse

My guess is that Rhee did not run these anecdotes by her media consultants. Why does she have them? I mean if you knew that there were media present?

"Rheeform" is not reform.

Posted by: stevendphoto | August 15, 2010 2:38 AM | Report abuse

How would Rhee feel if one of her kids came home and said her teacher taped her mouth shut? Does she feel? What the heck is she thinking, some new teacher will try this,
you can count on it...

Posted by: Peppered | August 15, 2010 7:18 AM | Report abuse

Rhee thought these stories were humorous and helpful? I thought they were sick and showed her complete stupidity in full.

If she had school children in her car, I would assume she had permission slips and their addresses on them. Bare minimum. You don't even need a teaching certificate to know that.

Tape on children's mouths? Bleeding as they took off the tape? Again, sheer stupidity, NOT creativity.

And yet this woman is glorified in the Post. Please, please, please, leave DC and go to San Diego, Rhee.

Posted by: dccitizen1 | August 15, 2010 7:41 AM | Report abuse

Please read and comment on today's (Sunday) Dana Milbank column on Obama's disastrous approach to school reform.

So far, most of the responses are from Obama haters/liberal bashers.

Posted by: efavorite | August 15, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

to saucy4: If you want a highly qualified effective teacher in every classroom then TFA folks are NOT the way to go. They have never taught before and they are not certified. They have had a 5 week training course in the summer. In addition, the vast majority of them have no intention of going into teaching as a career. They are just padding their resumes.

You are incorrect about IMPACT. Teachers rated ineffective WERE fired this summer even though IMPACT was poorly rolled out and we've seen no data to indicate that it able to distinguish ineffective from effective teachers.

How do you know many first year teachers were rated "highly effective?" As far as I know, that data has not been released. Last I read, we were told 16% were rated "highly effective" but that data was not broken down to indicate how many of that 16% were new teachers.

IMPACT should have been piloted as any good company or corporation would do with a brand new, untested, non-vetted employee evaluation program. We're still waiting to see the data which shows IMPACT really does what it was designed to do.

Posted by: UrbanDweller | August 15, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

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

Did Rhee put on a black face and roll her eyes as she boomed out this statement.

I also understand that out of 300+ new teachers, less than 30 are black. Perhaps this is why she felt her performance was helpful and humorous.


Posted by: bnew100 | August 15, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

1st Rule as a New Teacher.. Don't take kids anywhere without a permission slip AND always call the number on the permission slip to verify that it is in service. You do this especially for the kids whose parents never come to the school and you can't reach them when you call for behavioral issues etc. These are the parents and guardians who know how to game the system. You don't leave kids with people you don't know.

Posted by: NewDCPSTeacher | August 15, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

I just finished listening to the audio segment Bill Turque describes. These stories Michelle Rhee tells are not funny. Yet, they were met with exuberant laughter by some of the new teachers. This is disturbing. Hopefully, not all the new teachers laughed. Hopefully, some of the new teachers walked away wondering about the wisdom of their new leader. Anita Dunn, are you on vacation?

Posted by: ocisab | August 15, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Now we know Ms. Rhee is just plain stupid.
If she can talk about "teachers abusing and having sex with children" perhaps she was thinking about herself.

Hey Post where is the editorial explaining Rhee's child abuse and how it was done for the benefit of the children?

Please get out of DC before some of your new teachers decide to practice what you preach. If they found this funny, look out children of DC there are 300 plus Rhee clones Headed for a classroom in your school. PARENTS BEWARE.

Posted by: dccounselor72 | August 15, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

There is nothing humerous or helpful in either story. The first is corporal punishment, the second is negligence and both are are examples of stupidity and unprofessional behavior.

Why would you tell a story to first year teachers about putting tape on children's mouths? That's grounds for losing your job. Secondly, if you have children on a class trip and you don't have emergency information with you, it demonstrates poor planning, and it's not wise to have children in your personal vehicle. What if there were an accident? In addition to that, she delivered the child to a neighbor, a person that she did not know. That's negligence. What if the neighbor were a child molester? Her stories are examples of a person who doesn't even have common sense.

Posted by: candycane1 | August 15, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

How it was handled by Prince George's County Public Schools in 2009:

"Parents of students at Kingsford Elementary School in Mitchellville received a letter Friday regarding allegations that a teacher placed tape over several children's mouths, and the principal assured parents that a "long term substitute teacher" has been hired while an investigation continues into the incident.

The claim of Prince George's County students' mouths being taped was the second in two weeks."

"Both the Kingsford teacher and Flintstone teacher's aide have been assigned other duties that do not involve contact with students until the investigation is complete, White said."

Last month (Feb 2009), a teacher in Tennessee was suspended after allegedly taping children's mouths shut as a joke, and a day care provider in Nebraska was fined $250 for taping a child's mouth shut in October, according to media reports.

Posted by: edlharris | August 15, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

No one would disagree that first-year teaching is possibly so challenging and frustrating that one might resort to tactics they know are not something to write home about. However, Rhee has become a national anthem of sorts for public school reform (scary, really, because this theme allows for too many unethical transgressions for the individual). As a "national figure" of such incredible influence and power (a decisive vote in the Nation's Capital mayoral election; an example of RACE TO THE TOP might and bravery; an enemy of lazy unionized teachers; etc. etc.) she has less common sense than all of the teachers that have taught my DCPS children in the way she mocked her charges. It's embarrassing that in Washington DC we are forced to make a false choice: You're either "With Rhee" or "Against Reform", which reminds me of Bush's "you're with US or with the terrorists!" Why isn't this in the print edition of WaPo? nightly news? You bet if Fenty or Gray were caught on tape mimicking our poorest students in this way it would be the end of either one.

Posted by: modern1 | August 15, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

A facetious suggestion for how Rhee could revise her remarks to young teachers on the subject of mouth-taping:

Before applying tape to your students' mouths, be sure to tell them to lick their lips. This will help avoid bleeding when the tape is removed.

Posted by: efavorite | August 15, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

I'm dumbfounded at the poor judgment she has displayed with these colorful and probably exaggerated anecdotes. I wonder if the new teachers got to hear from any real veterans in their orientation to get a dose of reality?

I also wonder if DCPS has improved its mentoring system for these first year teachers? That would be a story to look at in a few months.

Posted by: 63glxie | August 15, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Imaginary conversation between Rhee and her lawyer:
Lawyer: What you described in your talk with new teachers was illegal behavior. Just get back to Turque and say you never did those things; that you were just making up what you thought were clever stories – you do refer to them as “stories” after all – and that you realize now they were in bad taste, you’re very sorry and you want teachers everywhere to know that you do NOT condone such behavior.

Rhee: What, Me SORRY?

Lawyer – OK, leave out “Sorry” and just say everything else.

Rhee: Hmmm.

Real quote from Rhee to Turque:
You've known me for a really long time and you know how I am. I say what I mean and I mean what I say. 7/2/10

Posted by: efavorite | August 15, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Rhee's comments to new teachers were assinine.
Even with her departure, the embedded chaos and ineffectiveness she found in DCPS will likely keep rising for years, given the state of the union and its members.
I've signed on w Vince Gray, who needs all the help he can get.

Posted by: axolotl | August 15, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

ax: Welcome to the Gray camp! We're glad to have you!

As for Rhee, I pray she leaves as she promised when Gray wins the primary. As for DCPS, I pray someone comes on board who will institute REAL reform. The students will need it and we teachers will welcome it.

Posted by: UrbanDweller | August 15, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Remember this? Is what Rhee said in the same league?

Admiral Has to Quit Over His Comments On Okinawa Rape

By Irvin Molotsky, Published: November 18, 1995

WASHINGTON, Nov. 17— The commander of United States forces in the Pacific was forced to step down today after he said the recent rape of a 12-year-old Okinawan girl could have been avoided if the American servicemen involved had simply paid for a prostitute.

The commander, Adm. Richard C. Macke, apologized after members of Congress and Japanese officials complained, but it was too late.

Admiral Macke, a 57-year-old Annapolis graduate and combat veteran of the war in Vietnam, announced late in the day that he had decided to take early retirement, and both White House and the Defense Department made clear that he had been forced to do so.

Admiral Macke declined to comment on the matter this evening.

Posted by: efavorite | August 15, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

I go back to work tomorrow under this woman. She would fire me in two seconds for something like this. Michelle Rhee is beyond scary.

Posted by: wakeupfolks99 | August 15, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

The Washington Post is an American icon. It's the newspaper that brought down a President of the United States in defense of the rule-of-law nearly forty years ago.

Since then though, the nation has seen the Reagan Revolution and the rise of the "neoliberals" whose mantra is privatize everything and "starve the beast" or render the government helpless in the face of corporate power.

In that post-Watergate era, The Washington Post made a deal with the devil, the parasitic Kaplan, a scion of the movement to standardize test public education to death and clearly engaged now in massive fraud through its for-profit colleges. That deal brought Bill Gates and Warren Buffet into influential positions with the newspaper as investors or board members. That deal led to mayoral control of the DCPS. That deal made the same Post that had vanquished Richard Nixon a lapdog of the sad little Chancellor Michelle Rhee. Heck, I bet she could tell stories about bloodying children in her charge with masking tape without a peep from the Post save an obscure Turque blog entry.

Well that deal with the devil now threatens to destroy The Post. If you read this dispatch from Bloomberg

you will discover the following...

...despite the fact that Washington Post stock has already declined 21% this year more market traders are "shorting", betting against The Washington Post today than at any time in two decades. The big money thinks The Post is down for the count.

Corporate management of The Washington Post never cared about the newspaper beyond the profits it might generate. But those who work for this once-great paper are another matter and should realize that as they participate in the dismantling of the DCPS, they are helping to dig their own graves.

Posted by: natturner | August 15, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

I am going to take a leap and assume the veracity of these stories. After all, why would Rhee lie about seemingly innocuous vignettes, right?

Rhee could only get away with telling these horrendous anecdotes to a bunch of new college graduates who do not have a clue about the profession they have chosen, and without any concept of what awaits them in the classrooms across the city.

The first story in particular was offensive. She abused over 30 students, taking liberty with them in a way that should have had her fired. I am sure the parents of these children did not appreciate her bruising their children's faces the way Rhee described in this video.

I hope she also advised the first-year students that they should not drive around students in their cars without the express consent of the parent, and preferably in writing. I listened to the video, and did not hear her issue that warning. The only thing she said was that they should always have the emergency contact information. Obtaining the permission of the parents (along with a release) before driving around their children would have solved the problem of the emergency contact information

Whether these stories are true or fabricated, this is a dangerous woman, for her ignorance about teaching is astounding. And, judging from these words emanating from her own mouth, she has a history of taking liberties with the lives of African American children that she certainly would not appreciate anyone taking with her daughters.

Get this woman out of here, quickly, please. She was not only devoid of teaching skills during her first year; she was lacking in common sense.

Posted by: vscribe | August 15, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

I read this story and listened to the audio. Rhee is not qualified to run DCPS. I wouldn't even want her teaching my children. Let's hope Fenty loses and takes Rhee with him.

Posted by: madmom1 | August 15, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

@Axolotl: Are you for real? That's great! Welcome. Just curious, what made you change your mind if you don't mind sharing?

Posted by: candycane1 | August 15, 2010 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Everyone should know that in DCPS TFA teachers are credentialed by definition even though they don't have credentials. If your child has a first year TFA newbie they will be listed as credentialed.

Posted by: Mulch5 | August 15, 2010 11:23 PM | Report abuse

Here's the address of DCPS HQ, if you'd like to send them a roll of masking tape:

Office of the Chancellor
District of Columbia Public Schools
1200 First Street, NE,
Washington, DC 2000

Posted by: phillipmarlowe | August 16, 2010 8:07 AM | Report abuse

RHEE on the Charlie Rose Show, July 12 2008:
"They say that I am cruel, that I am cold, that I am a dictator. They say that I`m not taking the community sort of voice into account as I`m making decisions. They say that I`m acting irrationally, that I`m unfair, inhumane."

Maybe they were right?


Posted by: efavorite | August 16, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

phillipmarlowe writes, "Here's the address of DCPS HQ, if you'd like to send them a roll of masking tape..."

Unfortunately, the Chancellor will use our donated tape over her own mouth to try to put a humorous period on this pathetic story of stories told.

The fact that the Washington Post does not have this reporting on page one, above the fold, is all we need to know about a newspaper that has devoted so many thousands of inches of print to a psychopath who it continues to believe is best qualified to entrust our most needy and vulnerable children.

And will there be some last minute editing of the "Waiting for Superman" education documentary due out in September? The film received the Audience Award for best documentary at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. Can you imagine the Sundance audience reaction to this clip?

How is it possible for a well functioning society to accept these continuing revelations of such a destructive and divisive personality? These are NOT just playful misstatements, or innocent impressions of poor Baltimore children riding in her car some eighteen years ago. This is what she thinks. This is what she thinks is relevant. And this should be enough for anyone to make a educated judgement about her fitness to lead.

Posted by: AGAAIA | August 16, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

In other words...

Put the full text of the Chancellor's talk to the new DCPS teachers Wednesday in print, on page one, without editorial comment, and let the voters of Washington, DC decide for themselves what to think.

Don't interpret her... don't qualify her statements with glowing rhetorical anecdotes of her successes... just print her own words, and show the positive response from her new young teacher corps. That will be just fine, thank you.

Posted by: AGAAIA | August 16, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Everyone knows many teachers were fired under impact system but that doesn't mean they were first year teachers.

I know many were rated highly effective because many of the teachers that were in my building that were first years got rated highly effective.

Teachers who cannot rank even minimally effective, then they need to go. If you're doing what you're supposed to do as a teacher, you should not be ranked minimally effective overall. Maybe you would for 1 or 2. But if that's the AVERAGE, then please, move to another profession.

Posted by: saucy4 | August 16, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Saucy - have you read about the English teacher at wilson who retired to avoid being fired because of low impact scores? He was beloved by students and parents.

Here's a petition for him. read some of the comments:

Just went there myself and see that he's coming back on a part-time basis! What does that tell you about Impact?

Posted by: efavorite | August 16, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Rhee's comments not only show she is too dumb to realize how dumb she is, but worse, they show her utter distain for poor chldren and their parents. Of course, this is not news to anyone who has been paying attention during her tenure. Like any bully with a messiah complex, she has failed and it's time for her to go before she does further damage to the children of the District.

Posted by: mcstowy | August 16, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

I am appalled at the indifferent response to this latest example of a foot-in-the-mouth-diseased revelation about the Chancellor, coming from her own mouth, no less!

C'mon, WaPo, you have got to comment on this in your editorial page...that is, if you have any ethics remaining.

Posted by: vscribe | August 16, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

I'm calling BS on both of these tales. Lawd Ms. Rhee why do you feel it necessary to lie?

Posted by: learnedhand1 | August 16, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

to saucy4: You must be privy to some inside information that the rest of us are not. Though I received a "highly effective" rating, I still argue IMPACT is severely flawed. Even DCPS Central Office admitted as much. I know, I was selected as part of a focus group which made recommendations for improvements to IMPACT.

I watched excellent veteran teachers get low scores--yes, I saw the scores, they shared them with me. I also saw scores of young, brand new TFA and DCTF's receive extremely high scores and they were not deserved nor earned. If you don't think there's a conspiracy to oust more expensive veteran teachers and retain new young inexpensive hires, then your head is in the sand. Principals were told last year that the new hires were "to succeed."

I don't trust Rhee nor anyone else in the central office. I have never seen more blatant discrimination and corruption and unethical practices in all my adult years of working...and I've worked in corporate America, politics and the non-profit sector.

I'm still waiting to see the data which indicates IMPACT really is able to distinguish an effective teacher from an ineffective one.

It's interesting that the scores you receive from your observations are non-negotiable. It doesn't matter what evidence you bring to the table, you are not able to challenge your rating. What's that about? In all my years of working, I've always been able to discuss my evaluation and rating with my manager. Sometimes my rating was increased because I brought something to the attention of my manager which s/he had forgotten or had not taken into consideration.

Wait til Rhee leaves. I predict we will see a totally different slant from WaPo. They have a history of supporting superintendents while they're here but shredding them once they leave. People will be shocked what they read and what is uncovered when Rhee finally departs for Sacramento.

Posted by: UrbanDweller | August 16, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: saucy4 | August 16, 2010 11:43 AM |
"I know many were rated highly effective because many of the teachers that were in my building that were first years got rated highly effective."

So you're demonstrating that IMPACT is both flawed and biased. Thank you for the additional, although anecdotal, evidence of the failure of IMPACT.

Posted by: mcstowy | August 17, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Does this lady have any concept of right and wrong or does she live in her own self indulged universe? She speaks of taping kids mouths shut, and then turns a kid over to a neighbor to return home. forget the how upset you would be as a parent and just understand this lady is the chancellor of DCPS telling these stories in open forums with no disclaimer that this was wrong. Did she preface any of the discussion with don't do this? Even if you don't see those acts as wrong, in our litigious world the liability of it all is scary enough.

I can understand supporting a candidate, but folks have to see this DCPS experiment is not working. Especially under leadership like this.

Posted by: oknow1 | August 17, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

@letsbereal- excellent points.

Stupid is, as stupid does.
This is just too much. This woman is telling on herself, she is a complete fool!

Posted by: fivetogo | August 17, 2010 7:03 PM | Report abuse

To all who love impressions:

As I do understand the serious problem of Rhee taking children on an unscheduled field trip without their emergency contact information, I was even more disturbed by her enthusiastic depiction of her students, and the laughter of her future teacher audience...

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

If you have not listened to the audio, please do; it can be found here:

For those who find that funny, perhaps this YouTube video of a young white man doing impressions of Asians will make your day. It can be found here:

It is entitled "Asian Impressions", and he adds an explanation that, "I am not a racist. Just my attempt at Asian voices."

It is so revealing that this young, well-educated and mostly white audience that is about to "hit the beaches" of urban public schools finds such characterizations so entertaining.

You don't have to look very hard to find impressions of any race about another, but you better be in the right room before you decide to laugh out loud. Isn't that the true test?

Ms. Rhee felt so comfortable with this audience that she wanted them to understand that she was once just like them. This was obviously not rehearsed or written down. Even if it was hugely embellished (as is most of her autobiography), this is the type of conversation that truly provides a window into her perception of, and condescension towards the very children she claims to be her "raison de la vie".

My apologies, in advance, to all French people who would otherwise not wish to be identified with my commentary.

Posted by: AGAAIA | August 18, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Hey, you are assuming she is racist. However, maybe she was just admitting she did dumb things her first year. All new teachers do, although maybe not that bad.

I remember I wanted my students to study the parts of the flower so I brought in a bunch of dandelions for them to dissect and label. I didn't realize a few of them were allergic and one kid got all swollen up.

I also took three students to the museum and when I returned one parent wasn't home. I just waited outside their apartment until mom got back. I think her repeating what the kid said was just that she was also thinking," What am I going to do?"

As for the tape on the mouth, I remember joking about that and then one student put tape on, then another and it became a game for the third graders. I do not think she thought it was funny that they were bleeding, she was horrified. She shared that with the new teachers because she was trying to show she understood what it was like to be new.

Ironically, she is actually acting like she can empathize with teachers, something I didn't think she was capable of.

I am not really a Rhee supporter, but think that she was just trying to be honest in this case. Now you can see why she needs an agent.

What is strange is that she doesn't seem to give the older teachers the same support.

Posted by: celestun100 | August 18, 2010 8:03 PM | Report abuse

The biggest flaw I see with the whole Rhee "plan" is that it is just about raising test scores and relies too heavily on replacing experienced teachers with new teachers. All schools need a mix of people and I don't trust the principals to know who is good and who is just on a lot of committees.

Posted by: celestun100 | August 18, 2010 8:13 PM | Report abuse


You wrote, "Hey, you are assuming she is racist. However, maybe she was just admitting she did dumb things her first year. All new teachers do, although maybe not that bad."

Remember the posts by 'Rifraf' about the inevitable correlation between race and IQ that placed blacks in last place with no hope to compete with superior Asians and Jews. You commented that you thought this might be over the line. Well... those were so far foul that they landed in the parking lot.

She is the Chancellor of the DCPS system, not a newbie teacher. She is now 18 years down the line, and we would hope mature enough not to mime black children in the most immature and condescending way.

YES, her comments were racist. And what about all the laughter that accompanied these characterizations and her stories of bleeding children? Did you detect horror in that laughter? I don't; and the teachers who listened to the audio with me at my home WERE HORRIFIED!

If she had said the same words in front of the City Council, or in a Baptist Church in Southeast, do you think you would have heard the same laughter? I just don't catch your moral drift.

You then say, "Ironically, she is actually acting like she can empathize with teachers, something I didn't think she was capable of." I am not alone in my belief that she is incapable of true empathy, and that she suffers for a pathological disorder that has been repeatedly demonstrated by her inability to take responsibility for the mistakes and pain she repeatedly inflicts on innocent children and adults.

Posted by: AGAAIA | August 18, 2010 11:29 PM | Report abuse

I haven't been following this Rhee stuff lately. I didn't listen to the tape. I was assuming the laughter was at the stupid predicament she had put herself in, not at making fun of the little kid's /dialect/accent.
I am not on a moral high horse. I do think those teachers you hear laughing may not know the history of the racism in the comments. I think they may be too young and if they are ivy league, like it is suggested, they won't have had too much in the way of understanding that sort of thing.
I think the new teachers are naive and inexperienced. I think if they were truly racist, they wouldn't have applied to work in DC.
Please don't be offended, that is how I see it. I am always shocked at how Rhee suggests firing teachers to be a good way to solve problems in the classroom.
I suppose you could say that she should have learned what to say and what not to say by now.
Overall, I don't think her whole plan is too educationally sound, for any kids.

Posted by: celestun100 | August 19, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse

I am so mad with this stupid so-called leader that I could scream. Every time I hear something that she has said or done I want to throw-up. Something is truly wrong when a suppose to be educated, intelligent women does crazy things. It does not take a teacher to know that you never tape childrens mouths or put them in your car without full permission of the parent. Furthermore we have always been told in DCPS that you do not put children in your cars and take them anywhere. You are setting your self up for a law suit if there is a car accident. I don't want to knock new teachers, but if they laughed at her making fun of how other people talk or about her stupidity in taping childrens mouths, then I wonder if they should be working in our system. Oh! Maybe they are white and supposely naive. Ha Ha Ha who believes that. One of the comments questioned why new teachers are coming to DCPS. Money Money Money No jobs in what they majored in and the old saying is that any one can teach. Hopefully V. Gray can straighten this mess out. Nothing wrong with young folks coming to the system, but please people be sincere and stay in our system at least 5 years and dont leave after two years when you receive your masters and loans are paid off, to go to a suburban school system.

Posted by: bubbles3863 | August 21, 2010 2:00 AM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.

characters remaining

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company