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After I posted a mention Tuesday of Bob Herbert's New York Times column that calls Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee "disrespectful" and "cold-blooded," a faithful reader wondered why I hadn't called attention to pieces by other writers with more favorable -- or at least measured -- appraisals of her record and who consider her likely departure a blow to education reform.

Fair enough. Here are some:

In Time, Andy Rotherham says that outside of Washington, "if you listen closely, you'll hear the whispering of teachers' union leaders to Democratic officeholders, warning them that they could share [Mayor Adrian M.] Fenty's fate if they get too far out of line." He also warns of a serious talent drain on DCPS, with major charter school networks already scoping out Rhee's top people.

In Education Week, Rick Hess says the demise of Fenty-Rhee may "start to wean more than a few would-be reformers from their affection for weak brews like mayoral control and merit pay and towards more muscular efforts to dismantle, rethink, or bypass familiar schools and systems."

In The New Republic, Seyward Darby raises the possibility that a Vincent C. Gray administration could weaken one of Rhee's signature achievements, the IMPACT teacher evaluation system. "And, while the system could perhaps be improved, Gray could go farther, choosing to mollify the WTU by not using the resulting data to fire bad teachers -- thereby undoing a major change Rhee made to the way D.C. regulates teacher quality. "

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By Bill Turque  | September 22, 2010; 1:12 PM ET
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investigate this!

Rhee-form, edu-profiteers
& sleazy, corrupt, criminal HYPOCRISY

What was helicopter-in
Michelle Rhee’s ‘Damage Control’
for (boyfriend) Kevin Johnson?

Michelle Rhee was on the
board of directors
(and was "operations manager")
of Kevin's privatized High School charter
--- during the time when
there were financial illegalities
& misappropriations
($400,000) of federal grants
and also a pattern
of outlandish sexual misconduct
perpetrated by school director
Kevin Johnson involving students (minor teens)
& subordinate (Americorps) school staff --
as documented by
U.S. Govt. Inspector General
Gerald Walpin.

(crucial, must read) ==>

also, more detailed
info. =>


Posted by: honestaction | September 22, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

“[Andrew Rotherham] also warns of a serious talent drain on DCPS, with major charter school networks already scoping out Rhee's top people.”

Leave to Rotherham to cheerlead for Rhee. Back in October of ’08 he predicted a huge influx of national stars the DCPS: “People are coming from across the country to work for her,” says Andrew Rotherham, the co-director of Education Sector, a Washington think tank. “It’s the thing to do.”

As it turned out, new principals came from as far away as suburban Maryland and Virginia to work for Rhee. Now Central Office may have snared some national hotshots, though none of them have been touted in the Post. So please Bill, let us know who they are and when they leave DC for their new exciting posts. Odd though, how there have been two Post pieces* in the last two days, urging Vince Gray to keep people from Rhee’s staff (and Fenty himself!) on after she leaves. It’s like the Post has become a defacto employment agency for Rhee staffers.


Posted by: efavorite | September 22, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

If you read Rotherman's blog (Eduwonk) you'll see that he shares Rhee's disdain for teachers. You don't have to be Albert Einstein to figure out what that attitude will do for education.

Posted by: Linda/RetiredTeacher | September 22, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse


"If you listen closely, you'll hear the whispering of teachers' union leaders to Democratic officeholders, warning them that they could share Fenty's fate if they get too far out of line."


If you listen closely, you'll hear the whispering of TEACHERS and their SPOUSES, CHILDREN, STUDENTS, NEIGHBORS, PARENTS, FRIENDS etc. to Democratic officeholders, warning them that they could share Fenty's fate if they get too far out of line.

"Too far out of line" is defined as forgetting we live in a democracy. In almost every state and the District of Columbia, teachers are among the most trusted of all professionals. Politicians would be wise to remember that.

Posted by: Linda/RetiredTeacher | September 22, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

write in fenty. that's all there is to say.

Posted by: whateva1 | September 22, 2010 6:52 PM | Report abuse

someone from DCPS took the time to respond to your point when it was posted on eduwonk by phillipmarlowe:
DCPS Says:
September 16th, 2010 at 8:10 am

Introducing evidence into these comment threads always risky, I know! Rotherham was probably talking about Justin Cohen, Susan Cheng, Kaya Henderson, Josh Edelman, Erin McGoldrick, and really a lot of the senior team:

DCPS has the strongest (or as strong) front office of any district in America today. Make no mistake, that was a Rhee effect.

phillipmarlowe Says:
September 16th, 2010 at 11:45 am
I’m thinking of schools, especially those featured by the Washington Post:
Dwon Jordon-PGCPS
Peter Cahall-MCPS
Brian Betts-MCPS
William Taylor local guy (feature by Amanda Ripley in The Atlantic)
I believe there is a lady from Howard CPS, but she might not be in a school.

Posted by: edlharris | September 22, 2010 8:02 PM | Report abuse

"DCPS has the strongest (or as strong) front office of any district in America today. Make no mistake, that was a Rhee effect."

New motto for school reformers:

"No Rhee staffer left behind!"

Posted by: efavorite | September 22, 2010 9:23 PM | Report abuse

Talent drain? Like the hotshot staffer who was the architect of merit pay?

Or the one who devised the IMPACT evaluation system?

Let's keep the person who straightened up the book warehouse and not worry about the reform initiatives. Empirical research* is showing that they don't work.


Posted by: efavorite | September 22, 2010 9:33 PM | Report abuse

efavorite and others,
another thing about education reformer Andrew Rotherham was that he was on the Virginia Board of Education when they were reporting scores on the Virginia state tests that made no sense.
Read more at and its links.

Posted by: edlharris | September 22, 2010 10:28 PM | Report abuse

While I'll admit freely that the front office staff has improved markedly, and Rhee was responsible for lots of that (although again, it started with Janey, but he was not given the authority to fire people as Ms. Rhee was) to call it the strongest front office in the country is pretty laughable.

I'm sure any teacher in DCPS (or any parent) would tell you that the people downtown are much more polite, and more likely to be able to help you, but there is still some work to be done. As for the principals, they are still being let go at about the same rate they used to be, which certainly seems to indicate that Ms. Rhee isn't any better or worse at choosing them (which is odd, since that was her job before becoming Chancellor).

Posted by: Wyrm1 | September 23, 2010 7:11 AM | Report abuse

If you listen closely you will hear teachers, parents, and unions discussing the following:

More drastic reforms like hedge fund managers buying off politicians in NY to promote the for-profit charter con will not work. What’s their next plan?

Pseudo-reformers’ black box of educational reform in DC has failed like Enron failed. Does the pseudo-reformer crowd consider Rhee as the “smartest gal in the room?”

Blunders made by New Jersey’s application contractor and pro-reform testing corporation, Wireless Generation cost NJ $400,000,000.00.

Despite the reformers’ propaganda for merit pay and termination based on test scores, the black box of educational reform does not include empirical research.

Posted by: nfsbrrpkk | September 23, 2010 8:42 AM | Report abuse

"Save our Jobs" is the plaintive cry from Rhee's front office staff to Rotherham, the Post editorial board and anyone who will listen.

Suddenly adult interests are taking precedence over Children's Interests. But it's OK because they are Rhee's handpicked, rock-star adults.

Let's see their evaluations. Certainly they must have them and certainly they must be "highly effective" according to a complex nationally recognized rubric to even be considered for future assignments in education.

Posted by: efavorite | September 23, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

May Karma be true and swift, and maybe that child who will graduate and not be able to read and write take out his frustrations on those who saw fit to put their jobs first over the education of that child. But likey not. We're all in danger. Isn't the goal here that he never learn to think for himself? Great way to build up your political party.

Posted by: Princeatplay | September 23, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

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