Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Daily Howler Howls at Rhee

The Music Man opened tonight at the Rockaway Theater Company. I saw the dress rehearsal last night and was reminded of the old flim flam being pulled on the public schools in this country.

So I was a little deja vued when I read the Chancellor's New Clothes' great post on Wendy Kopp taking her tenure test which included a link to this wonderful year old Daily Howler link to the Michelle Rhee bullshit story (as retold by Kopp and unchallenged by "journalist" Charlie Rose) of performing miracles in her short teaching career.

A not to be missed expose of the flim-flam men and women driving education into the ground. We're still waiting for Joel Klein to tell us how he performed miracles in the classroom in his 6 months of teaching before he hit the draft lottery that allowed him to escape. Don't you just love all these people who couldn't wait to get out of the classroom telling everyone how it's done?

Go read both posts in full, but here are some delicious excerpts:

From CNC:
What cognitive skills should a child of ten years be able to perform?
Wow. Good question. Let me just start by telling you that after teaching for two years, Teach for America members really understand that all kids really can learn. I was talking to Joseph, a corp member from the Bronx, who really thinks this.

From DH
For years, Rhee has been telling a pleasing story. She performed an educational miracle at Harlem Park—and she “earned acclaim” in the national media for this brilliant success. Our reaction? Speaking frankly, her claim about test scores is so extreme that we would regard it as suspect on its face. Now, there also seem to be a question about the “acclaim” which she says she earned. But once again, the big problem here is the Narrative of the Miracle Cure—the pleasing tale that routinely takes the place of serious talk about low-income schools.

Rhee’s narrative is deeply inspiring—and the things that she learned were highly convenient. It was all about the quality of educators, Rhee was quickly able to see. Driven by this helpful insight, Rhee quit the classroom, set up a non-profit, and paid herself big bucks for a decade, as she peddled this load of bull to a generation of hopeful black parents.

In our view, that’s a pleasing, music man’s tale; it has taken the place, in the past forty years, of serious thought about low-income schools.

In our own thirteen years in the Baltimore schools, we came to regard that pleasing tale as the hallmark of hustlers, con men and do-dos. (For the record, we were inclined to believe it too—before we spent time in the classroom.) It substitutes for serious thought—and wins big pay-days for its adherents.

MUSIC WOMAN: By the way, parents—listen up! The ability and potential of your children is endless!

And not only that! Rhee possesses a magic wand which makes root beer come from the sprinklers.

Follow Rhee Doins at the Educational Rheeform blog.
Photoshopping by DB/Sol/Sal

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