"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Friday, April 30, 2010

Deborah Gist the New Michelle Rhee?

Has Eli Broad found himself another front girl to replace the hapless and snarling Michelle Rhee as the face of corporate ed deform, one who this time around exhibits cheery charm and a sweet smile while sawing off the spurting limbs of public education?

The signs are there, with corporate hack Amanda Ripley recruited to do Time's bio blurb for another List of Top Somethings, the same Amanda Ripley who did Rhee's coronation article in Time a couple years back.

And, oh yes, Gist is an alum of Broad's own training camp for superintendents (Class of '08). And, oh yes, she is Frances Gallo's boss, who directed the Central Falls Massacre. From Ripley's brief gush:

. . . . Recently, the rest of the nation took note when a superintendent, acting with Gist's support, fired all of the teachers at one of the state's worst schools after they rejected a series of proposed reforms. In March, Education Secretary Arne Duncan and President Obama enraged the teachers' union by voicing support for the move.

So now Gist is caught in a familiar storm. But so far, she is navigating the tumult with grace — talking about teachers with the respect that comes from having been one, while still putting students' interests first.

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