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

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Rhee's Self-Serving Extravaganza

Why does an economics journo pen the HuffPo tribute to corporate education's toxic witch, Michelle Rhee?  Because he's paid to?  Because it's all about the money?  Yes and yes.

And so Barry Wood describes the big ticket event Monday night at the Kennedy Center, no less, starring Arne Duncan, middle brow establishment hack, Tom Friedman, and Mr. Entertainment, David Gregory as host.

Billed as a night of recognition for DC teachers, the night was to glorify the Oligarchs' poster girl for corporate ed reform.  The only teachers there were the ones who received the highest score (a "Four") on the deeply flawed evaluation system put together by another TFA alum who worked for Rhee.  Even so, the response to Gregory's efforts to whip up enthusiasm among the assembled guests fell flat, or shall we say, it never rose enough to fall. A priceless clip (my bolds):
. . . .The highly effective "fours" were the ones in the Kennedy Center audience. Doubts about Impact even from its winners may account for the fact that when the host asked that Rhee be given a standing ovation, only half the audience stood up.

Despite reassuring words from Rhee, her interim successor Kaya Henderson, Fenty, and mayor-elect Vincent Gray that DC school reform will continue, real doubts remain.

Education writer and Rhee biographer Richard Whitmire identifies several markers that will determine if Rhee's radical reforms continue. He puts retention of Impact at the top of the list and warns of trouble ahead if Gray appoints a panel of experts to evaluate and improve the system.

A second red flag, says Whitmire, would be the departure of Jason Kamras, a 2005 Teacher of the Year and Teach for America alumnus, who designed the Impact system. . . .

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