FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Get the Teachers

by DAVE LINDORFF

Michelle Rhee, the former chancellor of Washington, DC’s public schools, who left under a cloud after the mayor who appointed her, Adrian Fenty, was defeated in a re-election bid in which Rhee’s contentious tenure was the main issue, is at it again.

Rhee, a shameless self-promoter who already stands accused of lying on her resume about her alleged success as a teacher of elementary students, and who continues to be the subject of a US Department of Education investigation into a test cheating scandal at D.C. schools during her tenure as chancellor, is now trying to lure progressives to support her campaign against unionized teachers by pretending to have the support of the popular petition-circulating organization Change.org.

In an email blast sent out to progressives on Tuesday, Rhee’s organization StudentsFirst.org, says:

Thank you for joining StudentsFirst by signing a petition on Change.org. I’d like to tell you a bit more about what we’re fighting for.

Every morning in America, as we send eager fourth graders off to school, ready to learn with their backpacks and lunch boxes, we are entrusting them to an education system that accepts the fact that only one in three of them can read at grade level.

But studies have shown that in just one year, students with an effective teacher are able to improve by one and a half grade levels. These effects are so significant that the “achievement gap” between low-income or minority students and their wealthier or white peers can effectively be erased by only three consecutive years of highly effective teachers.

It’s time we recognize the value of great teachers. At StudentsFirst, it’s our goal to make sure every child in America has a great teacher in every classroom. From improving teacher evaluations, to ending seniority-based teacher layoffs, to paying effective teachers higher salaries and bonuses, there are many ways we can elevate the teaching profession in this country to a level that reflects its importance and attracts talented individuals to join its ranks.

Recipients of this letter may not have ever signed a StudentsFirst.org-sponsored petition on the petition site Change.org. Nor will they likely know that Rhee’s organization was actually tossed off of Change.org following protests by teachers unions and education activists who pointed out to Change.org that Rhee and StudentsFirst had supported the anti-teachers union campaign of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, that Rhee had been on the transition team of equally anti-teachers union Gov. Rick Scott, and that she and her organization had contributed $70,000 to help another anti-teacher’s union politician, Rep. Paul Scott (R-MI), fight off a recall campaign.

As DC schools chancellor, Rhee fired hundreds of teachers and principals with no due process, promoted friends and lackeys to positions of responsibility and high pay, ignored parent opinions, fostered racist policies that favored white and asian over black  students at some wealthier schools, and, allegedly, oversaw what may have been an epic program of cheating on school assessment tests.  The Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General told me that its investigation into that testing scandal is still ongoing.

In June, Change.org, under intense pressure from labor and education activists, dropped StudentsFirst from its list of petition-circulating organizations.

Rhee’s email letter makes no mention of that expulsion.

The omission is all of a piece with her false resume claim to have had astonishing success at raising the test scores of her 8-year-old students as a young teacher, and to her claim to have had no knowledge of any problem with test scoring integrity while she was Chancellor. (Statistics professor emeritus Thomas Haladyna has said that there is a greater chance of winning the Powerball grand prize than of Washington DC students’ test scores showing so many corrected erasures purely by chance.

Given her documented history of self-promotion and deception, it would be more appropriate — and fairer to the public — if Rhee were to change the name of her organization to RheeFirst.org.

Dave Lindorff is a  founder of This Can’t Be Happening and a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, published by AK Press. Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He lives in Philadelphia.

Five Nights in Istanbul
in a Gorgeous Flat,
Donated by Longtime CounterPunchers
Available Only at the CounterPunch Online Auction
Click Here to See the View and Place Your Bid 

Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
January 20, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Divide and Rule: Class, Hate, and the 2016 Election
Andrew Levine
When Was America Great?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: This Ain’t a Dream No More, It’s the Real Thing
Yoav Litvin
Making Israel Greater Again: Justice for Palestinians in the Age of Trump
Linda Pentz Gunter
Nuclear Fiddling While the Planet Burns
Ruth Fowler
Standing With Standing Rock: Of Pipelines and Protests
David Green
Why Trump Won: the 50 Percenters Have Spoken
Dave Lindorff
Imagining a Sanders Presidency Beginning on Jan. 20
Pete Dolack
Eight People Own as Much as Half the World
Roger Harris
Too Many People in the World: Names Named
Steve Horn
Under Tillerson, Exxon Maintained Ties with Saudi Arabia, Despite Dismal Human Rights Record
John Berger
The Nature of Mass Demonstrations
Stephen Zielinski
It’s the End of the World as We Know It
David Swanson
Six Things We Should Do Better As Everything Gets Worse
Alci Rengifo
Trump Rex: Ancient Rome’s Shadow Over the Oval Office
Brian Cloughley
What Money Can Buy: the Quiet British-Israeli Scandal
Mel Gurtov
Donald Trump’s Lies And Team Trump’s Headaches
Kent Paterson
Mexico’s Great Winter of Discontent
Norman Solomon
Trump, the Democrats and the Logan Act
David Macaray
Attention, Feminists
Yves Engler
Demanding More From Our Media
James A Haught
Religious Madness in Ulster
Dean Baker
The Economics of the Affordable Care Act
Patrick Bond
Tripping Up Trumpism Through Global Boycott Divestment Sanctions
Robert Fisk
How a Trump Presidency Could Have Been Avoided
Robert Fantina
Trump: What Changes and What Remains the Same
David Rosen
Globalization vs. Empire: Can Trump Contain the Growing Split?
Elliot Sperber
Dystopia
Dan Bacher
New CA Carbon Trading Legislation Answers Big Oil’s Call to Continue Business As Usual
Wayne Clark
A Reset Button for Political America
Chris Welzenbach
“The Death Ship:” An Allegory for Today’s World
Uri Avnery
Being There
Peter Lee
The Deep State and the Sex Tape: Martin Luther King, J. Edgar Hoover, and Thurgood Marshall
Patrick Hiller
Guns Against Grizzlies at Schools or Peace Education as Resistance?
Randy Shields
The Devil’s Real Estate Dictionary
Ron Jacobs
Singing the Body Electric Across Time
Ann Garrison
Fifty-five Years After Lumumba’s Assassination, Congolese See No Relief
Christopher Brauchli
Swing Low Alabama
Dr. Juan Gómez-Quiñones
La Realidad: the Realities of Anti-Mexicanism
Jon Hochschartner
The Five Least Animal-Friendly Senate Democrats
Pauline Murphy
Fighting Fascism: the Irish at the Battle of Cordoba
Susan Block
#GoBonobos in 2017: Happy Year of the Cock!
Louis Proyect
Is Our Future That of “Sense8” or “Mr. Robot”?
Charles R. Larson
Review: Robert Coover’s “Huck out West”
David Yearsley
Manchester-by-the-Sea and the Present Catastrophe
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail