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

February 23, 2017
Dave Brotherton
Trump, Moral Panics and Resistance
Jonathan Cook
One State: Trump Has Reminded Palestinians What It Was Always About
Bill Quigley
Ten Examples of Direct Resistance to Stop Government Raids
Linn Washington Jr.
Bigot Boy Business: Trump Exposes His Ignorance and Intolerance, Again
John W. Whitehead
The Illusion of Freedom: the Police State Is Alive and Well
Ralph Nader
Restricting People’s Use of Their Courts
David Macaray
Women As Labor Union Organizers
Kathy Kelly
Friendship in Defiance of War
Doug Weir
Why Did the US Use Depleted Uranium Weapons in Syria?
Steve Horn
Former GOP Congressional Staffer Follows Revolving Door, Now Latest Keystone XL Lobbyist
Binoy Kampmark
From Rights to Repentance: Norma McCorvey and Roe v Wade
Thomas Knapp
The Target of the “Border Adjustment Tax” is You
Chris Zinda
Open Letter to Neoliberal Environmentalists
February 22, 2017
Mike Whitney
Liberals Beware: Lie Down With Dogs, Get Up With Fleas
John Grant
On Killers and Bullshitters*
Peter Linebaugh
Catherine Despard, Abolitionist
Patrick Cockburn
The Bitter Battle for Mosul
Ted Rall
Sue the Bastards? It’s Harder Than You Think
Yoav Litvin
The Emergence of the Just Jew
Kim Scipes
Strategic Thinking and Organizing Resistance
Norman Pollack
Mar-a-Lago, Ideological Refuge: Berchtesgaden, II
Fred Donner
Nixon and the Chennault Affair: From Vietnam to Watergate
Carl Kandutsch
Podesta vs. Trump
Ike Nahem
To the Memory of Malcolm X: Fifty Years After His Assassination
Jesse Jackson
Trump’s Tough Talk Won’t Fix Chicago
Paul Donnelly
Betsy DeVos and the War on Public Education
Ebony Slaughter-Johnson
The End of an Alliance for Police Reform
Richard Lawless
Wall Street Demanded the Nuclear Option and the Congress Delivered
Liaquat Ali Khan
Yes, Real Donald Trump is a Muslim!
Ryan LaMothe
“Fire” and Free Speech
CounterPunch News Service
Bloody Buffalo Billboards
February 21, 2017
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
Finance as Warfare: the IMF Lent to Greece Knowing It Could Never Pay Back Debt
CJ Hopkins
Goose-stepping Our Way Toward Pink Revolution
John Wight
Firestarter: the Unwelcome Return of Tony Blair
Roger Harris
Lenin Wins: Pink Tide Surges in Ecuador…For Now
Shepherd Bliss
Japanese American Internment Remembered, as Trump Rounds Up Immigrants
Boris Kagarlitsky
Trump and the Contradictions of Capitalism
Robert Fisk
The Perils of Trump Addiction
Deepak Tripathi
Theresa May: Walking the Kingdom Down a Dark Alley
Sarah Anderson
To Save Main Street, Tax Wall Street
Howard Lisnoff
Those Who Plan and Enjoy Murder
Franklin Lamb
The Life and Death Struggle of the Children of Syria
Binoy Kampmark
A Tale of Two Realities: Trump and Israel
Kim C. Domenico
Body and Soul: Becoming Men & Women in a Post-Gender Age
Mel Gurtov
Trump, Europe, and Chaos
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail