MichelleRhee is the fault of the teacher unions. Just ask John Merrow.


John Merrow is freakin’ unbelievable.

The guy once was in love with MichelleRhee.*

While I don’t think my reporting for the NewsHour was puffery, we did produce twelve (!) pieces about her efforts over the 40 months — about two hours of primetime coverage. That’s an awful lot of attention.

Did anyone else get that much air time from us? Well, yes, we also produced twelve reports about Paul Vallas in New Orleans. But Vallas never received the positive treatment (or even the coverage) from the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the New York Times, Charlie Rose, et alia, that Rhee did back in 2007-2009.

Were we skeptical enough about the ‘miracle’ gains in her first year? Unfortunately not. So we certainly helped create the public phenomenon that is “Michelle Rhee.”

Oh, so he also had an affair with Paul Vallas. Which makes Merrow a serial lover.

Now that MichelleRhee has been proven to be the certified cheater we had suspected she was, he’s acting like they barely knew each other.

Okay. Maybe they dated now and then.

But his main point is that she is the fault of the teacher unions.

Freakin’ unbelievable.

It seems to me that U(nions) also created the social phenomenon that is “Michelle Rhee”–and are now reaping that bitter fruit.

How did we in the teacher unions create MichelleRhee?

We were too intransigent, says Merrow.

If we only had gone along with the corporate agenda of charter schools, testing everything that breathes, linking student test scores to teacher performance evaluations and doing away with tenure and seniority then we wouldn’t have created MichelleRhee.

The weird thing is that I think we did go along with all those things.

Didn’t we?

*She calls he group StudentsFirst (one word), so I call her MichelleRhee (one word). A silly joke. I know.

20 thoughts on “MichelleRhee is the fault of the teacher unions. Just ask John Merrow.

  1. That’s one of the most outrageous claims I’ve ever heard. I only wish it were true, as I watch my ATR friends sludge through what compromising with the likes of Rhee has brought us, as I watch a junk science system enabled by a law we had a part in writing moving like a cloud over us.

  2. Her group is really “Students Last.” Anyone who says teachers unions created “Students Last” must be quite delusional.

  3. Fred I’m confused, is this a new piece from Merrow? if the unions quote is new it suggests to me that someone got to him.

      1. Many people aren’t union friendly but this is pretty lame. He goes to all that trouble to out her, it just makes no sense to link the two. It sounds contrived.

  4. Why is this woman walking around free giving big bucks lectures about how teachers are on a gravy train? JHC!

  5. I submitted this comment on his blog:

    The entire country has become one big pyramid scheme, with the Main-Scream-Media quite literally filling up the middle layers. They are the middle-men — the ropers and shills who pump up the con and take their cut before the suckers at the bottom go bust. When they get caught, they just say, “Oops! We’re sorry. But aren’t you glad you have us to tell you about the lies we couldn’t help telling you last week?”

    The masses pay attention to these tools because the Braindead Megaphone of the Media does not let them know there is any alternative.

    He didn’t print it.
    Too close, I guess …

  6. Merrow: “But we don’t know for certain where the money behind Michelle Rhee and StudentsFirst comes from.”

    Because, y’know, it’s not like we’re actual journalists or anything …

  7. Merrill Lynch published a paper in 1999 about “investing in education ” that specifically mentions the resistance to be expected from established players including parents and school boards. It was never about anything else than the hostile takeover of public education with the goal of accessing education tax dollars. Where was Rheeject then? She’s nothing more than the spokes model chosen by Wall St. Her arrival on the scene did nothing to change any union position or behavior.

  8. Where did anyone get the idea that teachers unions were powerful? Maybe a couple of decades ago, when unions represented more people they wielded some power, but since Ronald Reagan fired the air traffic controllers, unions have lost more and more membership and clout. We’ve had ever more regulations and testing mania shoved down our throats and no union was able to mitigate the damage to public education. Even more, with unions in decline the neo-cons have been able to divert public money to charters, private schools and Pearson testing companies. They are destroying public education, which is the foundation of democracy. Welcome to the United States of Koch and ALEC.

  9. Of course it’s the teachers’ fault. Isn’t everything?

    According to Merrow, teachers are also responsible for NYC’s “Rubber Rooms” which form the basis for Steve Brill’s article in the New Yorker. Merrow claims unions protect bad teachers from dismissal. I have never met any competent teacher with a desire to keep a bad one on board – for the selfish reason that it makes the competent teacher’s job more difficult. The failure to dismiss incompetent teachers needs to be laid at the door of administration. If NYC public schools’ administrators could not make the case for dismissals of the denizens of the rubber rooms, the administrators are the incompetents.

    I was a building rep for my union for many years and though sometimes I had to hold my nose to provide representation for members, they were entitled to that representation. There is a false notion that “tenure” is an inviolable sinecure in K-12 education. In actuality, it is merely that due process must be followed in discipline or dismissal. I am tired of the excuse provided by Merrow that it is “too hard” to dismiss poor teachers. There’s a process, follow it.

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