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.

Cover up: Erase to the top.


USA Today:

A 17-month investigation into possible cheating on standardized tests at Washington, D.C., public schools focused on only one school and did not expand to any other school with rising test scores and suspiciously high rates of wrong answers changed to right ones.

In a report issued Wednesday, city investigators said they found no reason to probe more than one elementary school, Noyes Education Campus, whose principal resigned in the wake of a USA TODAY story in March 2011. Investigators said they limited the probe because they believed news coverage of the scandal would limit future cheating — and because schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson handed over “no additional evidence” of cheating or “investigative leads to pursue.”

D.C.’s Office of the Inspector General said it considered expanding the probe to other schools, but concluded that “once the erasure issue came to light, any improper practices that may have occurred in the past would diminish.”

One school?

Even the Washington Post’s Jay Matthews, who has been known to fawn over MichelleRhee more than Bambi’s mother, wasn’t buying this story.

Many D.C. educators have convinced me that the wrong-to-right erasures at many schools, averaging more than 10 per child in some classes, could not be the work of the test takers. Students almost never correct their answers on such tests, since they have no effect on their grades. The answers had to have been changed, several teachers said, by school officials after the tests were handed in, since those officials would benefit from high scores.

Michelle Rhee asks NEA and AFT, “Can’t we all just get along?” And she has good reason to ask.

Does MichelleRhee want to paddle Dennis Van Roekel? Or sing a little Kumbayaa?

Here in Chicago Michelle Rhee and her StudentsFirst (I think I’ll start calling her, MichelleRhee.) just got their heads handed to her on a platter by Jennifer Johnson, history teacher and CTU union activist.

MichelleRhee and Jonah Edelman of Stand for Children posted a Change.org petition attacking union collective bargaining rights in Chicago. Johnson posted a petition on Signon.org calling for the self-proclaimed progressive Change group to take down the union busting petition. A few days and 4,000 signatures later, Change.org removed MichelleRhee’s union busting petition.

Huffington is reporting that now MichelleRhee has written a letter to the NEA and the AFT saying that there is more that unites them than divides them, calling it, a “new opportunity to collaborate to improve public education for kids.”

 And she may be right.

Certainly here in Illinois the IEA and the IFT did find common ground with MichelleRhee and Jonah Edelman on Senate Bill 7.

Here’s the letter according to Huffington:

June 20, 2012
Dear President Weingarten and President Van Roekel,
You have both said that we should look for ways to collaborate for the benefit of students, and it appears we mayhave such an opportunity. Both of your organizations, as well as many of ours, have agreed that the recentlegislation in Connecticut represents a step in the right direction toward a goal that all of us share – making sureevery child in this country receives a great education.
We are pleased that both of your organizations have described the reforms recently passed in Connecticut as avictory. These reforms include changes that will improve teacher evaluations, increase funding for public charter schools, help turn around failing schools, and expand access to pre-K programs. We particularly appreciate your support for:
Creating a commissioner’s network empowered to make meaningful changes to turn around failing schools.
Building a teacher evaluation system to be implemented statewide next year, and which includes evidence of student learning growth as a significant factor.
Increasing funding for public charter schools to help bring school funding equity for all students in publicschools.We agree that these are common sense reforms, that they represent “a significant step toward improvingConnecticut’s public education system” and that they can be part of a “national model” for improving our nation’sschools. Many states across the country are considering or have considered similar reforms, including Pennsylvania, California, Alabama, Minnesota, Missouri, and Iowa. But advocates in those states have often had trouble securing support for these reforms from your local unions, and we hope you that you will speak up insupport of these important reforms and expand these opportunities to students all across the country.We look forward to this new opportunity to collaborate to improve public education for kids.
Democrats for Education Reform

MichelleRhee correctly points out that there have been several cases, including Illinois, in which both the union and groups like StudentsFirst and Stand for Children claimed loss of tenure and seniority rights as well as the linking of teacher evaluation to student test performance as victories and national models.
In fact, it was the NEA’s own DVR himself who called Senate Bill 7 a national model.
But that’s not good enough for MichelleRhee who complains that some states have not gone along with these national models. She wants the NEA’s President Dennis Van Roekel and the AFT’s Randi Weingarten to get these states to toe the line.
It will certainly be interesting to see how Randi and DVR react to MichelleRhee’s offer.
Will they say, “Let’s negotiate?” Will they say, “no deal?” Or bring out the guitars for a little Kumbayaa?

Kickin’ Michelle Rhee’s butt in Chicago.

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t get a bunch of petition requests on Facebook and on email.

Some have been effective. Certainly the story of Trayvon Martin’s shooting received national attention in large part because of the petition campaign organized by Color of Change.

But after a while so many petitions become just noise.

And so some folks can be excused by being fooled into signing a petition that seemed to be supporting a settlement to the teacher contract in Chicago.

Paticularly since it was hosted by Change.org, which bills itself as a clearing house for progressive issues.

Only it wasn’t.

The petition was written up by Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst (you would have to ask Michelle why she skips putting a space between two words) and the greasy Jonah Edelman’s Stand for Children.

The petition was actually an attack on the Chicago Teachers Union, condemning them for taking the strike vote that received 98% approval from the teachers who voted.

Jennifer Johnson, a CTU member, got pissed.

Jennifer Johnson posted another petition on Signon.org demanding that Change.org live up to their progressive claims and remove the union-busting petition from their site.

At first the folks at Change.org refused, saying they didn’t think it was necessary for them to agree with the politics of every petition.

This was pure BS since Change.org has promoted themselves as progressives, which Rhee and Edelman are clearly not.

As we used to say at  family dinner table political debates, “What if Hitler wanted to put a petition on Change.org?”

The last time I looked, Johnson’s petition had over 4,000 signatures, mostly from Chicago.

Late yesterday, Change.org reversed their position and removed the anti-union petition.

We’re kickin’ a little Michelle Rhee butt in Chicago, folks.

Rhee is sinking fast.

No radical reformer.
"I said I was sorry!"

The darling of the union-haters, the soon to be fired DC school boss is saying she’s sorry. Not as sorry as the teachers and kids of DC schools are.

From the Washington Post:

In a letter to the District’s 4,000 teachers and specialists yesterday, Rhee acknowledged that she might have tried to take on too much too soon.

“In our exuberance to fix everything all at once, we’ve thrown so many different programs at you,” Rhee said. “Please know that this comes from a desire to support you, not inundate you.

“But now I see that we may have pushed on too many different fronts all at the same time,” she wrote. Rhee did not specify which programs or initiatives might be slowed or delayed.

The spider and the fly.


Michelle Rhee in the WaPo:

“Will you walk into my parlor?” said the Spider to the Fly,
“Tis the prettiest little parlor that ever you did spy;
The way into my parlor is up a winding stair,
And I have many curious things to show you when you are there.”
“Oh no, no,” said the Fly, “to ask me is in vain;
For who goes up your winding stair can ne’er come down again.”

The Spider and the Fly
by Mary Howitt

Things got a little ugly and the crowd turns on Michelle Rhee.

Claiming to be celebrating Martin Luther King’s birthday, the anti-union crowd allied with the mis-named Education Equality Project held a meeting in DC.

Did they forget that King was killed while marching to support Memphis workers? No. They want you to forget.

So they brought together the motley crew:

On Monday at Cardozo High School in the Columbia Heights neighborhood of D.C., the Rev. Al Sharpton and New York City schools Chancellor Joel Klein hosted a bipartisan group of civil rights leaders and educators focused on addressing the achievement gap, in part through advancing policies opposed by teachers’ unions, including test score based performance pay and private school voucher programs. Other speakers included incoming secretary of education Arne Duncan; Sen. John McCain; outgoing education secretary Margaret Spellings; Newark mayor Cory Booker; New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg; former speaker of the House Newt Gingrich; D.C. mayor Adrian Fenty; and controversial D.C. schools chancellor Michelle Rhee.

But things did not go as planned. When Rhee got up to speak, she was not well received:

When Rhee said, “There are a lot of people who benefit from our system being dysfunctional,” a few voices raised in the crowd, booing. “That’s not true!” a woman shouted. But Rhee continued, referring obliquely to her long-running contract dispute with the Washington Teachers’ Union over merit pay and tenure. “People who keep their jobs. People who keep their contract.”

Veteran teacher leaves DC. “Ms Rhee knows it all.”

A story of one veteran educator who tells why a teacher with experience in DC schools is leaving.

I am the teacher who was the technology director for the 21st Century Project when it was new. I am not a newbie. I know teaching, and I know curriculum. But given Ms. Rhee’s attitude toward “old” teachers, I simply decided not to apply.

As many of my “seasoned” colleagues and I disengage from the DC public school system, we take with us valuable knowledge and years of experience as well as an understanding and love for students that can’t be measured by test scores and dollars.

I am not a stranger to urban schools. I thought that my expertise and experience would be a good match. But I decided to keep doing outreach on my own. Ms. Rhee does not want interference in her plan. She knows it all.