Monday, April 11, 2011


Replacing the broom as symbol for D.C. reform
What a tangled web Michelle Rhee has woven for herself. Erasure-gate is now the talk of the town in D.C. now that Rhee seems to have traded in her broom for a pencil with an eraser on its end. Even Rhee buddy Jay Mathews has turned on her. Maybe because Mathews' wife Linda, helped break the USA Today story which sparked a wild counter attack by Rhee when she went on the Tavis Smiley Show.  
"When the academic achievement rates of a district like D.C. go up, people assume that it can't be ... because the kids are actually attaining higher gains in student achievement, but that it's because of something like cheating," Rhee told Smiley. When he asked Rhee if she believed the USA Today investigation to be lacking in integrity, she said, "Absolutely."
But even so... Mathews is now asking Arne Ducan if he'll take back the Blue Ribbon awarded Rhee and the district for its bump in test scores now that we know it wasn't a bump at all, but a pot hole. You may recall that Duncan gave D.C. the award on the eve of  D.C. elections in November, his way of campaigning for defeated mayor, Fenty who first appointed Rhee. However, it's not likely that Duncan will renege on the award. He staked the reputation of the president and the D.O.E. on Rhee's success and stardom as did Mr. Guggenheim and the Waiting for Superman crowd along with power philanthropists, Gates, Broad and Walton.

Rhee was quite willing to take personal credit for the test scores (even those that were scored before she had any affect on the district) when they looked good. But now she refuses to take any responsibility for the widespread and systematic cheating that went on under her watch.
USA Today reviewed test scores from 2008 through 2010 and found an unusual rate of erasures on answer sheets from 103 schools in which wrong answers were consistently replaced with the right ones. In one seventh-grade classroom in Northeast D.C., USA Today found nearly 13 erasures per student on a 2009 reading test. The citywide average that year was no more than one erasure per student. -- NPR
Now it looks like she may be called in front of several investigating committees where she risks perjury charges unless she comes clean. All the Gates and Broad money (and there's plenty) in her war chest may not be able to save her from hitting bottom on this one.

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