John Merrow deserves enormous praise for his dogged investigative journalism in pursuing the allegations of widespread cheating in the DC public schools during the tenure of Michelle Rhee.
Perhaps even more impressive is that he recognized his own error in his past coverage, which had presented Rhee in a heroic light. Merrow, by his account, ran a dozen PBS segments on Rhee, which were very positive. It was only towards the end of his last story that he began to dig deeper, especially after he heard the story of Adell Cothorne. Cothorne was the principal at Noyes campus who says she walked in on a grade-changing meeting of staff; she reported it at once to central headquarters. In no time, she was a pariah. Merrow wanted to know why.
Kudos to John Merrow.
Here is a compilation of his reports: REPORTING ABOUT MICHELLE RHEE.
The curious part of this story is that no one cares. No one is investigating. Even after Merrow’s exposé, even after he reported that the DC schools are worse off now than before Rhee and her protege Kaya Henderson started, Rhee goes on unscathed. She is still claiming dramatic gains on her watch. In one of his documentaries, Merrow showed Rhee confronting principals and demanding higher scores–or else. Beverly Hall used the same tactics to pressure principals in Atlanta and is facing serious jail time. But Rhee is doing well indeed. The far-right, anti-public education Walton Foundation just gifted her organization with $8 million to promote her failed policies across the nation.
John, please keep following the story. It is not over.