A reader submitted this post:


It tells the now-familiar story of how an unwary person was conned by Michelle Rhee’s Students First. The reader was going through her email, and along came a “puppies-and-kittens” petition from Change.org, and “Click!”

Too late: “And suddenly, there it was…the wolf in sheep’s clothing, the Trojan horse of all Trojan horses: Join the Fight to Save Great Teachers,  a petition initiated by Students First, the education policy lobby run by faux education expert, Michele Rhee.  Remember her?  The mythologized Bee Eater who got results in the Washington, D.C. schools, and then quickly ducked out when her mayoral patron was evicted from office?

This blogger was repentant but not fooled:

Here’s what Students First says they’re for which sounds a lot like “kittens and puppies” at first blush:
  • Elevating the teaching profession by valuing teachers’ impact on students;
  • Empowering parents with real choices and real information; and
  • Spending taxpayers’ money wisely to get better results for students.
But Students First (SF) perpetuates a fraud on families through smoke and mirrors:
  • SF narrowly defines the value of teachers’ impact on students, equating impact with large scale test scores.  It devalues the impact of teachers’ relationships with students and their families by minimizing the effects of teacher experience and the trust that families build with teachers over time. It fails to recognize the strength and local knowledge that comes from commitment of and by the school community.
  • SF says that choice is good but is blind to the information on the demographic consequences of school choice. A National Education Policy Center study suggests that charters actually increase segregation of students. For many children excluded by charters through “cherry-picking” and “counseling out” there is no choice if they are to get the supports they need. And the children who are disproportionately affected by these tactics? The poor, those with disabilities, English language learners, the very children SF claims to be helping.
  • SF promotes responsible use of taxpayers’ money, but ignores the shell games played by commercial charter operators to profit at public expense.  Hedge fund investors capitalizing on the “crisis in education” have joined the fray.  Public school districts lose in this tug-of-war for resources.
Earlier today, another reader sent in a comment and chastised me for my description of D.C. test scores under Rhee. He said I should have written about the change in test scores during her tenure in office, not just the fact that D.C. has the largest achievement gaps for black and Hispanic students of any city in the nation. He was right.
So I looked up the scores  in fourth grade reading, which Rhee says is a disgrace to the nation, and recorded the changes over time in her district. This is what happened on her watch. The scores of higher-income students went up significantly from 2007-2011. The scores of lower-income students were flat from 2007-2011. The scores of white students, black students, and Hispanic students were flat from 2007-2011. Why is she telling the nation how to improve achievement when she didn’t do it?