Earlier today, John Merrow posted a blog in which he asked, “Who Created Michelle Rhee?”

From the context, I assume he means who was responsible for making her the face of the corporate reform movement? Why was she praised by both Barack Obama and John McCain in their 2008 debate only a year after she started work as DC superintendent of schools? Why was she featured on the cover of Time and Newsweek? Why was she lionized in the national media?

All this, even though as Merrow now says, “I am also reporting that, after five years of Rhee/Henderson, the DC schools are worse off by almost every conceivable measure: graduation rates, truancy, enrollment, test scores, black-white gap and teacher and principal turnover.”

How did the national media miss these developments? Why did they turn Rhee into a superstar despite the lack of any accomplishments?

Merrow puts the blame on four suspects:

First, Rhee herself because she inflated her credentials (no Ne in the mainstream media noticed).

Second, he blames himself because he aired twelve (12!) different episodes on national gelb
Vision chronicling her progress in “reforming” the DC schools. Now, he acknowledges that there was no progress but he didn’t know it at the time.

Third, according to “conspiracy theorists,” THEY, the funders of the far-right created her, by pouring millions of dollars into her one-woman campaign to smash the unions, tenure, and pensions, while promoting charters and vouchers. On the list of THEY, he includes the Waltons, the Koch brothers, ALEC, Eli Broad, and Joel Klein.

Fourth, he blames the unions. If they had not been so intransigent, then there would have been no Michelle Rhee to battle them. This seems to be a stretch. Fred Klonsky takes issue with Merrow here.