This is a really good article by Rick Hess of the DeVos-funded American Enterprise Institute about reformers’ credulous embrace of every claim made by D.C. and using it as their model for the success of “reform.” Having elevated D.C. as their paradigm, they were unprepared for and blindsided by the recent graduation-rate scandal.

He faults the Washington Post, for its infatuation with Michelle Rhee and Kaya Henderson. And he faults President Obama for saluting a fake graduation rate increase.

Kudos to Rick for his fearless chastising of his compatriots.

He writes:

“Lots of self-styled “reformers” had good reason to observe DCPS through rose-tinted glasses. A wealth of advocates, funders, consultants, researchers, and friends had a rooting interest in DCPS’s success — and had every incentive to focus on the good news. This includes the senior author of this piece, who counted many DCPS leaders as friends of long standing — and who wrote admiringly about some of their efforts.

“After all, Washington, D.C., as much as any city over the past decade, served as a laboratory where philanthropists, policy analysts, and high profile media outlets converge. Philanthropists have poured more than $120 million into the school system since 2007. By 2010, the nation’s largest 15 philanthropies were spending more on K-12 education in D.C. than in any other school district in America.”

Curiously, he places some of the blame on critics of these fraudulent reforms, because their criticism made the reformers circle their wagons.

Maybe the reformers should have listened to critics like Guy Brandenburg and others who blew the whistle early on, instead of closing their ears and circling the wagons. Maybe they should have taken seriously the testing scandal that USA Today reported in 2011, instead of sweeping it under the rug.