Archives for category: Education Reform

Nancy Bailey, experienced classroom teachers, shares her thoughts about SLAYING GOLIATH in this post. 

Bailey commends the book for showing that the resistance has a history, and we should remember those who started it.

It returns to the start of standardized testing movement, highlighting one of the most famous resistors, Vermont blogger Susan Ohanian. Susan became one of the first voices, and, I will add, listeners, to teachers and parents on her blog. This was before blogs were popular.

She points to researchers David C. Berliner and Bruce J. Biddle and their signature book The Manufactured Crisis: Myths, Frauds, and the Attack on America’s Public Schools: The Real Crisis in Education and Richard Rothstein’s The Way We Were?: The Myths and Realties of America’s Student Achievement. These and other signature books warned about the problematic signs of disruption to our public schools. They remain a relevant part of history today.

In Slaying Goliath we are taken back to the original Save Our Schools movement and shown how the spark was lit to form new groups like the Network for Public Education and the Badass Teachers Association.

Diane remembers United Opt Out founders Peggy Robertson, Tim Slekar, Morna McDermott, Shaun Johnson, Ceresta Smith, and Laurie Murphy. UOO spared many children from the humiliation of taking high-stakes tests designed to fail teachers, schools, and the students! These education leaders stood up to the oligarchs who foisted strident policy against children and their teachers, into their classrooms. Even though this movement has been, and continues to be, waylaid by nonstop assessment in competency-based education, it has sparked a nation of parents and educators who are better-informed and committed to saving their public schools.

Diane salutes the premiere bloggers who continue to move the equation against the disruptors.

We learn about dark money and failed reforms like Common Core. There’s much, much more.

The message I took away from this book is that in order to press on, we need to better understand where we’ve been, at what point we stand in history, and how we can, as Davids and good Americans, stand on the right side of future history for a public education system that serves children, not corporations. Our public schools must be great with opened doors for everyone.

Goliath has a history. Less well known is the history of the resistance. We must remember to thank those who came before us for speaking truth to power. We must not let the Disruptors falsify history, as they have falsified a myth about our public schools.

 

Steven Singer reviews SLAYING GOLIATH in the pages of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 

He writes:

The whole text is about the community of teachers, parents, students and concerned citizens who’ve been fighting against the corporate interests trying to destroy public education.

And let me tell you, it’s like nothing 
I’ve ever read. This is a history torn from the front page. It’s a continuation of her previous two books — 2010’s “The Life and Death of the American School System,” which was a history of the decadeslong plot, and 2013’s “Reign of Error,” which was also a research-based guide to stopping the destruction. “Slaying Goliath” is a chronicle of how the movement to counter the disruptors is succeeding.

One of the things I love about it is that term — the “disruptors.” She says that it’s time we stop calling the anti-public school crowd “education reformers.” They don’t deserve that label. They aren’t trying to bring about the positive change typically associated with reform. They’re trying to disrupt our school system like a hedge fund manager or vulture capitalist would do to a business in a hostile takeover.

However, the tide has finally turned against them. After three decades, it’s become painfully clear that the snake oil they are selling just doesn’t work. Our public schools are NOT failing — they’re struggling under reduced funding and the needs of students who are increasingly living in poverty. Standardized testing is NOT an effective way to assess learning; it mainly reflects family income. Charter schools are NOT producing better academic outcomes than authentic public schools; in fact, they often do much worse while denying students basic services and scamming the public.

Where the book is truly unique is in its celebration of the education activist community. Diane Ravitch talks about groups like Journey for Justice, United Opt Out, the Badass Teachers Association, and her own organization, the Network for Public Education. She talks about education bloggers, researchers, journalists, student protestors and parent groups.

In short, Ms. Ravitch’s book is not just about the Goliath of the disruptors. It’s a celebration of everyday Davids who stand up to the hulking beast and armed with only their slingshots of facts have continually beaned him between the eyes.

Teresa Hanafin writes in the Boston Globe’s Fast Forward:

 

You have to hand it to Mitch McConnell:He is quite open about his devotional obeisance to Trump. Just look at the TPP he has unveiled (that’s Trump Protection Plan, not Trans-Pacific Partnership) and which the Senate will vote on today: His rules are very different from those in place for the Bill Clinton trial, which he had pledged to follow. (Wait, a Republican lied? I’m shocked, shocked to find that lying is going on in here!) A cynic would sum up the proposed rules as no evidence, no witnesses, no time, no sunshine.

Evidence. The material the House collected during its impeachment investigation will not be automatically entered into evidence, as it was at the Clinton trial. Instead, it will be subject to a vote of acceptance by the full Senate, a vote that won’t happen until after statements and arguments by both sides.

Witnesses. McConnell is opposed to calling witnesses who refused to testify in the House unless the Senate votes to call them — again, after the arguments by both sides.

Time. Like the Clinton trial, each side will have 24 hours to present its case. But McConnell is forcing those 24 hours into just two days each (Clinton’s opponents and supporters had four days each). Since the sessions can’t start until 1 p.m. because of Chief Justice John Roberts’s Supreme Court morning schedule, the trial arguments will go into the wee hours of the morning each day. That’s why the hashtags #MidnightMoscowMitch and #MidnightMitchand the phrase “Nobody likes him” are trending on Twitter. Oh, wait — that last one is about Bernie Sanders, not McConnell. Sorry about that.

Sunshine. That’s the nickname given to laws and acts that mandate openness and transparency on the part of government and businesses, designed to reassure the public that officials are acting ethically, to allow the public to bear witness to certain activities, and to prevent corruption. In fact, there is a federal sunshine statute that applies to Congress. McConnell looks like he hasn’t seen the sun in quite some time, so there’s that.

Let’s review what’s at issue here: The charges against Trump are that he abused the power of the presidency to help himself get re-elected, and then obstructed Congress when it tried to find out the truth by blocking all requests for testimony and documents.

Trump held up $391 million in congressionally approved and critical military aid for Ukraine, a US ally that is fighting off the Russians on its eastern border; refused to invite the new Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, to the White House to demonstrate US resolve to help him clean up corruption; and canceled VP Mike Pence’s attendance at Zelensky’s inauguration, which would have signaled US support for Ukraine to the Russians.

He stands accused of doing all that to try to force Zelensky to publicly announce that he was investigating Trump’s chief political rival, former VP Joe Biden, and his son Hunter, who sat on the board of a Ukrainian energy company.

Testimony from multiple witnesses during the House impeachment investigation showed that Trump wasn’t the least bit interested in the widespread corruption in Ukraine that Zelensky was trying to tackle. Nor did he care whether Zelensky actually conducted a Biden investigation, witnesses said. All he wanted was an announcement that could be played on an endless loop on Fox News until November.

Of course, the whistleblower derailed that plan when he/she revealed the contents of a phone call in which Trump asked Zelensky to investigate the Bidens. After Trump found out about the whistleblower’s complaint, and after three House committees launched investigations into the scheme, Trump finally released the aid — after a delay of 84 days. (In other words, after he got caught.)

The Democrats released their 111-page trial argument, which says that Trump’s actions jeopardized national security, compromised the integrity of US elections, and undermined US democracy. The White House legal arguments read partly like a combination of Trump’s Twitter tirades and his rally rages: It’s a rigged process, Democrats are trying to overturn the results of the 2016 election, the charges are flimsy and dangerous, Chuck Schumer is ugly, etc. etc.

One of the White House’s main arguments is that Trump committed no crime, although first of all, most legal scholars say that’s not required for impeachment, and second, he actually did break the law. The Government Accountability Office ruled last week that he did so when he withheld the military aid to Ukraine, saying that the president cannot substitute his policy priorities for those that Congress has enacted into law. And obstruction of Congress is a federal criminal violation.

They also argue that abuse of power is not an impeachable offense. Funny, it was when Nixon’s impeachment articles were being prepared, and it was again during the Clinton impeachment when independent counsel Kenneth Starrunsuccessfully tried to persuade the House to make that an article of impeachment. In fact, he argued that repeatedly invoking executive privilege is abuse of power. He’s now on Trump’s legal team, but apparently sees no contradictions.

Neither does Harvard’s Alan Dershowitz,who is on Trump’s team for one reason: to argue that abuse of power isn’t an impeachable offense under the Constitution because it isn’t a crime under federal law. Of course, in 1998 during the Bill Clinton trial, he argued the exact opposite.

Meanwhile, a panicked Trump and Senate Republicans are frantic over the possibility that the Senate will, indeed, vote to hear from witnesses, so they are pulling out all the stops, coming up with plans to keep former national security adviser John Bolton from testifying. Man, he must know a lot. But why he doesn’t just hold a press conference and spill his guts, or send House Democrats a document outlining what he knows, is beyond me. Another GOP drama king.

 

 

Arthur Camins wrote a beautiful review of SLAYING GOLIATH at The Daily Kos. 

In light of Camins’ experience as an educator and his passion for justice, I am most grateful for his close and sympathetic reading of this book. Until recently, he was Director of the Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education at Stevens Institute of Technology.

He writes, in this excerpt:

Ravitch’s first chapters, Disruption is Not Reform! and the Odious Status Quo, set the context for a thorough repudiation of the state of education in the United States: Endemic historic inequality made worse by decades of focused effort to disrupt a bedrock of American democracy, public education; Support for standardization linked to punishment of students, teachers, and schools by test scores; and, A determined effort to shift essential financial support from democratically governed public education to a competing private sector that includes privately governed charter schools and vouchers for private schools. The perpetrators call themselves reformers. Ravitch calls them disrupters. In her telling, that is a descriptive accusation, not a complement.

“No one likes the status quo,” she writes. “Disrupters claim to oppose the status quo, but they are the status quo.  After all, they control the levers of power in federal and state governments. They write the laws and mandates. They define the status quo. They own it.”  They are a somewhat disparate collective of market ideologues, self-regarding billionaires, technology titans, hedge fund managers, and entrepreneurs out to make (or steal) a fortune at the public trough.  What unites them in an unwavering faith (ideas not supported by evidence) in the power of competition to drive human behavior.  

Slaying Goliath upends the myths of declining achievement and the lies that teachers unions and incompetent teachers are responsible for poor children’s failure to rise to their potential (or do well on standardized tests.  Instead, Ravitch centers blame where it belongs, on our systemic failure to address the systemic- and personally debilitating effects of poverty.

I hope you will open the link and read the review in its entirety.

The book’s official publication date is TODAY! January 21!

Valerie Strauss, veteran education writer at the Washington Post, interviewed me about my new book SLAYING GOLIATH. 

Her questions get to the heart of the book. I hope you will read the exchange.

Tomorrow, the United States Supreme Court will hear arguments in a crucial case called Espinoza v. Montana.

The goal of the Espinoza plaintiffs is to strike down state laws that prohibit public funding for religious schools.

This is a case that could not only erase the line between church and state but could actually compel states to fund religious schools. It would require states to fund religious schools of every kind, and no one knows who will determine what is a legitimate religious school. It would divert funding from public schools to support students enrolled in religious schools, now and in the future.

The plaintiffs are represented by the libertarian Institute for Justice. Its efforts on behalf of school choice have been funded over the years by anti-public school activists like the Walton Family Foundation (which has launched one of every four charter schools in the U.S.), the Bradley Foundation of Milwaukee (which fought in court to establish vouchers in that city), the DeVos family, and the Koch Foundation.

Twenty or thirty or forty years ago, the Supreme Court would have dismissed this case out of hand. In the past, the Court ruled that states should pay for ancillary matters like transportation and textbooks in religious schools, but not tuition.

But the Supreme Court today has a 5-4 conservative majority. Many conservative justices in the past were moderates compared to those now on the court. The two justices appointed by Trump are religious extremists who can be counted on to rule in favor of access to public funding for religious groups as well as their “freedom” to discriminate against those groups who offend their religious beliefs.

For more about this case and its ties to the evangelical right and anti-union funders, read this article that appeared in In These Times. 

The Washington Post described the case:

KALISPELL, Mont. — It is a blessed time at Stillwater Christian School, where Scripture adorns the gymnasium wall, enrollment is climbing and Head of School Jeremy Marsh awaits the four new classrooms that will be built in the spring.

It is a place that embraces the beliefs that sinners avoid eternal condemnation only through Jesus Christ, that a marriage consists of one man and one woman and that “human life is of inestimable worth in all its dimensions . . . from conception through natural death.”

“The religious instruction isn’t just in little pockets of Bible class,” Marsh said. “It really comes out as we are learning in all classes.”
If a family craves Stillwater’s academic rigor but not its evangelism, Marsh said he will gently advise that “this might not be the place for them.”

Parents who believe religious schools such as Stillwater absolutely are the places for their children are at the center of what could be a landmark Supreme Court case testing the constitutionality of state laws that exclude religious organizations from government funding available to others. In this case, the issue rests on whether a scholarship fund supported by tax-deductible donations can help children attending the state’s private schools, most of which are religious.

Arguments are scheduled for Wednesday.

A decision in their favor would “remove a major barrier to educational opportunity for children nationwide,” plaintiffs said in their brief to the Supreme Court. It is part of a movement by school choice advocates such as Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to allow government support of students seeking what she recently called “faith-based education.”


Said Erica Smith, a lawyer representing the parents: “If we win this case, it will be the U.S. Supreme Court once again saying that school choice is fully constitutional and it’s a good thing and it’s something parents should have. And that will provide momentum to the entire country.”


Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, said such a ruling would be a “virtual earthquake,” devastating to the way states fund public education.

And Montana told the court that, as in 37 other states, it is reasonable for its constitution to prohibit direct or indirect aid to religious organizations.
“

The No-Aid Clause does not prohibit any religious practice,” Montana said in its brief. “Nor does it authorize any discriminatory benefits program. It simply says that Montana will not financially aid religious schools.”


But Montana is being called before a Supreme Court increasingly skeptical of such stark lines between church and state. A majority of justices in 2017 said Missouri could not ban a church school from requesting a grant from a state program that rehabilitated playgrounds. They have since been joined by Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, who has signaled other such restrictions deserve the court’s attention.


The Montana case is prompted by a 2015 decision by the state’s legislature to create a tax-credit program for those who wanted to donate to a scholarship fund. The program allowed dollar-for-dollar tax credits to those who donated up to $150 to an organization that provides aid to parents who want to send their children to private school.


About 70 percent of qualifying private schools in Montana are affiliated with a religion, so that meant at least some of the money would go there.
And that conflicts with a section of the state constitution that prohibits public funds for “any sectarian purpose or to aid any church, school, academy, seminary, college, university, or other literary or scientific institution, controlled in whole or in part by any church, sect, or denomination.”


Litigation followed, and the Montana Supreme Court ultimately struck down the program — for religious and nonreligious private schools — and said Montana’s provision did not violate religious protections in the U.S. Constitution.

The Montana Constitution that is now being challenged was adopted in 1972.

The amicus briefs supporting Montana and opposing public support for religious schools are attached here.

 

In the frontispiece to my new book SLAYING GOLIATH, I quoted four statements that represented different aspects of my book.

One of them is a quotation from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., that is not well-known.

It comes from a speech called “The Drum Major Instinct,” which he delivered in the last spring of his life at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta on February 4, 1968.

Dr. King said:

“Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don’t have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don’t have to know Einstein’s theory of relativity to serve. You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.”

I have no doubt that some readers will wonder why I included this quotation, since it seems to put down the academic learning that is so highly valued in society today.

I included it because Dr. King said that the highly educated person is no better as a human being than the person who did not receive an academic education and did not excel in school.

Dr. King said that all of us are equal in the eyes of God, no matter how many degrees some have.

Dr. King said that we must respect every other human being as our equal, regardless of their education or social status or income.

Dr. King said that greatness is available to anyone who has “a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.”

To achieve that greatness does not require high test scores or a Ph.D.

Dr. King met many highly educated people who lacked the character that defined greatness. All of us have seen people in public life who tolerate hatred, bigotry, and violence.

His 1968 comment aligns with his 1963 statement at the March on Washington that he looked forward to the day when his children would be judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin.

He wanted his children and all children to be judged by the content of their character, by “a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.”

On this day, we remember the life and work of the great Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

It is inspiring to read his speeches, and I urge you to do so.

Today you will hear politicians praise his legacy even while they betray that same legacy.

Dr. King was a champion of the weak and powerless. He fought for the rights and dignity of Black Americans, and he was a champion for all Americans whose basic needs had been ignored and whose rights had been trampled upon.

These days, one is likely to hear wealthy and powerful people claim that they are “leading the civil rights issue of our time” by pushing to eliminate public schools; Dr. King never, never opposed public schools. He wanted them to be desegregated and he wanted them to provide equality of educational opportunity to all children, so that every child had the ability to develop to his or her full potential. It is jarring indeed to hear Donald Trump declare (as he did in his first State of the Union Address) that “school choice” is the “civil rights issue of our time.” No, it is not. Dr. King never said that. His words should not be appropriated by billionaires, hedge fund managers, and those oppose Dr. King’s fight to eliminate poverty.

Steven Singer wrote this post about Dr. King’s education philosophy.

He writes:

When we think of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we usually think of the towering figure of the Civil Rights Movement who gave the “I have a dream” speech during the March on Washington in 1963.

However, as a teacher, I find myself turning to something he wrote in 1947 when he was just an 18-year-old student at Morehouse College.

While finishing his undergraduate studies in sociology, he published an essay in the student paper called “The Purpose of Education.”

Two sections immediately jump off the page. The first is this:

“We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character–that is the goal of true education. The complete education gives one not only power of concentration, but worthy objectives upon which to concentrate. The broad education will, therefore, transmit to one not only the accumulated knowledge of the race but also the accumulated experience of social living.”

So for King it wasn’t enough for schools to teach facts. It wasn’t enough to teach skills, math, writing, reading, history and science. The schools are also responsible for teaching children character – how to be good people, how to get along with each other.

It’s a worthy goal.

Singer goes on to analyze the kind of school–public, private, or charter–that is likeliest to achieve Dr. King’s goals.

 

 

Trump has tried to divert attention from his impeachment and trial by revving up fears that “religious freedom” is under attack in the nation, and he alone will protect it.

This is complete nonsense, but helps to explain why he appointed two new Supreme Court justices who have a history of overturning any efforts to separate church and state or to protect the secular nature of state action. Trump judges can be counted on to allow plaintiffs to discriminate against anyone who offends their religious beliefs. A pending decision by the High Court in the Espinoza case from Montana threatens to abolish state laws that prohibit public funding of religious schools.

Trump held a meeting in the Oval Office with representatives of religious groups who want official endorsement of prayer in the schools, and Trump assured them, as Valerie Strauss wrote in The Answer Sheet, that there is “a growing totalitarian impulse on the far left that seeks to punish, restrict and even prohibit religious expression” and said the steps his administration was taking “to protect the First Amendment right to pray in public schools” were “historic.” Actually, students and anybody else in a public school already have the right to pray in public schools, and his administration’s new guidance changes little from that of earlier administrations.

Valerie Strauss included the transcript of his inflammatory and false statements in her post.

Peter Greene wrote that Trump had solved a problem that literally did not exist, since students already have the right to pray in school if they wish. 

Greene finds it amusing that Trump has inserted himself into two issues–religion and education–in which he literally has no interest at all.

The editorial board of the Los Angeles Times notes that Trump has appealed to evangelicals’ fear that the secular state is persecuting them. It is a divisive and false message.

In an editorial published on January 17, the Times wrote:

Not for the first time, President Trump is trying to score political points with his evangelical supporters by unveiling a “religious freedom” initiative that suggests, cynically, that Christianity in America is under sustained attack and that the federal government must come to its rescue. Needless to say, that is not the case.

The initiative unveiled on Thursday is best seen not as a considered response to a real problem but as a political statement in which the president is aligning himself with Christian conservatives whose support could be essential to his 2020 reelection. Its centerpiece is a “guidance” letter from the Department of Education reminding public schools that they must certify that they allow students to engage in “constitutionally protected prayer.” That’s a reference to voluntary prayer, not the official prayers that were outlawed by the Supreme Court in the 1960s.

In other words, the heart of this initiative is a reaffirmation of existing law. Trump isn’t the first president to put schools on notice that they must respect religious expression by their students. Substantially similar guidance was issued by the Clinton administration in 1995. But Trump is a past master of repackaging existing law involving religious freedom to make it appear that he is delivering to his religious supporters.

Amanda Tyler, executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, took issue with Trump’s efforts to politicize religious issues.

When President Donald Trump leaked, at a rally for evangelical supporters in Florida on Jan. 3, that his administration would issue guidance about prayer in public schools, he started a mini-firestorm, and not just among the fired-up crowd.

When the guidance was released on Thursday (Jan. 16), however, it turned out to be hardly worth the excitement. According to long-settled legal and constitutional protections for religious expression in the public schools, public school students are free to pray, wear religious clothing and accessories and talk about their beliefs. Religious groups can meet on school grounds, and teachers can teach about religion as an academic subject. Religious liberty, in short, is already a treasured value in our nation’s public schools.

So why are the president and White House staffers making inflammatory and misleading statements, claiming our constitutional rights are under attack?

It could be that the administration simply wanted to remind public schools of their constitutional duties. But some comments officials made before and in their announcement of the guidance vastly overstated the supposed problem and echoed the claims of Christian nationalism, a dangerous movement that harms both Christianity and the United States by implying that to be a good American, one must be Christian…

For decades, public schools across the nation have modeled how religiously diverse populations can build relationships of trust and care, respecting the unique role that religion plays in people’s lives. Like our neighbors of all faiths, we are empowered by the First Amendment to live our beliefs in the public square, which includes the public school….

The law cannot anticipate the nuances of every situation that might arise at a given school, and sometimes a misunderstanding or misrepresented incident spurs a call to “bring back prayer” to our schools. In most cases, these misunderstandings simply create an opportunity to reaffirm commonsense guidance and constitutional principles that support voluntary, student-led religious exercise.

But using any incident to institute state-sanctioned prayer, written and delivered by school officials, should be deeply concerning for all Christians. For a Baptist, as I am, voluntary prayer is an important part of my religious practice, and it has been since I was a student in Texas public schools. Why should government schools have a say in how and whether our children pray?

Importantly, ensuring faith freedom for all isn’t only an issue of concern for Christians. If Christian nationalists were able to realize their goal and prioritize Christianity over other traditions in public schools, it is religious minorities who will suffer the most. In our religiously diverse society, why should our schools favor Baptists over Buddhists, Anglicans over atheists, or Methodists over Muslims.

Instead of demanding that a distorted vision of state-sanctioned Christianity be upheld by public schools, Trump should celebrate what public schools already are: a place where religious liberty ensures that Americans can work and learn together across lines of religious difference.

To guarantee religious freedom for students of all faiths and nonreligious students, we must embrace our nation’s constitutional vision that has served us well and push back against the dangerous influence of Christian nationalism.

 

 

In thinking back over the past decade, Peter Greene realized that Michelle Rhee was one of its defining figures.

For a time, she was everywhere. The media loved her stern and angry visage. She graced the cover of TIME and NEWSWEEK. She appeared on the Oprah show, NBC’s Education Nation, “Waiting for Superman.” And then she was gone.

For years, she was the face of the “reform” movement, a crusader set on busting unions, firing teachers and principals, and leading the way to nirvana. At one point, she boldly predicted that she would turn the public schools of D.C. into the best in the nation. After Mayor Adrian Fenty lost his race in 2010, Rhee stepped down as chancellor of the D.C.schools and launched StudentsFirst, which was anti-union, pro-testing, pro-Charter, and pro-voucher. Then it disappeared, never having raised the $1 billion she predicted.

Now the face of that same movement is Betsy DeVos, and the media doesn’t love her the way they loved Rhee, even though their goals are identical.

Like many of the big names in education disruption in the oughts, Rhee skated on sheer chutzpah. There was no good reason for her to believe that she knew what the heck she was doing, but she was by-God certain that her outsider “expertise” was right and that all she needed to create success was the unbridled freedom to exert her will.

And in 2010, it was working. The media loved her and, more significantly, treated her like a go-to authority on all educational issues. They fell all over themselves to grab the privilege of printing the next glowing description of the empress’s newest clothes. She was more than once packaged as the pro-reform counterpart of Diane Ravitch (though one thing that Rhee carefully and consistently avoided was any sort of head to head debate with actual education experts).

For the first part of the decade, it kept working. Students First became a powerhouse lobbying group, pushing hard for the end of teacher job protections. She was in 2011’s reform agitprop film Waiting for Superman. LinkedIN dubbed her an expert influencer. She spoke out in favor of Common Core and related testing. A breathless and loving bio was published about her in 2011; in 2013 she published a book of her own. She had successfully parleyed her DC job into a national platform.

2014 seemed like peak Rhee. I actually decided to stop mentioning her by name; I felt guilty about increasing her already-prodigious footprint. She seemed unstoppable, and yet by 2014 we knew that the TFA miracle classrooms, the DC miracle, the TNTP boondoggle, the StudentsFirst failures (far short of 1 million or $1 billion). Rhee was the Kim Kardashian of ed reform, the popular spokesmodel who did not have one actual success to her name. She was increasingly dogged by her controversies.

And then, in the fall of 2014, Michelle Rhee simply evaporated from the ed scene.

Greene traces the trajectory of her rise and fall in this post. What a spectacular rise it was, what an inglorious fall.

The parade has passed by, and she is no longer its leader. She is not even in it.