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Created by a student whose mother is a 7th grade teacher photo Rhee_zps9bb96881.jpg

A memo exposing excessive erasures on high-stakes standardized tests of DC students during Michelle Rhee's tenure as Chancellor has emerged.

This image was created by a student whose mother is a 7th grade teacher and posted on Susan Ohanian. I can't imagine a cover more fitting for Michelle Rhee. She was hand-picked by the Billionaire Boys to be Chancellor of Washington, DC Public School, a position for which she was sadly unqualified. It's no wonder that she would resort to cheating or at least a cover-up to prove her worthiness. When she came to Seattle recently to promote her new book and StudentsFirst, our protest wasn't covered by any news outlet. So, it's good to see the light of day shining on Rhee's questionable actions in regard to cheating in DC schools.

In a PBS report, The Education of Michelle Rhee, she is shown ceremoniously bestowing bonuses on principals and teachers at high achieving, or greatly improved, schools. The enormous gains in test scores raise eyebrows and lead to questions of possible cheating.

In an amazing investigative piece, John Merrow exposes the memo that could be Rhee's smoking gun. Here's an excerpt on Michelle Rhee's Reign of Error, but read the entire story at Learning Matters.

Rhee failed to act on evidence of cheating because it undermined her success narrative, according to Merrow. He concludes his lengthy piece with:

This story is bound to remind old Washington hands of Watergate and Senator Howard Baker’s famous question, “What did the President know and when did he know it?” It has a memo that answers an echo of Baker’s question, “What did Michelle know, and when did she know it?” And the entire sordid story recalls the lesson of Watergate lesson, “It’s not the crime; it’s the coverup.”

That Michelle Rhee named her new organization “StudentsFirst” is beyond ironic.

PBS reporter, John Merrow talks further on All In with Chris Hayes, MSNBC (Emphasis mine.):
Chris Hayes:  Michelle Rhee is presented with this document.  That much we know. At least her deputy for accountablility presents her with it.  Presumably she saw it.

John Merrow:  I know she saw it. I have a reliable source. We verified this. Incidentally, people are very afraid of Michelle Rhee. A source high in DCPS confirmed the authenticity of this. And, I have been reporting now for 39 years. When I took it to this source's home, that person was trembling as I presented it to that person. I have never seen anyone quite that scared. The other confirmation came from the DC inspector general. So, we know it is authentic. We know from reliable sources that Chancellor Rhee saw this and talked about it.


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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (16+ / 0-)

    Not everything that can be counted counts. Not everything that counts can be counted. Albert Einstein

    by annie em on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 01:22:12 PM PDT

  •  UMM a diary with this image was up on rec list (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gooserock

    and you can read it here

    the mother and daughter created it as a result of an exchange the mother and I had on Diane Ravitch's blog.

    "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

    by teacherken on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 01:36:42 PM PDT

  •  I disagree with the wording here: (5+ / 0-)
    It's no wonder that she would result [sic] to cheating or at least a cover-up to prove her worthiness.
    Perhaps I'm a little old-fashioned, but I have an expectation that people won't cheat, no matter the provocation or circumstances.  If they should find themselves in a situation for which they turn out to be unprepared, the proper thing to do is say so, and either help to change the situation or step aside.

    To me, it is a wonder--a sad wonder--that people cheat and lie when placed in a non-win situation.  It never turns out well....

    "Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions." - Thomas Jefferson

    by rfall on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 01:50:27 PM PDT

    •  Cheating is an inherited trait, as much in animals (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      grimjc

      as it is in Human beings. Cheating provides an advantage over competitors, whether it is for food, shelter, mates or a nice cushy job with a big salary. When faced with a live or die situation, cheating is the default behaviour.

      It's not surprising to me at all that teachers are cheating after being put in a hostile work environment where if you don't meet arbitrary benchmarks set by bean counters, you lose your job.

      Tell me you wouldn't cheat under those circumstances, and I'll sell you a bridge, really cheaply.

      'If you want to be a hero, well just follow me.' - J. Lennon

      by Clive all hat no horse Rodeo on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 02:05:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm not saying that. (0+ / 0-)
        Tell me you wouldn't cheat under those circumstances, and I'll sell you a bridge, really cheaply.
        Not at all.

        I'm saying that I expect better.  Which means I will be disappointed most of the time.

        But I'd prefer to believe people should have a better side that can prevail from time to time.

        "Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions." - Thomas Jefferson

        by rfall on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 02:07:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  But you are saying that you, personally wouldn't (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          grimjc

          cheat under those conditions.

          I'm saying that I expect better.

          But I'd prefer to believe people should have a better side that can prevail from time to time.

          You'd therefore expect better of yourself, hence, you would not cheat.

          Do you want to buy a bridge?

          'If you want to be a hero, well just follow me.' - J. Lennon

          by Clive all hat no horse Rodeo on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 02:33:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks for reading (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rfall, hnichols, Onomastic

      carefully and drawing my attention to the poor proofreading. I changed the word "result" to resort.  That aside, I know what you are saying, and I agree that people who would actually put children first would realize their limitations and step aside . But Rhee is a puppet of the Billionaire Boys.  She must succeed.  By any means necessary. Failure is not an option.  We see this same type of character in other "reformers" like Wendy Kopp of Teach for America.  Since neither Kopp nor Rhee have the  knowledge or expertise to do their jobs, the strength of their character rests in how well they can manipulate others, incuding the media, to assure their success.

      Not everything that can be counted counts. Not everything that counts can be counted. Albert Einstein

      by annie em on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 02:17:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  tipped for your old-fashioned idealism (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rfall, Onomastic

      However

      Years ago I listened to an episode of Fresh Air.  The guest was Joseph McNamara who had written a book on police corruption.  I've remembered that program all these years because what he said struck me as being so profound.

      He said that in any police department, 5% will be honest no matter how corrupt the leadership. 5% will be corrupt no matter how good the leadership, and the other 90% will go along with the prevailing norms.

      McNamara's observation is in accord with Lawrence Kohlberg's theory of moral reasoning
      http://web.cortland.edu/...
      which I was told in my ed psych class follows a normal distribution.  In other words, most people never make it to the post conventional level at which universal ethical principles trump conformity.

      So, it is not surprising that if a person is in an environment in which cheating is the norm, whether it is on a criminal level or just the usual pile it high and deep and look like you're doing something (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) and their level of moral reasoning recognizes conforming to what everybody else is doing as the highest good, that person is going to cheat.

      Light is seen through a small hole.

      by houyhnhnm on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 03:02:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is NOT a surprise to this old cynic: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Onomastic
    When I took it to this source's home, that person was trembling as I presented it to that person. I have never seen anyone quite that scared.
    We all know stories about those in power who, in public, have the persona of nurturer, team player and all-around good guy who gets things done.  Then, behind closed doors, they become tyrants, abusers and worse.

    I've worked for and with people like this.  It may be effective in some circumstances (drill sergeants swear by it), but in business and in most of life, bullying doesn't work.

    Rhee has always seemed to me like someone who has achieved her power and position through being a tyrant.

    "Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions." - Thomas Jefferson

    by rfall on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 01:54:08 PM PDT

  •  Oh please indict her. That would set back (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rfall, ciganka, Onomastic

    the "reform" movement by years.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 01:58:11 PM PDT

  •  If an honest teacher follows a cheater, the scores (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Onomastic

    Drop.

  •  Cheating was probably not by "teachers" (0+ / 0-)

    We should keep in mind that the wrong-to-right erasures were probably done after the tests left teachers' hands. The completed tests were kept in a locked room at the school for about two weeks after the tests were administered. It is the principals who had the most to gain by increasing test scores. They are the ones who were forced to promise specific test score improvements to Rhee. And they, or someone under their command, had the key!  So it is most likely the erasures were done in the locked room by administrators or possibly teachers but with the encouragement and help of the principals. Folks, the teachers take too much blame already, let's not add more.

  •  Time cover (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    belinda ridgewood

    I am the 7th grade teacher and with suggestions and text my daughter created the redesigned Time cover. The discussion did originate on Ravitch and I sent it to many blogs as well as Flickr. It has been reposted and sent all over.  Here is the Flickr link:  

    http://www.flickr.com/...

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