In case you’ve somehow managed to miss it, today marks the release of Michelle Rhee’s new advertorial, Radical: Fighting to Put Students First. So to mark this special occasion I’d like to propose a toast, although not to Rhee, whose ghastly edu-celebrity may at last be waning (see book sales, declining number of). Let’s raise our collective wine boxes in honor of the woman who has emerged as perhaps the sharpest thorn in Rhee’s side: former Washington DC principal and whistle blower extraordinaire Adell Cothorne. Continue reading →
In the annals of tin-eared condolence statements, the one released by Michelle Rhee in the wake of the Newtown school shooting stands out. Her very word choices felt stilted and wrong, evoking a strange world in which children are “assets,” stunned and reeling teachers are “colleagues,” and family are the members of Rhee’s own “team.” But if the statement began on an off note, worse was still to come. The lesson of the hours-old tragedy, Rhee seemed to conclude, was that she’d been right along. “Improve schools for children,” (read, eliminate tenure and other workplace protections for teachers) and thereby “improve entire communities” (read, prevent senseless slaughter). As for her parting, there was nothing left for Rhee to do but double down, announcing that she and the entire StudentsFirst organization—”including the members of our team in Connecticut“—were recommitting to their mission today. Not two days from now, when the first of the unending series of memorials would begin, not a week from now when the funerals would at last be over, but today.
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A new story in the Atlantic magazine is raising eyebrows with the claim that Michelle Rhee is taking over the Democratic Party. In other words, the Dems are now the mean mistress of #edreform’s bitch. But like the other great love story of our time, Fifty Shades of Grey, the relationship between the Dems and Madame Rhee is complicated—not to mention, ahem, transactional. Let’s take a look shall we?
The love that dare not speak its name
The Dems may be hooking up with Michelle Rhee but they certainly didn’t want anyone to know about it at the Democratic convention. Rhee’s favorite reform “props”: firing teachers, charters, vouchers, firing teachers, were reduced to unmentionables. Instead, even reform A-listers like Arne Duncan spouted pro-teacher pablum about how teachers are “professionals” and we should “pay them,” and—I am not making this up—“No teacher should ever have to teach to the test?” Are you serious Arne??? By the way, that sound you just heard wasn’t thunderous applause but Madame Rhee cracking her cat o’ nine tails. You practically just blurted out on national TV that you’re cheating on her! YOU BETTER NOT BE DOING IT WITH THAT DIRTY TEACHERS UNION. Continue reading →