Michelle Rhee who, as many of you know, is the founder and current CEO of StudentsFirst, as well as former Chancellor of Washington D.C.’s public schools who during her tenure there, enacted a strict, controversial teacher evaluation system (i.e., IMPACT) that has been at the source of different posts here and here, most recently following the “gross” errors in 44 D.C. public school teachers’ evaluation scores.
Well, it now seems that she is on tour. She just recently testified before South Carolina’s K-12 Subcommittee of the House Education and Public Works Committee, specifically “about legislation regarding improving teacher evaluations and rewarding effective teachers in the public school system in S.C.” It worked so well in D.C., right?!?
This “rock star,” yet again, brought with her her one string guitar, speaking in favor of South Carolina’s House Bill 4419 that “addresses the way teachers are evaluated [i.e., using VAMs], rewards effective teachers with recognition and the opportunity to earn higher salaries [i.e., merit pay] and gives school leaders the opportunity and the tools to build and maintain a quality team of teachers [i.e., humbuggery, for the lack of a more colorful term].”
She also brought with her her typical and emotive chorus lines:
- “[M]ore and more state legislators are beginning to understand the crisis that we are in in America as it pertains to our public education system.”
- “[A]s a nation, we are not doing everything that we should be doing to ensure that we are providing all children with the excellent education that they deserve.”
- “[C]hildren who are in school today will be the first generation of Americans to be less well educated than their parents were for the first time in the history of our country.”
- The U.S. has “recently dropped to becoming about 15th, 17th and 26th in reading, science and math (respectively).”
- “Instead of competing against students across the country for jobs, students in U.S. public schools will be competing for jobs against children in Singapore, China and Korea.”
And her best one-liner yet.
- “In so many school districts across the country, you’ll hear stories about how people will come in, you know, as long as you pass the criminal check, and you’ve got a pulse, you can get a job in the classroom, and then once you have that job, you know, you have that job forever.”
Rhetoric or reality? I would never intend to insult the intelligence of the readers of this blog, so I will just leave it at that.
But it seems that at least one educator presented a counterpoint to Rhee’s testimony, although he unfortunately applauded some of Rhee’s efforts and used more gentle tactics to dissuade the bill’s passing.
A local professor, however, noted that state legislators should really “read the research [emphasis added] and bring experts and educators in on the conversation before a decision is made [emphasis added].”
I sure do hope legislators at least begin to heed this call, and begin to deconstruct and better understand her humbuggery, or more specifically, the fraudulent soundbites Rhee continues to use to advance her highly misguided educational policies and vested interests.