Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Michelle Rhee Attacks Teachers For Living On The "Gravy Train"

You just can't make this stuff up.

At one of Michelle Rhee's final, pre-cheating memo appearances, she attacked teachers for being greedy, lazy and, you know, unaccountable:

— Former Washington, D.C., schools chancellor Michelle Rhee had trouble recalling the names of South Carolina’s “key players” after a quick visit to the State House on Wednesday. But state lawmakers may want to take note of hers.

Rhee’s education advocacy group, StudentsFirst, is lobbying in 18 states, including South Carolina. The group says it backed 105 legislative candidates in 2012 – 91 Republicans and 14 Democrats – and 86 won.


So what are Rhee and her advocacy group doing in South Carolina?

Meeting with teachers, now a part of the 25,000 members that StudentsFirst claims in the state, and meeting with education leaders, including S.C. schools Superintendent Mick Zais.

Rhee’s group supports bills in the S.C. Legislature aimed at strengthening the state’s charter-school law, helping parents mobilize to force reforms in failing schools and allowing students to enroll in neighboring school districts.

A top goal is backing the S.C. Department of Education’s plan to evaluate teachers based on how much students improve on test scores.

Educators make excuses for failing schools, Rhee said. But, she added, “The bottom line is: The system did not become the way that it is by accident. It operates exactly the way it was designed to operate, which is in a wholly unaccountable, dysfunctional manner.

“So when you seek to change that dynamic” – including going after “low-performing” teachers – “you’re gonna have a whole lot of unhappy people on your hands. When you stop that gravy train, somebody is going to be unhappy.”

Yeah, there are so many teachers in South Carolina, where the average teaching salary is $46,306.67 a year, who are on the "gravy train."

And Rhee, who charges a $50,000 speaking fee plus first class expenses, is just the person to get those lazy, greedy teachers off that gravy train and of course, she's doing it for the kids.

Oh, and herself, since she pays herself somewhere between $125,000-$200,000 a year for running her corporate education reform PAC, Students First.

And that's just the money she's making on the books.

You can be sure there is a lot of other wingnut welfare she's receiving outside of the Students First salary and the speaking fees for pushing the corporate education reform agenda.

Now I'm pretty sure that Michelle Rhee believes her own b.s. and isn't in this just for the money.

But I'm also pretty sure that someone who pays herself between $125,000-$200,000 a year for her day job and charges $50,000 + first class expenses every time she speaks somewhere sure does like the money and first class things and, dare I say, some gravy train living herself.

We'll just have to see if she can maintain her gravy train lifestyle post-cheating memo.

If the D.C. cheating scandal continues to snowball, she may find herself off the gravy train too.

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  1. yer the BEST Perdido!!! Keep it up!!!! Thank you!!

    As a parent with 16 years in the NYC public school system, I am dismayed at how little push back seems to be coming from the teachers. A lot of parents are pissed about the testing, but I would think that the teachers would be making much more of a stink- and getting backed up by the parents.

    Do the principals support all this testing?

    WTF is going on? The silence is quite bizarre...sometimes I'm the only one who brings the issue up...ever...even in the middle of all the testing.

    There are a lot of problems with the schools but "bad teachers" is pretty far down the list. Smaller class sizes anyone?

    1. I think many principals do not support the testing, since they are as under the gun as teachers or are, in many cases, even more under the gun.

      In Atlanta, for example, Beverly Hall fired 90% of the principals over the course of her tenure as superintendent - mostly for low test scores.

      But FEAR is the primary emotion in the school system these days. FEAR of the mayor, FEAR of the chancellor, FEAR of the governor, FEAR of AYP, FEAR of the evaluation system, FEAR of the data - FEAR.

      Over 1/3 of the principals in this state signed the letter against APPR and connecting testing to evaluations. But until we hit the tipping point where the testing regime and the FEAR regime become untenable, I think the battle between the humanists and the corporatists over schools and policies will continue.

  2. Thank you; I have linked to this at a blog of mine:

  3. To reason about the lack dissent is the culture of fear in general , cultivated by creeps like Bloomberg, Klein, Walcott, etc. It's a top down , imperial, management system. Secondly, very few principals in NYC have dissented, compared to a principal like Burris in Rockville Center, L.I. More principals have publicly dissented outside of NYC around the state. This shows the fear level created by Bloomberg and his henchman. Also, here in NYC, Bloomberg has in essence broken the union since many chapter leaders are too afraid to conflict with principals, so the weakened union rules are even weaker. Mini- school principals are breaking existing contract rules and getting away with things they never did in he past, because they are all "CEOs" now. Another reason is that due to the hiring of young newbie teachers , untenured, green, and in many cases "drinking the kool aid" - dissent is nonexistent. Also, add to all of this the economy- there is nowhere else to go for work-maybe now, or ever. Another problem is,the unusual situation teacher here in NYC face-if you don't get tenure, or if you end up being put into a rubber room, or get bounced for any reason, your teaching career is over. you can't work in this system any more. Different from just about any other profession or job, where, say a lawyer gets fired from Firm A, most likely he can find work somewhere else, or at least given the opportunity to prove himself.
    You fail for any reason as a teacher one time, get fired from a job once....and you must seek another career. Also, people believe the propaganda dealt to them from the corrupted, corporate, main stream media- and the press is all in supporting the education reform movement. This is all a brilliantly calculated cocktail by our corporate chieftains and government officials (really one and the same) to deliver this lucrative business territory (public education) to private , crony capitalist control.

    Anyway....where is the dissent in this country anyway on major issues- the endless war policy of the U.S, the non prosecution of banking and Wall Street gangsters, and more.

    There is none, especially Obama as President. He mostly gets a pass .

    1. Great analysis. You're absolutely right.

    2. Absolutely GREAT analysis!

      FEAR is the thing here- why else would so many of us post anonymously?

      NYC Principals can and do use what you write on the blogs against you as a teacher. You can go from being a "satisfactory" teacher to an "unsatisfactory" one very quickly. And, no one will support you.
      The only thing that would help is if everyone came together in dissent (parents and teachers), but the will and energy to do so does not seem to be there.

  4. I teach in the Buffalo, NY area. Many teachers and principals here are against all the testing that is going on but there is a lot of fear of losing jobs. My district is also intimidating us every chance it gets. Also, parents have more power than the teachers do. The anti-teacher sentiment in Buffalo is huge. If teachers were very vocal about all this it would just add to the sentiment that we are lazy, greedy, union thugs would do not want to be evaluated. No one listens to the facts when presented, they just cling to the misconceptions and the misinformation that feeds their bias.

  5. Right - I get the fact that there is No Dissent since besides fear we have no credible, realistic "activist" heroes portrayed in Disney movies. Waiting for the Harriet Tubman movie starring Denzel. Hmmmm....strange they don't give us that. (Erin Brockovich is the exception that proves the rule!) One! Millions of young men ARE ready for alien invasion however.

    But if principals oppose the testing and the teachers do as well, then together they would be a formidable opposition- since principals are hard to fire (I think) and teachers get fired by principals. And this new system is an immediate horrible threat to their livelihood, unlike distant wars and for the most part, distant asshole bankers...

    I guess I'm just an old school loud mouth dinosaur, but I am still very surprised. After all these are NYC schoolteachers! Again, thanks so much for all your hard work Perdido. Peace.

  6. What exactly has contributed to Michelle Rhee's meteoric rise in the world of education ( or in her case, MIS-education)?
    I've heard that when she was a faux teacher, she taped the mouth of a student with duct tape to keep the student quiet. Anyone that did that in a NYC school would have been brought up on charges, and most likely fired. Why wasn't she?
    I'd appreciate anyone publishing background info on Rhee, and what forces were behind her as a "teacher" that propelled her into the position she currently holds.