Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Michelle Rhee Alleges Fired D.C. Teachers Had Engaged In Sexual Misconduct

Boy, that Michelle Rhee really has some guts.

Embroiled in her own sexual misconduct scandal (she is alleged by a Congressional committee to have helped cover up sexual misconduct allegations that were leveled at her boyfriend, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, by teachers at his charter school), Rhee has now claimed that the reason why she fired a bunch of veteran teachers in D.C. earlier this year without giving any cause was because they had engaged in crimes like sexual misconduct or violence against their students.

But of course she has provided no evidence to back up the claims. Here is the story:

(Jan. 26) -- Washington, D.C.'s schools chancellor is facing harsh criticism for her claim that among the 266 city teachers she fired last October, some "had sex with children."

Speaking with the magazine Fast Company, Michelle Rhee was explaining the criteria she used to determine which teachers the city let go in the face of a $43.9 million budget shortfall. "I got rid of teachers who had hit children, who had sex with children, who had missed 78 days of school," Rhee said. "Why wouldn't we take those things into consideration?"

The problem for Rhee is that if school authorities knew of teachers whose behavior had endangered the welfare of the district's children, the names of those individuals are, by law, supposed to be reported to the police.

On Tuesday, Rhee added additional detail to her claims, telling a local news affiliate that one of the teachers fired had been on administrative leave for sexual misconduct with a student, six others had served suspensions for a variety of corporal punishment violations, and that two of the 266 teachers fired had been suspended for unauthorized absences.

Rhee has so far declined to provide the names of the teachers in question.

"Why was an alleged budget problem used as a basis for dismissing people who, according to her, engaged in abuse and sexual molestation of children?" D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray asked in an interview with WTOP News.

Gray says he is considering a subpoena for Rhee to compel her to testify and provide names of the teachers accused of abusing children.

Rhee's decision to terminate 266 teachers has further exacerbated an already difficult relationship with the city's teachers' union.

"The statements are not only an affront to every single teacher that was [laid off] but every single teacher currently employed in D.C. public schools," the union's general vice president, Nathan Saunders, told The Washington Post. "It's irresponsible, and she needs to be taken to task for it."

In Michelle Rhee's world, you can tar all the teachers you fire as sex criminals and students beaters, but you can't ask her publicly what actions she took to help cover up her boyfriend's sexual misconduct mess.

You see, Ms. Rhee is a hero in the education deform world view, so whatever she does is always justified and whatever she says is always true.

Even though in the real world, she appears to be a vindictive autocrat who lies about and smears her enemies while engaging in very questionable and maybe even criminal behavior herself.

It would be nice if Ms. Rhee were treated the same as the teachers she has smeared, especially considering a Congressional Committee report has claimed she actually did take part in the sexual misconduct cover-up while she has provided no evidence to back up her allegations against the teachers, but in today's world, you don't have to back up claims against teachers anymore.

You just have to say "Well, they're a teacher," and automatically they're assumed to be guilty of something.

But Ms. Rhee herself can fire people at will, cover up criminal activity by her boyfriend, and engage in all kinds of obnoxious behavior and still be the darling of the education deform movement and the media.

So far, that's working for her. But karma is coming, you can sense it. She plays a little too fast and loose with the truth to get away with this forever.