Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Michelle Rhee's House Of Reform Cards Comes Crashing Down

In the same week she gets a front cover story in New York magazine, USA Today reports there is a pretty good probability that there has been MASSIVE fraud in the DC school system on standardized testing.

Here is the list of schools that are involved.

There are 103.

Rhee initially attacked the USA Today report and the journalists behind it with some Nixonian "These are just enemies of reform!" jive (what Alex Pareene called the "Haters Gonna Hate Defense" in Slate.)

But she had to walk that back when she realized even her water carriers like Jay Matthews at the Kaplan Test Prep Post weren't buying that excuse.

Now Valerie Strauss at that same Kaplan Test Prep Post is calling for subpoenas in this case for all involved:

One surefire way to learn whether a D.C. public school that made big gains when Michelle Rhee was chancellor actually cheated — a possibility raised by a newspaper investigation -- is to subpoena everybody in D.C. with potential involvement or knowledge and have them testify under oath. That includes Rhee.

An investigation published this week by USA Today brought new focus to previous concerns about erasures on standardized tests at D.C. schools. USA Today mentioned there were erasures that were flagged as outside the norm at 103 schools at least once since 2008 but it focused on one, Crosby S. Noyes Education Campus, where big gains on tests were reported during the Rhee era.


Six out of eight classes taking the D.C. Comprehensive Assessment System test in 2007-08 were initially cited by CTB/McGraw-Hill, the testing company used by D.C. schools, as having higher-than-average erasures that turned wrong answers into the right ones, USA Today said. Then, in 2008-09 and 2009-10, the same pattern was reported by McGraw-Hill, which cited 80 percent of the classrooms at Noyes.

My colleague Bill Turque wrote back in 2009 about an investigation into possible cheating at 26 public and public charter schools where reading and math scores had shot up in 2008. The Rhee administration never got to the bottom of the allegations then.

Now USA Today has looked hard at subsequent years, drilling down into the data and interviewing some D.C. officials, but only some: Acting Chancellor Kaya Henderson would not allow the newspaper to interview Wayne Ryan, who had been principal at Noyes when the tests inspected by USA Today were taken and is now instructional superintendent.

Henderson was Rhee’s deputy, and was recently tapped by Mayor Vincent Gray (D) as his choice as Rhee’s successor; her approval by the D.C. Council is a foregone conclusion, at least at the moment.

Henderson repeatedly said on Monday that no cheating occurred, but then, on Tuesday, she asked the D.C. inspector general to investigate the controversy.

None of this, of course, proves that adults took the answer sheets from the kids, erased wrong answers and scribbled in the right ones so that the school would look good to Rhee.

But there is a way to find out: Subpoena everyone in the District who had potential involvement or knowledge of what happened. That includes Rhee and Henderson and Ryan and Michael Moody, who had served as special advisor to Rhee on academics, and the adults at Noyes.

There isn’t always fire where there is smoke, but, it’s time D.C. officials found out.

It is time to get to the bottom of this.

Rhee is the face of corporate education reform, a "rock star" in Oprah's words - if the most famous and visible of ed reform rock stars cheated her way to the top, or put into place a system that encouraged teachers and administrators to cheat in order to save their jobs, then it is very important we know that.

Especially since the Obama administration has basically replicated her corporate deform model for the NCLB Jr. blueprint.

So let's get these people under oath and find out what REALLY happened.

Time to talk, Ms. Rhee. Same goes for you, Ms. Henderson.

Raise your right hands, please.

Who knows, maybe Oprah will even do a show about the importance of firing crooked school chancellors.



  1. No excuses!

  2. Will the well-connected and powerful let her fall? She has the money for the best lawyers, but it would be a laugh to see her go down.

  3. The problem is, in a fascist state, the media is so controlled that a favored corporate henchman like Rhee won't be vilified. It'll be interesting to see what kind of coverage this gets. One thing we can be certain of...Charlie Sheen will get much more coverage.

  4. Although it's a very depressing read, REAL journalist Chris Hedges says it all. With the economy in ruins, the Big Boys now take over as much of municipal business as possible. Once all this dirty business from shitheads like Rhee is over, they'll have a direct deposit from tax coffers.

    An example of what bodes in the near future , listen to bangsta gangsta Jamie Dimond below. Bascially, just like in The Great depression, the banks that were responsible for the disaster, in the end, just buy back everyone's assets, INCLUDING their pension funds, for pennies on the dollar. After all, it's "Nothing to worry's just part of the credit cycle..." To summarize article below-the banks will be buying , or refinancing everything in site....INCLUDING maybe the school building you work in, or your pension plan...The only winner here are the banks...

    Reports Bloomberg: "JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon said some municipalities will need to renegotiate their debt and that hundreds of them may “not make it.” “I wouldn’t panic about what I’m about to say,” he said today at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce event in Washington. “You’re going to see some municipalities not make it. I don’t think it’s going to shatter America, I just think it’s a part of the credit cycle."

  5. Regarding the banks, there's that famous line in "Sympathy for the Devil"...what was it...?

    Oh was..."Who killed the Kennedy's...?"

    JFK started to print REAL U.S. Federal dollars, and wanted to end The Fed...Bang, bang, you're dead...

  6. That's why corporate puppets like Obama say nary a word about all of the obvious high crimes and misdemeanors perpetrated by scum like Lord Blankein, "Jamie", AIG, an many others. This scum of the earth even speculates on bushels of wheat and rice, currently sending most of the Thirs World into chaos,revolution, an violence...coming to a town near you.

  7. Rhee had the opportunity to defend herself on Tavis Smiley. Her friends will always protect her.