Jay Matthews carries Michelle Rhee's water in the Washington Post on almost a daily basis.
I guess that's why she chose Matthews to walk back the damage over the DC test score scandal that she made worse by attacking the journalists who did the investigative reporting.
As of yesterday, she was claiming through her own group, Students First, that the USA Today story lacked "credibility" and was an attack upon DC children and teachers.
But given that the cheating in some of these DC schools was so blatant that a person would have a better shot at winning the Powerball grand prize than seeing all these erasures of wrong answers to right ones happening without cheating, and given that parents have come forth to say they tried to tell the district there were problems with these scores years ago but nobody listened, it's hard for her to argue that this story is simply the work of "the enemies of school reform."
There is too much evidence, data if you will, that Ms. Rhee was running a fraudulent school reform movement and the so-called Rhee education miracle was a mirage.
So now she's trying to walk back the attacks on USA Today and saying there should be an investigation of the test scores in DC.
Given that she is the most visible face of the education reform movement, glorified on the cover of TIME, on Oprah's show, and in the docudrama Waiting for Superman, the credibility of the whole movement rests in some ways with how Ms. Rhee handles this mess.
For her to ignore the very valid questions raises by the USA Today investigation leaves her and the reform movement open to the criticisms that have been dogging them for a while now - that many of the test score gains recorded by reformers like Rod Paige in Houston, Joel Klein in NYC and Rhee herself in DC, were fraudulent and therefore much of the reform movement is fraudulent as well.
So Rhee has to call for an investigation of this and walk back her USA Today attacks.
But make no mistake, she will try and engineer a jive-ass investigation with oversight by her former deputy and her successor as DC schools chancellor, Kaya Henderson, or by some other "ally" in the education reform movement.
There will be shenangins because there HAVE to be shenangins on this.
Rhee and the reform movement CANNOT allow the truth in the district schools to be unearthed, CANNOT allow people to see how these test scores gains occurred, how Rhee herself put the environment in place that encouraged this kind of thing.
When you run a school system on FEAR, when you pay people and evaluate them completely by test score gains, this is what you get.
So even if Rhee was not in on the cheating herself (and that is STILL a question - parents tried to tell the chancellor that these scores were suspect), the existence of this scandal itself is enough to show why the education reform movement is morally bereft and Rhee herself a miserable failure at educating children or running a school system.
She can walk back her Malkinesque attacks of USA Today all she wants, the fact is that her first reaction to the story was the REAL RHEE - she doesn't care about truth or accuracy, she cares only about attacking her enemies (her word, not mine) and living to fund raise another day.