So Rhee the Reformer lifted a hand
And Rhee the Reformer gave a command.
She ordered the teachers to make "growth" greater 1 year
And using these teachers, did built a career.
She required each teacher to measure her worth
With enough bubble tests to circle the Earth.
And then she sat back, and watched with wide eyes
As the teachers bent backwards to make the scores rise.
"Oh Glee!" Rhe cried. "Oh the great gains we're making
On these magical tests that the children are taking
With our high expectations and low workers' rights
Our achievement will Soar to the highest of heights.
I've read about her, not sure where, maybe the ny'er or NYT.
Is she now back in Sacramento?
Sat 2 Apr, 2011 10:31 pm
Let me summarize the story for those who don't want to watch the very well-made (if a little long) video.
Michelle was made chancellor of the D.C. School system. She had just 3 years experience as a teacher, and 10 years experience running an education non-profit.
As Chancellor she ransacked the education system, firing experienced teachers based on test scores of their students. She then instituted a draconian system that paid bonuses for teachers whose students got high test scored, and fired teachers and principals whose students performance (measured by bubble tests) fell.
Not surprisingly, test scores rose. If you focus exclusively on one measure to the exclusion of all else, and threaten peoples livelihood if it doesn't rise, the scores will rise.
But parents started complaining that something wasn't right. A father who was paying for additional tutoring because his daughter couldn't add or subtract was quite surprised to learn that according to the bubble test, she was "proficient" in math. A group of parents with similar concerns formed and even protested to the school board. They were ignored because after all, the test scores said everything was alright.
Then the testing agency noticed a statistically incredible number of "wrong to right" erasures in the schools that were receiving the biggest bonuses for performance. Michelle Rhee and the people around her resisted this evidence and tried to squelch an investigation.
But, its not surprising, is it? If you give people great incentive to produce high test scores, and threaten to fire them if they don't, people will do whatever it takes to get high test scores (after all of the honest, experienced teachers, have been driven away).
Michelle Rhee is now the CEO of a political advocacy group called Students First.
Sun 3 Apr, 2011 06:22 am
Oops, I forgot to post the link.
Here is the USA Today article on the Michelle Rhee story.
I can't (and can) really believe all the stories of cheating coming out this year. It's insane. Rhee was one of the worst but not the only by a long shot.
What I really can't believe is how much stock parents put in these tests. The other day at school some of the art room volunteers were carping about the tests and I mentioned that I had opted Mo out for the remainder of the year. You'd have thought I threatened to poison the school's water supply.