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Happy Not to Get an A from Rhee

Why anyone would care how Michele Rhee and StudentsFirst rate their states is beyond me, but the political organization managed to get itself in the news again.

The so-called “report card” makes me wonder if these folks ever speak to individuals who are actually tasked with educating our kids on a daily basis.  The “report card” underscores how out of touch some educational “reformers” are.

“The most powerful way to improve student achievement from outside the classroom is to shape policy and implement laws at the state level,” says Rhee.

The key words, here, of course, are “outside the classroom.”

So let’s look at how successful “outside the classroom” legislation has been so far in improving education for kids on a daily basis.  All those new and complicated evaluation systems, additional weeks of testing,
Failing-Report-Cardincreased costs to states, union bashing, growth of charters, and yes, Common Core  -- have we seen any
evidence that student achievement has improved?   Oh wait -- Rhee’s “report card” on state education doesn’t include student achievement.  It’s all about how well states hew to the StudentsFirst political agenda.

Given the rubric, it’s even more surprising that anyone would care about the report card results, but the good news is that most states received dismal grades, and 11 of them, including New York, actually failed, which makes me kind of proud.  Louisiana and Florida, class brownies, received the highest grade, B-.
California received an F too, and Richard Zeiger, the state’s chief deputy superintendent called the rating a “badge of honor,” adding that StudentsFirst “makes its living by asserting that schools are failing.”

“I’m rubber, you’re glue, everything you say sticks back on you, “ said Rhee in response.  OK, what she actually said was more like, “Does he consider it a badge of honor that California’s education policies rank 41st in the nation?”  Says who? I wonder, but Zeiger showed more maturity by not responding.

Rhee’s political views about education are just that – her political views, and we have no proof that they result in good things for kids or their schools.  I suspect that the “report card” is a way to allay Rhee’s fears that she and her organization will become irrelevant with the passage of time.  I hope so anyway.






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