|credit: Education Week|
Her grading scheme actually punishes states that have policies to reduce class size above grade three, or offer incentives to keep classes small – even though class size reduction is one of the top priorities of parents, and one of the few education reforms that have proven to work. At the same time she gives points to states that either have mayoral control, support the “Parent trigger” or provide other ways to supersede the authority of democratically-elected school boards.
Even as Rhee often claims that student outcomes and achievement are what matters most, the two states with the highest student achievement in the nation, Massachusetts and New Jersey, received a “D-” and a “D.” California got an "F" for refusing to sign onto the provisions of "Race to the Top", including test-based evaluations of teachers; Richard Zeiger, the state's deputy superintendent, called the state's failing grade a “badge of honor.”
I thought it was a good time to reprint the Parents Across America report card for Rhee, where she received failing grades in categories important to parents. See below.
Since our report card was produced, there has been more attention paid to the Rhee’s checkered past and recent failings :
- · How she most likely greatly exaggerated her own record as a teacher.
- · The voluminous research pointing out that evaluating teachers on the basis of test scores through value-added models, as she pushed for in DC and now in her state report cards, is unstable, unreliable and unfair. (See the most recent analysis from a group of statistical experts, concluding that “We cannot at this time encourage anyone to use VAM in a high stakes endeavor.”)
- · How the teacher evaluation system she relied upon, called IMPACT, was altered after she left by her successor to diminish its reliance on test scores, dropping that component from 50 to 35 percent.
- · How a recent report from the organization she used to run, TNTP, though predictably positive in its spin, revealed that the IMPACT teacher evaluation system was one of the top reasons that even “top performing” teachers plan to leave DC schools. The report also cast further doubt on the system, saying that there may be a “flaw in the design or implementation of IMPACT [that] makes it easier for teachers working in low-need schools to earn top ratings.”
- · The documented predilection of StudentsFirst to fund right-wing Republican candidates, despite claims of bipartisanship.
- · Most recently, Rhee made a tone-deaf statement on the mass shootings in Newtown CT, calling such children “our most valuable assets”.
- · Finally, her refusal to oppose a bill in Michigan that would allow concealed weapons in schools, until the legislation had already been vetoed by the Governor.
If we were updating the report card today, we would certainly give her an “F” for her position on school safety as well.
Here are some of our comments below: Michelle Rhee has said that “cooperation, collaboration and consensus-building are way overrated.” She has an overriding belief in test scores despite numerous documented problems with standardized testing: “People say, ‘Well, you know, test scores don’t take into account creativity and the love of learning.’...I’m like, ‘You know what? I don’t give a crap.’”
We recommended remedial education for Rhee, to spend more time studying what parents want for their children, and what research shows works to improve education. The report she put out today only reinforces our conviction that she needs to go back to school.