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The Legend Of Last Fall


Thanks for the fine explanation and interpretation of the data, which is very useful. Personally, I'd be far more critical of Rhee, on many counts. For example, what you charitably call her exaggerations, when seen in the light of the evidence you provide and the experiences of DCPS teachers, can also be called a pattern of mendacity. Additionally, while I recognize that it was not the subject of the posting, Rhee's position in what you too-briefly refer to as the human capital/value-added/data-driven regime is important. Many of the circuits that power corporate education reform flow through and around her, whether it's TFA, foundations, venture philanthropists, companies, consulting firms, think tanks, advocacy groups and their astroturf spinoffs and/or individual investors. All of these entities, with Rhee as a tribune, espouse and are rapidly implementing nationally a human capital view and practice of education. This is having very destructive results for students, teachers, public schools and the communities they serve. By human capital is meant the fungibility or inter-changeablility of labor (teachers). This is of a piece with Rhee's background in TFA and that organization's ideology, which is that teaching is a temporary, and ultimately at-will, form of employment. (Not that Wendy Kopp or Michelle Rhee would be honest or foolish enough to actually say this, but it is reflected in their behavior). The implications for public education, which is facing a literal hostile takeover, are devastating. Anyway, kudos on a well-written piece. I'm just going to be a little less measured and say that the woman is a nasty piece of work.

I'd argue that 8th grade Read NAEP is the single most important statistic, because it indicates whether kids have the most important skill for graduating from high school, and advancing beyond. DC's scores on that test had been increasing, but the growth stopped under Rhee. The only growth under Rhee under that metric was narrower than under Janey. Increases occurred only for the top decile under Rhee. Gentrification could easily explain that.


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