Wednesday, March 30, 2011

for immediate release

March 30, 2011

After her brief stint as an unqualified teacher and totally NOT qualified Chancellor of DCPS, Michelle Rhee burst onto the screen in her debut role as herself, in the not nominated for an Oscar, fictional documentary, Waiting for Superman. Critics agreed that her cute yet edgy performance playing the role of her arrogant gritty, ball-breaking, take no prisoners self, would open the doors for former TFAers everywhere. In breaking barriers, she's right up there with Dorothy Dandridge. 

Following on the heels of her not award winning AMAZING performance in Waiting for Superman, Michelle Rhee, the Empress of Education, the Doyenne of DC, will soon be coming to a theater near you.  Reprising her much lauded role as Michelle Rhee, Rhee is hoping to inspire yet another generation of wannabes, or rather, Rheenabes, to go for their dreams, as she inspires them to reach for their highest level of incompetence. Slipping secretively amongst a group of adoring fans, spellbound by her magnificence, one can listen to murmurs of crap everywhere.

After limited release, Oscar buzz is in the air and those in the know predict a repeat of last year's Oscars. So fans, download your Fandango app now, and be the first to order your tickets to see Rhee starring in the not long awaited sequel....Waiting for Superfraud, coming to a theater near you. 

DISCLAIMER: Buying tickets early will ensure your seat in the theater before WFSf is released to DVD.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


USA Today, March 27, 2011 
     "From 2008 to 2010, 103 public schools in the District of Columbia were flagged for having at least one class of students with statistically high rates of wrong answers that were erased and replaced by correct answers on their standardized tests. That represents more than half of the schools in the system."

USA Today, March 28, 2011
     "A trio of academicians consulted by USA TODAY — Haladyna, George Shambaugh of Georgetown University and Gary Miron of Western Michigan University — say the erasure rates found at Noyes and at other D.C. public schools are so statistically rare, and yet showed up in so many classrooms, that they should be examined thoroughly."

USA Today, March 29, 2011
D.C. officials to review high rates of erasures on school tests 
     "In its months-long investigation, which included documents obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests, USA TODAY looked at 103 public schools in the nation's capital where tests showed a pattern of unusually high numbers of answers that had been changed from wrong to right."

     “Rhee, who said Monday night that the investigation "absolutely lacked credibility," had declined to speak with USA TODAY despite numerous attempts before an article ran online and in Monday's newspaper."

Uh oh..... Rhee's thighs must be burning. Back peddling is so exhausting.  And her pants... they are definitely smokin'!!!

Monday, March 28, 2011

the empress has no clothes

Michelle Rhee, former Chancellor of DCPS, and current CEO of RheeFirst StudentsFirst, seems to be above many things including telling the truth. (Note to Rhee: Crossing your fingers behind your back doesn’t make lying ok.) She seems to be especially truth challenged when test scores are involved. She has well publicized, both in print and in her live act, her miraculous success as a novice, untrained, non-credentialed teacher with her second grade students in Baltimore. After year one of being an admittedly ‘crappy’ teacher, she magically morphed into the best teacher EVER, raising her kids’ scores to unfreaking believable majestic heights.

Her official resume found in the online magazine, DCPSWatch, boasts of her success:

Teach For America (1992-1995):
  • Taught in Harlem Park Community School, one of the lowest-performing elementary schools in Baltimore City, effecting significant measurable gains in student achievement. Over a two-year period, moved students scoring on average at the 13th percentile on national standardized tests to 90% of students scoring at the 90th percentile or higher.
It’s mentioned on her Wikipedia page, and you can even watch her performance on Youtube!

Wow. Just wow. How did she do it? And why, being the talented miracle worker that she is, did she suddenly leave teaching altogether? How could she be so stingy with using those superpowers that could change the trajectory of zillions millions so many young lives?

Now having had 14 years in the classroom as a primary grade teacher, I must admit that when I first heard of Rhee’s miraculous claims, I was a bit skeptical. Ok, I admit it. I was A LOT skeptical. I mean, seriously, from the 13% to the 90th percentile OR HIGHER for 90% of her students. Call me Debbie Downer, but really, no way, dude. Not without some serious cheating manipulation.

And then along came Guy Brandenburg, a former D.C. math teacher, who was more than well equipped to solve a number problem. Being puzzled by the probability of making such stunning growth, GFBrandenburg decided to dig a little deeper. And dig, he did. Upon perusal of his work, one could only say to Rhee, "Liar, liar, pants on fire!"

Rhee, with her trademark chutzpah, wiggling this way and that in the press, was unable to come up with any evidence to support her lies claims. Instead, she began strutting her skills as an Olympic level back peddler. And then....

"When standardized test scores soared in D.C., were the gains real?"

screamed USA Today.

And the answer is......

schooling arne

Arne loves to hear himself talk in his “aw shucks” kind of way. With his fingers on the pulse of public education and the teachers he leads, it puzzles me how he can just be so wrong, so often. Aw shucks Arne is very accessible to Bill Gates, but to teachers, not so much. I’d love to school Arne. If I could, here are a few of the claims he’s made that I’d really like to discuss:

Arne: “More and more, teachers, parents, and union and business leaders want a real definition of teacher effectiveness based on multiple measures, including student growth, principal observation and peer review.”

Me:  No. You want to judge teacher effectiveness primarily by one test score. We assess our effectiveness daily by authentically assessing student learning. BTW, how do you define "effective teacher" anyway?

Arne: “School districts and their local partners in inner cities and rural communities are overcoming poverty and family breakdown to create high-performing schools, including charters and traditional public schools.”

Me:  Name those schools, please.

Arne: “Today, American students trail many other nations in reading, math and science…”

Me:  No. American students attending schools with <10% of children living in poverty score at the top on international assessments. In fact, American students attending schools with 49.9% of children living in poverty still score above the international average!

Arne: “Some districts have reshaped labor agreements around student success - and teachers have strongly supported these groundbreaking agreements.”

Me:  No. Teachers do not support merit pay or denial of due process rights (tenure). FYI, teachers generally don't support any of your policies. They pretty much failed in Chicago but you're committed to rolling out failure across the nation??? What's up with that?

Arne: “The urgency for reform has never been greater.”

Me:  No. I mean, seriously, what planet have you been living on? Teachers have been advocating for real reform for decades. You just haven't been listening. We’re just teachers. What do we know,right?  But if you'd really like to know what real reform would look like, I'd be happy to enlighten you!

I’m sure you were a proficient basketball player (not advanced though, otherwise you’d have played in the big leagues), but you don’t know ‘crap’, to quote Ms. Rhee, about education. You’re not qualified to teach in a public school, nor have you ever experienced one as a student. If you’re sincere about applying the highest academic standards in public education, then you really need to fire yourself. Arne, you are just so Far Below Basic.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

uncovered inside US borders


BOYO:  new threat uncovered since new developments in DCPS



BOLO WARNING: TFA + TNTP = IED  Public schools should be on RED alert

real reform vs. faux reform

Teachers have been advocating for real reform: 
  • fully funding education, especially at the most high-needs schools
  • hiring highly qualified, credentialed teachers and administrators
  • implementing a deep, well-rounded, developmentally appropriate curriculum 
  • elimination of developmentally inappropriate academic standards
  • reinstatement of vocational education 
  • smaller class sizes 
  • elimination of high stakes testing 
  • freedom from scripted curriculum 
  • freedom to innovate 
  • openly addressing the effects of poverty on our children 

Rhee, Arne, Gates, Broad and Company want faux reform: 
  • more testing
  • larger class sizes
  • minimally educated teachers
  • more charter schools
  • merit pay based primarily on one test score
  • laying off our most experienced and effective teachers by eliminating LIFO based layoffs during budget crises
  • hiring non-credentialed teachers with no background in education (TFA, TNTP, etc.)
  • longer school day, week and year
  • no due process rights for teachers
  • scripted curricula
  • privatization of public schools to enrich charter management organizations with taxpayer dollars
  • administrators without a substantive background in education
  • mayoral control of school districts
  • closing “failing (poverty)” schools

Saturday, March 26, 2011

with mouths taped shut

Michelle Rhee, the professional quitter and anti-public education spokesmodel, has started an organization to put Michelle First Students First, or so she alleges. She has become the Empress of Education after an impressive career as a Teach for America pretend unqualified non-credentialed teacher and "Chancellor" of DC public schools. Rhee occupied both positions for a mere three years before quitting. And for both positions, Rhee possessed neither the qualifications, credentials or experience to hold. According to the crafters of NCLB, she would be deemed highly unqualified for either position.
But being the tiger gal that she is, Rhee would never let willful ignorance get in her way. Never! And facts? Nope. Not valid unless Rhee has made them up. When she waves her magic broom and summons the incantation, "Research says....", no sooner than you can say, "Bibbity bobbity boo!" her lies facts are magically born and validated with no 'use by' date. No need for peer-reviewed research. Not for Rhee, she's above that. 
With the backing of her sugar daddy billionaire$, Rhee has set out on a course to brutally dismantle public education. You'll see her on Oprah, MSNBC, ABC, NBC, Fox News, the not nominated for an Oscar teacher bashing crappy fictional documentary, Waiting for Superman, and before state legislatures proselytizing.  Her message is simple, public education is "crappy". She makes unsubstantiated claim after unsubstantiated claim to push her agenda and her audiences lap it up, spellbound and evidently brain-dead. Dissenting voices are nowhere to be found. And therein lies the rub.
Venues to challenge the propaganda that Rhee promotes are virtually non-existent. Parents and teachers do not have billionaire$ backing their message. Our options are few, so thank goodness, for the blogosphere. Rhee loving nothing more than Rhee enthusiastically posts her propaganda on her All Rhee, All the Time website so that her devoted followers can hang on her every word or YouTube. She even made it possible for her loyal minions to adoringly blog and comment on her website. And they did.  And so did we.
In an effort to counter Rhee's propaganda and educate her fans, a small but mighty, well-researched group of public education advocates have challenged her claims. We have backed up our facts with links to the research. We are relentless and unwavering in our defense of public education. We aren't hesitant to call out Rhee or her devotees. Despite their lack of interest in research-based facts, we have valiantly advocated..... until yesterday.
I guess if one can't control the message, then that message is threatened and the threat must be neutralized. So yesterday, the comments section on her website was disabled and all comments were removed. Rhee is a bully. As she taped shut the mouths of her disobedient 2nd grade students in Baltimore, so has she taped shut the mouths of those daring to challenge her lying baseless claims. Truth hurts, I guess.
Tiger? Bully? Chicken???

Friday, March 25, 2011


Thinking outside the box is a worthy goal. For me, I try to not even go near the box. I'm a teacher. I'm a learner. I'm a constructivist to the core of my being. Yet one day, I, along with thousands of teachers and millions of students, was goose-stepped into the box. Some went complacently. Some went unknowingly. I went kicking and screaming! It wasn't a happy day or a day of celebration. And no children were left behind.
This is the beginning. This is my voice. This is advocacy. This is me authentically putting children first. This is about public education. This is about saving our democracy.