Does Michelle RHEE-ly Put Students First?

10 12 2010

Michelle Malkin’s Siamese twin Michelle Rhee (can’t separate them looking or listening) is being interviewed on my small screen this morning, called a “hero” and a “revolutionary” by conservative non-educator white guys on Morning Joe’s set, for what she’s supposedly doing as the real deal children’s advocate, the only one “fighting” for students against their bad old public schools.

She defends her Wicked Witch of the East treatment of DC parents and schoolfolk (see Time article quotes below) saying the one thing she regrets is seeming so mean and angry and imperious.

She claims she wasn’t all that angry, not all the time at everyone at least, and SHE’s the one on the kids’ side against everyone else in education and in their communities, so she will continue mocking and undermining and firing and fighting for unilateral control — except she wants to sound less bitchy, and therefore more bankable, as she does it.

This belated image adjustment apparently is meant to befit and benefit her new personal-public-private Rule the Schools front, dubbed “Students First” because as I hear her, our nation’s students aren’t first in public policy priority so they’re not first competitively, but she can put them first in both senses if we let her run things:

December 08, 2010 posted by Michelle Rhee
International study finds U.S. students far behind those in other countries [read ASIAN students]

Shanghai is first; the U.S. is not. One reason I started Students First is because I know that we can only compete with China and other leading countries if we transform our schools. If we were to grade the academic performance of the world’s industrialized economies, Singapore, South Korea, and now Shanghai would get an A — the United States would get a C, at best, and in math we’d get an F.

But how exactly will she accomplish all this winning? Her education-school reform ideal sounds like little more than inflicting her own poorly-understood dramas and traumas from Korean and American schooling on us all:

Her parents immigrated from South Korea several years before she was born so that her father could study medicine at the University of Michigan.

. . .After Rhee finished sixth grade, her parents sent her to South Korea to live with an aunt and attend a Korean school, a harrowing experience for a child in a strange land with limited skills in its language. When she returned a year later, her parents sent her to a private school because they found the public schools lacking.

And she never explains, or even acknowledges the question of, how the chaotically individualized and nearly ungovernable USA, by emulating Asian schooling for homeogeneous Asian children in ancient Asian cultures, will magically out-Asian them and jump to first again. (What would true original Western education reform look like, hmmm? Radical unschooling?)

I wrote pretty kindly about Colin Powell and his wife, coming at school reform from their own subculture’s education power of story. I can’t and won’t do that with Rhee’s hard-driving Asian-defined school-as-work and work-as-duty morality meme, pushing individual kids to despair if not suicide for family and national honor.

When “high stakes accountability” began creeping into state and national school politics back in the 1980s, I recognized it for what it was and resisted. Enough to get myself removed from power which accomplished nothing for any of us, unfortunately.

In a perverse reverse of Rhee, I now regret that I was TOO nice, regret not being bitchier back when I had official responsibilities and well-compensated public platforms. I shoulda been a contender!

I have none of that now and I’m not starting a political think tank (and I’m much less telegenic than I once was) but I can fight her twisted ideas and influence from here — as an individual parent with no career or cash on the line — and hope to at least make it more clear who really believes in liberal education and real independence, who really puts Students First so one day they can help us all put America First.

Michelle Rhee? No. Effing. Way.

In many private encounters with officials, bureaucrats and even fundraisers –who have committed millions of dollars to help her reform the schools — she doesn’t smile or nod or do any of the things most people do to put others at ease. She reads her BlackBerry when people talk to her. I have seen her walk out of small meetings held for her benefit without a word of explanation. . . .

“The thing that kills me about education is that it’s so touchy-feely,” she tells me one afternoon in her office. Then she raises her chin and does what I come to recognize as her standard imitation of people she doesn’t respect. Sometimes she uses this voice to imitate teachers; other times, politicians or parents. . . .’Well, you know, test scores don’t take into account creativity and the love of learning,'” she says with a drippy, grating voice, lowering her eyelids halfway. Then she snaps back to herself.

“I’m like, ‘You know what? I don’t give a crap.’ Don’t get me wrong. Creativity is good and whatever. But if the children don’t know how to read, I don’t care how creative you are. You’re not doing your job.”

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63 responses

10 12 2010
Lynn

JJ: “I’m much less telegenic than I once was”

Your gravatar begs to differ. 😉

10 12 2010
JJ

Thanks Lynn, she said preening. 😉
But my gravatar is teeny tiny and I’m not, anymore!

10 12 2010
JJ

Just the latest obvious reason China isn’t a very good example of what American students need to be learning:

The 54-year-old writer and democracy activist (his name is pronounced LEE-o SHAo-boh) is serving an 11-year prison sentence on subversion charges for urging sweeping changes to Beijing’s one-party communist political system. His wife is under house arrest.

The award to Liu infuriated Beijing, which sees it as an attack on China’s political and legal system. Both CNN and BBC TV went black at 8 p.m. local time, exactly when the ceremony was taking place. . .

Liu Xiaobo: At A Glance

A 54-year-old poet, literary critic and activist. A look at the human-rights efforts of the first Chinese citizen to receive a Nobel Prize.

1989: Left post at Columbia University in New York to return to China to take part in the pro-democracy movement; jailed for two years for his role.

1996: Publicly questioned China’s one-party system and called for a dialogue between the government and the Dalai Lama of Tibet; spent three years in “re-education through labor” for his acts.

2004: Wrote essay criticizing the government’s use of “subversion” charges to silence journalists and activists; in response, had his Internet and phone connections cut.

2008: Helped write “Charter 08,” a document calling for “universal values” in China, including freedom, equality, democracy and constitutional rule; detained and later formally arrested and charged for “inciting subversion of state power.”

2009: Sentenced to 11 years in prison.

2010: Continues to write from jail. An article he wrote for the South China Morning Post in February contains the statement, “Opposition is not equivalent to subversion.”

10 12 2010
Lynn

Why look to China when American school children can learn about actual subversion (patriot “water the tree of liberty” revolutionaries, Second Amendment remedies, “I came unarmed this time!,” etc.) from their parents, pastors – and private religious educations?

10 12 2010
JJ

I have to run off with Young Son now and do four performances as the Spirit of Christmas Present in the next 48 hours, but I can’t wait to talk more about this. It deserves it and so do we. 🙂

11 12 2010
JJ

A conservative Christian dad who our dear friend Betty Malone knew in Indiana homeschooling and who I met through NHEN education politics, emailed with me last night about this post. I am thinking about what he had to say in the larger context of how we’ve each educated ourselves over the last decade, and changed emphasis in our efforts.

Politics has gotten so polarized of course but along with that, it seems to me parenting is more polarized now, not less so, and not just home-educating parents but public school parents as well. Is this true in every aspect of American life, I wonder, and is it understandable at a societal level, part of a historic cycle as Jacques Barzun would say, that as individuals we FEEL we are causing and choosing but in reality, may not be?

12 12 2010
JJ

Competing with China to have the best school test scores won’t count for much without the good J-O-B-S.:
China’s Army of Graduates Face Struggles

12 12 2010
Lynn

Maybe their growing ranks of unemployed grads can get together with ours and, like, start a war or something.

Or,… “given the glut of (Chinese) underemployed graduates, (it’s) suggested that young people either shift to more practical vocations like nursing and teaching or recalibrate their expectations.”

Likewise, given the glut of (American) underemployed graduates, (it’s) suggested that young people either shift to more practical vocations like cashiering at WalMart and serving fast food or recalibrate their expectations.

😦

12 12 2010
Crimson Wife

A truly American education system would not try imposing a “one size fits all” approach on its students. Parents would be free to enroll their students in whatever school resonated with their own individual educational philosophy, whether it’s the Asian model or the Sudbury one. Kind of like homeschooling 🙂

12 12 2010
Lynn

Parents would be free to enroll their students in whatever school resonated with their own individual educational philosophy, whether it’s the Asian model or the Sudbury one.

Hi CW,

I’m with you to a point, but what if it’s the militias model or the girls in burkas model that resonate with parents? Call me a cynical elitist (I do watch way too much MSNBC), but “school choice” like the kind Rick Perry is suggesting, for instance, sounds like a really bad idea. JJ and Nance, the poor dears, will wake up one morning to find a Ken Ham Academy on every street corner. We’d never hear the end of it.
😦

13 12 2010
Nance Confer

Except that hsing is a private undertaking, privately funded by individual families. Not a very “American” enterprise at all. In the sense of communities that work together to achieve a larger goal. While respecting the Constitutional rights of each individual. And working hard to maintain that balance.

A better argument would be that the “American” way to do public school is to provide equal opportunities to all, which means providing more for kids who start out with less, to benefit everyone. It doesn’t mean trying to emulate another country, it doesn’t mean promoting any religious beliefs, it doesn’t mean pandering to the ill-informed in some communities, it doesn’t mean rigid adherence to test score results.

It means thinking big and doing more for everyone.

Unfortunately, I do not know if we are still a country that knows how to think big.

13 12 2010
Crimson Wife

Judging from the limited popularity of private military academies and madrassahs, I don’t think we’d need to worry about a widespread conversion of traditional government-run schools into those types of schools. Additionally, the Supreme Court has fortunately already ruled out teaching Creationism in public schools so Ken Ham would be SOL (I had to Google his name BTW as no copy of Answers in Genesis will ever make it into our home )

13 12 2010
Crimson Wife

There is nothing inherently “American” about having a government-run school system. Don’t forget that Horace Mann imported his ideas from Prussia and most of the Founding Fathers were homeschooled!

13 12 2010
Lynn

Oops. I’m getting my Rick’s confused. I meant to reference Rick Scott – and his recent proposal for universal vouchers.

“The parent should figure out where the dollars for that student are spent,” Scott told the Times. “If they want to spend it on, you know, whatever education system they believe in, whether it’s this public school or that public school or this private school or that private school, that’s what ought to happen.”

Nance: “the “American” way to do public school is to provide equal opportunities to all, which means providing more for kids who start out with less, to benefit everyone.”

OMG, you’re such a socialist. 😉

Note:
In other Rick news: Last Thursday, Texas governor Rick Perry made Chuck Norris an honorary Texas Ranger.

13 12 2010
Lynn

… and I’m abusing apostrophes. Maybe somebody should give me an educational voucher…
😦

13 12 2010
Lynn

..give an educational voucher to me.

13 12 2010
JJ

Lol,Lynn. Snook’s resident English expert will tell you (or just do it without telling you) when she thinks you need correction. 😉

13 12 2010
Nance Confer

There’s nothing inherently “American” in any of the ed choices, CW. My point was how we live as Americans. You are on one end of the spectrum, I’m on the other. And we’re both hsers. Go figure. But this isn’t about anything but money and the distribution of it. About as “American” as you can get.

13 12 2010
Nance Confer

Vouchers for everyone! For remedial English. 🙂

13 12 2010
JJ

What about Rick Warren then? I saw a gripping piece today about the neglected history of American evangelicals, in the Chronicle of Higher Education. “Christian homeschooling” is included; wonder if Rhee would be interested?

Differences and tensions both drive and fracture the movement. . .

The megachurch service, he argues, cannot be separated from its broadcast. The mass-media production of the megachurch event is not supplemental to the event itself but symbiotic with it. The worship experience resides as much in the editing and production of the show—in the “slow-motion images of a pastor laying hands on the heads of parishioners and zoom-in shots of a parishioner feverishly taking notes during the sermon”—as it does in the service or the evangelist.

Indeed, the megachurch event is rendered an “incarnation” of the television show. The event is designed to approximate the show even as the show is designed to create an idealized reproduction of the event—a McLuhanian illustration if there ever was one.

Walton goes on to reveal how the “constructed spaces” created by televangelists and their production teams play host to ritual events that embody deep religious tensions between liberation and repression in the lives of participants. . .

Timothy Beal is a professor of religion at Case Western Reserve University and author of The Rise and Fall of the Bible: The Unexpected History of an Accidental Book forthcoming . . .

13 12 2010
JJ

Nance is right about the money. You can see it in what’s been done steadily and incrementally to public schooling, since desegregation. It has been looted. The corporate takeover is nearly complete and that’s who Rhee is, the amoral takeover specialist who flies in, fires everyone, breaks it up and sells it off.

13 12 2010
JJ

I read an article last night about “skepticism” (via Meg I think?) as a core idea for health and happiness in all areas of life. If just that were our universal core curriculum, it would go a long way forward.

And skepticism sounds pretty American to me, or at least Missouran. 😉

14 12 2010
Lynn

JJ: “Snook’s resident English expert will tell you (or just do it without telling you) when she thinks you need correction.”

Oh, good. Feel free to re-work the logic, too. 😉

14 12 2010
Lynn

Nance: “But this isn’t about anything but money and the distribution of it.”

If parents in my area were to suddenly be issued vouchers to “spend it on, you know, whatever education system they believe in” (Rick Scott), a Saddleback mega-school (and a litter of baby schools) would spring up over night. Right now most evangelical parents use the public schools by default, but if they were to be lobbied from the pulpit for their educational dollars, I think that many would switch in a heart-beat. Already Saddleback swooped in with “summer school” when California budget cuts killed the state programs. It is the Decade of Destiny, you know, during which evangelical churches like Saddleback hope to “transform communities” and take back their God-given role as gatekeepers to social services.

In other news, Religious Right groups are celebrating the “heroic” ruling against (an aspect of) Obamacare as unconstitutional.

15 12 2010
JJ

Speaking of vouchers, corruption, kids and Rick Scott, former health care huckster and current GOP governor-elect for JJ and Nance’s large state:

Rick Scott’s School Plan for Scoundrels: The Florida governor-elect’s proposal to overhaul the state education system is a fraudster’s dream. . .

Scott’s education “reform” plan seems be less about actually making Florida’s schools better and more about paying private companies to run bad ones. On his transition team are a couple of CEOs of for-profit charter school companies with questionable track records, including the head of Imagine Schools, which runs underperforming charter schools in Ohio, Arizona, and Florida. Five of the 11 schools the company runs in Ohio are on an academic emergency list and another three are on an academic watch list. The Imagine School in Florida is on probation for its second consecutive “F” rating and at risk of being closed by the state. Charter schools figure prominently into Scott’s reform plans.

These are the sorts of schools that would likely be on the receiving end of Scott’s universal voucher program. It might help him cut property taxes for the state’s rich seniors and wintering hedge fund managers, but it’s hard to see how the plan does much to improve “accountability” as he’s claimed—or more importantly, improve the fortunes of Florida’s school children.

15 12 2010
JJ

And this ought to freeze the blood formerly flowing to your heart and brain.

The “Imagine” schools in Mother Jones’ article, that Rick Scott and Jeb Bush are so high on? Headed by a member of Jeff Sharlet’s exceedingly creepy and secretive global God power, The Family:

As confounding as all that is, perhaps the most disturbing fact is that Dennis Bakke is a member of The Family or The Fellowship. . .

Jeff Sharlet refers to Bakke’s involvement with The Family during an NPR interview which alludes to his power with the organization. Because of the secrecy that envelops the group, it is difficult to say just how much influence Bakke has in The Family.

Does his fundamentalist [b]ent play a role in Imagine Schools? If placing his book, Joy at Work at the center of the curriculum, the answer is most likely “yes”. The title Joy at Work loosely translated means “the Christian religion at work.”

Yeah, let’s get grubby old secular constitutional government out of public education altogether, entrust our children and what’s left of our tax money to the same patriarchal megalomaniacal millionaire cult leaders secretly controlling all our cash and running government already . . .maybe this was what “American” really meant all along and the inevitable end of the road we should have seen coming.

15 12 2010
Lynn

I must not understand Michelle Rhee, who is advising Rick Scott, from the little I’ve read about her. I guess I’ve always thought of her as a reformer trying to work within the public school system; is she really onboard with the agendas of these companies and groups – or is she just naive, taken in by all the attention and flattery coming from the enemies of her enemies? I’m confused. Any insights?

15 12 2010
Lynn

Re: “Imagine” charter schools run by The Family.

Is it commonly known that “Imagine” is one of those words that the Christian Right is trying to co-opt and redefine to mean the opposite of its intended meaning? Do you remember when Yoko Ono sues “Expelled” filmmakers over Imagine, for instance? I’m pretty sure that the word has been used in other Religious Right campaigns; I just can’t think of them off the top of my head.

Gosh, I can’t wait to hear the names of the movement’s other schools. Academic Freedom Institute? Critical Inquiry Academy? Founding Fathers Preparatory School?

15 12 2010
Lynn

(Liberal Christian) Chris Hedges, The Christian Fascists are Growing Stronger, June 2010.

The Christian right, while embracing a form of primitivism, seeks the imprint of law and science to legitimate its absurd mythologies. Its members seek this imprint because, despite their protestations to the contrary, they are a distinctly modern, totalitarian movement. They seek to co-opt the pillars of the Enlightenment in order to abolish the Enlightenment. Creationism, or “intelligent design,” like eugenics for the Nazis or “Soviet” science for Stalin, must be introduced into the mainstream as a valid scientific discipline—hence the rewriting of textbooks. The Christian right defends itself in the legal and scientific jargon of modernity. Facts and opinions, once they are used “scientifically” to support the irrational, become interchangeable. Reality is no longer based on the gathering of facts and evidence. It is based on ideology. Facts are altered. Lies become true. Hannah Arendt called it “nihilistic relativism,” although a better phrase might be collective insanity.

15 12 2010
JJ

I know more about the war and about some of its battles that fit into its longterm strategy, not so much about individual officers and their personal beliefs. So I can’t say what motivates each of them, as in which is nakedly venal and which well-meaning but deluded.

Like Lynn, I haven’t seen much about Rhee as a person but haven’t liked much what I *have* seen. Connecting dots does help eventually though, and I’ve had thirty years or more of this war, to begin to understand.

15 12 2010
JJ

Ooh, no, hadn’t made the connection about the word “Imagine” — Lynn, I never know what you’ll come up with! 😉

I would play the school name game except those sound perfectly plausible to me as names already in use, ack! Maybe we’re already too far through the looking glass for parody?

15 12 2010
Lynn

“Maybe we’re already too far through the looking glass…”

Nah. We can journey still further.

From my reader moments ago…
Christians Want Their F***ing Rainbow Back!

National Organization for Marriage,” told the right-wing American Family News Network’s OneNewsNow that the rainbow should be the symbol of Prop 8 supporters and Religious Right activists (NOT the gay rights movement) because “the rainbow is a sign of God’s covenant with man.”

Sorry to be hijacking your blog this morning. 😦

15 12 2010
JJ

Sorry to be hijacking your blog this morning.

Hey, it’s the holidays, a time of joyful excess! Did you bring bourbon balls? 😉

15 12 2010
JJ

Wow, that rainbow thing is really stupid.

Speaking of which, from a new survey via Daryl:

In eight of the nine questions below, Fox News placed first in the percentage of those who were misinformed (they placed second in the question on TARP). That’s a pretty high batting average for journalistic fraud.

Here is a list of what Fox News viewers believe that just aint so:

* 91 percent believe the stimulus legislation lost jobs
* 72 percent believe the health reform law will increase the deficit
* 72 percent believe the economy is getting worse
* 60 percent believe climate change is not occurring
* 49 percent believe income taxes have gone up
* 63 percent believe the stimulus legislation did not include any tax cuts
* 56 percent believe Obama initiated the GM/Chrysler bailout
* 38 percent believe that most Republicans opposed TARP
* 63 percent believe Obama was not born in the U.S. (or that it is unclear)

The conclusion is inescapable. Fox News is deliberately misinforming its viewers and it is doing so for a reason [and it’s working! They are now stupid. ]

Every issue above is one in which the Republican Party had a vested interest. The GOP benefited from the ignorance that Fox News helped to proliferate. The results were apparent in the election last month as voters based their decisions on demonstrably false information fed to them by Fox News.

15 12 2010
Nance Confer

. . .is she really onboard with the agendas of these companies and groups – or is she just naive, taken in by all the attention and flattery coming from the enemies of her enemies? I’m confused. Any insights?

**I have a President who fits this description. Does that help?

16 12 2010
JJ

It doesn’t much matter, unless we can make a positive difference by figuring it out.

Understanding Rhee or Obama or any public figure can be used for or against that individual directly, of course, and for/against that individual’s issues and groups, but the highest and best use of figuring out individuals is when we can fit together many insights to make some kind of map toward positive change in larger systems, to transform how people are thinking and living, not just voting. Change the “culture” of it.

Then elections take care of themselves, right? It doesn’t much matter who represents us because the system itself would be set up for good, legally and in what’s seen as normal behavior. That’s the opposite of the system under which we now suffer, a system in which it doesn’t much matter who represents us because the system is rigged against any good, legally and in normal behavior.

16 12 2010
JJ

Rhee isn’t the problem as an individual but as a type — a Type A type. Lol.

16 12 2010
JJ

About what kind of public education is truly American, remember this?

16 12 2010
JJ

Something for Nance re: our president (whose education ideas give me some heartburn):

We’re supposed to be the smart ones, the reality-based people.

. . .We need to focus and engage in smart accountability — carefully pick our battles with the White House and, when we fight, we need to employ airtight, concise, reality-based arguments designed to convince rather than to hector.

Otherwise, we’re everything the president said in his press conference last week — or worse — and our attempts at accountability will increasingly resemble Tea-Party-style screeching. Featureless, brainless white noise in the distance.

. . . get something done.

16 12 2010
JJ

Student Stress, Competition and the Race to Nowhere

A mom of three made this film btw. It sounds to me like she’s got a stronger claim to actually putting “Students First” than Rhee (or Rick Scott) by far.

16 12 2010
Nance Confer

The admonishment to get something done is directed at people who have done what we can do, are doing our best to get by and have no power to do anything to change “a system in which it doesn’t much matter who represents us because the system is rigged against any good, legally and in normal behavior.”

A Democratic President who makes it a priority to meet with corporate leaders to assure them that they will, once again, get what they want is not inspiring me or anyone else on the ground to “get something done.”

16 12 2010
JJ

But YOU aren’t losing touch with reality — to the contrary you’re very grounded in reality, if not up to your nose in way too much reality right now!

I thought this meant Dems who like the President are empowered (by money, microphone and/or election) and share the obligation to actually govern for the good of all, not just their own personal beliefs or political self-interest.

16 12 2010
JJ

With you about “corporate leaders.” Dylan Ratigan on MSNBC has an “Economic Liberation” series going this week, it’s on now, hmmm . . .

16 12 2010
JJ

He’s in Philadelphia today with a couple of expert panelists, saying after slavery, women’s suffrage and civil rights, we the people now are oppressed by and require economic liberation from:

*rigged trade policies
* big bank stranglehold
*flawed tax code
*crushing health care costs under monopolies

Dr. Richard Beeman is saying the Founding Fathers had less egoism and never expected to be brilliant, just to do better than status quo, to work for “more perfect” but never get there. He also says they were better at it than current politicians, whose rancor is extreme and deeply depressing.

17 12 2010
JJ

I read this meaty piece before going off to bed —
Obama and the CEOs: Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places

America can’t succeed without prosperous companies, but global corporations now are prospering while America fails. They stand in the way of reforms vital to our economy and society. If Obama is at peace with America’s corporate barons, he isn’t doing his job.

Embracing their agenda isn’t “moving to the center,” it is abandoning the fundamental reforms this country desperately needs.

17 12 2010
Crimson Wife

Well, at least out here in CA, the economy *IS* getting worse. The unemployment rate had been improving but now it’s creeping back up. Ditto for the housing market. State tax revenues are declining, prompting yet another round of budget cuts. It’s a huge mess 😦

17 12 2010
JJ

What did you think of the film trailer?

17 12 2010
Nance Confer

I spent the bulk of the day on the phone with various bill collectors. Yep, the economy sucks here too. A dandy time to give rich people tax breaks! 😦

17 12 2010
JJ

Bill collector jobs don’t seem to have suffered along with the rest of the economy. 😦

17 12 2010
Lynn

CW: “here in CA, the economy *IS* getting worse”
Nance: “the economy sucks here too”
and
JJ: “What did you think of the film trailer?”

As I was watching the trailer, I was thinking, “Who can afford university educations for their children any more?” Talk about a “Race to Nowhere.” 😦

18 12 2010
Nance Confer

One shining note — we are poor enough that we will qualify for anything going. If there is anything by the time DD is ready for college. And she’s getting some free credits through dual enrollment now. The big benefit of that is that the courses are actually interesting — at least mildly interesting.

DS, otoh, shows no sign of wanting to go to college and, with the job market the way it is, I just don’t know what he’ll wander into. (DD plans, DS wanders. 🙂 ) I’m wondering if college may not be the cheaper route . . .

Nance

18 12 2010
JJ

1) just don’t fall for any of the student loan scams
2) funny, our two have the same difference between them, wonder if it’s a gender thing?

19 12 2010
Nance Confer

Maybe. DH bounced around for a while until he settled on marble work so who knows? Somehow I don’t worry about him. Maybe I should but I don’t. 🙂

And loans will be avoided as far as I’m concerned. At least we have been alerted by your posts!

19 12 2010
Lynn

I must have been dreaming about this topic last night as I woke up thinking that now, more than ever, parents are relying on their kids to compete and outperform in order to qualify for scholarship money. [pause] Which goes to show that college is completely unnecessary when you can just learn stuff while you’re asleep.

2 01 2011
JJ

Back to Rhee and her arrogant Asian model for America’s schools, yet more evidence she doesn’t know enough about education anywhere to be forcing her accountability model on us all: she couldn’t sell it in Asia!

But the Chinese are not gloating about their success: They realize their educational system — which stresses memorization and largely ignores critical thinking — is in [dire] need of reform.

. . .”Why don’t Chinese students dare to think? Because we insist on telling them everything. We’re not getting our kids to go and find things out for themselves,” he says.

As well as the limitations of the Chinese education system, Liu says, it was only students in Shanghai who took the PISA tests, and Shanghai has some of the best schools in China.

11 01 2011
Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior Out Today: So Are They? « Cocking A Snook!

[…] those who call themselves humanists and progressives but not too often professional educators), touts as “Putting Students First”, why I object to her influence over Florida’s students much less America’s […]

30 03 2011
JJ

Subpoena Everyone in DC Cheating Scandal — Including Rhee:

Rhee, as is her wont, shot from the hip when she heard about the USA Today story, attacking i[t] as an assault on school reform, as if her brand is the only one tried and true. She said in a Monday statement: “It isn’t surprising that the enemies of school reform once again are trying to argue that the Earth is flat….”

The “enemies of school reform?” She really is a warrior woman, just as Oprah Winfrey described her last year when Rhee was welcomed on Winfrey’s show as a huge star.

Today, though, she called my colleague Jay Mathews to say that her remarks were “stupid” and that the erasures should be thoroughly investigated.

Well, yeah.

25 05 2011
JJ

Michelle Rhee’s Group Hired Lobbyist To Work On Controversial Ohio Teachers Bill

WASHINGTON — The nonprofit group set up by former Washington D.C. schools chancellor Michelle Rhee is facing criticism for hiring a lobbyist to work on controversial legislation in Ohio that partially restricted the collective bargaining rights of teachers.

Between January and April of 2011, StudentsFirst employed Robert Klaffky, the president of firm Van Meter, Ashbrook & Associates and a close adviser to Ohio Governor John Kasich (R) to help push various aspects of education policy.

. . .Rhee enjoys an increasingly tumultuous relationship with the progressive and labor community, both of which have accused her of disguising a sharply conservative agenda behind the mantle of ‘crisis-driven’ education reform.

She maneuvered carefully with respect to Gov. Scott Walker’s anti-collective bargaining legislation, saying she supported some aspects but not others (she called the attacks on collective bargaining gratuitous). In addition to appearing alongside Kasich at a recent event with the US chamber, she has also worked closely with Gov. Rick Scott (R-Fl.), the third leg of a triumvirate of new, sharply anti-union governors.

19 07 2011
Florida Gets New Ed Head But As Conservative Con Jobs Go, Not So New « Cocking A Snook!

[…] Michelle Rhee from Gov. Scott’s “transition team” last winter, one answer of which I’m sure enough to bet money on if there are any foolish […]

23 07 2011
JJ

As the dear friend of mine who sent me this story exclaimed, what a horrible woman:

My two girls play soccer. They suck at soccer,” said Rhee, whose daughters sat cringing in the crowd at The Peabody. “But you would never guess that if you went into their rooms. There are trophies and medals everywhere.

“We are so concerned with making children feel good about themselves,” said Rhee, who moved to Nashville last week. “But we haven’t put in the time to make them good at anything.”

Rhee’s ex-husband, Kevin Huffman, was appointed Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Education in April.

19 11 2011
JJ

One year since this first posted, the Nation is exposing much of what I’ve ascertained on my own:

“We need to hit on fear and anger. Because fear and anger stays with people longer. And how you get the fear and anger is by reframing the problem.” Berman’s glossy ads, which have run in Washington, DC, and New Jersey, portray teachers unions as schoolyard bullies. One spot even seems to compare teachers to child abusers. Although Berman does not reveal his donors, he made clear in his talk that the foundations in the room were supporting his campaign.

[Jeb Bush cultivar Patricia] Levesque ended the strategy discussion with a larger strategic question [of raising $100 million to sway elections, which]. . . . has become reality. According to author Steven Brill, ex–DC school chancellor Michelle Rhee’s new group, StudentsFirst, raised $100 million within a few months of Levesque’s remarks. Rhee’s donors include Rupert Murdoch, philanthropist Eli Broad and Home Depot founder Ken Langone.

Rhee’s group has pledged to spend more than $1 billion [with a B] to bring for-profit schools, including virtual education, to the entire country by electing reform-friendly candidates and hiring top-notch state lobbyists.

19 11 2011
JJ

And the blunt and brilliant Nance is proven right again, who had commented way up thread:

But this isn’t about anything but money and the distribution of it.

19 11 2011
JJ

Seriously, all homeschoolers who believe in real education no matter how they feel about schooling, need to read this whole piece carefully, then blog it, FaceBook it, etc.

The frenzy to privatize America’s K-12 education system, under the banner of high-tech progress and cost-saving efficiency, speaks to the stunning success of a public relations and lobbying campaign by industry, particularly tech companies [and pollution profiteers like the billionaire Kochs]. Because of their campaign spending, education-tech interests are major players in elections. . .

The key pillar of [Jeb] Bush’s plan is to make sure virtual education isn’t just a new option for taxpayer money but a requirement. And several states, like Florida, have already adopted online course requirements. . .

Bush hosted another education meeting. This event, a private affair in the Palace Hotel, was a reconvening of investors and strategists to plan the next leg of the privatization campaign. Michael Moe, Susan Patrick, Tom Vander Ark and other major players were invited.

. . .An invitation had billed the exclusive gathering as a chance for “philanthropists and venture capitalists” to figure out how to “leverage each other’s strengths”—a concise way to describe how for-profit virtual school companies are using philanthropy as a Trojan horse.

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