Jun 30, 2009

Is This Change We Can Believe In ?

Why In The World Did President Obama Dub Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee A Wonderful Superintendent ?
According to Time magazine article in which Michelle A. Rhee appeared on the cover with a broom, it states: “In the last presidential debate each candidate tried to claim her (Rhee) as their own with Barack Obama calling her (Rhee) a wonderful superintendent.” Who knows why Barack supported Michelle Rhee so effusively?

Whatever President Barack Obama’s reasoning for this national shout-out, the million dollar question is why would a president support a chancellor when Rhee only “offered pleasing but implausible claims, while saying next to nothing about educational policy.” (Daily Howler) Does Barack Obama still praise Rhee given that her 5 year education plan lacks any substantive educational reform other than to rid DC schools of a significant share of its educational work force through terminations and buy-outs thereby creating a revolving door at-will work force?

Many think Rhee’s incredulous claims of raising her former students scoring on the 13th percentile on standardized testing to the 90th percentile in her short lived teaching career were simply pleasing anecdotes that still cannot be substantiated. Rhee by her own admission suffered during her first year and so did her students. It has been reported that in Rhee’s second year she got better. Would Barack Obama have given Rhee an endorsement if he had known that she didn’t afford DC’s probationary teachers and teaching fellows the same opportunity she was given to improve as a teacher? Did the president know that Rhee fired approximately 70 probationary teachers arbitrarily last year without regard to their 'Meets and Exceeds Expectations" annual performance evaluations? Did Barack just turn a blind eye all in the name of politics ?

Would Barack Obama knowingly approve of a so called reformist like Rhee who failed to implement a city-wide mentor program for all new teachers as well as failed to offer regular and consistent assistance to struggling teachers like the peer assistance and review programs provided in the Washington-metro suburbs ?
Does the president actually think it is okay for DC's school chancellor Rhee to sign off on the terminations of 250 DC teachers

even though some teachers were not given annual performance evaluations,

even though some teachers were not rated according to the appropriate curriculum standards ,

even though some teachers were targeted for termination in order to meet a city-wide quota,

even though some teachers had not yet completed their 2 year fellows program

and just because some were probationary teachers ?

I thought that our president believed in the American way of justice and liberty for all. You mean Barack doesn’t support the right to due process and a right to an appeals process for public employees unjustly terminated ?

Some say that Barack was only straddling the fence between the Joel Klein/Michelle Rhee types and labor unions . I’m not so sure because our president’s actions speak louder than words. Is this change we can believe in? Coming Soon to a city near you !

Posted by The Washington Teacher. Quotes courtesy of The Daily Howler.


Anonymous said...

Magnificent post Candi! Rhee's destructive designs don't have a chance against fighters for teachers and the public schools like you. Like all bullies, Rhee will quit under your blows for truth and justice. You will soon dance on her letter of resignation.

Kings said...

Obama hasn't said anything about Rhee since the debate, before he was elected.

I don't think that's an accident.

Give him a break - he was just a victim of her PR machine at the time - as many people have been.

The Washington Teacher said...

My hater club has a problem that I initially spelled Barack Obama's name wrong.

As I have stated over & over again, I do make mistakes especially since I don't have a second set of eyes or an editor to review my work.

I offer no apologies for not being perfect. ;--) The corrections have been noted.

Anonymous said...

Barack dropped the ball on this one. It's going to come back and haunt him "Big Time"

The Washington Teacher said...


I hear your point. Perhaps Obama was a victim but somehow that's not acceptable to me. I do believe that politicians owe it to us to first do their homework before speaking publicly on a matter they know little about.

Anonymous said...

Maybe President Obama confused Hate We Can Believe in with Change We Can Believe In? Barack started cheering once he heard his slogan never realizing Michelle "Terminator" Rhee had altered his message.

Anonymous said...

I survived and thrived during Reagan, Bush I, Bush II and even Clinton only to be fired a few months in the Adminstration of an African American President. Politics or something deeper at work? Is Michelle Rhee change we can believe in?

NYC Educator said...

I don't think Obama deserves a break, particularly after having appointed Duncan, who unquestioningly believes the propaganda of demagogues like Bloomberg, and probably Rhee too. He did campaign on being supportive of charters and merit pay, but I don't recall him saying anything about making federal money contingent on charter caps.

He's simply awful on education, buying into the dreams of privatizers everywhere. The only defense, really, for those of us who voted for him, is that he was running against McCain, who was not only worse on education, but on virtually everything else as well.

Kings said...

Name one positive mention or one mention of any kind that Obama has made about rhee since the election. I'd like to see it.

I do recall that two minutes after he made a speech saying "teacher buy in" was needed for any reform effort that an announcement of teacher listening sessions went up on the DCPS website. (Turque reported it) It didn't list any times at first - I think because it was a brand new idea and they just wanted to get something on the website to suck up to Obama.

Candi - the fact that he called her a superintendent shows he didn't know much about her.

If he had said something recently, this would be news. But this happened months ago and he's shown no support for her since.

He is a community organizer and I'm sure he recognizes a community DISorganizer when he sees one.

Anonymous said...

Obama does not deserve any breaks and neither does his wanna be clone Fenty. They are not supportive of teachers and public schools. Fenty believes that most dc teachers live in Md or Va. He might be right--however, we have plenty of family members in the district who cannot wait to cast their votes against him.


Kings said...

Obama has not said a word about Fenty either. This is not an accident.

Obama knows he's a clown.

Anonymous said...

I heard a hilarious quote from the President today. He said "we provided for the stimulus money so that teachers, fire fighters and so on wouldn't be fired!'

I think that was the last nail in Rhee's coffin. She's obviously not reading from the same playbook and I hope Fenty heard it also.

Anonymous said...

an excellent read :


Anonymous said...

Ending the mandates on Pl 107-110, positive change we believe in ! Public Education under the Obama administration is sinking all over the US ! What a shame !Why is NCLB still in effect ?

Anonymous said...

I don't understand what has happen to the unity among DC teachers. It seems as if we don't stand for anything. We have given all of our rights and power to Michelle Rhee. It seems as if we are back in slavery. To keep a job, we have hush mouths concerning all the things that she has done to affect the teachers and students in DC. All the teachers in DC should come together and take charge over our positions. This scare tactic that Michelle Rhee has used is trickling down to the principals. They are using the same tactic to get rid of teachers. Who is really benefiting from this RIF that is going on? The young teachers who are coming out of those programs. They are the ones keeping their jobs. This is worst than I have seen in all my years of teaching. Teachers, it's time to STAND! STAND TOGETHER.