Michelle Rhee Was Wrong

March 30, 2011  |  

By J. Smith

Michelle Rhee, the former Chancellor of D.C. schools, was praised for her visionary and innovative approach to education reform. Not even a full year after she and the mayoral administration that employed her left office, it is revealed that the innovative vision was actually the oldest trick in the book: cheating.

A new report discovered student testing irregularities at the Crosby S. Noyes Education Campus in D.C., where – under Rhee’s reign – the school and its administrators were deemed shining stars. According to The Daily Beast, the percentage of students at the school who reached proficient on D.C. tests soared from 10 percent to 58 percent in a two-year period. Parents eventually started complaining after the students’ test scores improved but their comprehension of basic mathematics had not.

Rhee became the popular kid in elite education circles after garnering media attention for encouraging governors to fight teachers’ unions and rely on standardized test scores to determine if a teacher would be fired or rewarded. Her “success” came from the alleged improvement of test scores in low-performing public schools. However, more than half of the schools under her foray were found to have an unusual number of erasures on reading and math tests.

“A computer analysis of erasures found a dramatic pattern of changing answers from wrong to right at Noyes. In one seventh grade classroom, students averaged 12.7 wrong-to-right erasures on the reading test, as compared to a district-wide average of less than 1,” The Daily Beast reports.

So not only was her mission a poor one, it was a highly praised and publicized mission that was executed under dubious conditions.  The goal was never to increase the student’s knowledge or the quality of learning in American classrooms, but to increase the number of correct answers in standardized tests. I would much rather her mess up while trying to effectively reform education than for her to mess up while viciously implementing a superficial method of improvement that helps absolutely no one.

So what did we learn today class? How to cheat in school.

Read more: Michelle Rhee’s Cheating Scandal

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