Education Reformer Michelle Rhee tells Connecticut: You Suck!

66 Comments

First Governor Malloy proposed the most anti-teacher, anti- union “education reform” bill of any Democratic governor in the nation.

While minor changes were made, the final bill was touted as a major victory for the corporate reformers.  It promoted the expansion of charter schools and took a major step forward in the effort to turn our public schools into testing factories.

The day after the bill became a public act, Governor Malloy was the guest of honor at the home of Jonathan Sackler, Connecticut’s leading financial backer of “education reform” advocacy efforts in the state.

Sackler and Malloy’s Commissioner of Education formed Achievement First, Inc. the large charter school management company that owns twenty charter schools in Connecticut and New York. Sackler then went on to form a variety of state and national education reform organizations.

The event, a fundraiser for Malloy’s Prosperity for Connecticut political action committee was the largest grossing event Malloy has had to date, bringing in over $41,000.

Nearly all the donors were connected to Achievement First, ConnCAN, ConnAD, 50-CAN or one of the national charter school organizations.  The Chief Operating Officer of Michelle Rhee’s organization, StudentsFirst, was among the donors.

See the Wait, What? post on Malloy’s “Education Reform” fundraiser here: http://jonathanpelto.com/2013/01/02/malloy-affiliated-political-action-committee-cashes-in-on-education-reform-bill/

Now, StudentsFirst has released what they are calling their “first-ever State Policy Report Card.”

And Rhee and her organization have given Connecticut a grade of D+

Despite having one of the finest public education systems in the nation, Rhee says Connecticut should follow the lead of states like Louisiana and Florida which got grades of B.

Louisiana?

Pick any indicator and THE LAST THING CONNECTICUT should want to do is follow the lead of Louisiana

How about 8th Grade Reading?

Take a look at the NAEP National Test results:

Connecticut’s low income students score higher than the state-wide average for all students in Louisiana. 

Percent of Connecticut students at Goal 8th Grade Reading
ALL 83%
WHITE 91%
BLACK 66%
LATINO 66%
LOW INCOME 68%

 

Percent of Louisiana students at Goal 8th Grade Reading
ALL 66%
WHITE 78%
BLACK 52%
LATINO 63%
LOW INCOME 57%

 

We want to follow the lead of Louisiana?

StudentsFirst brags, “Unlike other education report cards, ours doesn’t look at test scores or teacher performance, but focuses solely on whether state laws are giving schools the tools to do the best job for our kids.”

The best laws that give our schools the tools to do the best job for our students?

Michele Rhee and StudentsFirst have FINALLY taken off their masks and are showing themselves for who they are.

This isn’t about our students!

This is about destroying unions, promoting charter schools and privatizing public education in the United States.

You can find Rhee’s “Connecticut Policy Report Card” here:  http://reportcard.studentsfirst.org/state-detail?state=Connecticut&utm_medium=email&utm_source=StudentsFirst&utm_content=Get+the+grade+Find+out+how+well+STATENAMEyour+state+is+doing+on+everything+from+education+spending+to+school+choice&utm_campaign=20130107ReportCardLaunch&source=20130107ReportCardLaunch

And the full report here:

http://edref.3cdn.net/9e8505b2c4ad5ec0e8_u6m6ikky8.pdf

And for two very different views of Michele Rhee, compare this New York Times piece to this PBS-Frontline piece:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/07/education/studentsfirst-issues-low-ratings-on-school-policies.html?hpw

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/education-of-michelle-rhee/

 

  • Jonathan Kantrowitz

    40 years ago I was teaching in Bridgeport – a student from my low achieving class transferred to Louisiana – and was skipped a grade! Things apparently haven’t changed much since.

    Michele is Rheediculous!

  • Linda174

    The Rheeject’s school rating measures are not based on quality, such as: educational programs, teaching, learning, and student outcomes.

    Her measures are compliance ratings-based on a state’s willingness to succumb to her unproven and damaging reforms: bust unions, degrade teachers, get rid of collective bargaining, create teacher churn and keep salaries low, add vouchers (or the new term – opportunity scholarships), tie test scores to a teacher’s worth, charterize, privatize, etc.

    She is following the ALEC playbook and she is their mule.

    Remember when she spoke about putting kids first and not the adults.

    Seems like her “advocacy group” has become exactly what she says she wanted to fix.

    Keeping privatizers, billionaires, dillettantes and eduvultures needs in mind is all about students, right?

    This is so much better than developing lifelong career teachers, otherwise known as a union thugs.

    • suesylvester

      This gets so old. IF Teachers had been historically using the Unions appropriately to clean up the educational industry then we would not be in this failing mess now. Their Union protections have been just that…protections for even the worst offending, ineffective teachers…and good teachers never stood up and used the Union properly to clean up their own industry…..so we all paid the price but no one more than our children.

      • Linda174

        So you say Laurie Lima, aka, SS…so you say.

        Capital prep didn’t work out either, hmmmm?

  • Linda174

    Funny how test scores don’t matter when they don’t fit your rheeformy agenda.

  • suesylvester

    Rhee was generous with a d+ CT schools deserve lower than that. I am glad someone has come out and said it. Thank you Rhee.

    • Magister

      I thoroughly agree, but I think that not complying with Rhee’s agenda is something positive and I find poor scores from her reassuring.

  • JMC

    Beautiful and brilliant work still once again, Jonathan! You have found and published the truth, and it shall set us free. Charlatans like Michele Rhee are finding out that Connecticut will not be the pushover they believe it is. I await with eagerness the hour that our state’s AG will decide he’s not Malloy’s house pet and will grow a pair.

  • Querculus

    With SB24 in place, corporate-style education reformer Vallas standing astride Bridgeport, and charter school administrator Stefan Pryor holding the reins, it’s surprising that Rhee’s rating isn’t higher. If we rate only a D+, I truly hate to imagine what it must be like in states where her ALEC-aligned agenda has advanced further! And I shudder to think their plan is for it to become WORSE here!

  • http://www.facebook.com/gabrown2 Gloria A. Brown

    Sue Sylvester:
    No matter how many times we tell you, you still don’t get it. Unions don’t protect incompetent teachers. Any administrator (and BOE) can fire a teacher if he/she has the political will to do it and does it right. The union will represent the teacher in the proceedings, but there has to be evidence that the teacher wasn’t doing his/her job. No one wants a bad teacher in a classroom-but the union doesn’t hire the teachers and it certainly isn’t our job to fire them. But many Boards find it easier to just blame the unions and say we can’t do anything because the union will protect the teacher.

    I was President of my union for 15 years. When there was evidence that a teacher wasn’t doing his job, I didn’t block the administration from doing their job; I just made sure the legal process was followed. When a teacher was being treated unfairly or the administrator had no just cause to fire the teacher, I used all my effort to make sure the teacher was given the opportunity to keep his job. Again, following all legal proceedings.

    • Linda174

      Don’t waste your time…she is not who she says she is and has one axe to grind.

    • Guest

      Until 2007 the only thing in the Union Office in CT was a secretary. No Mam…you don;t get it. Maybe it is because the Teachers Union is predominately female….if this were the pipe fitters union and that guy down there was falling down on the job do you think another worker would take the hit, look the other way or ALLOW HIMSELF TO BE IDENTIFIED AS PART OF THE PROBLEM MAM? NO he would call his Union Rep and demand a change in worker or a change of his own job location.

    • suesylvester

      And yes…collusion and secrecy is a huge aspect of why our schools are failing. The educational system is a worldwide embarrassment!

      • http://www.facebook.com/gabrown2 Gloria A. Brown

        I’ve had enough of your bullying and emotional abuse toward teachers, “M’am”. I choose to walk away!

        • Guest

          Shocking. A teacher who throws up her hands and walks away claiming to be “victimized”. Isn’t that the theme of all teachers? The educational industry has been a sub standard employer for so long that a Governor gets on tv to cajole teachers…”all you have to do is show up and tenure is yours” and no one finds that statement the least bit shocking?

          Go ahead walk away…as long as you get to keep your paycheck right?

          • Linda174

            Is this Sue or Laurie? You keep changing your handle?

          • suesylvester

            Thanks you two. It always helps the cause when two or three teachers publicly expose their unyielding temperaments, inability to listen, learn, thoughtfully consider and accept others. Thank you.

          • msavage

            I’m not a teacher, Sue, Laurie, guest. But I have children in the public school system and have the opportunity to talk to many teachers on a regular basis. Do you ever try to engage with teachers on a human basis, Laurie? It sounds like you had a bad experience with a teacher/coach. I’m sorry about that. There are bad teachers, just as there are bad auto mechanics, store managers, waitresses, lawyers, politicians–you name it. But there are many, many more very dedicated teachers who care very much about the children they work with. Vilifying all teachers for your experience with one is simply misguided and dangerous. I just attended a dedication this weekend for a gymnasium at Coventry High School. They named their gym after Matt Hurlock, a teacher and coach who died at the age of 39 after a bout with cancer. Ever heard of him, Laurie? Google him. He touched countless kids in the short time he taught in that town. He will go on touching kids for years into the future. Was he exceptional? Maybe. But there are so many teachers like him out there, Laurie. Teachers who love kids and want to touch their lives in a positive way. Are there bad ones? Yes. Look around you–we are a society in decay. There are bad people everywhere, taking advantage of weaknesses in a weakened society. Of course of few of them will manage to find their way into teaching. Hopefully, their colleagues will identify them and weed them out. But you do not go into teaching because you want glory, recognition, money or power. You just don’t. Generally, the sociopaths and narcissists of the world aren’t going to be drawn to teaching because they know it won’t provide them with what they crave. I would argue that the few that end up in the profession are easily identifiable by their peers. Or they go into administration. :)

            Please, Laurie. Stop viewing all teachers through the lens of your experience with one person.

          • http://www.facebook.com/gabrown2 Gloria A. Brown

            Well said!

          • sharewhut

            I had multiple personalities. But we sat down to discuss it over coffee and agreed we were all right.

          • http://www.facebook.com/gabrown2 Gloria A. Brown

            Just quoting the advice you give on your blog, Ma’m.

          • Linda174

            Funny..hehehehehe

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tommy-Burns/712565941 Tommy Burns

            Teach for two weeks—you coward–you have no idea te magic we perform every day–you would quit the first day-

    • Guest

      And you know what Mam…you cannot use yourself as a yardstick. If you were great take the credit for it….but it does not mean its the norm because obviously it is not.

      • http://www.facebook.com/gabrown2 Gloria A. Brown

        It is the norm. Most teachers work hard and do their jobs well. It’s too bad somebody pissed you off, and now you have to discredit our entire education system because of it!

        • suesylvester

          If it were the norm our educational system would not be failing and the fact that you and other teachers cannot process that is truly mind blowing. Who would you like to blame next for our failing educational system, do you think a cop or fireman would work arm and arm with a failing employee AND NOT SEE NOR SAY ANYTHING? I mean really M’am. I am so incredibly embarrassed!

          • Linda174

            Six female teachers worked “arm and arm” to save their students on December 14th. They were the first first responders. We are so incredibly embarrassed by you Laurie.

          • suesylvester

            How insensitive, shameful and crass to use the loss of their lives to qualify the status of all teachers and their desires and agenda’s.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tommy-Burns/712565941 Tommy Burns

            Yeah –18 year old kids just say ” I wanna be a teacher so I can make $40000 and skate through life–nah–I don’t think so—but if you would like to teach for a semester and show us how easy it is–let me know and I will make it happen–T

          • Magister

            Crime and fires have not been eliminated 100%. I guess cops and firefighters are failing too.

          • suesylvester

            Are firefighters setting the fires…are cops committing the crimes?

          • JMC

            Do you think teachers are criminals, Sue?

          • Linda174

            Evidently because of something she alleges happened years ago at one high school with one coach (see links posted – athletic business…) all teachers are bad, all teachers are selfish, all teachers are pedophiles, etc. evidently there was a judgement against her for multiple thousands for defaming said teacher. Here on the Pelto blog she has many aliases: Laurie Lima originally who morphed into Sue Sylvester who then became the generic guest. Beware and be aware. She will have a hissy fit, insult and slander at the same time that she is shocked when others point out her hypocrisy. So yes, WE are ALL criminals according to the new handle, GUEST. Try not to upset…you may be next.

          • suesylvester

            “Looking ahead to a new legislative session, state Sen. Anthony Williams recently unveiled his agenda – which includes a proposal to end an educational phenomenon called “passing the trash” – and discussed several other items that will have a major impact on Philadelphia.” Pennsylvania has the most foundational educational reform and child/student protection laws in effect and on the table. CT is waiting for its own Sandusky before it moves….

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tommy-Burns/712565941 Tommy Burns

            That was probably the best coach in the nation–who played a large role in numerous kids lives–except for the one quitter–”Sue”–
            Time to get in the real game Sue–

          • Magister

            Sometimes, but sensible people understand that those who do are not representative of their respective professions.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tommy-Burns/712565941 Tommy Burns

            What failing education system-we are still #1–although some corporate take over artists would like to say we aren’t –then why do all the Kings, Princes and Presidents of other countries send their families to learn here–

        • Linda174

          Gloria,

          Do not engage anymore….this is all you need to know. Send your email to Jon and he will send to me or vice versa. I may still have your email. I will check.

          http://www.athleticbusiness.com/articles/article.aspx?articleid=2892&zoneid=28

          • http://www.facebook.com/gabrown2 Gloria A. Brown

            Got it. Just get overly passionate sometimes. :)

          • Linda174

            I know…I get it. We just need to stay “warm and fuzzy” like SS/Laurie.

          • Guest

            Yeah cuz that is what children think teachers are “warm and fuzzy”

    • Guest

      Of the “catty and nastiness” I see from “teachers” on blogs like this I am not surprized our schools are failing and our children don’t want to be there. It is definately a gender thing…if Teachers were predominately male we would have much fewer problems. Do you see cops doing this, firemen, electricians, plumbers…no just a bunch of whiney, nasty women. THERE ITS BEEN SAID.

      • Querculus

        What a sexist comment!!!

        Also, less important, but definitely is definitely spelled with an “i.” And it’s has an apostrophe. And again, your sexist comment gets the big red pen treatment, too. No surprize there!

        • Guest

          I don;t really care that its seems sexist it is the truth. Have you ever seen a predominately male industry behave this way? In business when you have a system of people that is failing (like the public educational system) to correct it you build another system and when the new system is up and running you shut the old system down. Some day there will be no public schools and the schools earned it. IF at a time when we could have made direct corrections we had with no resistance AND teachers had historically used their own unions to keep the industry clean of bad (ineffective) abusive, predatory teachers….this would not be happening but it is. I just wish it would be accepted. I want to amend this BECAUSE the only other industry who does this that IS male dominated is POLITICS. Fighting like women….

          • Querculus

            You’re really stuck on this unfortunate stereotype of women, but thank you for your willingness to debate your point further.

            I’m a teacher who IS “making direct corrections.” It is only through the protections of the union that I am able to stand up, speak out, and teach in a way that is not subservient to profit motives.

            Here’s the problem with what you are saying:

            You are advocating that we throw the sheep to the wolves just because there is a small proportion of lazy shepherds in the ranks.

            And yes, the corporate profiteers are indeed wolves and will cook the books and test numbers to keep voters and parents thinking that their kids are getting a quality education. When the jig is up, they’ll close up shop and take their profits with them.

          • Linda174

            Q,

            Predatory (a key word and a common theme) equals this:

            http://www.athleticbusiness.com/articles/article.aspx?articleid=2892&zoneid=28

          • suesylvester

            Actually Mam, I like this one from the local paper.

            On the evening of September 28,2006 there was a meeting held between the parents of the girls swim team and the coaching staff of East Hartford High School.

            This meeting had no agenda nor focus. Ms Bojko, teacher and head coach for the girls swim team, was insulated by a group of people that were misled, misinformed, well intended maybe but ignorant of the real issues at hand.

            Over the course of the first eight weeks of the girls swim season there was an abuse of power exercised by Ms Bojko that has gone unaddressed. The most glaring of these offenses was the “rules” that Ms Bojko created that drove innocent girls to quit the team. Add to that Ms Bojko’s refusal to reinstate these swimmers/divers after they reconsidered their position. Ms Bojko then amended her own “rules” to allow one athlete to return to the team.

            This amendment came when Ms Bojko realized that the abuse of her power had shifted the girls swim team into a losing season, as she no longer had any divers.

            When Ms Bojko amended her own rules she had a fundamental duty to suspend the initial ruling entirely and invite all the athletes that had left the team to return. It is called ethics.

            After two losing seasons, a reckless driving arrest and conviction (2007) and a DUI arrest and conviction (2008) Bojko resigned and made the decision to sue a parent for these failures, her Attorney Connecticut State Legislator Christopher Stone (East Hartford/Glastonbury) Her next DUI arrest and conviction came in 2010.

            We who are charged with the responsibility of guardian over our youth are allowed to make mistakes, in fact it is inherent to the job. The covering up or denial of our mistakes is specifically what stunts the growth of our youth. We as guardians over our youth have a fundamental duty to openly and without shame admit our mistakes and correct them. It is called honor.

            Raising our youth is a privilege, a dollar value cannot be placed on it. I, for one, am tired of hearing how low paying the jobs are that are youth affiliated. As a parent my only paycheck is adding a successful, community minded, honorable, ethical human being to our society. As it is a choice to be a parent, it is also a choice to have a youth affiliated career, stop using the lack of compensation as an excuse to sidestep accountability.

            Somewhere along the lines, we have developed a misguided and ever so silent believe that there is honor in supporting another human being who has made mistakes and cannot admit nor correct them. This is a lie to protect us from developing courage, this is a lie that insures that we will get the next favor we need, this is a lie that is political in nature. This is the greatest lie, we as a society, will ever tell ourselves.

            The next greatest lie is that we need the respect of each other to raise our youth successfully. We do not need the respect of each other, we need the respect of our youth.

            I have it, do you?

          • Linda174

            Insert the link to view the newspaper it came from. Also, is this an oped piece written by you and you are Laurie Lima, Sue S.?

          • suesylvester

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kVyyVnMUCIU One bad teacher effects the entire lives of many, many children…

          • JMC

            “affects”, not “effects”, Sue.

          • suesylvester

            Thank you for that correction

          • suesylvester

            For me Steve Perry is a great example…he had a fantastic “summer program” before he was a Principal and it was very very successful..then he became a Principal and started dealing with full time Union Protected Teachers…and guess what. Watch the video. He and I butted heads but in hindsight I think we were learning the same thing at the same time. IT;S THE TEACHERS….

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tommy-Burns/712565941 Tommy Burns

            Steve Perry is the biggest phony and empty suit I have ever seen in my 54 years on earth–he has absolutely nothing to offer in the educational realm–except his self serving, juvenile statements–I cant believe he has a job in education and I am embarrassed that he is in the same business I am– someone tell him to do something else–Tom

      • Linda174

        You went from Laurie Lima to Sue Sylvester to Guest….multiple personalities?

        • http://www.facebook.com/gabrown2 Gloria A. Brown

          Interesting that she chose “Sue Sylvester” as a name- such a bully!

          • Linda174

            And unloved, unhappy and crude.

          • Guest

            I am a Rhee fan…and she puts it well. “we wake up everyday knowing our children are getting a crappy education” When people are dealing with the educational system being subtle does not work and is a waste of time, breath and energy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/gabrown2 Gloria A. Brown

    A big F to Michelle Rhee- and it doesn’t stand for Failing!

    • Linda174

      See the report card on Rhee here:

      If we were updating the report card today, we would certainly give her an “F” for her position on school safety as well.
      Here are some of our comments below: Michelle Rhee has said that “cooperation, collaboration and consensus-building are way overrated.” She has an overriding belief in test scores despite numerous documented problems with standardized testing: “People say, ‘Well, you know, test scores don’t take into account creativity and the love of learning.’…I’m like, ‘You know what? I don’t give a crap.’”
      We recommended remedial education for Rhee, to spend more time studying what parents want for their children, and what research shows works to improve education. The report she put out today only reinforces our conviction that she needs to go back to school.

      http://nycpublicschoolparents.blogspot.com/2013/01/our-parent-report-card-for-michelle.html?m=1

  • Rob

    Jon,

    It’s not totally relevant to your post, but I wanted to share this blog with you and anyone else who might be interested:

    http://garyrubinstein.teachforus.org/

    The author is a 1991 TFA alum who’s still teaching. He presents thoughtful criticisms of TFA, charter schools, and other education reform groups. I started reading his posts an hour and a half ago and I still have the site open on another tab. It’s definitely something to add to your bookmark list.

    • jonpelto

      Great, great guy! Love his writing. Thanks for posting. Need to add him to my blog roll.

      Sent from my BlackBerry please excuss typos

    • Linda174

      Gary is great…..he has letters to several “reformers”. I believe he only got a response from one. An older post he wrote a while back is titled: Why I did TFA and why you shouldn’t…see here:

      http://garyrubinstein.teachforus.org/2011/10/31/why-i-did-tfa-and-why-you-shouldnt/

  • Magister

    A poor grade from Rhee is an indication that we’re doing something well. I hope we can upgrade to an F next time.

  • AM

    ConnCan must be miffed that Rhee’s report cards are a bigger joke than their own.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ajay.jain.5895 Ajay Jain

    The Voting Rights Act (VRA) must be upheld by the supreme court:

    The numerous despicable attempts to restrict voting made during the last election cycle are proof of that. Anyone who truly believes the VRA is obsolete needs to recognize, given last year’s voter suppression efforts, the Jim Crowe era is biding its time.

    Now even if you are dumb enough to believe that all is OK with the world and there are no reasons to have the voting rights act on the books. Then why are the the parties at opposite end’s on this? Why are the Republicans in America trying to keep people from the poles ?

    The argument is that VRA is discriminatory against Southern states to require them but not other states to seek pre-clearance for voting laws; I actually agree. The Voting Rights Act should require *ALL* states to seek pre-clearance. After what we’ve seen the GOP try to pass in states all across the nation prior to the last 2012 election, I see no reason this safeguard against voter suppression should be limited to just Southern states as suggested by VRA of 1965 but now should be expanded to apply to ALL 50 states.

    Ajay Jain

    [email protected]

    1209 Creekwood Drive

    Garland TX 75044-2421

    Phone 972-675-8178

    Mobile 214-207-9781

  • sandybeach

    It saddens me that so many people cannot see or accept that our children are not challenged academically- despite financial and cultural issues- public education is “dummied down” so others will keep up to the lowest of standards. As a nation- we seem to accept this as a standard- and it seems we are accepting the worst of teaching philosophys.
    America will never be the leader in education if we maintain this current philosophy- regardless of cultural or economic influence- we need to forge ahead- and put our children’s education first.