Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Rhee calls union-busting legislature "courageous"

Michelle Me Rhee, the former D.C. school chancellor and darling of Republican governors, is taking on education reform yet again. Rhee recently spoke in Memphis before the education committee members of the Southern Legislative Conference.

Rhee picked an interesting place to speak about the importance of quality education. Memphis City Schools have laid off 150 teachers in the past month, including 46 teachers recruited last year. The Tennessee Legislature voted earlier this year to end collective bargaining for teachers. They also attempted to pass school vouchers, which passed in the Senate but failed in the House. Rhee praised the legislature for its “aggressive and courageous laws.”

Rhee told the committee that in the past she believed “vouchers weren't good and you shouldn't even discuss them.”

Rhee went on to become a staunch supporter of the school voucher movement, largely funded by wealthy privatization supporters, like the DeVos family, who hide behind astro-turf organizations that attack teachers, unions and public schools.

In her speech, Rhee also said that to turn around education, kids need to stop being rewarded, regardless of their achievement:
“My two girls play soccer. They suck at soccer. But you would never guess that if you went into their rooms. There are trophies and medals everywhere.”
Rhee's daughters, who were in the audience, cringed.

Rhee is currently denying allegations of widespread cheating on standardized tests during her watch in D.C. The District's inspector general is currently investigating. Under Rhee's chancellorship, in 2008, more than half of D.C. schools were flagged for high rates of wrong-to-right erasures. USA Today reported in one school, Noyes Education Campus, the number of erasures were so high that the odds of winning the Powerball were greater than the erasures occurring by chance.

A+ effort.