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Ginger Rutland on Michelle Rhee-Defending the Indefensible

Much as she did when reporters on her own paper revealed mayoral candidate Kevin Johnson to be a slumlord, Bee editor Ginger Rutland now feels it necessary in the wake of the Frontline episode to rehabilitate Michelle Rhee's image. In spite of allegations of widespread cheating, a campaign of humiliating teachers and administrators and wholesale closings of schools rather than attempting to improve them, Rhee gets a pass because of her "no excuses" philosophy for education achievement for children in poverty. But as Rhee and StudentsFirst revealed in the organization's recently released state report card, her focus is not on student achievement. Several of the states she gave an "F" to including Massachusetts have high student test scores while states like Louisiana got as "A" in spite of having very low student test scores; rather, her focus is on a slew of legislative initiatives.
     There is no evidence that studenta are helped to achieve by ending collective bargaining or promoting vouchers, but those are two of the goals of her organization. That's because  privatizing public education so corporations can cash in on kids is the real end game of her lobbying efforts. More testing just means more money for Pearson Education. More on line learning  means more money for Microsoft. The expansion of vouchers and charter schools means that tax dollars and public money are being spent by people with no accountability to the public. Who elected the board of the charter school in your neighborhood? The answer is usually--no one. With Michelle Rhee and so many others involved in the "education reform" business,  it's no longer about student achievement. It's not about the kids, it's about the money.

Ginger Rutland: Michelle Rhee wasn't perfect, but had the right focus on students as D.C. chancellor
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