Questions about the StudentsFirst state-policy report card

As this post is published, StudentsFirst head Michelle Rhee is speaking on the Morning Joe show, touting her newly-released state-policy report card. A few practical questions, and we’ll see if any journalist decides to be a journalist as opposed to a stenographer:

  • Is there any research supporting the preferred policies that StudentsFirst is using as a benchmark for what they say is student-friendly?
  • Has the report met the criteria I defined for such reports in February 2010?

I write this blog entry on Sunday afternoon, having no clue what Monday morning will bring. Maybe I will be surprised–maybe StudentsFirst will bring more to the show than PR. We’ll see.

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2 responses to “Questions about the StudentsFirst state-policy report card”

  1. Brian Ford

    I don’t know about this specific case, but the line that runs from Bill Gates to the New Teacher Project through Michelle Rhee and around Arne Duncan is not concerned with research. StudentsFirst is the worst, which is quite an achievement. Take, for instance, Michelle Rhee at oprah.com: “The data shows if [children] have three highly effective teachers in a row versus three ineffective teachers in a row, it can literally change their life trajectory.” There is nothing to support this at all. Rhee wants to start ‘a revolution’ by embracing corporate models; she attacks tenure, saying it is a job for life, when it is really a set of due process rights that unions were able to gain for their members when people were unwilling to take teaching jobs because you could be assaulted on the job.
    Oprah, however, is worse. She does not question Michelle Rhee’s characterization of tenure, but reinforces it: “after two years you have a job for life and you can’t be fired?” Then she appeals to the audience, “ Who does that?” And what does Michelle Rhee tell us? “I’m going to start a revolution. I’m going to start a movement in this country on behalf of the nation’s children. [Robust applause] Because our country’s education system is broken. It is failing our children.” Oprah adds, “Shame on us,” adding later in tandem with Ms. Rhee, that the lack of academic achievement is “not because of the child, it is because of the failing school system.” (Rhee on Oprah, December 6, 2010.)

  2. Manu

    I often wonder why the reoefmrrs of public education seem to be able to continue siphoning off public school funds unabated. They set up schools with cherry picked students, while leaving out special needs students, students struggling with behavior issues, English language learners, etc. They are able to cast aside those students who inconveniently interfere with their agenda, while they count their profits, spin invalid test scores, and bamboozle the public. What is their legacy?Certainly something or someone is protecting them.Both the privateers and the protectors remind me of the greedy, self-serving character Scrooge, from the Charles Dickens’ classic, A Christmas Carol . The most striking part of this story occurs when the second spirit visits Scrooge and under the spirit’s robe are poverty stricken children, a boy and girl, who are dirty, hungry and cold, named Ignorance and Want . I think of those children when I hear of another public school being privatized. How many unfortunate students are cast aside while money is drained from their public school? I wonder how their future is impacted. How long will the impact of poverty on children continue to be left out of the discussion by educational decision-makers?Imagine a remake of the book or movie where a charter school CEO is shown, by three spirits, Public Schools PAST (before they got their hands on it), Public Schools PRESENT (the current state of education because of their deeds), and Public Schools YET TO COME (what the future holds for public school education if they aren’t stopped).Hmmm Who should play Scrooge?