Wednesday, May 28, 2008

New Anti-Rhee blog

There's a new blog called Educational Rheeform that covers all things Chancellor Rhee related. With the tag line:
Dedicated to Providing Important Information About Michelle Rhee, Chancellor of DC Public Schools, Before She Destroys Public Education
I don't think its going to be the most flattering to the Chancellor.

UPDATE: DCist points out that the Anti-Rhee blog looks awfully similar to an anti Teach for America blog. Whoever runs the Educational Rheeform blog they appear to hail from the White Plains, NY region.

UPDATE2: The Rheeform folks respond in the comments.

5 comments:

rheeform said...

I am wondering why you would choose to discuss our location as opposed to the content of the site.

Nathan said...

1. The post does discuss the content of the site.

2. I added the update because, as DCist pointed out, the similarity of the Rheeform site and the anti TFA site is pretty remarkable. It is also interesting and newsworthy when someone from afar is focused on something so local.

Now if I may ask a couple of questions:

1. Are the Rheeform blog (http://rheeform.wordpress.com/) and anti AFT blog (http://debunktfa.wordpress.com/) related? Are they run by the same person / organization? If it is an organization, which organization?

2. Why the focus on Rhee from NY? Previous dealings with Teach for America? DC ex pat? Curiosity?

ed notes online said...

I don't run the blog but Rhee (and Alonso in Baltimore) come from the Joel Klein administration here in NYC and are strong advocates of his policies. We are current and former teachers and have witnessed first hand the path of destruction Klein's administration has visited on the school system and see Rhee and other acolytes around the nation as part of a massive move by private interests like Broad and Gates who back them to control urban public education for their own purposes.

It is ironic that the overwhelming majority of (white) school systems are run by elected school boards, but the urban poor are not deemed capable enough and their schools must submit to mayoral dictatorships.

If the major models - Chicago since 1995 and NYC since 2002 had shown any real results other then executing a political agenda and throwing enormous sums at private consultants and non-educators, we could at least consider they postiives and negatives. But here in NYC they have used manipulated stats and for a corporate minded operation, have exhibited an almost shockign degree of incompetency in almost every single thing that have tried to do, in the process, alienating probably the overwhelming majority of the teaching staff, almost the entire parent activist corps and even many principals.

rheeform said...

You certainly ask a great many questions.
I hope you have some patience for our answers.
The blogs are maintained by the same people.
We are public school teachers who are very concerned with certain trends that we see taking place in public education.
In New York we say, "What happens in DC education will happen shortly in New York, and vice a versa."
Hence some of the interest.
Most of the interest, however, stems from what we perceive to be a misguided and subsequently harmful use of organizations such as Teach for America. Although we believe that Teach for America was formed with the best of intentions, it is being used by certain interest groups for their own.
Placing inexperienced people into struggling schools may serve as a solution for a short period of time, but it is ultimately harmful to struggling students who desperately need teachers with experience. In addition, stability in relationships is very important to at-risk children; many of whom may not have stability in their personal lives. Having teachers who come and go frequently throughout their school experience is disheartening. We have seen this first hand, as the trend in New York City moves towards the hiring of alternatively certified teachers who are committed for a short time.
Upper level students often ‘joke’ with incoming freshmen-“Don’t get too used to your teachers. None of them will be here when you graduate.”
We have worked in an inner city school for several years and are certainly in agreement that changes need to be made.
However, politicians and media outlets rarely address the real problems that exist within inner city schools-namely inconsistent policies and low expectations of students. These policies and expectations come from those who are in charge of the system. Teachers become enormously frustrated over policies that force them to socially promote children with weak skills. In New York City, programs that are meant to address academic deficiencies are changed from year to year with unbelievable inconsistency. Very few are ever given a chance to work.
Much of the above mentioned is the result of the growing trend towards placing individuals with little or no educational experience in charge of school systems. As much as America loves the business model, a school can never be a business because children will never behave like commodities-as much as we would like them too.
A school is ultimately a community. In order to function, all stakeholders must have a say and be listened to. Individuals like Joel Klein and Michelle Rhee are discounting the important voices that need to be heard if true reform is to be made.

a NYC teacher said...

Someone I know who had trouble putting up a comment on this site asked me to send this in. Please forgive duplication if it occurs:

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Great explanation, Rheeform. I agree with your account and Norm's.

I wanted to add something to Norm's relating to the "teaching staff" mentioned in the last line.

The "teaching staff" employed when this non-educator chancellor took office 5 years ago has been decimated.

Deviously and dishonorably, he has nudged certified teachers to accept the institutionalized attacks on the contract and the questionable ethics promulgated in the Leadership Academy and elsewhere, or leave the system.

And he's gone about replacing what was a fairly heterogeneous workforce (age and ethnicity) with hordes of graduate students who are all at this early stage of their careers just learning how to teach. A surprising number of these are self-professed transients in our profession, and it is specifically not so surprising that a disproportionate number of them are not people of color.

So much for respecting labor, the profession and the population he pretends to serve.

Some say Rhee is worse.