Ian Urbina and Sarah Wheaton,"Rhee, Washington Schools Chancellor, to Resign". October 13
GOODBYE, Failing DC Schools™, Hello AEI sinecure, Educational Consultant to NBC, and six-figure book deal; we'd like to see serial liar Rhee put her career where her lyin' lips have been, and sign up for seven years as a non-union teacher in a charter school. One which admits not just the identical depressed-socioeconomic-level students as its public school neighbors, filtered through parental interest, but the same percentage of learning and emotionally disabled, the same percentage of non-English speakers, and agrees to keep them there short of prison or death. Y'know, just like the real public schools do. (And good luck finding one.) Furthermore, we'd like to see her work her Education Miracle with hormonally-mazed eight graders, not 6 year-olds, on the grounds that that's the level where the US supposedly falls behind the rest of the world, also known as Scandinavia. We'd like to see her do it with independent observers there to make sure she isn't teaching to the test, and others making sure that Joel Klein isn't dumbing down the test itself. We wanna see her live on the income, make herself available 24/7 for student and parent calls, and have her pay cut at the whim of her boss, then be fired because she's accrued seniority. We still wouldn't believe her; that much is already settled. We just think it would be a good first step, like giving Eric Erickson and Jonah Goldberg fifteen-month hitches as forward artillery spotters, or putting a banker in prison for theft. You know: symbolic.
Comedy aside, why was Michelle Rhee's proboscis in the DC mayor's race in the first place? For the sake of the children? And having made that decision, and lost, how does she come to refuse to resign, as any half-honorable hack would've?
The first sports hero I ever chose for myself--I was a baseball fanatic from the cradle, but So's My Old Man--was the great Kansas miler Jim Ryan. He's the reason I became a track and field man. I've seen the start of the Indianapolis 500 from the pits. I saw Maris and Mantle hit back-to-back home runs in '61. My school was the last to win the NCAA Men's Basketball championship undefeated, and the Colts won a Super Bowl. And nothing has ever matched the excitement of just warming up in the infield before a dual meet, or hearing the breath go out of a guy as you passed him on the stretch of a quarter he though he had won. And there's not a record in the books now that isn't tainted, and all because nobody said anything while obvious cheats grabbed the glory. Just win, baby, and no thought for tomorrow. A whole generation of baseball stars won't be in the Hall. Lance Armstrong, who would've been a great and inspiring story, will instead be covered in chess for eternity. Just win.
And apparently no one under forty knows any different, and everyone over forty is too corrupt or conflicted to say anything. Joel Klein is a cheap political hatchet-man who either ran a con game or doesn't know one when he sees it; Michelle Rhee's accomplishments are writ in vapor. They're just the latest mouthpieces for a scam that's been going on since Brown, and which, in the past few decades, has found union-bashing more profitable than tightening the nuts and bolts of local educational systems. But they don't get called on it, even after the fact, even when they lose. We know teachers, or their unions, are not the problem with education; we know there's not a single problem to correct, or a single goal to reach; we know we couldn't reach it if there was. The whole thing's bullshit. It's not the first time somebody's tried to sell the stuff, but I'll be goddamned if I remember so many people being convinced they're eating Tootsie Rolls.
Anyway, so long, Michelle. I wish I could say Goodbye.