Sunday, November 11, 2012

Michelle Rhee's Policies Proven a Rousing Success

I was overjoyed yesterday to see the Washington Post trumpeting a new report by the New Teacher Project trumpeting Michelle Rhee's success as Chancellor of the Washington D.C. schools.  We've always known Ms. Rhee was a force of nature since she first appeared on our radar when she founded the New Teacher Project back in 1997. 

As Chancellor, Mr. Rhee was something of a lightening rod for controversy, but even the Washington Post found the report compelling despite the New Teacher Project currently having a contract with the DC schools, many of the Washington D.C. teachers coming from the New Teacher Project, Michelle Rhee running the project for 10 years, and current Washington school chief Kaya Henderson being a former Vice-President of the New Teacher Poject.   Frankly, that's good enough for me.

In 1954, my grandfather Francis was one of the scientists who contributed to the groundbreaking report entitled “A Frank Statement to Cigarette Smokers”.  The study was sponsored by the Tobacco Institute and was widely distributed in newspapers nationwide.   It was based on extensive research and questioned research findings implicating smoking as a cause of cancer, promised consumers that their cigarettes were safe, and pledged to support impartial research to investigate allegations that smoking was harmful to human health.  This study was backed up by many more tobacco funded studies that showed smoking was safe.  Unfortunately, people wouldn't listen and cigarettes today are considered unhealthy.  Sure, there is a small chance if you smoke that you will wind up in a cancer ward, but there's a certainly you will wind up in flavor country.

Even now, when Exxon spends $16 million of its own money to prove that global warming and climate change is a hoax, do people think them?  No, they accuse them of trying to stifle science.  Who better to fund the science that proves pollution or tobacco or Michelle Rhee's policies safe than the people most involved with them?

The New Teacher Project report found the 11% of the teachers in high poverty schools receive bonus pay under the new system compared to 42% of the teachers in low poverty schools.   This doesn't surprise me in the least.  We all know that education is the best way out of poverty, so obviously these students receiving a poor education are dooming these families.  Isn't it time to put students first?

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