Holes in the Case against Michelle Rhee; Too Many Signs of Success to Dismiss Former D.C. Chancellor's Achievement

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), April 12, 2011 | Go to article overview

Holes in the Case against Michelle Rhee; Too Many Signs of Success to Dismiss Former D.C. Chancellor's Achievement


Byline: Paul E. Peterson, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

With states from New Jersey to Indiana searching for ways to modify teacher compensation and teacher tenure laws, the pioneering work by Michelle Rhee, former chancellor of schools for the District of Columbia, has come under increasing scrutiny.

Not only have newspapers claimed cheating at a few specific schools in the District, but two separate studies have sought recently to cast doubt on the distinctiveness of the gains achieved by D.C. students during Ms. Rhee's tenure in office - one by Alan Ginsburg, a former director of policy and program studies at the Department of Education, the other by a committee constituted by the National Research Council (NRC).

According to Mr. Ginsburg, Ms. Rhee was no more effective than her predecessors. Not surprisingly, his argument has been picked up quickly by American Federation of Teachers President Randy Weingarten, who asserts in a Wall Street Journal interview that Ms. Rhee had a record that is actually no better than the previous two chancellors. The NRC committee says gains in the District were no greater than those in 10 other big-city school districts for which comparable information is available.

Where's the evidence that Ms. Rhee was no better than her predecessors? And that other cities are doing just as well?

In my report, released today by Education Next, I put to one side data from the District's own assessments now subject to cheating allegations. Instead, I consider the performance of District students on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), a low-stakes test for which incentives to cheat are minimal, as the performance of no student, teacher or school is identified and about which no cheating allegations have been raised.

Mr. Ginsburg and the NRC committee also rely upon the same NAEP data, but neither excludes (when possible) the scores of students attending charter schools beyond Ms. Rhee's control, and Mr. Ginsburg, when comparing Ms. Rhee with predecessors, does not adjust for national trends in performance. Once the data are corrected and adjusted for national trends, it becomes evident that during the Rhee years, fourth-grade students gained at a pace twice that seen under her predecessors in both reading and math. The gains in math by eighth-grade students were nearly as much, although no eighth-grade reading gains are detected.

Gains are not enormous in any one year, but over time, they add up. In 2000, the gap between the District and the nation in fourth-grade math was 34 points. Had students gained as much every year between 2000 and 2009 as they did during the Rhee era, that gap would have been just 7 points in 2009. Three more years of Rhee-like progress and the gap would have been closed. In eighth-grade math, the gap in 2000 was 38 points. Had Rhee-like progress been made over the next nine years, the gap in 2009 would have been just 14 points, with near closure in 2012. In fourth-grade reading, the gap was 30 points in 2003; if Rhee-like gains had taken place over the next six years, the gap in 2009 would have been cut in half.

But perhaps the NRC report makes a more persuasive case. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Holes in the Case against Michelle Rhee; Too Many Signs of Success to Dismiss Former D.C. Chancellor's Achievement
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.