Sunday, September 27, 2009

Michelle Rhee

The Washington Post Magazine launched a new look this week and chose Michelle Rhee as the cover story for their unveiling. She probably agreed to an interview with WP to repair her own look after the disastrous Time magazine cover featuring a stern looking Rhee wielding a broom.
After years of teaching The Crucible, I have a knee-jerk reaction to images of women with brooms... Ouch. Not good.
I took particular offense to the many witchy images of Hilary Clinton during her recent campaign, but after reading Rhee's mimicry of classroom teachers, making them sound like whiny complainers, I was inclined to see Rhee's portrait in the worst way.
She comes off a little better in this article.
Of course, she has a monumental job. It's clear that the white and middle class have abandoned the public schools of DC. Resurrecting schools that primarily serve impoverished children reveals the true extent of the charitable, dare I say Christian, inclinations of this nation.
You have to give Rhee props for trying. Too bad she chose to first lay all the blame for failure at the feet of the teachers, rather than including a public that continues to dole out a Darwinian justice.
Warren Buffet is quoted in the article. The captain of industry maintains that the only hope of reforming public schools lies in outlawing private schools.
Now there's a man who know the true root of the problem.
Money talks.


  1. You know, modern media tools and images are much more subtle than tying someone to a stake and rubbing two sticks together--but there's something about the concept of the witch that has not gone out of Western culture.

    I actually feel sorry for Michelle Rhee. So many great expectations resting on her bony shoulders. No single person can resurrect a once-great school system the size of Washington D.C.'s. You have to bring people on board, and she began by moving people in the opposite direction, polarizing the community.

    The Buffet quote surprised me--and made me think. It runs against the conventional wisdom: we've been saying that our diverse-choices system works, for more than a century. What would happen if we outlawed private schools? Interesting. Good post, Mary.

  2. Thanks for commenting Nancy. Yep. The Warren Buffet one was a new one on me too, and I've thought of it off and on all week. Move the invested parents into the mainstream and all boats will surely rise. Or, it'll be 1950 tracking all over again where we have layers of schools within schools. Hmmmm. of unintended consequences....