The Daily Howler, by former teacher Bob Somerby, can wear you out with detailed analysis of school issues. He’s unpredictable as hell. He’s a liberal, I’d guess you’d say, but he rips both sides, including today when he debunks a lot of shoddy liberal reporting on the state of government in Wisconsin. But my highlight today is his extended report on the failure to the media to debunk, until years later, the dishonest account of school “reformer” Michelle Rhee’s own teaching experience. Rhee, as you know, will be in Little Rock Feb. 25 with fiance, former basketballer and charter school advocate Kevin Johnson to reprise their show on the glories of charter schools. Luke Gordy and his employers at the cashroots Billionaire Boys Club, poised to get a legislator fertilized by them to expand charters here, will be in the front row. I suggest they read Somerby and ask Rhee about it.
The music men have always been with us; Rhee and [Wendy] Kopp are a pair of real beauts. Today, they have the power of a billionaire class behind them; they’re backed by the billionaires Bloomberg/Gates/Broad, while career climbers kiss this trio’s feet and recite their preferred talking-points These billionaires may be well-intentioned (or not), but they rarely show the slightest sign of knowing what they’re talking about. (In part, Whitmore’s sycophantic new book is funded by the Broad Foundation.)
Four years ago, Michelle Rhee paraded out onto the national stage, trailing a decades-old tale behind her. Today, her self-glorying tale has at last been renounced, by [journalists] Mathews and Whitmire both. But a great deal of disinformation has been spread all around; ugly attitudes have been advanced. A great deal of damage had been done as the rubes and hacks of the mainstream world insist on believing a simple-minded, decades-old miracle tale.
This miracle tale does harm to children and to other good things. But it’s very good for the adults. It helped make Rhee a world-famous hack—the world-famous hack she now is.