Following a USA Today investigation, Michelle Rhee's integrity is in question.
(Photo by Iris Harris, U.S. Department of Commerce.)

By Ralph De La Cruz
Florida Center for Investigative Reporting

These days, everything seems to be coming apart for Gov. Rick Scott.

Even his once-vaunted appointment of Michelle Rhee as his education adviser seems … well … unfortunate.

Rhee, one of the stars of the film Waiting for Superman is a proponent of the corporatization of education — you know, the movement to fire and financially squeeze teachers, tie pay to test scores, and move schools toward privatization.

Today, Rhee’s very integrity is in question. Something to do with … how to put it? Cheating.

It’s all the result of a USA Today story that examined the stunning rise in test scores at D.C. schools during Rhee’s tenure as chancellor. USA Today found that half the schools had an unusually high level of “erasures.” That would be when a wrong answer is erased and changed to a right answer.

The problem was so bad during Rhee’s reign that the testing company flagged it, and the State Board of Education asked for an investigation.

Rhee’s administration stonewalled.

When parents and teachers noticed that children who were suddenly being graded as “proficient” still had problems adding and subtracting, they brought it up to officials — only to be disregarded. Or worse. One father was barred from his daughter’s school for a year.

This was the system that made Michelle Rhee a conservative superstar and the woman picked by Scott to develop his education strategy:

“The Buzz from Team Scott is that the new governor would love to install Rhee as head of the Florida Department of Education,” The Miami Herald reported in December.

Luckily for Scott, Rhee decided to instead start a nonprofit, StudentsFirst, which is trying to raise $1 billion to promote her brand of “education reform.”

But even if she’s gone, Rhee left her mark. All you have to do is look at the “Student Success Act” that Scott signed last week.



5 Responses

  1. Robert Eppelein

    For Scott & Rhee the old homily, “birds of a feather…”, would seem apropos.

  2. David McCoy

    This is what we are teaching our kids, to lie and cheat to reach your goal. All because these people like Rick Scott and his cronie corporate goons want to privatize the Florida State school system to to make a buck.


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