Michelle Rhee has recently brought her brand of reform to the Southwest, taking up shop in Sacramento, where her husband is mayor. Meanwhile a Rhee-like scandal of huge impact has surfaced in Atlanta with dozens of indictments.
First we go to Atlanta, where the largest standardized testing cheating scandal to date has broken out. The superintendent has been indicted.
“During his 35 years as a Georgia state investigator, Richard Hyde has persuaded all sorts of criminals — corrupt judges, drug dealers, money launderers, racketeers — to turn state’s evidence, but until Jackie Parks, he had never tried to flip an elementary school teacher.
“In the fall of 2010, Ms. Parks, a third-grade teacher at Venetian Hills Elementary School in southwest Atlanta, agreed to become Witness No. 1 for Mr. Hyde, in what would develop into the most widespread public school cheating scandal in memory.
“Ms. Parks admitted to Mr. Hyde that she was one of seven teachers — nicknamed “the chosen” — who sat in a locked windowless room every afternoon during the week of state testing, raising students’ scores by erasing wrong answers and making them right. She then agreed to wear a hidden electronic wire to school, and for weeks she secretly recorded the conversations of her fellow teachers for Mr. Hyde.
“In the two and a half years since, the state’s investigation reached from Ms. Parks’s third-grade classroom all the way to the district superintendent at the time, Beverly L. Hall, who was one of 35 Atlanta educators indicted Friday by a Fulton County grand jury…”
Now we go to Michelle’s next stop, Sacramento, as reported by the LA Times:
“When Michelle Rhee wants to make a point about what she sees as the coddling of American children, she refers to her daughters’ abundant soccer trophies.
“My daughters suck at soccer,” she says to crowds that roar with knowing laughter.
“The former District of Columbia schools chancellor is pitch perfect in the role of outraged parent and education reformer, distilling complex policy debates into bare-knuckled banter…”