Search Results for "Rhee"

22nd 2012
Profiting from our neo-liberal Rheeality

Posted under American history & conferences & students & wankers

Kiss my chaps!

Michelle Rhee, putative “reformer” of public schools, will be speaking at the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities meeting this June, for a reported speaker’s fee of about $50,000.  (Rheediculous!  But then, you know that the APSCU doesn’t have to be careful with their money–they’re only spending your U.S. taxpayer dollars, friends, as for-profit unis are the welfare queens of the higher education world.

Now, maybe she’s going to administer for-profit unis the kind of dope-slaps she delivered on a regular basis to public school teachers in Washington, D.C., during her brief, troubled era as the public schools chancellor there.  After all, they have abysmal rates of alumni employment, leaving their students with just a crushing load of student debt without even the fond memories of tailgating, Thursday-night keggers, fraternity hazing rituals, or having after-hours consensual sex in a History seminar room.  (Talk about a wicked cheat!) Continue Reading »


17th 2011
The War on Teachers: Mr. Gradgrind’s Rhee-education for teachers

Posted under American history & art & bad language & childhood & class & European history & jobs & students & unhappy endings & wankers

As we suspected, the Thomas Gradgrinds of the world are busy proliferating in school administrations across the nation because of school “Rhee-form” measures that push teachers to focus on facts only, and only those facts immediately relevant to the subject matter they’re teaching.  A friend of a friend who teaches High School American and World History in a wealthy school district writes about a recent evaluation by her principal:

Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius and power and magic in it.”  This quote was put on my white board for the daily “Do Now” which is a warm up  activity for students while I take roll.  I read it to the kids and provide a bit of background for context.  Besides quotes, I sometimes put up SAT vocab words. 

We have a new principal who came in for an informal eval the day I had this quote on the board. When we met to discuss my eval,  he told me it was inappropriate as I am not teaching philosophy….”everything I do in class must be connected to the US History content standards for testing purposes.”    When I, rather perplexed, explained that I use quotes to inspire my students–from philosophers, world leaders, authors, scientists, proverbs–and that for example, when we our studying WWII, Churchill–that historical actors provide us with a wealth of wisdom which is one of the benefits of knowing history–he told me that I am not teaching philosophy, and that “good teachers” find a way to inspire while teaching their subject content.   Continue Reading »


6th 2010
The War on Teachers: What has Michelle Rhee learned about education politics?

Posted under American history & childhood & students & unhappy endings & wankers

How to cash in on her educrat celebrity!  From a lengthy, self-serving analysis of her time as Washington, D.C. school chancellor:

There are enough people out there who understand and believe that kids deserve better, but until now, there has been no organization for them. We’ll ask people across the country to join StudentsFirst—we’re hoping to sign up 1 million members and raise $1 billion in our first year.

.       .       .       .       .       .      

Though we’ll be nonpartisan, we can’t pretend that education reform isn’t political. So we’ll put pressure on elected officials and press for changes in legislation to make things better for kids. And we’ll support and endorse school-board candidates and politicians—in city halls, statehouses, and the U.S. Congress—who want to enact policies around our legislative agenda. We’ll support any candidate who’s reform-minded, regardless of political party, so reform won’t just be a few courageous politicians experimenting in isolated locations; it’ll be a powerful, nationwide movement.

Great!  Just what Washington needs:  another billion-dollar “nonprofit” lobbying firm!  Yeah, I bet that will change everything–for the children, of course.  (It will change everything for Michelle Rhee, anyway–I’m sure she’s looking at a major salary bump!)

Rhee can cry publicly about those meanie teachers in Washington, but she should be sending them a big thank-you note.  In defeating Mayor Adrian Fenty’s bid for re-election and ousting Rhee, the biggest winner in all of this is Rhee herself.  See, the number one lesson of being an educrat is that you never stay in one job long enough for the conclusive test results to come in assessing your tenure.  It’s much better to be driven out after just a few years and complain that you didn’t have time to implement your brilliant ideas.  That way, there’s never accountability for educrats, who can continue to claim to be working on behalf of the children, but who are never asked to show any proof that what they’ve done is working.  Certainly they’d never subject themselves to the same pay-for-performance that they claim is the only way to go with teachers earning $40,000 a year!  After three or four years, they’re off to superintend or chancellorize yet another big city school system, or (better yet!) to enter the super-lucrative revolving door of lobbying and “public service” in the nation’s capital. Continue Reading »


28th 2012
Another fraudster exposed, faculty-types unsurprised.

Posted under American history & bad language & jobs & students & wankers

Via Inside Higer Ed, we learn that Doug E. Lynch, the vice dean of the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania, has resigned because he falsely claimed to have a doctoral degree from Columbia University. (This was not discovered by anyone at Penn–no, the Philadelphia Inquirer started sniffing around, and used the daring and controversial investigative journalism technique known as making a phone call to Columbia to confirm his credentials.)

Now, any scrub ABD or recent Ph.D. out there who has applied for an Assistant Professor or even VAP position knows that we must submit our transcripts as a routine part of our job application.  Why not at the administrative level? I wonder.

Or, rather, no I don’t. Keep reading the Inky story, and you find this little tidbit: Continue Reading »


24th 2012
Historiann retains birthright; tells Pearson to shove mess o’pottage where the sun don’t shine.

Posted under American history & bad language & students & unhappy endings & wankers

Check out an e-mail I just received today from a Pearson representative.  I can get paid $250.00 and have two essay assignments graded for me, if I turn over my students’ papers for the benefit of Pearson’s computer grading scheme!  I just learned about these scamtastic software packages last night via a comment that Indyanna left on my previous post.  Professor Pushbutton, here we come!

I am emailing you regarding a class project that may be of interest to you. For this project, Pearson is looking for instructors of the U.S. History course who are interested in integrating writing assignments into their course.

.       .       .       .       .      

Pearson is developing a computer-assisted grading program that will accurately auto-grade brief writing assignments. The program uses specific rubrics and writing prompts to achieve computer grading accuracy. For the program to work correctly, thousands of student essays are scored by hand and loaded into the system. By doing this, the system “learns” how to grade essay questions. This system has been successfully introduced into a number of course areas, and Pearson is now bringing this technology to the history market.

I am writing to see if you would be interested in helping us to build the bank of student essays needed to develop the product. Pearson will provide you with a choice of writing prompts and rubrics, two of which you would assign in your course during the spring 2012. The students will enter their essays through an online portal. These will be graded by a subject matter expert and the grades will be sent to you. These essays will also be used to create the auto-grading functionality mentioned above.

In exchange for your help and time, you will receive a $250 honorarium. In addition, you will have had 2 essay assignments graded for you.

If you are interested in working on this project, please let me know by return email. I will then send you the list of writing assignments for you to select the two assignments you wish to use in your course. This is a very simple way to include additional short essays into your Summer/Spring course.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Dear Pearson Person:

I’d rethink that sign-off if I were you.  I don’t think you’re going to be happy when you’re through hearing from me!  But don’t worry:  no one reads my stupid blog anyway. Continue Reading »


8th 2011
The internet, cowgirls, and the search for authenticity

Posted under American history & Gender & women's history

You know what this joint needs?  More cowgirls. Amirite?  It seems like there are just a lot of photos of ugly men and sausages on this blog lately, and I don’t like it any more than you do.

I’ve got a question for you, friends:  did any of you read the profile of fellow cowgirl-blogger Rhee Ree Drummond, a.k.a the Pioneer Woman, in The New Yorker this week?  (Sorry, folks:  it’s for subscribers only.)  And if you did, did any of you find author Amanda Fortini’s surprise and dismay that the Pioneer Woman is (in her personal judgment) all hat and very little cattle a little naive, or even a bit simple-minded?  Now, click on this link to the Pioneer Woman–and you tell me if you’re surprised that the woman is on a book tour.

Fortini implies that it’s very suspicious that Drummond, now living on an actual ranch with actual cattle and even an actual cowboy husband and a ranch hand in Oklahoma and homeschooling four actual children, has a degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Southern California.  I guess their ranch isn’t ranch-y enough for her:

 The two main rooms of the Drummonds’ seventies-era two-story wooden house form a kind of central artery where nearly all activity, except sleeping and ranching, takes place.  The blond-wood kitchen has a large breakfast bar that wraps around a Viking Range, as well as two stainless-steel Bosch dishwashers.  The room opens into a den with soaring ceilings, where a colossal flat-screen television faces a prodigious brown tweed sectional couch.  Pretty much everything in the Drummond house is supersized. Continue Reading »


18th 2011
Is there a Whole Foods in Lowell yet? Plus advice & links on job searches

Posted under American history & bad language & class & jobs & local news & unhappy endings & wankers

I love the sea vegetable salad!

Today’s post is a roundup of sorts–be sure to click to read a follow-up question from yesterday’s War on Teachers post, and also to see more linky goodness below. 

But, to the matter at hand:  I just couldn’t resist this.  According to the Boston Globe’s Joan Venocchi, organized labor’s big problem is that they desperately need makeovers:

All the classic accessories were on display at last week’s union rally in downtown Boston: Burly guys in sweatshirts hoisted “Solidarity’’ signs. The song “We’re Not Gonna Take It’’ thumped in the background. Cigarette smoke and angry rhetoric filled the air.

“We’re going to hold those sons of bitches accountable,’’ bellowed Rich Rogers, executive secretary of the Greater Boston Labor Council. This time, labor’s ire was directed at State Street Corp., which confirmed that it expects to receive a federal tax refund of $855 million for 2010 — even though this Boston-based recipient of a $2 billion taxpayer bailout reported a $1.6 billion profit last year.

That really is outrageous. But watching the usual suspects take on the injustice of it all in their usual fashion felt a lot like watching Snooki in “Jersey Shore.’’ Stereotypes make entertaining TV, but they don’t always get action or respect.

This is pretty funny coming from someone working in a dying industry.  Here in Colorado, the flagship university has shuttered its School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and I can’t count the numbers of students I have who either started as journalism majors or who completed their degrees and are seeking a second B.A. in History–History–because it seems like a more practical choice!  I suppose it is more practical if only because however beleagured History departments are, we’re likely to stick around because we’ve been a part of the curricula for several hundred years now.

How can it be that white collar, college-educated “information workers” like newspaper reporters and columnists are all scrambling for work, when they all shop (or aspire to shop) at Whole Foods and use “summer” as a verb?  Continue Reading »


31st 2011
The Three Rhing Circus of “Education Reform”

Posted under American history & jobs & students & unhappy endings & wankers

There's still one born every minute!

Guess what?  When you make people’s jobs and bonuses contingent on the performance of their students on high-stakes standardized tests, they have a really strong incentive to cheat!  Check out the details of Michelle Rhee’s tenure as Chancellor of the Washington, D.C. schools as reported by USA Today this week:

Michelle Rhee, then chancellor of D.C. schools, took a special interest in [the Crosby S. Noyes Education Campus, a school in northeast Washington]. She touted the school, which now serves preschoolers through eighth-graders, as an example of how the sweeping changes she championed could transform even the lowest-performing Washington schools. Twice in three years, she rewarded Noyes’ staff for boosting scores: In 2008 and again in 2010, each teacher won an $8,000 bonus, and the principal won $10,000.

A closer look at Noyes, however, raises questions about its test scores from 2006 to 2010. Its proficiency rates rose at a much faster rate than the average for D.C. schools. Then, in 2010, when scores dipped for most of the district’s elementary schools, Noyes’ proficiency rates fell further than average.

A USA TODAY investigation, based on documents and data secured under D.C.’s Freedom of Information Act, found that for the past three school years most of Noyes’ classrooms had extraordinarily high numbers of erasures on standardized tests. The consistent pattern was that wrong answers were erased and changed to right ones.

Noyes is one of 103 public schools here that have had erasure rates that surpassed D.C. averages at least once since 2008. That’s more than half of D.C. schools.

Gee, who ever could have predicted this?  Let me just quote high-stakes testing apostate Diane Ravitch: Continue Reading »


1st 2010
Who ever would have predicted?

Posted under American history & jobs & local news & nepotism

OK, OK–I know it’s getting tiresome to read about me being right all of the time.  But–seriously:  Who ever would have predicted that it’s a bad idea to appoint a man to the U.S. Senate who never ran for office or won a single vote in his entire frikkin’ lifeThe Denver Post reports today on a new Survey USA poll on all of our statewide races, but of course the result that is really interesting is the poll showing former Colorado Speaker of the House Andrew Romanoff pulling slightly ahead of Unelected Senator Michael Bennet in the August 10 primary, 48 to 45 percent (margin of error 4.1 percent) with 8 percent of Democrats undecided as to how they’ll vote.  (That’s a twenty-point turnaround from where the race was in a mid-June Denver Post poll, with Bennet at 53 and Romanoff at 36.)  ColoradoPols has some analysis here–clearly, they’re crapping their pants because they’ve been mocking and laughing at Romanoff’s campaign all year long and have been shilling pretty hard for Bennet for reasons that are difficult to fathom.  (Strangely, they spin this poll as “a story you already know.”  Well, not if you’ve been following ColoradoPols for the past year!)

The Denver Post article has a pretty good laff line here:  “‘The fact that Bennet has Barack Obama ads on everyone’s television screens multiple times a day right now shows that he’s scrambling to win this primary,’ said Eric Sondermann, a Denver political consultant. ‘That is not an ad you’d run in the general election.’”  Well, no wonder Romanoff is pulling ahead.  If Bennet thinks running ads featuring President Obama here is a good idea even in a Democratic primary, then he’s a bigger idiot than even I would have guessed.  Obama is not popular here, not even among Democrats, and especially not among the kinds of Democrats who are inclined to mail in a vote this week.  Even many liberal Coloradoans go for the “I’m an independent thinker and I’ll represent the people of Colorado against Washington interests” blah blah blah.  This is a state that likes its mavericky Senators, left, right, or center.

Here’s a little recap as to why I think Bennet is such a supreme tool: Continue Reading »