>Must be a big day for grist. Here's even MORE for Haim's >mill: >http://bit.ly/TLNbqI >> From Bruce Baker's school finance blog: "RheeFormy >> Logic & Goofball Rating Schemes: Comments & Analysis >> on the Students First State Policy Grades" >With all this grist about the fabulous Ms. Rhee,
To me, Rhee is just one more example of failed reform. True, she is a particularly interesting example because of the extraordinary political support she enjoyed for approximately four years, but that just proves my point all the better: reform is not the way.
The history of education reform is long and detailed. It is a history of unrelieved failure. Precisely because this history is so well known, when somebody comes along, like a Walter Annenberg, Bill Gates, Eli Broad, or Michelle Rhee, and claims to want to reform the existing public school system, I wonder what they are really after.
For example, Bill Gates never did in his business career what he is doing in education reform. In business, if Gates had assembled a team to accomplish a task, and that team had failed comprehensively, would he give them even more money to keep on doing what they were doing? I think not. Gates would conclude that either he does not have the right people for the job or there is something fundamentally wrong with the job. One way or another, there would be some radical changes, and rather quickly, too. This is the history of successful business enterprise ("sunk costs", "don't throw good money after bad", "never reinforce defeat", etc.), yet, as soon as it comes to education reform, these very same titans of industry pump their money into the pockets of the architects of failure and keep on doing so, seemingly forever. Whatever is really going on with Gates and Broad and Annenberg, etc., I can only guess at, but I am damn sure of what is not going on: these men are not real! ly interested in improving the public school system.
Just the same with Michelle Rhee. Maybe, Rhee wants to do well by doing good, in which case: good on her, but who cares, since nothing can come of it? Maybe, Rhee just wants her piece of the Educo-Political pie, as Charles Pierce implies, in which case she is just one more cog in the Old World Order.
Whatever the truth about Rhee, I could not care less. Well, alright, I admit I watched her efforts with some hope and interest, but if pressed, I would have bet against her and given odds, to boot. My contention, now as before---years before the tenure of Michelle Rhee as doyenne of the DC public schools---is that reform of the existing system is impossible. Furthermore, I think that intelligent people like Gates, like Broad, and probably Rhee, know this. So, my question, now as always, is: I wonder what they are really after.