Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Charlotte becomes stage for education reform


Michelle Rhee,  former DC superintendent and one of the country's highest-profile education advocates, will bring her vision for education reform to Charlotte next week,  along with a preview screening of a movie that's already sparking controversy before its Sept. 28 release date.

Rhee's advocacy group,  StudentsFirst,  will hold a screening of  "Won't Back Down," at 1 p.m. Monday,  Sept. 3,  at the EpiCenter Theater  (sign up here). The movie,  starring Viola Davis and Maggie Gyllenhaal,  tells the story of two moms using a  "parent trigger law"  to take over a failing school.

"The policy mandates that parents of kids attending the nation’s worst performing schools must have real authority and tools to bring about change through a petition process and a specific set of recommended interventions,"  according to a StudentsFirst blog post about taking the film to the Republican and Democratic national conventions.  Rhee and other national reform advocates will hold a panel discussion after the Charlotte showing.


Democrats for Education Reform,  a political action committee that supports accountability and closure of failing public schools, will hold an invitation-only  "town hall" at Charlotte's Knight Theater on Tuesday, Sept. 4.  DFER is also co-sponsoring the movie screening,  along with Parent Revolution,  a group promoting parent trigger laws.

Both the movie and the approach being promoted by Rhee and the other reform groups have sparked strong criticism.  Parents Across America, a group with a conflicting version of how to improve public schools,  has already sent out a  "thumbs down"  news release about the movie,  saying it is  "funded by right-wing sources to spread an anti-public education message."  MecklenburgACTS,  a local group whose leadership was involved in creating Parents Across America,  is encouraging its members to rally before both Charlotte events and challenge the views of the sponsors.

Normally I'd be all over these events.  But of course the national attention is coming because of the Democratic National Convention,  which has most of the Observer's staff playing out of position.  I'm not even sure these panels will make the cut for coverage.  But I'm sure we'll all be talking about the movie and the views being debated at these panels long after the convention is gone.  So keep me posted on what you're thinking,  seeing and hearing,  even if I'm not blogging much during the coming week.

56 comments:

Anonymous said...

That's the last thing in the world our schools and kids need is to have Rhee meddle in their lives. Just as the DC schools how it worked out for them. NOT!

Anonymous said...

Rhee is a dangerous and misguided person who is on the corporatization bandwagon. They see schools as business to produce numbers and data. They are the least child-friendly movement in school history. Their policies are responsible for the worst teacher morale in a century. Sorry Michelle, I cannot welcome you. Stay away.

Anonymous said...

Michelle Rhee's "vision" failed the students and teachers of the DC school district. She is a megalomaniac who does not deserve to be anywhere near education reform.
I'm afraid this movie will incite more parents to complain about what they see is "wrong" with GOOD teachers. To them I always want to say, "Obviously we are not doing as good a job as you could do. Please, come and take over our classrooms for a while and show us how to do it differently." They would not last one day.

Wiley Coyote said...

"Challenge the views of the sponsors"?

Also stated as: "We like our status quo education so leave us alone".

MeckACTS, Parents Across America are the opposite of the "right-wing" groups mentioned in this article, wanting to throw more good money after bad, continue failed diversity driven mantra and using poverty as an excuse as to why kids don't learn.

So let's call them what THEY are; left-wing status quo groups who want to keep public education in the toilet and spend endless amounts of money on the same failed programs like Bright Beginnings.



Anonymous said...

From Rhee's first appearance on the education stage in DC I have seen nothing that impresses me. Fear, intimidation and firings. Oh yes, wasn't there something that appeared as she left about funky numbers? Do failing schools need help desperately? Of course. But she and her scorched earth policies have accomplished nothing for students and teachers anywhere she has gone. Just a pot of gold for her while she sews discord. I like our new super's idea of building bridges, not burning them down.

Anonymous said...

8:22--Meck ACTS and Parents Across America are anything but bridge builders. You apparently have not seen their leaders in action at board meetings, in local ed forums (going back many years), etc. Talk about sewing seeds of discord!

Anonymous said...

Clearly this lady is not aware that Charlotte and CMS is a leader in education. Why we just entered into a joint venture with Project LIFT that is going to solve all the educational woes of our under performing students. How dare her come to Charlotte and try to sell her ideas. She should spend some time with Mrs. Denise Watts maybe we can franchise LIFT to the rest of the nation? Nope their is no data or accountability darn it. Keith W. Hurley

Bill Stevens said...

Sadly, all of CMS's reform initiatives have failed miserably with great waste of tax money. Strategic Staffing schools showed no more improvement than non-strategic staffing schools. Additional $ per pupil have shown no significant or direct translation to academic improvements. Smaller classrooms have shown no significant or direct translation to academic improvements.

All this while non-urban schools suffer from
crushing 40 and 50 pupil classroom. Incompetent adminstrators run off experienced and competent teachers.

And urban leasders, educrats and politicians keep trying to lay the ills of this urban/ghetto cutlure onto the teachers as their fault these kids can nto be taught when in reality they attedn school too infrequent. They do not come to school prepared, feed, supplied and with the propoer attitude to get an education.

Jim said...

Seen on Facebook yesterday:

"If you are not willing to learn, no one can help you.

If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you."

Questions?

Anonymous said...

Jim , I agree with the qoute and its very valid point. I beleive the new principal at West Charlotte used the line yesterday. He is new so no data on his "turn around " , but if he can get kids beleiving thats 90% of the battle. I wish him luck and hope he stays for a while to drill home that very message " if your determined to learn, no one can stop you." CMS needs more of that thinking and less downtown heads in the clouds getting in the way. Keith W. Hurley

Anonymous said...

Charlotte has been and continues to be the stage on which politicians perform to try to advance their careers. There was Vilma and George, Helms, and Gorman, among others, and now there is Waddell, Clark, Ericka, Morrison, McElwrath, and Kojo locally, among others, and this bunch nationally. The kids are merely the "extras" in this farce,

Anonymous said...

Too be so bad, this comedy of errors is very expensive to produce.

Anonymous said...

Again, use a dictionary if you are not sure if it is "sew" or "sow"!

Pamela Grundy said...

North Carolina has become a major target for Michelle Rhee and other "reformers," who are peddling educational "fixes" that are rooted in ideology rather than reality and which have no track record of success. Our community is already dealing with the effects several of these so-called "reforms," including a massive expansion of standardized testing, the closing of many schools, and top-down, heavy-handed policies enacted by our state legislature. Now people like Rhee want to establish their organizations here. North Carolinians need to band together and let these "reformers" know that we don't need their bad ideas here in our state. We'd love to see you come help us send that message at our Monday and Tuesday rallies. You can find information on the MecklenburgACTS.org website.

Wiley Coyote said...

If schools need to be close, close them! Racial makeup and income are immaterial!

Next time, build the schools in the RIGHT places instead of pandering to any group.

What would you call your opinions Pam, if not "ideology"?

Pamela Grundy said...

So, Wiley, you support Pete Gorman's decision to close Oakhurst, Irwin and other schools?

Wiley Coyote said...

Absolutely.. Waddell, etc.

The sky didn't fall and the sun rose the next day right?

And all the while, the much touted achievement gap stands at about a 24 point spread.

Anonymous said...

What a way to celebrate Labor Day!

Pamela Grundy said...

Do you even know who went to Oakhurst and where it was located?

Dora Taylor said...

Rhee made it to Seattle this spring but not too many people showed up.

For anyone who reads this blog and still doesn't know about Ms. Rhee, check out:

Michelle Rhee: Arbitrary and Capricious

and

StudentsFirst will be in Seattle

Anonymous said...

Was Rhee the one who was going to reimburse the Chamber for EES ticket to London? Was Rhee on the plane with EES who had no idea who was paying for her vacation? Just want full disclosure ya knowz.

Anonymous said...

The danger of this movie is that parents will automatically think teachers are their enemies. This can do nothing but making the teaching profession even more discouraging than it already it. More division, less support. Pretty soon, you'll have NO ONE in your child's classroom with this "teachers are enemies" mentality. God help us.

Pamela Grundy said...

In terms of the expenditure of public funds, the high-stakes test mentality promoted by Rhee and others caused CMS to waste $2 million on new tests a couple of years ago and is now causing the state to waste millions more.

BolynMcClung said...

I CAN AGREE ON THIS……


…Education needs to be a local issue.

It’s critical that our school system marches to motivations that are supported within the community.

Let Ms. Rhee show-up. To me she is a curiosity and likely will appear to be the outsider she is.

Michelle Rhee represents another group vying for support to change public education and indirectly CMS. I can’t imagine any local group; right, center, left, willing to share a portion of their actively engaged supporters with her.

I’ve been looking for years and I can’t find a single local group that has size enough to be dominant over CMS. NCDPI is. Washington’s programs are a close second. No other groups have the drive or dollars to overcome those two in conjunction with the huge CMS bureaucracy. I suppose that is the reasoning behind the suggestion to split CMS in parts.

If the splintered local groups aren’t able to grow in size and power, then reducing the territory to be influenced makes the most sense if you’re for that kind of thing…..I’m not. Michelle won’t be welcomed in that formula.

But hey, let Ms. Rhee have her say. We can at least use her sales tax contributions for the State’s public schools….she can even buy a lottery ticket.

Bolyn McClung
Pineville

Anonymous said...

I am an Oakhurst parent, and the fact that the school board voted to close that school still stings. My son transitioned into a new CMS school, and obviously the sun has still continued to rise, but the move has not been without major (and harsh) growing pains for our entire family - all without seeing any numbers of significant budgetary savings, or even understanding WHY they closed the school when it was making slow but steady gains.

Anonymous said...

Under busing many of us "transitioned" into new schools more than once. We were told it was good for kids to become adaptable. Like current school closings this too was supposed to be for the "greater good" but no one ever had real proof of that good. Our local advocates who bemoan the closure of an inner city school for its effect on families, but who do not mind uprooting children and communities if it serves the holy grail of diversity continue to be extremely hypocritical.

Wiley Coyote said...

Anon 1:04....

Waddell parents said the same thing about a school that should never have been built, or at least WHERE it was built.

Whitewater sat there very underutilized.

Closing a school is about as difficult as it is to fire a bad teacher.

Two things that have continued to help keep public education mired in mediocrity.

Anonymous said...

Why should Oakhurst and Waddell not have been built where they were?

The idea that it is difficult to fire a bad teacher is a myth. North Carolina is a non-union state. Teachers are afforded very few protections, even ones they deserve, never mind the "perks" of not being dismissed for doing a bad job. "It's impossible to fire a bad teacher" is an often-repeated mantra with very little to back it up.

Wiley Coyote said...

I never said Oakhurst should not have been built.

Only Waddell.

Bill Stevens said...

Another of not needed. Greenville Park (byers) and rebuilding Lincoln Heights. One or the other was not needed. The Lincoln Heights kids were located to Byers for the rebuild and the school was stillnto 100% utiltized. AS Wily points out and as Larry Gaureau pointed out, CMS wasted money to "get back" at the suburban parents who won the cout case.

Oakhurst and closting of Davidson Middle school, the best performing middle school in the state were both done to sooth the inner city crowd but as I hope we all have learned, there is no soothing of the inner city crowd.

As for changing schools, my kids were forced changed twice in elementary school and one was changed every year of middle school. Get over yourselves.

Anonymous said...

And the "urban kids" still get twice as much funding and it STILL doesn't do anything to close the achievement gap. And the US still lags behind other countries in getting the education bang for its bucks. And the "urban" crowd still isn't happy. In other words, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Bill Stevens said...

As you could easily draw this conclusion as you review "ALL" that has been done for West Charlotte and others and not for West Meck, the best thing you can do to help these kids is to STOP helping all these kids.

Anonymous said...

STRIKE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

LBJ set an entire race back decades with the great society of entitlements.

Anonymous said...

thanks.

Anonymous said...

The "Achievement Gap" is a LIE! It is a myth designed to get more money from the Government. Stop pretending you are to ignorant to not know this by now.

Anonymous said...

If after 50 years of "help" and entitlement they can't stand on their own feet, then too bad!

If after 50 years of Affirmative Action they are not equally qualified for a job, then too bad.

After 50 years of being vilified and blamed for something MY descendants didn't even do, YOU still can't get it together? Too bad!

Education is what you want it to be. If you don't want to be educated, fine! Too bad for you. But stop making it my problem and stop insisting that I pay for more help and pay to support you.

Anonymous said...

A education is not "given" to the students. Its earned and you do that via working at it. This society today feels "entitled" to things such as a education. Thats the person who is going to be slicing my bagel in 20 years. Wake up and go after it folks and stop making excuses. All the entitled folks are going to get is a janitorial job in 20 years !

Anonymous said...

Between the misspellings, incorrect grammar and poor sentence structure, I'd say that many of you have NO business even commenting on this post. Just because you are an adult, doesn't mean you are suddenly educated. Some of you need to blow the dust off your high school diplomas, GEDs or whatever piece of paper you received that validates your education before commenting on Rhee's education philosophies.

BolynMcClung said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

...or her lack of education philosophies...

Anonymous said...

How dare Michelle Rhee try to help kids get a better education? Doesn't she care about adults too? Long live the status quo.

Anonymous said...

Uhhhh, Michelle Rheee is an embarassment and failure who had to mve to Florida where other members of the Republican party reside. Republicans wish to dismantle public schools because their own children attend private schools. Isn't it funny how Republicans are willing to attack public schools but run from fixing the problem by hiding out in private schools. Michelle, how's Washington D.C. doing?

Wiley Coyote said...

Anon 10:13...

Democrat Mayor Fixxit's daughter goes to private school.

Democrat Mayor Pro Tem Cannon's kids go to private school.

Democrat President Obama sends his kids to private school having said "DC schools were not good enough for his daughters".

Heritage research assistant Evan Feinberg reports on a news study showing that “37 percent of Representatives and 45 percent of Senators in the 110th Congress sent their children to private schools—almost four times the rate of the general population.” He observes, “if all of the Members who exercised school choice for their own children had supported school choice in policy, every major legislative effort in recent years to give parents school choice would have passed.”

Indeed, “Over 37 percent of House Democrats have prac­ticed school choice, but 96 percent of Democrats who practiced school choice voted against the voucher program.”


Anonymous said...

Bolyn,

I liked your post. It send a good message.

If you don't know how to spell, use cut and paste and spell check it. That checks grammar too. If you don't know the difference in words, then ask someone.

Yes, make your comments no matter who you are or how much education you have, but be aware that how you say what you say says more about you than anything else.

Anonymous said...

See, I goofed and didn't proof read what I wrote and used send not sent.

Anonymous said...

Dont worry mr Mclung will fix it ! He is our man or at least Timmys !

Anonymous said...

Gee, Rhee did such an effective job for the DC public schools. Maybe TIME can put her on the cover again sweeping up her own mess.

Anonymous said...

Michelle Rhee is a self-described lifelong Democrat and is married to a Democratic mayor. In case you've been asleep over the past few years, there are lots of other Democrats who think like she does.

Check your facts before you post nonsense about her being a right-winger.

Anonymous said...

Google the term Neo-Liberal and Education. This is what Obama, Duncan and Rhea are. They have done more to harm public education that they even know. They are clueless.

Anonymous said...

Will the last person left with common sense in eduction please turn off the light.

Wiley Coyote said...

Anonymous said...

Will the last person left with common sense in eduction please turn off the light.


Common sense + education = oxymoron.

Anonymous said...

Common sense and Wiley in the same sentence is just wrong. Mr. Negative nanny is a pompus fool. If its not his idea or thought its no good and he is against. Take you shovel and go to the sandbox Wiley and Pound Sand !!

Wiley Coyote said...

Poor Anon 7:17...

Can't debate or handle the facts...resorts to name calling.

Typical, but keep trying though!

Anonymous said...

Rhee: Yes.
E E-S: NO.

Anonymous said...

thanks for posting.