The Media Has to Stop Giving Michelle Rhee a Platform

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Haven’t we heard enough of Michelle Rhee’s rhetoric? Educators know full well what Rhee stands for: teacher accountability, standardization and high stakes testing.

Even though Rhee has touted her so-called reform to all major media outlets (there she is with Oprah in the picture to the left), some just won’t leave well enough alone.

The Washington Post recently published yet another Michelle Rhee editorial. What does the anti-teacher have to say this time? No doubt you’ve guessed it — more pro standardization and testing spin. It’s all Rhee knows; she’s like a Chatty Cathy doll, who sings the same boring refrain every time someone pulls her string. Wait, that’s not fair; Chatty Cathy was much more creative than Rhee has ever been.

I’m tired of the media giving Rhee a platform. One might argue that we’re doing it by writing about her. The difference here is I’m only ranting about media coverage. Brilliant or Insane would certainly never publish a Michelle Rhee editorial in its entirety.

Let’s hear the other side

I was so angry at the Washington Post that I emailed their editorial department about the horrible decision to publish Rhee’s drivel. Here’s part of what I said:

Why don’t you interview a veteran teacher (Rhee never taught in a real school, and she was never properly trained)? Your paper/site carries amazing credibility and thus has a powerful responsibility to present all sides of important issues like this one. Rhee has money and plenty of media clout. She also has all of the wrong answers, but the media continues to give her a platform, completely ignoring the people in the trenches — real teachers. 

It’s reckless of you to publish her statistics about how Americans are so far behind other countries, without offering an opposing viewpoint to refute her haphazard research. She fails to mention anything about the impact of our country’s indigent population. Many of the countries we’re behind don’t test all of their kids. Take the poor and disabled students out of our standardized tests, and suddenly we’ll soar to the top. 

Would I love to be the person to refute all of Michelle Rhee’s misinformation? You bet I would.

Hopefully, some major media outlets will see this, and I’ll get a call.

In the event that I get that chance, feel free to supply me with some more anti-Rhee ammo in the comment section below.

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Mark Barnes is the Founder of Times 10 Publications, which produces the popular Hack Learning Series, The uNseries, and other books from some of education's most reputable teachers and leaders. Barnes presents internationally on assessment, connected education, and Hack Learning. Connect with @markbarnes19 on Twitter.

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