This piece comes to us courtesy of This Week In Education.
How fascinating to wake up and find out that Adell Cothorne (pictured), the Noyes Elementary School principal interviewed in tonight's PBS Frontline documentary (a) had never been on camera in all the previous previous PBS segments on Rhee that we've seen and (b) had filed a suit against DCPS that was only recently unsealed and dismissed.
Cothorne's complaint (Cothorne v District of Columbia) makes for juicy reading but the federal government didn't think much of it. The USDE found that "cheating was limited to just one school, which it didn't specify," according to Greg Toppo's USA Today story. Cothorn had filed the complaint under the False Claims Act and "sought a percentage of any potential financial proceeds had the case gone to trial," according to Emma Brown's Washington Post story from over the weekend. According to a statement just put out by Rhee, the latest findings "confirm what we've long believed, that the vast majority of educators would never compromise their personal or professional integrity to cheat on a test, thereby cheating children."
Still, it it's a pretty big coincidence (?) that the Cothorne complaint and response popped up just as the Rhee documentary was about to air -- and that the Rhee, DCPS, and Frontline folks may not have known that was about to happen until it appeared.
Equally fascinating but much less complicated to figure out is why StudentsFirst put out its report card this week, knowing that the Frontline documentary was scheduled to air. Whatever it merits or lack thereof, the report card shines a light on the current work of Rhee and her allies, and puts the pressure back on the education establishment she's fighting against, rather than letting the Frontline story about what happened way back in 2010 take front and center. So all of you writing about what an awful report card it is are actually helping Rhee out. Keep it up. (StudentsFirst has gathered up all the positive press for you -- see below the break).
Moving on: Now having watched the show a second time now, I stand by the basic thrust of my original post (PBS Documentary Humanizes Rhee's Tenure,) that it generally favors Rhee, humanizing her with the story of her decision to join TFA (blame PBS!) showing snapshots of her as a young idealistic teacher, and giving her a chance to re-define her departure from DCPS as something she still laments. She officially resigned, but I'm not sure anyone believed that -- and in any case she made some awkward remarks about her departure at the time. This time, she gets to say, "I lost the job that I loved."
There is some heart-wrenching, angry-making footage of a teacher describing being fired and escorted from her building, and video of some verbal sparring between Rhee and the City Council that is hard to watch, knowing what is soon to come. But the Frontline piece omits the most dramatic and perhaps disturbing Rhee moments I've ever seen or watched: her 2008 argument with Randi Weingarten at NSVF, and Mayor-elect Gray's impromptu press conference in the hallways outside his offices, with a stressed-out Rhee standing in the background. (Lady Michelle Flees The Castle Gray)
Last but not least, some of you may have noticed that on Morning Joe yesterday Rhee floated the idea of turning Title I and II -- the forumula-based federal funding streams through which most K-12 education moneys flow to schools -- into competitive and reform-minded grants, sort of like Race to the Top or i3. Hey, NCLB is already blown up, accountabily-wise. Why not blow up the funding stream, too?
What's next? Who knows? Most likely, StudentsFirst will quickly move from rating states to putting out scorecards on individual legislators like Emily's List and the NRA and everyone else does. It's also possible (though not likely) that Rhee will start wearing a Guy Fawkes mask to press conferences, her allies will start calling themselves "Rheenonymous," and the threats, glitter bombs, and publishing of embarrassing information will begin.
Also on HuffPost:
15. Sturgis Charter Public School
Located in Hyannis, Mass., <a href="http://www.sturgischarterschool.org/" target="_hplink">"Sturgis Charter Public School is dedicated to an "International Baccalaureate (IB) for All"</a> philosophy, preparing high school students for higher education in a supportive learning environment. Sturgis provides each student a rigorous world-class educational program, encouraging academic achievement, intellectual confidence, and personal growth."
14. Connecticut International Baccalaureate Academy
Located in East Hartford, Conn., <a href="http://www.cibanet.org/page.cfm?p=4136" target="_hplink">"The Connecticut IB Academy,</a> a public high school with worldwide academic standards, connects a rigorous, pre-university curriculum to the world beyond the classroom by demonstrating the inter-relationships among the academic disciplines, by promoting international understanding, and by establishing a balance among academic, artistic, and social activities in order to produce responsible, ethical, thoughtful and informed citizens who are prepared to be global leaders.
13. Green Valley High School
Located in Henderson, Nev., <a href="http://greenvalleyhs.org//" target="_hplink">Green Valley High School</a> believes that "the purpose of education is to provide experiences which will encourage and assist students to achieve their potential and to assume their responsibilities as members of society. It is the obligation of the school to instill in students positive attitudes toward growth, learning, leadership, and creativity, as well as ensure their full intellectual and character development."
12. Dublin High School
Located in Dublin, Calif., <a href="http://www.dublinusd.org/site/default.aspx?domainid=132" target="_hplink">Dublin High School</a> "is a four-time California Distinguished School. It is the only comprehensive 9-12 public high school in the Dublin Unified School District."
11. San Marcos High School
Located in San Marcos, Calif., <a href="http://www.smusd.org/smhs" target="_hplink">San Marcos High School,</a> the flagship high school in the San Marcos Unified School District, "currently serves a population of 2041 students from west San Marcos and communities south of the 78 freeway.... San Marcos students connect with their campus by participating in over thirty clubs and organizations and a full range of athletics and performing arts options."
10. High Technology High School
Located in Lincroft, N.J., <a href="http://www.hths.mcvsd.org/" target="_hplink">High Technology High School</a> is "a specialized school concentrating on the disciplines of science, mathematics, and technology.... Since its founding in 1991, the application and admission process has become increasingly competitive. Seventy-five students are selected each year from a pool of over three hundred outstanding applicants. This totals to approximately 265 students from throughout Monmouth County."
9. International School
Located in Bellevue, Wash., the<a href="http://www.bsd405.org/international/" target="_hplink"> International School</a> "offers the finest educational experience to all of its students, one which is unsurpassed in preparing them intellectually, socially, creatively, physically, and emotionally, so that they are inspired to become lifelong learners and realize their dreams in the world at large."
8. Pacific Collegiate School
Located in Santa Cruz, Calif., <a href="http://www.pacificcollegiate.com/" target="_hplink">Pacific Collegiate School's</a> vision is to "offer any student the same quality of education offered by the most academically distinguished schools in California.... Pacific Collegiate School will emphasize international, cross- cultural, and technological education in order to prepare graduates for life in the 21st Century. Pacific Collegiate students will be introduced to the rich variety of world cultures and become fluent in at least one foreign language. They will become proficient in the basic information technologies essential for cultural literacy in the 21st Century."
7. Oxford Academy
Located in Cypress, Calif., <a href="http://www.auhsd.us/Oxford/" target="_hplink">Oxford Academy's</a> mission is "to prepare students to be ethically and academically focused for entrance into college/university. OA is a seventh through twelfth grade college preparatory public school that opened in September of 1998. Recognized as a California Distinguished School, OA draws students from the entire attendance area of the Anaheim Union High School District."
6. BASIS Tucson
Located in Tucson, Ariz., <a href="https://www.basisschools.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=127&Itemid=189" target="_hplink">BASIS Tucson</a> is the flagship BASIS School. "BASIS seeks to provide an accelerated liberal arts education at internationally competitive levels for all students. The rigorous college preparatory education at BASIS readies students for the competitive admissions process, helps them become eligible for scholarships, prepares them to prosper at top colleges, and enriches their lives."
5. International Academy
Located in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., the <a href="http://iatoday.org/" target="_hplink">International Academy</a> "is a public, tuition-free high school of choice for students of 17 Oakland County school districts collaborating in consortium with university and business partners. Commencing with 9th grade, it provides a unique blend of rigorous academic standards, practical and career-related learning as well as personal development opportunities."
4. University High School
Located in Tucson, Ariz.,<a href="http://edweb.tusd.k12.az.us/UHS/index.htm" target="_hplink"> University High School's</a> vision is to "be the premiere regional college preparatory school that serves academically focused and intellectually gifted students by providing a rigorous and challenging curriculum and by offering programs that reflect the diverse backgrounds, talents and cultures of our students within a supportive school wide community."
3. School of Science and Engineering Magnet
Located in Dallas, Texas, the <a href="http://semmagnetschool.org/" target="_hplink">Science and Engineering Magnet High School</a> "is a learning community established to provide students with a rigorous college preparatory, academic and technical program relating to the sciences, mathematics and engineering fields."
2. Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
Located in Alexandria, Va., <a href="http://www.tjhsst.edu/" target="_hplink">Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology's</a> mission is "to provide students a challenging learning environment focused on math, science, and technology, to inspire joy at the prospect of discovery, and to foster a culture of innovation based on ethical behavior and the shared interests of humanity."
1. School for the Talented and Gifted
Located in Dallas, Texas, the <a href="http://teacherweb.com/TX/tagmagnet/main/sdhp1.aspx" target="_hplink">School for the Talented and Gifted's</a> mission is "to provide an environment in which the unique worth, dignity, and abilities of each individual are not only recognized but cultivated and celebrated as well. We wish to provide an educational experience that empowers highly capable students to interact with their intellectual peers in academic, creative, aesthetic, and social endeavors in order to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow and to become life-long learners, responsible citizens, and contributors to the betterment of society as a whole in an ever-changing world."