How Bill Maher got D.C. school reform wrong
Washington Post, November 6, 2010 By Valerie Strauss
The myth-making about the course of D.C. school reform and why Mayor Adrian Fenty was voted out of office in the nation’s capital continued last night, this time on HBO’s “Real Time With Bill Maher.”
Maher invited on as a special guest the ousted mayor, who has been busy writing his own political epitaph so that it sounds just the way he wants it.
He and his former schools chancellor, Michelle Rhee, have recently co-authored some opinion pieces — The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal have published them — presenting essentially this narrative:
They pushed excellent school reform in the District. They weren’t nice about it, but they were doing the right thing and helped the schools. It’s just that too many recalcitrant folks in the city didn’t want to go along, either because the work was too hard or because they had vested interests in a different agenda.
Last night Fenty said more of the same.
Bill, did you know that there is a big back story as to why Fenty’s lost and it wasn’t that people didn’t want to do the hard work of school reform?
Did you know that a lot of people in the city don’t think Fenty and Rhee were the saviors of the school system? That the rising test scores for which they claim credit were in large part a result of reforms put in place before they took over the schools? That Rhee instituted a teacher-evaluation system that doesn’t work as advertised?
Did you know that Fenty had won every district in the city four years ago but turned off his majority black constituents in part by appointing non-blacks to arguably the 10 most influential positions in the city besides the mayor?
Bill, you should have done a little more homework on this one.
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