During his occasional breaks from waterboarding Ohio’s cities and schools, Governor John Kasich enjoys speaking highly of education savior Michelle Rhee. She’s the former Washington, D.C. schools chancellor whose abrasive dealings with parents and teachers there led to the defeat of the mayor who supported her.
Last week, Kasich and Rhee teamed up to present a screening of the controversial education documentary Waiting for Superman at Cleveland State. A feel-good flick for the Kasich camp, the movie blames our educational mess on teachers’ unions and claims the solution to the problem lies at the feet of charter schools.
The screening was the second for Kasich-Rhee Productions, who also showed it to Columbus legislators in late March. But lately, critics haven’t been so kind.
A few days before the March show, USA Today published an investigation of the “miraculous” turnaround Rhee and her boosters claim she accomplished in D.C. It found that the school she’d been touting as the main example of her achievement showed an extremely high number of wrong-to-right erasures on standardized tests. It also found that more than half the D.C. schools had erasure rates above the national average during Rhee’s tenure.
“USA Today’s analysis found that since 2008, more than 40 [D.C.] public schools showed remarkable gains in test scores at the same time they had high rates of corrected answers,” the story revealed.
Kasich’s office did not respond to requests for comment. But stay tuned for a celebratory press release just as soon as those miraculously improved Cleveland test scores start rolling in. — Anastasia Pantsios