Michelle Rhee continues her descent into parody. You might have thought that teaching students to read would be a good way to evaluate educational performance, but no. Rhee’s StudentsFirst organization has released a report card grading states—on their education policies, not their educational results. In fact, not one of the states StudentsFirst ranks in the top five is in the top half of states on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, “the nation’s report card,” when it comes to eighth grade reading scores, and only one is in the top half when it comes to eighth grade math.
- Louisiana is the top-rated state, according to StudentsFirst. It ranks 49th of 51 on eighth grade reading scores and 47th of 51 on eighth grade math scores.
- Florida is StudentsFirst’s second-best state according to ideology. According to educational results, Florida is 35th on reading and 42nd on math.
- StudentsFirst says Indiana is third. The “nation’s report card” says it’s 30th on reading and 23rd on math.
- The District of Columbia, where Rhee had her way from 2007 to 2010, comes in fourth according to Rhee’s ranking system. According to the NAEP? Dead last.
- Rhode Island is fifth in Rhee-land. It’s 29th in both reading and math on the NAEP.
By contrast, of the 11 states Rhee rates as having the worst policies for education, three are in the top six for eighth grade reading scores on the NAEP, and four more are in the top 20. Another contrast: The three highest-scoring states on reading are Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Rhee scores them 14th, 21st and 18th.
Bear in mind that this complete disregard for educational results as measured by the gold-standard standardized test comes despite the fact that the StudentsFirst report card ranks states more highly for relying on standardized testing in teacher evaluations. (One reason the NAEP is the gold standard, by the way, is that it’s less likely to be the subject of the kind of cheating that seems to have happened in D.C. under Rhee’s leadership since it’s not high-stakes so the incentive to cheat is low.)
Michelle Rhee’s ideas for education are wrong for our nation.