Friday, April 12, 2013

I Look Forward to Commissioner Gist's Testimony in Michelle Rhee's Trial for Racketeering

John Merrow:

The erasures stayed buried for years. The official who had spotted the problem and urged Rhee to investigate has kept her mouth shut. Five months after she had informed Rhee of the widespread erasures, Deborah Gist resigned to become State Superintendent in Rhode Island. Rhee now publicly praises her efforts there. Sandy Sanford, who earned roughly $9,000 for his work on the memo, has been paid at least $220,000 by DCPS for various services.

When erasures continued in Rhee’s second and third years at slightly diminished rates, she and Henderson contracted for three severely limited investigations, none of which allowed for erasure analysis or an examination of the original answer sheets.

Up to this point, Merrow has been charitable, to say the least, in his analysis of the current wave of school reformers. He gave them the benefit of the doubt well past the point at which they deserved it.

Which makes his new, authoritative, comprehensive and devastating takedown of Michelle Rhee's legacy in DC a blow that cannot be easily shaken off. Especially in the wake of the indictments in the Atlanta cheating scandal.

Merrow's new information just makes it seem even more likely to me that Gist's role was that she's enough of a team player to not step out of turn and go on a whistle-blowing crusade, but she's enough of a ambitious true believer that it would be clear to everyone that she wouldn't sit there in an otherwise powerless job and destroy her own career to cover for Michelle Rhee. So a timely opening in Rhode Island worked out for everyone (except maybe us, although tbh, it could have been even worse), and Gist has probably collected a few favors (how many phone calls does it take to get someone in the Time 100?) from relieved patrons.

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