Based on what I can gleen from a few different views of anomaly on various dictionary and dictionary/thesaurus websites, what occurred during the last two years of Michelle Rhee’s reign is, in her view “not normal”. Interestingly, any teacher would have told her to actually expect the problems which occurred, had she only asked. Any teacher with 10 years experience would have stated that there are bound to be pitfalls and most likely elucidate what they expected the pitfalls to be and how to possibly avoid the problems.
A person who is a reformer should seek counsel from the best and brightest about how to transform something (aka-damage control in the corporate world) so entrenched. Clearly her decisions were based upon her own ideas or she would have graciously indicated who she had cultivated relationships with and thus consulted. Furthermore, whomever she consulted with, if they are ‘hiding’ in the wings, should have seen the what if scenario and did everything in their power to stanch the flow of problems by ANTICIPATING the problems.
Ms. Rhee clearly has good intentions. She wants to change a school system and restore dignity and learning to children. It is unfortunate she is going about this in a way which is causing such dismay among so many. I believe the saying is ‘you only get one chance to make a good impression’. Much of what I read in the above noted article made me think of new undergrads, not quite ready for grad school but they know it all and are out to conquer the world. Students who have completed graduate school, most especially in education, tend to be consensus builders and do the research/work necessary to turn the ship instead of trying to right the wheel while in the middle of the ocean in a storm. Education is not, happily, a zero sum game. Ms. Rhee has turned it into a battlefield – winner take all.
Even three consecutive years of test scores demonstrates nothing. A longitudinal study takes 10 or more years to eradicate the anomalies by obtaining more data. Even people with basic stats background can see through the fog of little data. Unless Ms. Rhee has a great marketing firm who can put spin on an object with great inertia, the test scores will not mean doodle. Everyone can have an opinion or interpret the test scores, much in the way everyone has a mouth.
I feel sorry for the educators and principals who have to deal with Ms. Rhee’s ego. I feel even more sorry for the children who have become the pawns in the experiment.