The Common Good
November 2011

Teachable Moment?

by Mark Datema Lipscomb | November 2011

As a teacher for the Chicago Public Schools, I found your decision to run an advertisement from StudentsFirst.org (September-October 2011) troubling. The StudentsFirst mantra is “accountability,” and it locates the source of almost everything wrong with public education at the feet of unions who protect “incompetent” teachers. But for more than a year now, Michelle Rhee, the former chancellor of Washington, D.C.’s public schools who now runs StudentsFirst, has largely refused to address the cheating scandal that occurred on her watch.

In D.C., 41 schools had suspiciously high test scores. In one classroom 97 percent of standardized test answer erasures were wrong to right. When the District finally investigated, only eight schools were investigated. If Rhee is as hypocritical about such a core value as integrity in her current organization, it raises questions about the ethics of running her organization’s advertisements.

Mark Datema Lipscomb
Chicago, Illinois

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