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Posted at 01:00 PM ET, 09/09/2012

Is Michelle Rhee taking over the Democratic Party?

An Atlantic magazine article is entitled, “How Michelle Rhee Is Taking Over the Democratic Party.”


(Preston Keres/THE WASHINGTON POST)
Is she really?

The story says that “there are signs that Rhee’s persona non grata status in her party is beginning to wane.”

Persona non grata status in the Democratic Party? When was that?

Rhee was hired by a Democratic mayor, Adrian Fenty, in Washington, D.C,. in 2007 as chancellor of the public school system. In 2010, when Fenty was beaten in the city’s Democratic primary, the Democratic U.S. secretary of education, Arne Duncan, said he wanted her to stay in her job. She didn’t, but not for lack of trying on Duncan’s part.

The real issue here is how much the Democrats have acted like Republicans when it comes to school reform and efforts to privatize public education.

Rhee, whose standardized-test-centric school reform efforts include support for charter schools and vouchers, says she’s a Democrat. Her reform agenda has been embraced by some Democrats, with others applauding most but not all of it. For example, the Obama administration likes a lot of it, but not vouchers.

Education historian Diane Ravitch, on her blog, addresses this issue by asking a series of questions about just how much of a Democrat Rhee really is.

Here’s part of what she wrote:

Would a Democrat work to promote a for-profit chain?
Would a Democrat work with Republican governors Rick Scott, Chris Christie, and Mitch Daniels?
What part of Rhee’s agenda differs from that of the most rightwing Republicans?
What Democrat would have accepted an honor from the far-right voucher-loving organization American Federation for Children, which simultaneously honored Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker?
Nothing that Rhee advocates has ever succeeded.
Neither charters nor vouchers nor merit pay nor evaluating teachers by test scores has any evidence of improving education.

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By  |  01:00 PM ET, 09/09/2012

 
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