In the book, I conclude that the Post has had many finest moments of reporting, but the paper’s coverage of Rhee was not among them. That said, I walked away with the opposite conclusion arrived at by this mediamatters writer. To me, the editorial page was far closer to what I was seeing during my schools reporting than what I read in the Metro coverage. It wasn’t the fault of education reporter Bill Turque. He was flying solo, able to focus only the many controversies involving the adults in the system.
This piece focuses everything on the USA Today coverage of cheating by some teachers and principals on the state test in D.C., the test that determines which schools and educators walk away as winners. From the USA Today perspective, this is the only issue that matters during the Rhee period. It’s the only issue in D.C. schools they covered.
I would argue that the filter that truly counts is whether Rhee’s reforms boosted student learning in ways that last. And that’s measured not by the state tests but the NAEP. We already know about the 2007-09 progress. But we won’t know the bigger picture until we get the 2009-11 urban snapshot. If D.C. made no better progress than comparable districts, we’ll know her reforms flattened, or maybe worse. If the D.C. gains outstrip those districts, we’ll know her reforms survived her.