Rhee just launched Students First, her new outfit that will aim at getting school systems to put kids’ best interests ahead of politics and bureaucracy. I can’t imagine a better illustration of “Students Last” than this Catalyst article. The Illinois State Board of Education has raised the bar for college students hoping to get into teacher-ed programs. They used to get in with a score of 35 percent on the math section of the Basic Skills test (yes, you read that right); now they have to score at least 75 percent. It has cut the pass rate dramatically, particularly among minority candidates, raising the predictable howl.
But as one of the commenters in a related story put it: “Would you want a surgeon to cut you open if they only had a success rate of 35 percent on their operations?”
Maybe Rhee’s new group will help persuade policymakers to worry a little more about the low-income, black and Latino kids in urban school systems, and less about adults who view said systems as jobs programs.