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“Rhee the Reformer: A Cautionary Tale”

April 1, 2011

A ton of smart people have already written a lot of smart critiques of “Erase to the Top”– otherwise known as the unfolding story about testing “irregularities” in the DC Public Schools under then-chancellor Michelle Rhee. (RheeFirst has a collection of all the coverage here.) So I won’t do a whole big prose-y deal today– it’s been done.

However, as far as I can tell, I am the first to tell this story in the style of Dr. Seuss. Enjoy 🙂


37 Comments leave one →
  1. DrMarty permalink
    April 1, 2011 9:14 pm

    So this is your inner Seuss? Well done. Made me smile a lot.

  2. April 1, 2011 11:13 pm

    Glad we’re on the same side 😉

  3. April 1, 2011 11:19 pm

    Thanks, guys!

  4. April 2, 2011 12:33 am

    Great job., really sound. I will do what I can to spread this around!

  5. barbara gordon permalink
    April 2, 2011 5:36 am

    Love it! I hope the ending comes to pass, and soon. 🙂

  6. April 2, 2011 7:42 am


  7. April 2, 2011 10:54 am

    Yeah!!! Saturday Morning Cartoons!!!! Yeah!!! It’s like School House Rocks!, all over again!

    Love you, Sabrina! You’re my shero!

  8. mariasallee permalink*
    April 2, 2011 11:18 am

    Love it Sabrina, and, Dave Orphal’s comment above gives me an idea…

  9. April 2, 2011 3:25 pm

    This is so creative! I posted a link to it on a listserve that I belong to. They will LOVE it! Thank you.

  10. Jan Spohn permalink
    April 2, 2011 5:28 pm

    Love it, put it onto my FB account! May it spread far and wide!

  11. Laurel permalink
    April 2, 2011 10:47 pm

    Well done, well done. Truly enjoyed your great story.

  12. Joyce permalink
    April 3, 2011 4:42 am

    Sabrina, this is a brilliant parody! I especially enjoyed the sidebar comments by Yertle the Turtle. I’m hopeful that Rhee (finally!) might actually be held accountable for her actions.

  13. April 3, 2011 6:03 am

    The reason why standardized tests should not be used as the critics of our public education system have been doing is presented in our book, “The Myths of Standardized Tests: Why They Don’t Tell You What You Think They Do”. Your story is informative and entertaining as well. It really captures the problems facing school reformers today. Thanks again, I’ll be posting a link to your “creative writing” on our web site.

  14. April 3, 2011 6:24 am

    Thank you, Sabrina! Posted a link on my Facebook page. I hope you get a million hits. I teach children of poverty in Florida–our new Governor tried to hire Rhee to be an Education consultant. Thank God she was too busy on the talk show circuit to take the job!

    • Joyce permalink
      April 3, 2011 6:30 am

      @paxgirl – Yes, our illustrious NJ Gov. Christie tried to hire her, too.

  15. Michelle Howell-Martin permalink
    April 3, 2011 8:24 am

    Just watched via @n2teaching’s link on Twitter. Amazing, powerful, humorous, and absolutely accurate! Thanks for the writing you do!

  16. April 3, 2011 8:49 am

    Nice Job!

  17. Mary Ginley permalink
    April 3, 2011 8:53 am

    Well done…well said. So sad…wondering if things will turn around quickly enough for this generation of children.

  18. TheCollegeDropout permalink
    April 3, 2011 9:17 am


  19. April 3, 2011 9:43 am

    The reason I think this is wonderful is not because you made it rhyme or because your pictures are cool. It’s not because I really like Michelle Rhee sitting on top of a bunch of DC CAS tests, or because I was actually told a number of times by a psycho administrator while teaching in DC, “you just can’t stand to see black and brown children succeed.”

    No – the reason this is wonderful is because it captures exactly the essence of what I think Rhee’s character really is. And it doesn’t do it by telling. It does it by showing.

    It might be a little over the top – that’s the point of satire – but I think it is the best way, by far, of capturing and communicating our perspective.

    Really nicely done. Thanks.

  20. April 3, 2011 2:18 pm

    This is effin brilliant. Awesome.

  21. Sue permalink
    April 3, 2011 3:22 pm

    Do you think you could write a sequel that would star “Scott Walker” (aka the dictator of Wisconsin). I think the Star bellied Snitches would suit him just fine!

    • April 7, 2011 12:42 am

      Scott Ahab Walker, hijacking the Ship of State to go on a wild white whale hunt? That one?

  22. DCPS teacher permalink
    April 3, 2011 5:05 pm

    Brilliant, I’m still living the madness in DC.

  23. April 3, 2011 10:12 pm

    Kudos to you Sabrina Smith, this was beautiful! Work like this has the power to destroy the tyranny of well-monied special interests like Students First. XOXOXOXO!!!

  24. Demian permalink
    April 3, 2011 11:15 pm

    Really brilliant! I’m always amazed at how a well written story, poem, or song (this is kind of all three) can get the point across so much better than a long essay.

  25. Brenda permalink
    April 5, 2011 5:18 pm

    Brilliant. You have before you an alternate career!

  26. Chris permalink
    April 5, 2011 5:42 pm

    Can I get a signed print?

  27. John Kuhn permalink
    April 9, 2011 11:42 am

    That is SOOOOOOO awesome!!!! Let the truth ring out!

  28. August 4, 2013 2:34 pm

    Hey There. I discovered your weblog using msn. This is an extremely well written article. I’ll be sure to bookmark it and come back to read extra of your helpful info. Thank you for the post. I’ll definitely comeback.|


  1. Why Rhee REALLY remains at the core of controversies « Failing Schools
  2. A Seussian fable, about how tests ruin school reform « Millard Fillmore's Bathtub
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  5. The “Magical Me” Ms. Rhee | Seattle Education

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