School Privatization Fraud: Michelle Rhee May Yet Join Beverly Hall in the Dock

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

“Michelle Rhee may yet pay for her the damage she has inflicted on society and its children.” The former DC schools superintendent and privatization poster girl has been exposed to charges of fraud, along with her sister in crime, former Atlanta superintendent Beverly Hall. The real criminal enterprise is codified in No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top, headed up by the Bush and Obama gangs.

School Privatization Fraud: Michelle Rhee May Yet Join Beverly Hall in the Dock

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

Rhee hid money that the school system actually had on hand, to claim that teachers had to be fired en masse.”

Michelle Rhee, the former Washington, DC, schools chief and poster woman for public school privatization, richly deserves to join former Atlanta schools superintendent Beverly Hall, who was recently indicted for her role in that city’s massive cheating scandal. Michelle Rhee may yet pay for the damage she has inflicted on society and its children, whom she has harmed even more grievously than her comrade in crime in Georgia. But first, the case of Beverly Hall.

Hall was a high-rolling player in the nationwide criminal enterprise to destroy public education and replace it with a privately managed, but publicly financed, system. She wound up being hoisted on her own petard, her career wrecked by the same high stakes testing regime that she supported to the hilt, and on whose altar she had sacrificed – fired – 90 school principals and countless rank and file teachers. Hall was caught in the minefield of No Child Left Behind and President Obama’s Race to the Top, trapped in a web of deceit.

A key purpose of high stakes testing is to “prove” that conventional public schools are inferior to the charter model, and that incompetent or uncaring teachers and their unions are the heart of the problem. The testing regimen is designed to fail large numbers of schools, so that they can be replaced with charter operations. Beverly Hall carried out a reign of terror in her overwhelmingly Black Atlanta district. Every public school teacher understood the rules: if your students get a low score, you are out the door. In return for torturing her teachers, superintendent Hall was awarded accolades and goo-gobs of bonus money and lucrative speaking engagements. She was a kingpin of the privatization gang, not too many notches below Michelle Rhee.

Hall had to rely on the lowly, terrified teachers to work her scam.”

But Beverly Hall was trapped in a contradiction. In order to fulfill her commitment to the corporate charter school mob, she had to use her powers as superintendent to disrupt the educational process and make teaching a living hell. However, if she was to further her personal reputation as a school administrator, Hall needed the students in her district to register ever higher scores on the tests. She had to prove, by the numbers, that Race to the Top worked – when clearly it does not – or wind up in the same trash heap into which she was so eagerly throwing her teachers. Since the students could not facilitate her crime by actually achieving the impossible scores, Beverly Hall had to rely on the lowly, terrified teachers to work her scam. Thus, she became the Superintendent of Cheating, and is now free on $200,000 bail.

Michelle Rhee was even more criminally ambitious, during her tenure as Chancellor of DC’s public schools. It turns out that Rhee hid money that the school system actually had on hand, to claim that teachers had to be fired en masse, for budgetary reasons. After the massacre of teachers was over, Rhee magically found the money she had hidden, and hired a whole new crop of younger, whiter, non-union-friendly teachers.

One of those caught in the Michelle Rhee massacre was Willie Brewer, a 53-year-old music teacher who sued. A federal judge has allowed his case to proceed in court, and Brewer is now amending it to include charges of concealment and fraud, that could conceivably wind up putting Michelle Rhee in prison.

Let the perp-walk begin.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at [email protected].



Thank you

Thank you for speaking the truth. It is such a relief.

Race to the Bottom of the Jail

I hope they put all these crooks in prison for defrauding public education not just in specific instances but holistically by spreading the lie that Race to the Bottom is good public policy.

Maybe these two "educators" can set up a a tutoring program in prison for high school drop outs??  It would be a fitting match:  privatized education meets privatized prison.


Michelle Rhee

I certainley hope that Mr. Brewer is successful in his law suit against Michelle Rhee.  His actions prove that he is one Black professional that understands what is at stake. That being middle class or a professional is a temporary status for African Americans.  It doen't matter if you graduated from Morehouse or Baruch, being a Black professional can be tenuious at best.

Too often Black professionals do not use their knowledge to guide or warn our people. This can be done in the background, no one requires them to be out front; yet Black professionals will not even speak up in their own defense. Let alone ours. Journalist at Black Agenda Report are the exception no doubt.

NYC has a myriad of ethnic groups.  I have witnessed how professionals of other groups quitely aid their people while enriching themselves.  They know that without without the rest of their people that they are nothing. Its time the Black professional know the same thing.

The arc of justice is long,but it is certain. Hall and Rhee may be cell mates in Lenvenworth.




Spot On


You are absolutely correct in what you are saying. I see it first hand on the local level in public education and there's no doubt it is happening on the national level too. Its just not the taking over of public education that is happening, there are a lot of other issues in public education that are a problem too that are destroying the teaching profession like student assaults on teachers. Teachers are getting hammered on all sides and when your local association or the union are not willing to confront the district about it, you realize why it has been so easy for the neoliberals to take over school districts. It was very refreshing to see the Chicago Union and the Seattle Teachers put up a fight and win in what they saw as a neoliberal assault on public education. We are witnessing the tip of the "iceberg" on what is going to be a cleaning of the souls in public education. I for one will do my part to bring to light the problems that I believe are endemic in my school district. Sometimes you have to force the hand of your association or union who don't want to represent the professions best interest, but to maintain the "status quo" or to sell us out to the highest bidder. The villify, divide and conquer strategy of the neolibs will not prevail in public education because the "Smoking Gun" has been found and it has been verified, so now is the time put the neoliberal people and their allies "out to pasture" for good where they belong.

Michelle Rhee

I loved this radio commentary.  Your report has pierced through the media's propaganda offensive, including Oprah's exaltation of Ms. Rhee back in the day, depicting her as a ultimate supporter of our children's education, revealing her for the Trojan horse that she is, a panderer for those powerful privatazation forces bent on destroying public education.  Hmmm...  StudentsFirst....No, it should be ProfitsFirst, Students, Who Cares???  Chancelor, Whatever!!

It's a double or triple whammy

Not only is the teaching profession unfairly under attack at it's core, the real educational challenges they face--being surrogate parents for children who live in dysfunctional communities or families for whom little or no services are offered--are completely ignored in the process.  Add to this scenario the death blow of Standardized Testing and the institutional racist underpinnings of it (Hello Wm. Shockley) and we have a hell of a problem on our hands..

A question for the teachers unions all across America is:  "How in the hell did you all let an instrument of institutional racism like the Bell Curve and its's evil sister Standardized Testing become paramount?"  As a someone who's had the opportunity and privilege to be a P-T Adjunct myself, I say no way in hell does testing measure the totality of student potential or educator success.

Everybody knows that Charter Schools siphon off the most stable and educationally centered Black families leaving the public education system with ever increasing challenges.  In the process it siphons off the Black kids who were role models, same for their parents who were perhaps amongst the most active in the school's educational environment and leadership figures for less involved parents.

Unless and until African American Educators learn to speak truth to power they can and should expect to come under assault.  

Frankly, what some folks need to do is to use privitization to create academies that are uniquely suited to the educational challenges faced by urban dwellers and others in challenging school systems.  Maybe that high school named Frederick Douglass ought to really BE that???   All to often we fight to get in where we are not welcome instead of carving out our own center.  Sometimes we have too much Rick James in us, like the song says:  I"m just a sucker for your love."

Unions will absolutely throw renegades under the bus, better learn you damned if you do as well as damned if you don't.  It is what it is.  This entire Wm. Shockley Junior scam is wrought with fraud and abuse.... it's the numbers baby and they can and will be manipulated.

I am willing to wager test fraud is a national epidemic and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Small wonder Americans are getting dumb and dumber, it has a suckass educational system..

"They didn't want to know what was going on?"

Much thanks for the MSNBC story on Rhee.

Michelle Rhee and her "success story" is confirmation of the said state of affairs in this country, first, Americans suffer from deep psychosis and its become natural for people to lie through their teeth and think nothing of it, they are completely comfortable with gross, unmitigated lying and seemingly operate in parallel universes--lying is a public relations feat not a moral dilemna anymore.  And second, the mainstream media is a propoganda organ, they control the margins of debate, with a few exceptions.

Wonder to what extent Arne Duncan or Obama knew Rhee was a fraud?  Sounds like a political coverup to me.  Is there any chance Arne didn't know what was going in his D.C. backyard, particularly given the union pushback in his hometown Chicago? What EXECUTIVE wouldn't think of how his story/mission/objectives would be attacked or challenged?  Or conversely, what EXECUTIVE wouldn't be seeking "success" stories that parrot their goals and objectives, BUT NOT BEFORE VETTING THEM??  

Question:  "Who knew what and when did they know it?"  Question 2: "I wonder how many Black educators getting their ass kicked daily raised the same question?"  And seriously, did they honestly believe that Obama was doing right on educational policy with his Race to the Bottom catastrophe?  

Seems like there are a WHOLE LOT OF FOLKS who don't want to "know" what's going on???  Small wonder critical thinking is on the margins in the good ol US of A.


Obama Re-Elected by 95% Black, 70% Hispanic, just 40% White Vote

How did Rahmbo, the guy who is now aims to close as many as 60 CPS schools this yr, all in Black Chicago neighborhoods, get elected by crushing the first & thus far only Black Woman ever to be a US Senator [Chicago's Carol Mosely Braun]??? Because his fellow Chi-Town home-boy Obama told Chi-Town Negroes to vote for Rahmbo, & they did just that [not sure how many Hispanics voted for Rahmbo but I suspect over 50%]!

How did Race to the Bottom's Arne Duncan, a guy who's only qualified to be a jr hi-school basketball coach / PE teacher [he's an ex semi-pro basketball player], get to be Sec of ED??? Because his Chi-Town basketball chum Obama picked him for the job that's how!  If a Repug like Newt Grinch-witch had said what Arne Duncan said that 'Katrina is the very best thing to ever happen to New Orleans schools...', Black folks would have been up in arms. So why haven't Blacks demanded that Duncan even apologize, let alone insist that Obama kick his ass to the curb??!!  

Food for thought on our wonderful, first-rate educational system

Dr. Michio Kaku has some interesting, powerful insights:

America has a secret weapon the:  H1B-Genius visa.

The Problem with the learning system in school:

Is it a proper question to ask:  "Why are we working so hard to perpetuate and defend a racist, inferior (to the rest of the world) learning process?  Why not take the same approach as the charter-whores who want to TAP into the financial stream to fund the "alternative" operations, are we so unimaginative that we can't create a different model using the same approach?

Beats the hell out of me.

Minneapolis Following Suit

I am afraid that Mpls Public Schools superintendent is being used as a puppeteer for Teach for America, which she is allowing to take over top positions in our district offices, Eli Broad, the Walton Family, Bill and Melinda Gates, etc.. She is following the Broad playbook for corporatizing the public school system here and she has started in the black community schools. I find it hard to believe that educated black folks are turning back the hands of time to pre civil rights movement and desecrating that time in history by equating the privatization of public schools with the Civil Rights Movement. It is ignorant at best and harmful to our children. Soledad O'Brien is highlighting this madness in her latest documentary Blacks in America by highlighting a charter school system run by a black man who has no background in education, originally opened his school as a private entity until he was informed of the dollars available in the public schools system, and had an afrocentric theme. He is now the guru of hiring young white Teach for America psuedo teachers to come in and teach our children how to take the test so that he can claim that he is educating our low income children as well as beating the odds. He has been granted a five school contract by the public school system. When are we going to wake up as a community and put a stop to this assault on public education? Black teachers are being pushed out of the system and the door is being opened to those who have no vested interest in educating our children, but are primarily in it for the billions of dollars allocated to the public education system in this country. Why is it okay for public school teachers to have classes which are at a ratio of 1:35, but those pushing this charter, voucher movement are sending their children to schools that have a ratio of 1:16? A test is but a test. It is a moment in time snapshot, but the learning which is taking place in the classroom occurs over time and should be assessed as it is happening so that instruction can be adapted as the students needs demand. I don't believe that the sum of our children's intelligence is encompassed in these tests. We have fallen into the trap of the Bell Curve and our children are internalizing the falsehood that they are not as intelligent as the white and yellow children. This must stop!

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