Michelle Rhee's Students First Says Education Policy Is Basically Horrible Everywhere

A blog about business and economics.
Jan. 7 2013 3:13 PM

Michelle Rhee's Students First Says Education Policy Is Basically Horrible Everywhere


Michelle Rhee is a controversial figure, and anything her advocacy organization, Students First, does is going to attract a lot of derision. But having had the chance to play around with their "report card" on state policy, I think there's a lot to like here.

The best thing about it, really, is just that they did it. Importantly it's a report card assessing the state of education policy in different places, not outcomes. That lets you throw down some important markets. Only two states score above C+ on their ratings—Louisiana and Florida—and student learning outcomes in those states are far from the best in the nation. If Louisiana starts making a lot of progress in closing the gap with, say, Maryland, then that'll be powerful evidence for the Students First approach. But if it doesn't, then you get the reverse.


So by the same token, it'd be great to see organizations with different perspectives put out similar reports showing which places they think are getting things right and which are getting them wrong.

In policy terms, the most interesting thing about the Students First report is probably its treatment of charter schools. Charters have become a polarizing issue, so the tendency is for different institutions to line themselves up as either for charter schools or against them and to assess different jurisdictions' charter policies based on whether they're pro or anti charters. The Students First perspective more wisely dings states that make it too hard to open charters but also dings states (like, say, Arizona) that do much too little to hold charter schools accountable for performance.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.



Don’t Worry, Obama Isn’t Sending U.S. Troops to Fight ISIS

But the next president might. 

IOS 8 Comes Out Today. Do Not Put It on Your iPhone 4S.

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

How Much Should You Loathe NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell?

Here are the facts.

Three Talented Actresses in Three Terrible New Shows


The Human Need to Find Connections in Everything

It’s the source of creativity and delusions. It can harm us more than it helps us.


More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

The Ungodly Horror of Having a Bug Crawl Into Your Ear and Scratch Away at Your Eardrum

We Could Fix Climate Change for Free. What Exactly Is Holding Us Back?

  News & Politics
Sept. 17 2014 5:21 PM Don’t Worry, Obama Isn’t Sending U.S. Troops to Fight ISIS But the next president might. 
Business Insider
Sept. 17 2014 1:36 PM Nate Silver Versus Princeton Professor: Who Has the Right Models?
Gentleman Scholar
Sept. 17 2014 5:10 PM Should Men Still Open Doors for Women? Or is it ungentlemanly to do so at all?  
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 17 2014 4:36 PM Is Nonfiction the Patriarch of Literary Genres?
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 17 2014 9:37 AM Is Slate Too Liberal?  A members-only open thread.
Brow Beat
Sept. 17 2014 5:56 PM Watch Louis C.K., Dave Chappelle, Bill Hicks, Mitch Hedberg, and More on New YouTube Channel
Future Tense
Sept. 17 2014 5:26 PM If Fixing Global Warming Is Free, What’s the Holdup?
  Health & Science
Sept. 17 2014 4:49 PM Schooling the Supreme Court on Rap Music Is it art or a true threat of violence?
Sports Nut
Sept. 17 2014 3:51 PM NFL Jerk Watch: Roger Goodell How much should you loathe the pro football commissioner?