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Media: Richard Whitmire, Master Agitator?

Bad guy whitmire What I learned from listening to Mike Petrilli's new half-hour interview about the Bee Eater (Ed Next Book Club) is that author Richard Whitmire has an extremely compartmentalized view of Rhee, her accomplishments, and his book. He readily acknowledges numerous Rhee setbacks and blind spots (closing only "black" schools, talking too much to the press, political naivete, using replacement principals like cannon fodder) but somehow these multiple problems never add up to anything other than isolated incidents. Whitmire  also seems to believe that journalistic shoe leather is the only path to enlightenment, which excludes eyewitnesses, researchers, and basically anyone but him and Bill Turque.  Last but not least, Whitmire seems to misunderstand the full range of Rhee critics' infuriated outrage, which is now being directed at him as well as Rhee.  Or, perhaps he's fully aware of the furor he's generating and is just goosing everyone for the sake of book sales -- in which case, well played.

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After watching Whitmire's interview, I fully appreciate the fake mustache, as I believe his only interest was to spur controversy, push his book, and try and remain neutral as a caring compassionate person whose only concern for the greater good, willing to throw a little mud, but let's not lose focus on my book and sales.

I found him to be very disengenuous, and a person whose moral compass spins in the direction that best suits him. At least Rhee did something, and this book is a sideline view of those who took action, and now Whitmire as the armchair quarterback points out the flaws and what we can all learn from the D.C. experience.

Did they give him a pitch fork and a tail, I cannot see it in the parody? Thanks for the laugh and review of the perception of Whitmire.

Jeff Cudworth

As a teacher, what disturbs me about Rhee is that she fired lots of teachers who had good performance ratings. This, combined with her statement that many of the DC teachers needed to be replaced put teachers on the defensive, for good reason.

According to that podcast interview, critics of Rhee's firing of teachers who had good performance ratings did not get the "connection between the quality of the school and the quality of the teacher." This is disgustingly condescending. Does he honestly think that people think that? I suspect Alexander is right and he is being intentionally insulting to get attention.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in This Week In Education are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.