LISTEN TO ZEIN EL AMINE HERE:
In 2007, in one of her first acts, newly appointed D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee moved to close 24 public schools. She succeeded in closing 23, but John Burroughs remains open. The reason: the parents and allies of John Burroughs immediately organized to save their school and fought tirelessly against Rhee’s so-called “school reform.”
If you didn’t hear about the fight for John Burroughs, you’re not alone. Coverage of the dark side of Rhee’s “school reform” is hard to come by, said educator and activist Zein El Amine. In a recent article in Extra! (“D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee: Media’s Favorite School ‘Reformer’”), El Amine examined the media’s coverage of Rhee’s three years of “school reform.”
The article in Extra! begins: “After Washington, D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty pushed for a mayoral takeover of the city’s school system and dissolved the school board, he chose a relative unknown to take charge. But it wouldn’t take long before she would become a national media darling.”
No media outlet has done more to promote Rhee’s “reforms” than the Washington Post. Zein writes:
“There’s an example every week of the Post’s staunch support for D.C. schools chancellor Michelle Rhee, her punitive policies and her obsession with testing and data. A look at the Post’s changing financial investments reveals that this affinity for Rhee is not simply ideological, but also material. Not only is Washington Post Co. chair Donald Graham on the board of KIPP DC charter school network, the Post Co. itself is actually mostly an education company, as the owner of test prep outfit Kaplan Inc. since 1984.
“In a Post article dated 12/6/07 Graham announced that he had decided to rebrand the Washington Post Company as “an education and media company.” The announcement was made at a meeting with Wall Street analysts and shareholders. Graham indicated that rebranding was necessary to reflect “the rise of Kaplan Inc. within the company and the decline of its flagship newspaper.” At that time Kaplan had become the Post Co.’s top earner, accounting for half of its total revenues; in 2009, Kaplan brought in $2.6 billion, compared to the newspaper’s $679 million. In announcing the rebranding, Donald Graham assured Wall Street that it would not hurt the company’s access to money. No mention of its impact on the newspaper’s credibility.”
(See below for an earlier interview with Zein El Amine which aired April 26, 2010 on “Spectrum Today” on WPFW 89.3 FM)
LISTEN TO ZEIN EL AMINE HERE:
Run On the Bank
This weekend, the International Monetary Fund and World Bank held their annual meeting, but it wasn’t just bankers and bureaucrats who met. Activists and “athletes” also got together and competed in the Anti-Capitlist Games, beginning with a “Run On the Bank” Friday afternoon.
Zein El Amine is one of the activist-athletes who completed the “Run On the Bank” from Malcolm X Park to Murrow Park, across from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Zein pointed out how the structural adjustment that the IMF imposes on poorer countries around the world is similar to the policies that Mayor Fenty and DC Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee are imposing right here on the District of Columbia.