Watch your back: Michelle Rhee’s firing streak continues

We ran a feature last year on the Oyster School, an English/Spanish bilingual elementary school in Woodley Park that has long been regarded as one of the few bright spots in the District’s struggling public school system. On Friday, the Post reported that Oyster-Adams (the school merged with Adams Elementary this year) principal Marta Guzman became the latest casualty of DCPS Chancellor Michelle Rhee’s tenure when her contract was not renewed.

The Oyster ouster is full of delicious details — Rhee’s daughters are both Oyster students, she attended a November dinner party convened by angry parents who wanted to complain about Guzman, and my parents (who live around the corner from Oyster) report that protesters gathered outside the school on Friday morning. Those parents and others form the pro-firing camp, citing the now-ex-principal’s “lack of organization, reluctance to delegate and sometimes-brusque style.”

Others allege that “Guzman was toppled by a cadre of dissatisfied and largely affluent Anglo parents with the ear of a woman who was both a fellow parent and the chancellor.”

The Editorial Board has backed Rhee’s attempts to reform the school system by cutting down on unnecessary administrative jobs and bringing new blood into the system with firings and buyouts, but I’m not sure I can get behind this particular firing. Oyster is one of the District’s most successful schools, and the dinner party situation is pretty shady.

Then again, maybe Guzman would have driven a stellar school into the ground if Rhee hadn’t taken action; I don’t know enough about the “intra-school politics” (as one parent calls them) to know for sure. One thing is for certain, though: no one is safe from the Rhee reign.

-Anna Bank, Editor-in-Chief

5 Comments on “Watch your back: Michelle Rhee’s firing streak continues

  1. Dear Ms Bank
    Your article on the issue of Guzman´s dismissal is inaccurate. Firstly, if your parents live round the corner, you will know that Oyster is in Woodley Park, not Cleveland Park. Second, the article published by the Post on Friday 9th was the best proof that one cannot believe what newspapers tell you. As an Oyster parent who is very involved in the school, I can assure you that
    1. Oyster is not a succeeding school. If you go to the DCPS website, you will see that our scores have dropped from 97% to 69% in Maths, and from 99% to 76.% in REading. And all this happened since Guzman took over the school.
    2. On friday morning I was at the school and there were no protesters.
    3. The gentleman that made those comments to the Post was amongst the group of parents who agreed that Sra Guzman should be replaced.
    4. There was not such a dinner in November with angry parents as you write above.
    5. Mrs Guzman has been fired because she has not done her job properly. She´s an awful administrator who doesn´t know how to run a school. She doesn´t like children and she abuses teachers. Our best teachers have left because of her. Her dismissal has been based on her performance.
    6. The teachers at Oyster support Rhee´s decision to fire Guzman, as it has been announced in the school today.
    With all the above, I hope you have enough arguments now to write a different story, but please do not write one that´s going to sell more, but one that tells what has really happened. Thank you

  2. Pingback: Watch your back: Michelle Rhee’s firing streak continues « Educational Rheeform

  3. Pingback: Vox Populi » New Fenty on the way

  4. Pingback: Vox Populi » When Michelle Rhee’s revolution comes, teachers’ unions will be the first against the wall

  5. Actually, not all teachers supported Rhee’s firing of Principal Guzman. The ‘memorandum of support’ was created by a small, vocal group of teachers who did not consult the rest. I know, because I was one of ‘the rest’. Whatever you thought of Principal Guzman’s management style, her dismissal was not handled in a transparent or professional manner.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>