Michelle Rhee goes nationwide

Time’s cover story this week is about DC Public Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee.  Noted for her fierce demeanor and commitment of school reform, Rhee has “promised to make Washington the highest-performing urban school district in the nation.”

The cover story is definitely worth your time as it gives Rhee a fair shake while evaluating the dysfunctional DC school system.

6 Comments on “Michelle Rhee goes nationwide

  1. I don’t know about whether Rhee is managing DCPS well, but I’m sick of media outside the District acting like her solution has already worked.

  2. Her solution has already worked. The schools open on time. The students get their textbooks on time. The schools are in better condition. Test scores have already gone up.

  3. Teach for America is not the magic bullet or a success story even though all the news articles promote how wonderful it is. More propaganda to justify the money spent on this end ever. Even though TFA preps its corps members with a rigorous five-week training program before they start teaching, graduate classes to earn their certification along the way, and ongoing support from the organization’s staff, there truly is no way to ready these young teachers for the hurdles they will face in the classroom The majority of Teach for America teachers are poor instructors with big ego’s because of graduating from prestigious schools mostly paid for by grants because of ethics status. Yet once they are hired they cannot control the classroom nor can they commit to a work week. These teachers can’t handle young students writing them up for every infraction. It’s unrealistic to think that TFA on its own, by training these teachers and sending them to these small schools, can close the achievement gap [between minority and lower-income students and nondisadvantaged peers]. Yet Rhee with her big three years experience is telling the teaching force how to teach using North Korean tactics to reform Washington schools is ridiculous. Her family moved to this country to improve their life. Her father wanting to get a degree in medicine yet Rhee wants to mirror the Country they left. Everyone is complaining about the United States and how poor the schools are however the US leads the world and everyone in the world wants to be an American. What is the salary of this new “wonderful superintendent?? Is your charity work for free??

  4. I’m currently residing in South Carolina, but the buzz about Ms. Rhee in the most recent Atlantic Monthly got my attention. I’m really excited to see someone with so much energy tackle the monster that is DCPS. From what I’ve heard so far, especially from some friends in the District, definite progress is being made. In fact, even though they still fall below average, scores are up by something like 10%.

    Anyway, in response to Lee Pedilla’s comment, I would have to agree to the point that TFA volunteers probably lack the experience necessary to teach effectively. However, the learning curve is steep for these dedicated individuals and I would disagree that the status quo in the District of Columbia, which fails to reward innovation and promote patronage, is at all sufficient.

    In fact, America and especially the District of Columbia, both of which spend the most per capita on education in the world, are falling behind in achievement and knowledge when compared with their peers in the developed world. It might not hurt to adopt a modified achievement-based system for teachers, especially when it has been effectively implemented in first-class education systems in France and Germany. To that effect, I wouldn’t fault Rhee for her salary, she seems to be a hard worker and truly dedicated to fixing DCPS, especially since she left her lucrative job with TFA in Denver.

    With that, I hope that we can all agree that Fenty has done the right thing in putting education reform at the forefront, even if we don’t necessarily agree on the specifics of his ambitious plan.

  5. firing a whole bunch of teachers without trying to provide supportive staff development as a first resort, is not what I call reform minded. Also, where’s this salary increase she keeps talking about? WHen’s that gonna happen? Why not allow the union to continue, but have improved benefits (dc benefits suck compared to other school districts), reduced benefit co-pays, a better retirement plan (again D.C.s sucks), and improved salary instead of the unrealistic one she’s now proposing. She’d still attract better teachers. And then provide supportive training. THe key here is supportive. How is it helpful to just junk a whole bunch of teachers? It’s very very difficult and stressful working in urban schools. WIthout systemic support, you’ll never get the best. And most people want to be successful.

  6. I’m with all the union supporters!! The unions, nationals and locals, have done such a fine job!!

    There not responsible for ANY of the problems at all, so why not just give them ALL the money and let them fix the problem.

    That way they can spend all the money they want on further layers of bureaucracy, more mandatory benefits, more “workshops” and conventions. Then they can start paying the teachers $250,000 a year PLUS lifetime benefits with NO deductibles or co-pays and AUTOMATIC tenure regardless of performance.

    I’m sorry for the sarcasm, but the only thing the union now offers it’s members and our educational system is a bloated, self-centered culture of greed and entitlement. They do an abysmal job as advocates to teachers that really need an advocate and bristle at the mere mention of the word accountability.

    Union administrators have become a group of privileged, self-serving, political lobbyists interested in furthering their own careers and fattening up their own bank accounts by pandering to the ineffective and in-competent of the field and neglecting those teachers that are truly in the business of caring about the future happiness and welfare of our children.

    Aristotle said, “All who have meditated on the art of governing mankind have been convinced that the fate of empires depends on the education of youth.”

    He was right.

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>