Posts tagged "michelle rhee"
January 29, 2009
With all due respect, Mr. President, this is the problem with public officials sending their kids to private schools. The real story in Washington this year was how D.C. public schools, usually spooked by a light dusting, didn’t close after Tuesday’s snowstorm, thanks to the tough-it-out policies of Chancellor Michelle Rhee. This is a longstanding gripe of mine, how private schools, even ones located in D.C., following the weather guidelines in Montgomery County, Md., as if they float above the actual city.
UPDATE: As a commenter points out below, Sidwell Friends’ lower school, where Obama’s younger daughter Sasha is in second grade, is in Bethesda, Maryland. So it kind of makes sense for Sidwell to follow the Maryland schools. Also, having gone to Maryland public schools K-12, I have to say that I fully support snow days.
December 12, 2008
This gives me an opportunity to explain once again why I think this contest is important — not just a ring of fire that you should be terrified to wade into, as The New Republic’s Seyward Darby sort of suggested, but a good launchpad for serious debate.
For those not paying attention, the point of the contest is to find an adjective to put before “reformer” that could quickly and fairly and without bias describe a certain type of education activist. The group includes Wendy Kopp of Teach For America, Joel Klein of New York, and Michelle Rhee of D.C. It does not include another set of people who consider themselves education reformers, but object to Kopp, Klein, and Rhee’s methods.
And that’s why it matters, because as much as the Kopps and Rhees would like to own the reformer title, and as much as the mainstream media lets them get away with that, describing only one side of the debate as reformers is neither accurate nor fair nor conducive to robust debate. (more…)
December 1, 2008
Michelle Rhee’s media blitz continued this week at Time, where the firebrand chancellor of the Washington, D.C., public schools scored a cover profile.
Time’s story rehashes much of the same ground that other recent profiles of Rhee have covered: it describes her controversial, take-no-prisoners attitude, nimbly Blackberrying fingers, and unwavering commitment to results. (There is at least one new tidbit: Rhee, a darling of the group Democrats for Education Reform, had to be convinced to vote for Barack Obama.)
Responses to the article in the education blogosphere reflect an ongoing tension within the education policy world between those who back radical change and those who take a more cautious approach to reform. Blogging at Flypaper, Mike Petrilli of the Fordham Institute writes that he thinks “it’s hard not to root for Michelle Rhee.” NYC Educator, on the other hand, scathingly outlines the reasons why she’s a danger to teachers. In a post titled “Michelle Rhee is Scaring Me,” Robert Pondiscio takes a middle path, saying that Rhee’s tactics might not be the best means to an end desired by many, including Pondiscio himself.
One of the most interesting responses I’ve seen doesn’t address Rhee’s controversial tactics at all. (more…)
November 17, 2008
Schools Chancellor Joel Klein called on more than 1,000 Teach for America alumni at a conference Saturday to “wield cudgels” and see themselves as “warriors in the fight for educational equity.”
But some alumni questioned the feasibility of the warrior lifestyle that Klein said is embodied by TFA grads such as D.C. schools chancellor Michelle Rhee and KIPP charter school founder Dave Levin.
“We want to be like you,” a TFA alum told who now works for the DOE stood up to tell his current boss, District 79 Superintendent Cami Anderson. But he asked how it’s possible for a regular person to make a difference and still have a personal life. Anderson, a former TFA regional director for New York City, has a reputation for putting in long hours and having almost limitless energy.
Confessing to her own struggles with burnout, Anderson acknowledged that closing the achievement gap isn’t going to happen in just a few years, so the work must be sustainable. Before taking her current DOE position, she said, she set personal goals for herself, such as leaving work twice a week at 6 p.m. and sometimes reading frivolous books. (more…)
November 17, 2008
I am an alumna of TFA and a current staff person. 60% of our Corps members stay in education after their 2 year committment. The idea is to cultivate more Michelle Rhees, Mike Feinbergs, and David Levins as well as more people like Cami Anderson (Superindendent of District 79 in NYC). While I don’t think Wendy Kopp is a strong candidate for Secretary of Education due to her lack of actual teaching experience I do not feel that TFA is part of the problem.
Quick explainer: Mike Feinberg and Dave Levin are the founders of the KIPP charter school network, Michelle Rhee is the chancellor of the D.C. public schools, and Cami Anderson runs alternative schools in New York City. All are TFA alums.
November 14, 2008
Ruben, a second-year Bronx teacher, says even though he doesn’t see himself making a career of teaching, and he approves of experiments with merit pay, he understands why unions protect tenure. He thinks D.C. superintendent Michelle Rhee’s anti-union rhetoric is “alienating those who might otherwise be allies“:
Bad schools often have bad leaders. The most dangerous result of dissolving tenure would be the end of a safety net for teachers who are unfairly or arbitrarily fired. With tenure such a scenario is virtually impossible. Without tenure there are administrators who can and will enforce a patronage system of sorts where loyalty and obedience are prized over dedication to the students and the craft of teaching. Rhee would do teachers and the discussion about reform in general a service to acknowledge these facts.
November 13, 2008
While most big-city superintendents would rather their scores on the National Assessment of Education Progress just go away, Beverly Hall of Atlanta has gone out of her way to make sure her students’ progress is judged against the national yardstick.
In a recent profile of Hall, EdWeek reported:
As test scores rose steadily year after year, Ms. Hall wanted to ensure that Atlanta’s progress would not be dismissed by criticism that Georgia’s performance standards and assessment, before recent changes to both, weren’t as rigorous as many other states’. The superintendent decided the city’s students would take a more rigorous national exam and publicly report the scores.
Hall’s colleagues feared that low scores on the national test would draw negative attention to the city’s schools.
But instead, Atlanta was the only district that showed significant gains in both reading and math every year. (more…)
November 12, 2008
Scholastic Administrator magazine has a Q&A with Schools Chancellor Joel Klein this month. A revealing nugget is who Klein suggests for Obama’s Education Secretary (hint: as he has said to reporters here, too, he’s not suggesting himself):
Q So who would you choose as U.S. Education Secretary?
A Someone with Michelle Rhee’s talent and passion. Or someone outside the box—maybe a venture capitalist.
Scholastic also asks Klein about the divide between Democrats on education:
Q Is too much being made about the “divide” between Democrats on education?
A The divide is between those who are and aren’t ready to enact radical reform, which means taking on a power structure that has controlled the debate for decades, defined the problems in education as something education can’t fix, and bestowed influence at every level.
(Hat tip to Alexander Russo)
November 7, 2008
At his first policy address as president-elect, Obama this afternoon said the family hasn’t yet decided where the girls will enroll. But he suggested that they will be looking farther afield than their neighborhood school. “Michelle will be scouting out some schools,” he said. “We’ll be making a decision about that in the future.”
In Chicago, the girls attend the progressive private school that’s affiliated with the University of Chicago. Many speculate that the Obamas will settle on an elite private school such as Sidwell Friends, which Chelsea Clinton attended. But D.C. schools chief Michelle Rhee has been angling for months for the First Family to pick one of her schools. Blogger Matt Iglesias reports that Sara Mead of the New America Foundation says Capital City Public Charter School, with a diverse population and convenient location, would be a good choice.
November 3, 2008
I’ve been getting a lot of ideas for what to call the nameless movement personified by Jon Schnur. The good news is that I think the descriptions are getting a lot more precise. The consensus points I see emerging: This set of reformers puts a primacy on data; is obsessive about getting rid of bad teachers, and views the democratic political process as a barrier. They are also young and bratty.
We are getting closer, but I do not think we are there yet. I define “there” as the moment at which you the readers have delivered me a single adjective that I can slap before “reformer” without feeling a twinge of remorse.
So, please send more entries! As you brainstorm adjectives, the best of the suggestions so far, which I’ve compiled below and which include superstar entrants including Joel Klein and Diane Ravitch, may help. (more…)