Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Ding Dong . . .

. . . please sing along.

That's exactly what I started humming as I listened to NPR's big announcement this morning.

And by 12:00 noon her resignation was in.

Michelle Rhee can no longer haunt me in my nightmares.

The nightmares came as frequently as DC's buzz question  "So how do you feel about Michelle Rhee?" the first thing anyone asks after I mention my career.

I'm the perfect candidate for an answer.  I came into DC Public Schools just weeks after Rhee took over.  I'm relatively young.  I'm White.  And I'm dedicated to improving the lives of our students.  I should be on her side of the battle.

But for three years my answer has confused people.

I support a lot of her efforts. Her education theories are solid. I don't like her.

Here's how these contradictions work...

First, her theories --
All kids can learn (agreed)
All kids should graduate with the credentials and knowledge necessary for higher education (agreed)
All kids should read at appropriate grade levels (agreed)
All kids should be proficient in math (agreed)

Second, her efforts --
Ineffective teachers should be eliminated from "the system" (agreed)
Highly effective teachers should be "rewarded" (agreed)
Administrative staff is the first to go when a school is continually failing (agreed)

I don't like her.
When kids can't learn . . . it's the teacher's fault.
When kids don't earn the accredidation they need for further education . . . it's the teacher's fault.
When kids can't read  . . . it's the teacher's fault.
When kids can't add 2+3 . . . it's the teacher's fault.

To eliminate teachers, I'll hire 300 too many in June and then make principals force out 250 by September.
If you're a highly effective teacher, you can only claim your reward if you sacrifice all your union rights.
Administrative staff will be replaced every year for four years straight when I'm not satisfied with the growth of their 10 month reign.

I didn't like Michelle Rhee for the same reasons I don't like Glenn Beck.  Their ideas may be grounded in facts, but feeding fear into your employees (or your nation) is absolutely ineffective.  Fear and blame are not problem solvers.

Ding Dong the witch is gone!

Mayor Grey, bring on someone who CAN solve problems.


Scott and Claudia said...

I'm very happy for you. She definitely needed to go. Why did she resign?

Jen said...

I hate when people blame teachers for failures in education. There are so many things that contribute to a student's success, and for the love, can we PLEASE give the students a little responsibility??

Scott and Claudia said...

I agree with Jen on giving the students responsibility, but would like to add parents also. Unfortunately, so many children are left behind due to home life and the choices of parents and it is a cycle that continues. See that way too often. I did see Michelle Rhee on the news last week and thought of how happy you would be!

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