Category Archives: Michelle Rhee

September 19, 2010, 1:07 pm

Sunday Radical Roundup: Back to Skool Edition

Is Michelle Rhee Going Down? Kendra Marr at reviews what everyone in education reform, that eclectic field that contains many political positions (most of which revolve around high-stakes testing rather than education or reform) was talking about last week: Washington D.C. mayor Adrian Fenty’s primary loss may mean that Michelle Rhee is out of a job. Fenty, courageously in the minds of many, tied his career to the fate of the District’s schools — and lost, in a resounding smack down for Rhee’s take-no-prisoners approach. “Fenty’s defeat this week — due in no small part to community and teachers union resistance to his education push,” Marr writes, “is emerging as a cautionary tale for education reformers, who fear that it could cause others to back away from aggressive reform programs swept into the mainstream by President Barack Obama’s `Race to the Top.’”…

Read More

July 12, 2010, 1:24 pm

Is Teach For America A Program For The Poor Or For The Rich?

I’m going to start with full disclosure: I have never liked Teach for America. If that’s going to bug you, you might want to move on to the next blog.

Why do I dislike Teach For America? Because it has nothing to do with permanent investment in our schools, or thoughtful reform of education. Because it is one of many organizations that seem to exist more or less to give privileged young people the “life experience” that will qualify them to go on to their next advanced degree. Because it relies for its prestige on the idea that people who are middle or upper class naturally have something special and intangible to offer to the poor. Because it activates our not so thinly-veiled social contempt for people who chose the hard work of teaching public school as a career, often doing it for decades in places where they are forced to buy books and classroom supplies out of their own…

Read More

November 13, 2008, 4:03 pm

Tenure, Tee-shirts and Triangulation: School Reform In The News

Michelle Rhee, the superintendent of schools in the District of Columbia, is moving to abolish tenure for teachers. Because tenure is the third rail of public education, she claims she isn’t. But she is. Rhee is in charge of one of the most troubled systems in the country — or perhaps just the most visibly troubled, since the collapse of public schools in the nation’s capital are a particularly vivid barometer of the terrible state of urban public education more generally. Her current plan is to reduce the number of tenured teachers in the system by offering salary incentives for teachers to give up their tenure and simply teach well.

Rhee’s approach to change doesn’t help sell what is actually a sensible plan: if you have followed her career, you know that she reacts to dissent in the ranks with the polish of your average despot. Her rock ‘em, sock ‘em administrative style makes …

Read More