It’s absurd to see Rhee assert that this change will bring greater equity to D.C.’s classrooms. And if certain schools or students are currently being short-changed, as Rhee says, the WSF “weightings” could be tweaked to better target specific types of students. In a school system averaging nearly $15,000 per student per year, there’s plenty of money to do many things. If decade-old WSF weightings aren’t suited to 2008, change them.
Why is this crackerjack education executive making this poor choice? The story her office told the Washington Post is that seizing budget control will “help her make good on a core promise: to provide every D.C. school with art, music, and physical education teachers.” But if she wants principals to focus on these subjects or hire more staff in these areas, why didn’t she just ask them to do so? They work for her (she just fired 24 of them, after all). Is it because she doesn’t trust many of those who remain to make wise budgetary decisions? Or is it because she really wants to micromanage everything everywhere in the sprawling system?