Catherine Cullen at the Fordham Fellows Blog writes:
Allow me to take one more stab at why I can’t join the Michelle Rhee Cheering Squad, even though I support her efforts to reform the system. And then I promise to let it go.
It’s not enough that the Chancellor be a reformer. She needs to be an effective leader and actually achieve those meaningful reforms. Plan B is not good enough for the students of DCPS. First of all, the 90-Day Plan is not a valid way to get rid of under-performing teachers. It creates a 3-month period during which a teacher has no incentive to raise student achievement and then a tough-to-fill mid-year vacancy. Students with teachers put on a 90-day plan now will probably fare worse than they would if that teacher was targeted with instructional support and excessed at the end of the year. That doesn’t put students first. It puts politics, appearances and fear tactics first. Tying certification to student achievement may be a way to create some teacher accountability without building the “consensus” Rick Hess and Ben so distain. But it will lead to endless battling and controversy, it will not remove bad teachers quickly and it will not incentivize good teachers to stay (in fact it might encourage them to go to any number of nearby districts where their license wouldn’t be in jeopardy)