Tag Archives: tfa

D.C. School Reform: The Backlash

Marc Fisher at The Washington Post writes:

But there’s been a change in the atmosphere, as teachers, school activists and some D.C. Council members and parents are grumbling more and more loudly about Rhee’s bull-in-a-china-shop manner and her continued badmouthing of the schools under her charge.

The District’s schools, Rhee says, are doing “an abysmal job,” and any fair look at students’ test scores renders that a simple statement of fact. But new questions are being asked about whether Rhee’s reforms–closing underpopulated schools, fixing up decrepit buildings, sweeping out underperforming principals, and hiring legions of energetic, if inexperienced young teachers–are really making a difference in the classroom.

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UnderNews writes:

One of the worst ideas floating around Washington is to give some high federal position to Michelle Rhee, DC school chancellor. Rhee, who has accomplished little of substance, is the media protected product of an area business community that would like to undermine public education as much as possible. Hence DC has an exceptional number of effectively unmonitored charter schools and Rhee is going after teacher tenure – not to mention teachers themselves – like a Blackwater mercenary dealing with Iraqis.

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It’s a teacher-bashing fest in D.C. — but will it improve the schools?

Caroline Grannan – S.F. Education Examiner writes:

It stands to reason that Rhee would disdain experience, since she has almost none herself. She taught through Teach for America for two years in Baltimore schools and claims to have transformed a classroom full of failing students into stellar achievers, though there is no backup or documentation to support this claim. If those students, or her colleagues, have spoken up to confirm her boast, it’s not showing up on Google.

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To understand the war on public schools, it helps to think of the Defense Department where our national security has been turned over to a mass of private contractors that make billions under the pretext of improving our national defense. There are no standardized tests at the Pentagon, the closest parallel being war itself, one of which we haven’t won against a comparable enemy in over 60 years. A fair description of how the Defense Department works is that it is government by parasites.

Something similar is happening to our public schools under the guidance of an arrogant and aggressive coterie of educational bureaucrats like the much touted Michelle Rhee of Washington DC. There have always been commercial parasites hovering over public education, but the opportunities exploded with No Child Left Behind, basically a government subsidy to every firm that designs tests, the books that help students pass them, or provides untested consultant or administrative services to public officials who once knew how to run a school system without so many deals on the side.

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