It’s hard these days to think about education reform without Michelle Rhee creeping into the picture. The alleged cheating scandal in DC schools during her tenure gives me the creeps. The whole thing is just sad.
I came across this video, posted under the name “DCVoicesofConcern” and found it worth sharing. A few years ago, I co-hosted Kenneth Carroll, one of the educators quoted at length in the piece, at my school. He was leading a team of DC college students/mentors who provided invaluable information and support to my 11th graders; it’s a real shame that Michelle Rhee wouldn’t listen to him or his colleagues when she tore apart his school community in the name of bold, disruptive reform.
Check this out:
On her always insightful Teacher in a Strange Land blog, Nancy Flanagan poses the zillion dollar question more globally: Why would we ever want to reform schools in ways that aren’t sustainable or endorsed by the people who do the actual work?
I agree. It doesn’t matter how much Michelle Rhee believes that she cares about kids. We can’t bulldoze our way to increased student learning.
For her part, here’s an excerpt of Rhee doubling-down in an April 13 Huffington Post essay titled “Why I’m Proud of Student Achievement in Washington, D.C. (and Why We Need National Reforms)”
I know some of my decisions were unpopular and generated what some might call bad press. I should have done a better job communicating the rationale behind some of those decisions, but making real change requires decisive action. Let’s examine my decision to close 23 schools where enrollment numbers were low, as was academic performance levels. In the end the kids got to go to better schools that were still in their neighborhoods.The schools that stayed opened retained high quality teachers, were renovated, and got additional resources.
Do Michelle Rhee and the teachers on the video live in the same universe?