I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Michelle Rhee: The Education Reformer to Watch in 2009

Michelle Rhee, the maverick chancellor of Washington D.C. Public schools, is gaining a lot of momentum in her quest to reform her district. She is also getting a lot of national press coverage of her unfolding reform agenda. I picked up on an article in The Economist earlier this year which highlighted some of Rhee's strategies for reforming the D.C. Schools, and I included this article in an earlier Blog entry.

I hope Rhee is successful in her very tough endeavor, and I am also hopeful that she continues to receive fair and positive media coverage as she begins to tackle some very unpopular issues.

From the US News and World Report Blog:

"If you want to quickly become the most unpopular person in a city, close down a school. No, make that 23 schools. Then, fire 34 principals, offer buyouts to 700 teachers (while pressuring hundreds more to leave), and fire 98 employees from the school district's central office. That's what Michelle Rhee . . . has done since she took control of the district in the summer of 2007.”
“Teacher unions have been a major stumbling block for Rhee, who is seeking to win support for proposals that would make it easier for her to fire incompetent teachers and give bonuses to the best ones. She has introduced two compensation plans, one that strips teachers of tenure but allows them to earn up to $130,000 if they meet performance goals based on student test scores, and the other that lets teachers keep tenure but gives them a modest raise. So far, the unions have chosen not to hold a vote on either proposal, leaving Rhee frustrated.”

Full article here:

Rhee is also featured on the cover of the December 8th Time Magazine:

Rhee is also featured in a short piece in the December 4th CNN Fortune Blog:

“Rhee has hit walls and earned the ire of unions, but that doesn’t discourage her. “You always have to lead from the front,” she told me yesterday when I asked her what is the best advice she’s gotten along the way. Joel Klein, the New York City schools chancellor, gave her that advice last year, and he told her: “Don’t feel the need to bring everyone along with you. If you do that, you’re not going to get anywhere.”

full article here:

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