It hard to believe that D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee has only been here eight months. She says she hopes to be here eight years (through two terms with Mayor Adrian Fenty). Rhee has exceeded expectations, and appears to have the full backing of Fenty – a populist Mayor who won every precinct in the last election. Her list of accomplishments includes gaining the authority to fire non-union employees, and revising and accellerating a plan to divest DCPS of excess school space by closing/consolidating almost two dozen schools. At some point in the last eight months she has agitated every education and political constituency in the city, which is a sign she’s doing something right.
When she speaks at events, I usually find myself thinking “She’s Chancellor…can she really say that in public??” She calls it like she sees it, knows what needs to be done and has the guts to steer DCPS in the right direction. (The jury is still out on how she plans to work with public charter schools which now enroll 30% of District public school students.)
Rhee is speaking at the American Enterprise Institute tomorrow afternoon on the “The Future of Urban School Reform.” More info on the event here.
– Guestblogger Michael Robbins
2 Replies to “Rhee-markable Progress”
NPR put up a great profile of her yesterday which you can find here.
I am a big fan of Ms. Rhee as well, but the “metrics of success” proposed in this post seem off to me. Rocking the boat, whether in the form of angered entrenched constituencies or gaining the power to fire employees, is the consequence of trying to change, not the end goal. It remains to be seen whether change will occur in what matters most: student learning. I like that she has a fighting spirit, but if 3 years from now, kids aren’t learning more, than it will have been a whole lot of fuss for nothing.