Bill Turque’s second-day story on the Michelle Rhee – City Council debate is well-worth reading but the most interesting story on what’s happening on education in Washington, D.C. is not even an education story at all – and mentioned the issue only in passing: It was Sunday’s front-page look at Mayor Fenty’s stormy relationship with the city council. A lot of what’s happening keys off of that. Remember, it’s all about the kids!
So when Valerie Strauss goes all Rodney King on the same and asks, ‘can’t we all just get along?’ It’s a nice idea, but the obstacle can be summed up in 140 characters or less. In other words, as often happens in politics, disparate interests with common goals are finding each other in the debate. Does anyone really think the AFT would be so bent out of shape and excited about D.C. Council Chairman Gray if Michelle Rhee were using the same style and tactics to mandate hiring more teachers and raising teacher salaries across-the-board with no changes to the “tenure” rules? Somehow I think we’d be hearing a lot less about process…
Update: Kevin Carey on the niceness meme here.
3 Replies to “All About The Kids…”
I’m not sure that I understand your point. You’re trying to use something that never happened to say that the process for getting a budget approved doesn’t matter? Sorry, but if you watched the hearing, you would have seen that Rhee and her CFO did not tell the City’s CFO about a coming shortfall in the budget that they knew about in mid-July. So, the council approved, and the mayor signed a budget that both the Chancellor and her CFO knew were not accurate. She then used the shortfall as a reason for the RIF, though there were other ways to fill the gap. Again, a RIF must be absolutely necessary and cannot simply be done on the whim of an administrator. This definitely matters.
I have never heard anyone before this say that it’s okay to fire teachers during the school year. Nor have I ever heard that summer school is some kind of miracle for students who are behind in their subjects. If we want year round school, then let’s do it. But let’s not pretend like firing people under questionable circumstances to make a budget shortfall to fill another gap is okay. It is not okay. And it is a terrible precedent for other areas of government. Michelle Rhee’s decisions were not about the kids. They were about her ideology. That’s it, that’s all.
I think we all agree that it should be about the kids. With that in mind it shouldn’t be difficult to find out if Rhee did indeed put the kids first. Did she:
hire teachers with full credentials and proven success in the classroom?
avoid any conflict of interest in hiring?
avoid cuts that would disrupt education in the middle of the year?
model honesty and integrity for the children of DC schools?
treat the teachers and parents of children with dignity and respect?
The saddest aspect of this whole situation is the fact that so many people would support an arrogant and self-righteous ideologue like Michelle Rhee. Scary!
I hope they give her the rope to hang herself, but I hope she doesn’t have to use it for a noose.
If she fails, so what? It wouldn’t be the first time, or the second, or the third… It can’t be worse in D.C. than it was, can it? If she succeeds, this will all be forgotten. If she is doing things that others may find objectionable and she doesn’t succeed, I guess she’ll have trouble finding another job.