If you have been paying attention, then by now you know that Washington, D.C., Public School Chancellor Michelle Rhee resigned her position. She is the controversial leader who decided to fire more than 200 teachers for poor performance this year, a move that is relatively unheard of in the world of public education. Read more about that here .
Rhee isn’t out until the end of the month, but already Deputy Chancellor Kaya Henderson has been picked to replace her. As usual, politics was involved. Rhee’s educational decisions have angered many, especially unions. The Washington Post article about the decision says that Rhee “reached a mutual decision” with City Council Chairman Vincent Gray to resign her position. Gray, a Republican, is expected to become the next mayor. Current mayor Adrian Fenty lost his re-election hopes in a Sept. 14 primary election. He was widely considered to be Rhee’s protector.
In her tenure as chancellor, Rhee showed her actions to be very much in line with President Obama’s education policies. His Race-To-The-Top initiative advocates for getting rid of low performing teachers, deciding a teacher’s quality based on student test scores and providing merit pay. Despite her departure, Rhee’s reforms, which are credited with raising test scores in D.C., are supposed to remain in place.
D.C. has been one of the lowest performing school districts in the country for quite some time. There, as in many jurisdictions around the country, officials were desperate to find ways to improve how children are taught. Michelle Rhee is what the people got. Read more about her resignation here .
Speculation abounds as to where Rhee will go next. No doubt, wherever it is, she will remain controversial. Rhee was recently seen in the movie “Waiting for ‘Superman,”. The movie highlights the flaws in the public education system. Clearly the problem of public education has captured the imagination of the nation. Just because Rhee is going away doesn’t mean her ideas will.
The nature of public school education is going to change. Teachers will be held to account more often, and perhaps, critics say, unfairly. If these reform efforts are successful, the changes will be here to stay. So, it is time for our nation’s parents and teachers to begin adjusting to the change. It might not be permanent, but at least for a time, it will be a reality.