Tuesday, November 20, 2007

DC Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee: Quo Vadis?

Listening to John Merrow’s November 19 report on DC Schools’ Chancellor Michelle Rhee on the PBS radio version of The News Hour took my breath away. Yes, her audacity has refreshing features. But it's also frightening.

In the space of a few minutes Merrow shows Rhee:

• Removing principals within days of arriving on the scene – she actually gives one the news for subsequent broadcast to a national audience.
• Declaring war on her own central office.
• Arguing for the right to fire staff and teachers at her sole discretion.
• Dismissing the idea of any compassion for employees, in the name of student performance.

The Chancellor is a bit short on a concrete strategy towards this end, but the report suggests it is the k-12 equivalent of “march or die” – perform or step aside. Education Week

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