United Faculty of Florida-Florida Atlantic University Chapter
December 4, 2010. Controversial Washington DC Schools chancellor sacked teachers and battled unions before resigning under fire, Proponents of privatized higher-ed and school vouchers also appointed
Fort Lauderdale, Florida – Florida Governor-Elect Rick Scott has named his Education Transition Team. At the top of the list, controversial former Washington, D.C. Chancellor of Schools Michelle Rhee.
Rhee’s three years as chancellor of schools was contentious after she helped restructure DC schools, among accolades from her allies and criticism from groups like teacher’s unions.
At the end of the last school year, Rhee fired 226 school employees for poor performance. An additional 729 employees were put on notice that they will be subject to termination after the 2010-2011 school year if their performance did not improve substantially.
Rhee resigned two months after the mayoral candidate that was critical of the job she was doing won the election.
Read more at WTSP.com
Controversial Michell Rhee Part of Rick Scott’ Education Team
By Cara Fitzpatrick
December 2, 2010
Michelle Rhee, the controversial former chancellor of Washington D.C. schools, has been tapped to join Gov.-elect Rick Scott’s education transition team.
Rhee, who made national headlines for firing teachers because of student performance and favoring merit pay, will be one of Scott’s “champions for achievement.” In the announcement today, he called her a “nationally recognized education reformer.”
Other members include leaders of charter school companies, the executive director of the Foundation for Florida’s Future, which was founded by former Gov. Jeb Bush, and the director of a school voucher organization.
Rhee resigned from the Washington school system a couple months ago after a raucous three-and-half year term as chancellor. She was praised by education leaders, such as U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, but also fought with teachers unions.
Read more at palmbeachpost.com
The Proving Grounds: School “Rheeform” in Washington, D.C.
By Leigh Dingerson
Washington, D.C., is leading the transformation of urban public education across the country—at least according to Time magazine, which featured D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee on its cover, wearing black and holding a broom. Or perhaps you read it in Newsweek or heard it from Oprah, who named Rhee to her “power list” of “remarkable visionaries.”
But there’s nothing remarkably visionary going on in Washington. The model of school reform that’s being implemented here is popping up around the country, heavily promoted by the same network of conservative think tanks and philanthropists like Bill Gates, Eli Broad, and the Walton Family Foundation that has been driving the school reform debate for the past decade. It is reform based on the corporate practices of Wall Street, not on education research or theory. Indications so far are that, on top of the upheaval and distress Rhee leaves in her wake, the persistent racial gaps that plague D.C. student outcomes are only increasing.
Chancellor Rhee helicoptered into Washington in 2007 promising to change the culture of the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS). Everyone cheered. But we weren’t counting on the new culture coming straight out of Goldman Sachs. Suddenly, decisions were being made at the top and carried out with atomic force. Parents have been treated like consumers—informed about options and outcomes but denied a seat at the table. The district’s teachers have been insulted in the national media, fired or laid off in record numbers, and replaced by less credentialed and less experienced newcomers. The model views teachers as a delivery system, not as professionals. High turnover is not just the result—it’s the goal. Principals, too, are isolated and expendable. The district lauds the educational mavericks—principals whose “crusades” are described as “relentless” and “methodical”—those who see themselves as an army of one. We are becoming a district where the frontline workers are demoralized, people are looking out for themselves, and trust is all but gone.
Read more at rethinkingschools.com