Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Rhee's Reign

I recently read the article About Washington D.C. Superintendant, Michelle Rhee, from the November 26th Time Magazine entitled Rhee Tackles Classroom Challenge:,9171,1862444,00.html I have mixed feelings about her approach. On the one hand, I am concerned that she is too focused on test scores. Education goes far outside of the classroom. What does the child do after school? Does the child feel safe at home? Does the child see success in his/her future? Does the child care about his/her education? What is going on outside of the classroom is just as important (and maybe more important) than what is going on inside the classroom. Are there any efforts going into working on those aspects in this reform?
On the other hand, progress can be gained through radical changes. She has the type of personality and drive to make those changes happen in a school system that desparately needs changes.


Anonymous said...

Hi Amy! (This is Sara from the comments on Book Whisperer)

I'm also in a certification program for language arts secondary ed! Your blog is interesting and very informative, as are your links to other professional blogs. Thanks for the compliment; have a nice day!

fba3 said...

Amy, Ms. Rhee has certainly made herself a target for the education community. There was an extensive article in the Oct.08 issue of Atlantic Monthly(check it out)about her and how she is affecting the social and politcal structures in D.C. I also talked to Jane about her(you might want her comments)and I think there are several things that are going on here. On the one hand,teacher merit pay seems like a great idea. D.C. schools appear to be very ineffective in teaching. What better way to weed out the "bad teachers". But what are we measuring? The teachers inability to teach or the students,who have been passed through, who have not learned? If you got a classroom of 10th graders who hadn't learned to read in 6th grade would you be responsible for their test scores?
Also,Ms. Rhee is the lead for "Teach America". What is the agenda that she brings?The article praised her ability to get things done but it also ended by pointing oout that she had stepped on too many toes doing it and that politics would probably win out.

Mark Potoshnik said...

Amy,Good find.How do we judge a great teacher. Great teachers can make most of their students improve but if their students enter the class under prepared there is only so much that can be done. I can relate this to some players that I have worked with.
There are players that require a tremendous amount of work just to so they can make the JV team. Others can easily make varsity. Which player makes me look like a better coach? If I were to be evaluated against these two players performance I would be marked down for the weaker player. Even though I was a better more motivated coach to him. Good students are easier on teachers but do make teachers better or worse than poor students. How do you evaluate? I do not know at this time. There are too many variables.