Does NYC Schools need someone like hard charging DC Chancellor Michelle Rhee? I'm just asking.
She raised hell in Washington. Might D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee be ideal for New York City.
Let’s just state for the record that there's plenty of speculation for why Fenty lost like he was reportedly inaccessible and aloof. An interesting point here. Some D.C mayors I have interviewed that aligned themselves with NYC republican and independent mayors have been given the heave-ho by DC voters after just one term.
-Fenty was somewhat close to Michael Bloomberg.
-Sharon Pratt Dixon had a relationship with Rudy Giuliani. Pratt Dixon officially announced her plan to run for mayor when then mayor Marion Barry
was arrested on drug charges. Shockingly four short years later, she lost to guess who? Marion Barry.
On the education front, Rhee has been a national face for public education reform who is closely tied to the Obama administration, which has actively sought to tie federal money to school performance. Rhee was on the cover of Time magazine and is prominently featured in a new documentary, "Waiting for 'Superman.'"
Sure Rhee made plenty of enemies, but:
What’s wrong with upending the troubled DC school system and improving test scores?
Why not fire underperforming teachers? Sure it mobilized the teachers' union against her, but so be it. Perhaps it wasn’t the best political move for Rhee to fire more than 200 underperforming teachers less than two months before the primary. But with our children at stake, someone has to rock the boat.
Rhee closed some schools, which angered parents, particularly in the African American-dominated parts of the city. But if the schools were failing why accept mediocrity and keep them open?
There are lots of implications at play.
Will other city mayors back away or slow down the kinds of fast-paced reforms? (shutting down underused schools; firing underperforming principals, teachers, and staff; and pushing through labor contracts that diminish tenure protections and require more accountability) that disrupt communities and teachers’ unions even as they improve test scores and increase enrollment?
City Council Chair Vincent Gray - DC next mayor was a chief antagonist of Rhee at oversight hearings.
Gray has not said he would fire Rhee, but he hasn't said he would keep her on either.
Rhee had actively campaigned for Fenty. The Washington teachers union actively campaigned for Gray.
Sure, critics will say Rhee alienated just about every constituency she needed,that she was a bull in a china shop, but wouldn’t it possibly be refreshing to watch Rhee take on NYC schools?
At this point, what would we really have to lose?
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