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School Reform Outsider Hired To Run DC Schools

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What to make of today's announcement that Michelle Rhee, until now honcho of The New Teacher Project, has been appointed to run the DC public school system? It's an interesting choice, to say the least -- exciting, a little bit nervous-making. Rhee is a standout, there's no doubt, and has accomplishments coming out of her ears. And she exemplifies the outside-in move that I've been whining about these past few months -- a nonprofit mover and shaker moving into the system and building her own experience (and hopefully improving the district), rather than continuing to work from outside. Previous posts: Can Education Entrepreneurs Crack Public Education? The Sundance Of School Reform Somewhat Annoying Latecomers Try New School... Finding The Hidden Gems In The System

Founder and CEO of The New Teacher Project Named
Chancellor for Washington, DC Public Schools


Washington, DC Mayor Adrian Fenty Appoints Michelle Rhee Chancellor of DC Public Schools


NEW YORK, NY - The New Teacher Project (TNTP) today announced that founder and chief executive officer Michelle Rhee has accepted the nomination of Washington, DC Mayor Adrian Fenty to become Chancellor of DC Public Schools. Ms. Rhee, whose career in education began as a public school teacher in Baltimore, MD, will step down from her leadership role at The New Teacher Project.

A national nonprofit organization, The New Teacher Project is dedicated to increasing the number of outstanding individuals who become public school teachers and to creating environments for all educators that maximize their impact on student achievement. Michelle Rhee guided TNTP's growth from an idea to a national organization of over 120 full-time staff members. Since 1997, the organization has launched more than 40 programs in 23 states and recruited, prepared or hired approximately 23,000 new, high-quality teachers for school districts nationwide.

"The schools of the nation's capital city ought to be among the best in the country," said Mayor Fenty. "Unfortunately, for far too long, Washington, DC students have had to settle for less. As someone who has spent her career championing school system reform and pursuing innovations that level the playing field for all students, Michelle Rhee shares my vision for the DC public school system and is the ideal person to make that vision a reality."

Ms. Rhee's contributions to public education have been widely recognized. She was the recipient of the Gleitsman Citizen Activist Award in 2004, presented for her efforts to confront, challenge and correct social injustice in the United States. In 2007, in recognition of her impact on public education, she was selected as the inaugural recipient of the Peter Jennings Award for Civic Leadership, presented annually by Teach For America to an alumnus who has had a far-reaching and substantial contribution to the effort to improve educational equity in under-resourced areas.

TNTP staff praised the formative role Ms. Rhee played in the organization's development. "TNTP would not be the organization it is today without Michelle Rhee," said TNTP Vice President Ariela Rozman. "Over the last 10 years, it has benefited immeasurably from her confident leadership and inspiring vision for America's public schools."

TNTP Board Chairwoman Kati Haycock, Director of The Education Trust, celebrated Ms. Rhee's nomination. "Throughout the course of her career in education, Michelle has proven to be a passionate and determined advocate for the best interests of low income and minority students. Time and again she has refused to give in to those who want to protect the status quo, instead working tirelessly to ensure our schools provide only the best education for the children they serve. Michelle's appointment as Chancellor is truly a victory for Washington, DC students and their families."

The New Teacher Project has worked to implement teacher recruitment and retention programs for dozens of school systems around the nation, including Washington, D.C., New York City, and Chicago. The New Teacher Project specializes in recruiting teachers for critical needs areas, including math and science. Seventy-one percent of the 2006 class of New York City Teaching Fellows are teaching high-need subjects, and 50% of all NYC Teaching Fellows currently teaching in New York City teach high-need subjects.

Ms. Rhee is excited about moving into the new role and also about the continued prospects of The New Teacher Project's growth and success. "I take on this new challenge with the full confidence that I leave in place a remarkably strong team of talented people who can take the organization to the next level," Rhee said. One of my proudest accomplishments at The New Teacher Project is having built a team of leaders that can sustain and grow the organization."

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About The New Teacher Project
The New Teacher Project (TNTP) is a nonprofit consulting organization dedicated to increasing the number of outstanding individuals who become public school teachers and to creating environments for all educators that maximize their impact on student achievement. TNTP strives to accomplish these goals by creating innovative teacher recruitment and hiring programs, identifying the obstacles that school districts face to hiring the best teachers possible, partnering with school districts to optimize their teacher hiring and school staffing functions, and developing new and better ways to prepare and certify teachers.

Since 1997, TNTP has recruited, prepared or certified approximately 23,000 high-quality teachers, worked with over 200 school districts, and established more than 40 programs in 23 states. TNTP has also published two major studies on teacher hiring and school staffing in urban areas: Missed Opportunities: How We Keep High-Quality Teachers Out of Urban Classrooms (2003) and Unintended Consequences: The Case for Reforming the Staffing Rules in Urban Teachers Union Contracts (2005). Among others, TNTP's clients include the school districts of Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Memphis, Miami, New York, Oakland, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC and the states of Louisiana and Texas. For more information, please visit www.tntp.org.

12 Comments

I find it appalling that DC politics has hit an all time low. As an educator, I am upset with the school of thought that many people of such high statute hold... that anyone can run a school or school district.

If this is the case then why are teachers, principals and superintendents aspiring for higher credentials; maybe if we had just stopped at 2 or 3 years of teaching some of the trench workers would be higher on the educational totem pole. We are the real movers and shakers in education everyone else is just talk!

An all time low...pu-lease!
Congratulations to the citizens of D.C. for being the recipients of a true gift - Michelle Rhee, as Chancellor of Washington, D.C. Public Schools.
Ms. Rhee is a seasoned champion of school reform who understands the need for teaching contracts which will not compromise achievement or accountability, but which rather benefit the education of the CHILDREN in the classrooms.
BRAVO!!!

An all time low...pu-lease!
Congratulations to the citizens of D.C. for being the recipients of a true gift - Michelle Rhee, as Chancellor of Washington, D.C. Public Schools.
Ms. Rhee is a seasoned champion of school reform who understands the need for teaching contracts which will not compromise achievement or accountability, but which rather benefit the education of the CHILDREN in the classrooms.
BRAVO!!!

So sad that Mayor Fenty would hire someone with no experience to run our school system. And sad that he would announce the change the day he took control.

He lied yesterday, saying he hadn't yet chosen anyone for the job. Yeah, right. Really, he wanted the takeover to go through before telling people his plans, just like he won his primary election before telling anyone his takeover plans.

Ms. Perry,

Please tell me how many children do you have attending DCPS or how many of your children have attended a DC school? I have one child in the system at this time.

If you answered none to each question then please don't join such a personal debate. I am sure that you would not want your child's future in the hands of such a "true gift".

We have endured many failures in the District but retaining Dr. Janey with the full support of the Mayor and DC Council would have meant changes that would have turned around the school system and I would not have to look for a charter school for my child to attend!!!

Please note that I don't have anything against Michelle Rhee. I am sure that she is great at what she does. But I don't believe DCPS needs someone like Ms. Rhee at the helm at this time.

Fairfax, Montgomery County, and Prince William County are very successful counties I am sure that there was someone within the surrounding areas that had the educational attainment and the experience to serve DCPS if the Mayor just wanted a new face.

I'm a DC resident who is naturally skeptical of Ms. Rhee's appointment, but I'm actually more concerned with Fenty's behavior. Did we just elect a dictator? Is his knowledge so vast that he need not consult with anyone in the local community? The last time we experienced arrogance of this magnatude, it gave us Iraq. Let's pray that it works out better this time.

Kudos Fenty – Rhee’s selection is brilliant! DCPS corruption would shock its residents.
The best-kept corrupt little secret within DCPS is its Special Education Transportation Division. It services approx. 4,000 of the 55,000 students by providing transportation to and from school on yellow school buses for students deemed special needs; however, ok, are you ready – requires more than 64million per year.

Lets do the math: 64million divided by 4 thousand student equals 14mil per student. Yeah – that’s just Crazy! Oh, I forgot to add that the court appointed administrator of transportation demanded and received 14 million more dollars from the schools budget.

This is unacceptable!! But the superintendent and school board have been afraid to put the gloves on and go clean transportation’s house.

Lets do the math once again: that equals $16,000 per student.

Dear Optimistic,

The seven last words of anti-reformers is 'We never did it that way before'.

Hang in there. The new day has arrived.

They've had their chances to fix the broken system. They failed.

You don't have to live in D.C. to know the history of the failed public schools. The entire country knows.

She will be excellent. More schools should hire outside the Educational World, which is mired in disneyland thinking, no common sense, absolute no contact with regular teachers, etc. AND THEY SPEND & SPEND ON STUFF TEACHERS NEVER USE. (try getting a blackboard resurfaced - 7 years) zero. (but I could do it myself) ho
All administrators (from Education) are mired down and possess zero common sense. Just spend tax dollars on "studies" or the "fad of the minute" teaching materials..Always, without any imput, from teachers. They remind me of Congress, do not want input from ourside their elite environment.

I am hoping that all of you pro Rhee reformers are truly watching what is going on! She has hired approximately 10 of her cronies to help her run the system for about a 1 million. No one advertised for positions people just show up with huge price tags but they still can't get textbooks!

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