Responding to Rhee
Time’s latest issue features a cover story on Washington, D.C. Chancellor of Education Michelle Rhee, an aggressive—and publicly admired—reformist who has gained a reputation for antagonism towards teachers and unions. A number of teacher-bloggers are weighing in (sometimes harshly), saying the article is overly flattering of Rhee and uniformed about educational realities. Here are some excerpts:
I agree with the sentiment that bad teachers exist and it's important to get rid of them. But who is the judge of bad teachers? I've not yet heard a satisfying answer.Practical Theory
And to Time Magazine, if you are going to have a reporter write an editorial, call it an editorial, because when you allow reporters to write statements [defining great teachers] without citing any research at all, you undermine your magazine's credibility.
It’s worth pointing out that Amanda Ripley admits on her blog that she really is a know-nothing writer: “I knew our schools were troubled,” she says, “but I hadn’t realized the compounded effects of all that mediocrity.”
The same should be said for uncritical reporters who wander into political hotbeds they don’t understand and merely repeat what they’re told.
It is not teacher rights that are eating away DC Schools nearly so much as it is a long-standing malignant neglect and a continuing history of unaddressed poverty. If teacher job security and unions were the culprit, it seems that the suburban schools would be suffering the same as the urban schools.
Amanda Ripley, the article’s author, also weighs in on Michelle Rhee on her blog.
Rhee herself could be a little frightening, depending on her mood…As I told a friend of mine after finishing up a day with Rhee: I wouldn’t want to work for Michelle Rhee. But I’d like her to be my kid’s superintendent.