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View Diary: The rise, and looming fall, of 'education reformer' Michelle Rhee (158 comments)

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  •  zero sum much (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tonedevil, TheGreatLeapForward

    You seem to fall into the trap that reform = bust labor. There are many ways to improve schools without having to place a non-stop attack on teachers.

    •  I can speak for myself, thank you (0+ / 0-)

      I do not favor busting labor.  I did say that making labor or teachers happy should not be the priority in educating our children.  That seems to be what happened with Rhee - she ran afoul of the DC teacher unions.

      Let's say all the facts are the same except that Rhee had the support of the unions.  I doubt this diary would get written.

      Some of these teachers that Rhee was trying to get rid of did not deserve to be in a classroom.  Protecting their jobs should not take priority over the kids.

      No matter.  Rhee is gone.  Whomever takes that job will come in knowing who is boss.  And DC kids will continue to get short-changed.

      "Hidden in the idea of radical openness is an allegiance to machines instead of people." - Jaron Lanier

      by FDRDemocrat on Sun Apr 03, 2011 at 04:33:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  An impossible scenario (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        anastasia p, slatsg, Tonedevil, elfling

        You lay out something that never existed. Rhee's reforms were anti-labor at the core.

        You also lay out a classic straw man arguement about Rhee trying to get rid of teachers who "did not deserve to be in a classroom."  That would have been easy to do using the existing contract. That whole arguement has zero basis in truth.  Mongomery County, Maryland has a very progressive mentoring system that helps guide dozens of teachers out of the profession every year. And it doesn't require standardized test scores to implement.

        Her vodoo evaluation system (IMPACT) was a cluster f**k and you can check out several Val Strauss columns at the Washington Post that prove it.

        I agree with you 100% that the students of DC, or any other urban area, are being shortchanged. But it isn't by the teachers. If you'd like a list of what could be done to help the kids of DC without attacking labor here is a list to start with:

        1)    Wrap around services – students in poverty greatly lack medical, dental, vision, nutrition, etc. All of these gaps vs. affluent students lead to achievement gaps. Check the UF study on this. Provide these services in full for ALL human beings and watch achievement rise.
        2)    Context building activities – allow the urban poor access to the afterschool, weekend, and summertime activities that build real learning through context.  Trips to museums, zoos, semi-historical vacation spots, music lessons, summer camps, and a million other places are readily available to all people of affluence.  These types of activities will aid the achievement of urban students in a significantly more profound way than extended school days and school years.
        3)    Clean, well-maintained, safe, climate controlled, and close to home school buildings. This should require no explanation, but too many urban students lack access to these things.
        4)    Modern and up to date instructional materials and technologies.  Too many urban schools lack current texts, access to modern research materials, useful science lab equipment, and useful computer systems. Many urban schools lack these things and the students suffer as a result.
        5)    Class size – Urban schools need class sizes small than their suburban counterparts.  Student who lack adults in their home who can edit essays, double check math homework for correctness, or provide literary opinion need a higher level of this interest from a teacher.  A smaller class size allows a teacher to focus more attention on the individual student.
        6)     A special education system designed around something other than warehousing students.  I’d need a whole doctorial dissertation to explain how many special education students are misplaced and under supported.  Parents in affluent districts push heavily for outplacements for a reason.
        7)    The legal system designed to make more African Americans convicts than college graduates.  Our drug laws are designed to push criminal activity into urban settings and then highly punish the folks drawn into it.

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