Saturday, November 6, 2010

Michelle Rhee Breaking The Union and Firing The Bottom Ten Percent

This is from The Atlantic where Michelle Rhee made a very interesting statement on fixing the school system.
This Spring, Rhee negotiated among the most revolutionary teacher's contracts in the country, which essentially broke the union, loosening tenure protections in exchange for the potential for teachers to make more money and earn performance bonuses. D.C. is being hailed as a model in urban education reform, and there are plans to replicate this model; The Obama Administration is putting more than a billion dollars behind a "performance-based" rewards system similar to the one being tested in D.C.

That statement that starts off below is from Michelle Rhee:
"She said if the U.S. fired 6-10 percent of the worst teachers in the country and replaced them "not even with the best, but with average teachers," U.S. schools would move from 21, 25 and 26th in math to the top 5.

"Now let me just say, to all of you business people..." Rhee continued.

"Wait wait wait," the moderator, Harvard University's David Gergen, interrupted. "...Do you believe this?"

Rhee replied: "Yes, I actually do. If someone told you as a business, that if you removed the bottom 6 percent of your performers, that you would move from 25th in the market to top-5, you would do it in a heartbeat. You would not even think twice about it. But we have an incredibly hard time in this in this country. We like teachers. It is an incredibly noble position in this country.  But we have to look at the reality..."
Adrian Fenty takes some of the blame here for how he handled DC, but DC is the one to blame here.  DC citizens want better schools, but are not willing to support those who actually make the hard decisions.

This is a very interesting article.  I am going to really miss Michelle Rhee but look forward to seeing where she lands...