Thursday, July 31, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Memo to Philly: At least give Michelle Rhee a call

Memo to Philly: At least give Michelle Rhee a call

 

Psst, Philadelphia. I know that in theory we currently have a schools superintendent, but the best educator in America is suddenly a free agent:

Michelle Rhee, the public schools chancellor of the District of Columbia who drew attacks from unions for firing more than 200 teachers, mostly over student performance, has resigned, effective at the end of the month.

Hey, you can't make an omlette without breaking some eggs, right?

Rhee, 40, favored measuring teacher quality by students’ test scores, firing underperforming instructors and pushing merit pay -- the same changes advocated by President Barack Obama’s administration in its $4.35 billion Race to the Top program. In July, Rhee dismissed 241 teachers and put 737 on notice to improve within a year or leave, depending on the results of standardized test scores. Washington has languished for years near the bottom of national rankings in student proficiency in reading and math.

OK, so Rhee (more background here) may have a bit of an autocratic streak, but who wants to live in a world where there only people who can get things done are the Chileans? There's not a chance in hell that Rhee would consider coming to Philadelphia -- by all accounts she has bigger things on her plate -- but the local leaders, if there is such a thing, should give her a call anyway. The idea that we could replace the dreadful Arlene Ackerman -- whose won eternal notoriety for botching the attacks on Asian students at South Philadelphia High School -- with the daughter of Korean immigrants would just be icing on the cake.

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Will Bunch
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