Monday represented a critical mass of education meetings. The School Reform Commission and the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers in talks but, alas, not with each other. Meanwhile, self-described education “radical” Michelle Rhee, former chancellor of the Washington, D.C. public schools, hosted a Teacher Town Hall at Temple.
A lightening rod for criticism, Rhee opposes unions and supports eliminating seniority and testing and firing inefficient teachers. She heads a political advocacy nonprofit for education reform. A lightening rod for criticism wherever she goes, Rhee attracted a crowd of 50 exceptionall well-dressed protestors, in “pearls” no less. One sign read: “Your dialogue is as real as our pearls.” Erasers were handed for “Erase to the Top.”
Well, you get the idea.
The evening’s high point — or low, depending on who you consult — came when one teacher chose to heckle and continually interrupt Rhee. “Any teacher who can’t control the classroom can’t teach,” he said, as if offering a lecture in civil disobedience.