Nov 30, 2008

Rhee Loses Favor With WaPo Readers !

In response to the WaPo Saturday story "DC Schools Chief Makes Times Magazine Cover" it is interesting to note that most readers do not favor Rhee's education reform strategies and recent appearance on the cover of Time. Twelve on line posters gave Rhee a thumbs down. This seems to be dramatic shift in public opinion against Rhee as evidenced by not only these posts but other on line comments as well. I have posted a number of the noteworthy ones.(Posted by The Washington Teacher).

ilcn wrote:
Why are we so willing to blame the unions and teachers for what-is-wrong-with- public-education?My union has nothing to do with an administrator that doesn't follow up on discipline. In my area, one school had to beef up security because of gang related activity. And its working so far.Made me stop to think if I were 15 and at my school I was afraid to go to the bathroom, or walk down the hall, or attend a school activity, or say something in class another person might find offensive, I'd be more worried about surviving than learning. If I'm afraid I might not make it through the day, it is difficult to think beyond high school and consider college. You can pay teachers a million dollars a year, take away tenure, make them sign a legal obligation form, whatever, but it won't solve the problem if fear is ruling the day. If teachers don't receive administrative and parental back-up and feel THEY are valued as professionals then nothing will change. Does Ms. Rhee have anything positive to say about teachers, the unions, and public schools?

owldog wrote:
Well from the cheap shot bashing on this thread, it looks like the AFT and other teacher trade organizations got their emails out early for a heads up on this article. Finally we have someone with creativity and balls who is willing to throw the bums out. Everybody knows that the teaching profession is fraught with nepotism, cronyism, and dirty politics. The benefits are incredible. The hours are great. The pay is decent. The job security is better than the priesthood. And all we ever hear from the profession is whiny, whiny, whiny.There is no quality control and bad teachers are never fired. Tenure is obsolete and nothing but a battle cry for dead wood. Good teachers have community support and never get fired. Unjust firings can be addressed in the courts, like any other profession. Tenure is code for "job security for lazy and obnoxious, who just don't have what it takes for getting kids to learn." I'm a liberal, but sometimes I wish teacher trade organizations would join the republican party.

willdbrown wrote:
With all of the challenges facing students and educators in DC schools, if ever there was a time for all to come together for the future of children it is now. To simply attack front line educators when all of the safety and resource issues have not been addressed is short sighted and doomed to failure.To see Rhee and Fenty demonstrate leadership by working with educators and support for their efforts and dedication would be a miracle. Teachers are accountable every day. If there are some not meeting appropriate standards then work in a professional and responsible manner to address their shortcomings. Even if a highly qualified, energetic and motivated educator is in a school, they will not be there very long if the work environment is not secure, clean, controlled and maintained. (A teacher's work environment is also a student's learning environment) They also need the educational resources and supports to meet the tremendous challenges before them. Being under constant attack is not the motivation that these educators require.

korm wrote:
Maybe if Rhee spent more time actually doing something to improve DC schools instead of the endless rounds of self-promotion, then there would be something real to report. She's hell-bent on resume enhancement so that she can escape to her next high profile job with a mega salary increase. The announcement of her imminent departure, in a flash press release suddenly declaring victory over DCPS, will come around February or March, 2009. Just in time to escape the odor arising from dismal test results, out of control violence in many schools, and another round of firings of the mediocre principals that Rhee personally hired for their compliance with her domineering, insecure, and immature management style.

EthicsLawPro wrote:
The Time Magazine article is a negative article for Rhee and Fenty. Time is balancing itself for the messy first article they wrote about Rhee. This lady is no Virgin Mary savior to the children and families of Washington DC. She has a very one sided approach to progress which is fire the teachers. This takes the blame off of her and the Mayor for not providing opportunities and resources for the children of DC and makes good anti government steam. A Very Conservative and Republican approach and therein lies how she is deeply in love with the republican agenda and McCain. Once you peal back the Fenty onion you see his alignment being with big business, monied interest, and the affluent. Once he is convinced he can not fix the DCPS he will attempt to dismantle it or completely charter it. The Washington Teachers’ Union is being done a complete disservice by George Parker, its President. He is the most ineffective union leader in the nation without a doubt. Teachers bring additional scrutiny upon themselves by allowing him to consistently mishandle their affairs. Weakness invites attack and Rhee is just destroying the skills and morale of DCPS Teachers. Parker is a weakling with no answer for his members but perpetual servitude to Rhee. I think that Rhee's witch costume is fitting and the black represents removing black women who occupy the job she is interested in for new hires. This Rhee experiment is a huge failure and Fenty should pay the ultimate price in the 2010 mayoral race.

kingcjfam@aol.com wrote:
Will SHE ever stop the media circus and get busy with leading the educational system?!!!

edlharris wrote:
Oh, and for any real examination of Michelle Rhee and her "success" in Baltimore, check out :http://www.dailyhowler.com/dh112608.shtml

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Whatever good feelings I had for Rhee at first, whatever hope I had that other veteran DCPS teachers and I could be a part of her reform initiative is fast fading. She truly believes that current DCPS teachers, if we are not Teach for America or teaching fellows, but career educators, are by definition, ineffective, and part of the problem. If we do morning meeting, if we teach using worksheets or workbooks, we are ineffective. If we create what our principals have asked for, an inviting learning environment, we're spending too much time on bulletin boards. And she wants us out. I have worked under various superintendents, including Becton, Massie, Ackerman, Vance and Janey. All but Becton had been career educators. I never had any ill feelings for any of them, only respect or at worse indifference. But this woman, in the name of reform, is out to get US. It just hurts that she thinks we, DCPS teachers, are the problem. That our whole career has been a waste, better replace us with a 23 year old who'll stay for 2 years, that Rhee honestly believes that they could do a better job in their short stay than we, as trained, professional educators, can.

Anonymous said...

Interesting intrepretation viewing education and Rhee reform on behalf of Amanda Ripley with Time Magazine. So,has Anacostia improved under Rhee reform with support sent in from the top for resources needed to meet student needs ? "Computors are slowly becoming something that we use everyday..." Way to go Allante Rhodes. Kind of a sad reality under the penalities of NCLB with 10% and we're working on it for Public Education ! Just the fact this young American has to e-mail Rhee for resources in his school building pretty much says it all.Teachers recently sent in reports of unhealthy working conditions and spoke with Rhee prior to this school year starting.What's been done about it ? Hang tough Anacostia High and way to go Time Magazine !"But on a good day only six of the school's 14 computors worked." Learning micro soft with a pencil and paper? We hear ya Rhodes but has Congress and the President of the United States and write them !Are the issues you and your classmates called attention to fixed at Anacostia ?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

All this confusion ? Where is the operations manual? Is everybody in all these school buildings on the same page ? Be creative but when you hear the coach yell zone does everybody know what that means ? Charter team in DC is kicking Rhee's team hard and that's not isolated either.Rhee has a vision of Charter and so no big deal and Charter is up a few percentages and way up viewing per pupil expenditures from public. How many computors did Rhodes say were in his school and rest my case.Parents see the funding per child viewing private vs charter and public education.

Maria Jones said...

As a parent and arts educator who has worked with children in Washington, DC for the last twenty years, I personally know that children whose parents are incarcerated or on drugs, children who don't eat on the weekends until Monday during school hours, children who live where violence is as typical as night and day are more challenging to teach than children who eat healthy food everyday, children whose parents help them with homework, children who don't have to worry about getting shot or jumped on a daily basis.
Chancellor Rhee and her conservative Republican, think tank buddies know that SOCIO-ECONOMICS definitely impacts academic success rates and it takes a full offering of resources to provide the services that children from these impacted area need in order to succeed academically. "The blame the teacher myth" that Rhee and the corporate right are ramming down the throats of Americans conveniently gives them an excuse to dismantle public education and funnel federal money into charter schools that are run by opportunistic "Eduprenuers" and funded by corporate pimps like Sam Walton of Wallmart fame. Mainstream Media is complicit in the crime of destroying public education as they print one dimensional features like the piece on Michelle Rhee, the witch with a broom - standing in an empty classroom - not only are teachers absent in the picture, students are also absent - which implies that her goal is to make public education disappear from DC and then she will ride off on her broom to the next American city and perform the same "trick" until she eventually kills public education completely. Hopefully the same children that she secretly hates will rise up and turn her into a frog or better yet, a real public school superintendent.

Anonymous said...

Maria,
Thank you. Excellent analysis. A lot of people don't realize that Rhee is moving towards privatizing public education. In addition to stating that she wants to open more charter schools, she is privatizing a lot of services and positions within DCPS like aides and service providers. Plus all of the renovations over the summer were contracted out and at my school they did a very crappy job.

Anonymous said...

Public Education is deeply rooted with uniformity of operations and if you want to go for radical change in Public Education, then go experiment with your own schools and come back with proven results.Public education is in re-authorization after Pl 107-110,a law unfunded. We need funding and support to be competitive globally.Public Education has problems identified and open for more changes but it's not about fire all the bad teachers and principles. McCain lost the election and that was his view point.It appears Rhee's radical change approach follows the same.Just in hopes for fair balance of interests and you can't look at just a slice of the pie see the whole.

Anonymous said...

Waiting to read all the DC teachers are on strike viewing this Rhee radical reform and unfair contract viewing support and resources,building working conditions and disorganized operations. Maybe strike has become, I quit and that's why we're losing 50% of teachers within five years.Understand some of the connecting organizations in support of Rhee and sending teachers are having a more difficult time. The teachers are researching what's going on and don't want their careers involved for the short term with such a disorganized school system.

Anonymous said...

To the person who left the message about teachers whinning, you have not been in a school lately. When you talk about working conditions being great, try coming to work and wondering if you will be assulted before you get home, but not outside but in the place you work. I worked in a school where the only working bathroom was in the nursing suite. Try holding it until you can run down three flights of stairs to get to that one bathroom, how many, as you put it professionals, have to put up with that. Also, dealing with parents who will come to school to fight you about their kid's cell phone but wont show up for parent's conference. Lastly the comment about good teachers not being fired or re-assigned, well that is bull. I was written up in the Washington Post last year as one of the best teachers in my school, according to my principal but when it came time for me to be retained I was told that I would not be offered a position back at this school. So being a so-called good teacher does not protect anyone. I may as well be the worst teacher in the world cause I am being treated that way. Principals operate just like most managers with their feelings and it is these feelings that often time come into play when it comes to supervising teachers. So many teachers have been excessed (re-assigned) because they were not "team players", which is code for not doing as you are told. Think how this impacts a techers innovative ideas when he/she must work within a template that a principal provides. Bottom line is if you want to express your feeling about someone's job first try doing their job, then you would be better equiped to judge it!

Anonymous said...

Online comments are a dismal, misleading way to gauge public opinion. Maybe there has been a shift in public attitude and support of Rhee, but reading comments to a WaPo article doesn't cut it as evidence on way or the other.

Anonymous said...

Evidence ? How about the Constitution and the 14th Amendment to start! Teacher contract in crisis bargaining with Supreme Court ? Abolishment Statute in court of appeals ? Did we mention GS115C-325 and other proceedual violations recognized? FAPE,GS 94-142 ? Are you aware of Pl 107-110 NCLB and the 10% for increased accountability and if that's not evidence unfunded, don't know what you're looking at ! Where is Rhee's school facility needs funding data with all these horrible working Educational blogs are informative for perspective. Written up in the news for being a good teacher and the rest are worried under Rhee about keeping their jobs ? Your kids are blowing the yankee doodle dandy off quarterly exams and they're class rooms aren't ? Embrace the conflict and go find another school system!Find a superintendent that has their act together and organized ! Those conditions are uncalled for and Rhee's responsiblitiy. Then for more evidence they kick in NCLB and AYP penalities under title I. Don't support the resources in the school buildings but show results anyway? Read Manufactured Crisis and you'll feel better. The Ohio superintendent rocks and bet there is a waiting list to work in his school system. The great principles and leaders have very little over turn. Same thing with organized school systems and there is data for proven evidence and results. They could take the worst school in the system and provided resources and support see results soar . Perhaps you'd like to read what the judge said about the special education program viewing Rhee's reform efforts as entered court room evidence.Or maybe the counsil that's irate and doesn't seem to know what's going on with the school system budget. The evidence and concerns are not just on this blog and it's become a US educational concern of alarm and state of emergency on watch.Hire a superintendent and support with resources and allow Rhee to design her own autonomus schools and experiment with radical unproven approaches. Bring your results back proven and Public Education may go for it.

Kay said...

Be in a classroom with behavorial issues,gangs, violence and handle it without a police officer and support in a school building ? It's tough enough when there is support and a structured environment to control with security and a police officer on staff,trained behavorial (BMT's),probation officers and trained prison guards. Not to mention strong leadership and teachers ! This is so not cool these teachers are working in buildings under these conditions and there is no back up !

The Washington Teacher said...

To the Anonymous poster: Last time I checked I wasn't in a court of law. The burden of proof does not rest on my shoulders to provide evidence that Rhee loses favor with readers. As a blogger, I am making observations based on the blogs I read, media online comments, the DC community of parents and community members and discussion groups about education reform.

emerald_irises said...

I agree with Anonymous about evidence.

WT - since this is your blog, you are obviously allowed to write anything you want. However, please be aware that you present yourself as less than informed when you judge a nationally-read newspaper on 12 comments. As is common for everything in life, those that are angry are usually the most vocal. Those that are happy or content don't have much reason to waste their breath speaking up. That is probably what is happening here.

While you are entitled to your opinion, you aren't shedding yourself or the union you represent in the best light by making sweeping assumptions.