Are the winds changing under Chancellor Michelle Rhee ? Given the recent announcement of low standardized test scores on the elementary level in DCPS, Efavorite poses some interesting questions for us to consider.
Written by Efavorite, guest writer
Have you noticed that Chancellor Rhee has not pointed the finger of blame at DC teachers for the 2010 DC CAS score decline in the elementary grades? How weird for someone who, up to now, has given teachers complete responsibility for student achievement, and has pushed for additional and easier ways to rid the system of teachers who she feels are not up to the task.
Rhee’s been complaining about the low quality of DCPS teachers since her arrival here, so these new declining scores could have been positioned as proof that her major reform of firing more teachers needs to be stepped up immediately! At the press conference announcing the scores, instead of the vague “we have to take responsibility” and “dig into the data,” Rhee could have simply blamed teachers and promised to fire more of them, using the new options at her disposal in her historic, ground-breaking union contract.
So what’s up? Maybe her $100,000 media consultant is worried that mentioning teacher quality right now would reflect poorly on the 900 new teachers Rhee hired last summer, breaking the budget and instigating an October RIF. These recent hires make up almost a quarter of the teaching corps now, so in theory they could be having quite an effect on student achievement.
It could be that Rhee is hesitant to bash teachers in the middle of a rough recruiting season, especially knowing that a bunch of current teachers, including some of her own hires, are now up for dismissal based on their students’ declining DC-CAS scores. Perhaps it’s more personal. Rhee may have decided not to attract too much attention to herself during the press conference, thus allowing more time to weigh her own options. With the DC mayoral election right around the corner, anything could happen. Future DC teacher-bashing and teacher-firing opportunities could abound! Then again, she could opt to go national, much as Sarah Palin did, extending her star power over the whole country.
Meanwhile, keep you ears open. The Chancellor has to mention teachers sometime soon. “Effective teachers” have been the cornerstone of her reform efforts. Remember, she thinks “Teachers are everything” and “the only solution we have.” Surely she won’t abandon them now.
Rhee must be waiting for the right moment and the right spin.