On Wednesday, Jan. 25, Michelle Rhee and Kevin Johnson were in Sacramento to hold what was termed “round table discussions” regarding education. Just a bit of a fact finding experience, in several different large California cities.
Rhee’s stated goal is for her StudentsFirst company to be a “voice” for children in education. The piece on her website regarding her is quite slick. It says she’s been working the last 18 years to give children what they need to succeed in school.
Of those 18 years, 3, and only 3, were spent in a classroom. She was a Teach for America Corps teacher in Baltimore, Md. Her claims of greatness in the classroom cannot be verified. At least, the Eduskeptic hasn’t found anything to support her claims. What seems to be true is that she was simply an average rookie teacher who quit after 3 years to pursue a corporate career path instead.
Her brief tenure (3 years) as Chancellor (Superintendent) of the Washington, D.C. school system was marked by a slash and burn approach and left things in chaos, with an unresolved cheating scandal. Her main claim to “reform” was firing a few hundred teachers who, according to her, weren’t good enough.
Rhee’s position is that senior teachers shouldn’t be given any preference in the layoff schedules. She leans toward keeping the newer, younger, and very much less expensive teachers. It is nothing more than an economic strategy, and has scant little to do with educational abilities.
The long and short of it is this: follow the money, always follow the money. Rhee seems to be much more interested in the economics of being on a large stage. To be sure, there is a lot more money to be had running a “non-profit” that bashes teachers, unions, and schools under the guise of reform than there ever will be in teaching. It’s about positioning for the big, national dollars, a lot of them.
If you are in the city of Sacramento, there is another caution, and it has to do with Kevin Johnson and his bid for a “strong mayor” position, which puts him in a spot to have direct effect on the city school system. His wife is Michelle Rhee. Be careful what you wish for.
As always, assume nothing, verify everything. Check all the links out, do your own research, come to your own conclusions.