Archive for November, 2009

Ma’am, how do you define “good”?

Friday, November 20th, 2009

The relationship between the chancellor of Washington’s troubled school system and its teachers has deteriorated badly over the issue of tenure, the Wall Street Journal reports. How troubled are D.C.’s schools? According to the Journal:

The chancellor of Washington’s school system, Michelle Rhee, is wrestling with one of the most expensive, worst performing school systems in the country. The dropout rate has hit 40%, and the cost per student is $14,000 a year. Buildings are crumbling and thousands of parents have abandoned the system, which serves about 45,000 students.

But fixing the system involves weeding out underperforming teachers — and that requires an end to the tenure system, which the powerful teachers’ union opposes. As a result, the standoff

… has turned into a grudge match between Ms. Rhee and Randi Weingarten, head of the 1.4 million-member American Federation of Teachers, which has intervened directly in the local contract dispute. Ms. Rhee “has so poisoned the environment that I am not sure that we can ever get back to a good situation here,” said Ms. Weingarten.

Well, here’s Step 1: Focus on what’s best for students, not what’s best for teachers.