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June 8, 2009

Does Michelle Rhee Have Something Going?

by Chris Lindholm

Michelle Rhee has certainly made headlines.  She has hit the cover of Time magazine taking on the "status quo" and demanding a link between student achievement and teacher job performance (,9171,1862444,00.html).  The new (ok, not so new anymore…) Chancellor of Washington DC schools is bent on increasing student achievement and is willing to pick battles to make it happen.  Like other educators, I recognized this as a chance to learn from someone else's mistakes – or at least sacrifices…

A recent article in edweek regarding Michelle Rhee's work caught my attention.  The title, "Union Bashing Won't Reform Our Schools" was certainly a shot at public officials, media, and administrators who sit back and blame the teacher unions for the ills of public education was obviously the slant of the article with that title.  As I skimmed, I recognized a more thoughtful, relevant argument that cried for a better reading.  So I went back and started over…

Jennifer Goldstein speaks to one of the greatest needs in public education – training the leaders to be leaders and holding them accountable to performance.  Make no mistake, she is clear that it is the responsibility of administrators to do the evaluating of teachers and to follow through on the necessary actions.  Bashing unions for the lack of performance of adminstrators or teachers is unacceptable in her eyes – and I see her point…  Tough to swallow for a current principal…  Yes it is my responsibility.  Thank you for your insights Ms. Goldstein.  I will pay attention to what Ms. Rhee does with her administrative team and hope to learn from it.


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