April
17th 2009
Michelle Rhee Helping to Inspire My Radical Education Reform Side

Posted under Denver & Elementary School & Innovation and Reform & School Choice & Urban Schools

I am bummed. Not only did school not get canceled today, but I also missed my chance to see Washington DC school chancellor Michelle Rhee. She was in Denver last night. (Follow that link to read the story and watch a video of her.) Where was I, you ask? Getting a long timeout and an early bedtime for excessive Lego-throwing. That made me even angrier, because Michelle Rhee is one of those few education leaders willing to take on a real fight to help make a difference for kids.

Don’t believe me? Look at the article by Jeremy Meyer in the Denver Post:

“We have public schools so that every kid can have an equal shot in life,” Rhee said. “That is not the reality for children in Washington, D.C., today or many children in urban cities today. That is the biggest social injustice imaginable.”

Rhee said radical changes are necessary. “Unless we do something massive about this right now, unless we are willing to turn the system on its head . . . then all of the ideals of this country are actually hollow,” she said.

Not that I agree with everything Rhee has to say, but it is time to get radical about education reform, just like Americans all over (and here in Denver) are showing it’s time to get radical about a government that’s too big and costly, an out-of-control government putting me and my friends in debt before we can even get a job.

Forget what I said before … What an exciting week … This could be the beginning of something new. That’s it: Just call me Revolutionary Eddie, the Kindergarten Radical!

6 Comments »

6 Responses to “Michelle Rhee Helping to Inspire My Radical Education Reform Side”

  1. JesseAlred on 18 Apr 2009 at 8:45 am #

    What about your radical social reform side?

    Wendy Kopp–like her friends, our nation’s selfish corporate bosses, and her her union-busting allies on school boards and in charter schools–preaches, but does not practice, accountability when she claims Teach For America and its allies, the KIPP and YES charter schools, have done jack to close the achievement gap for the masses of working-class, minority students.
    Blaming teachers, rather than supporting them, is something new to the United States of America, but eventually it will elicit a reaction.

    Education professors argue whether 40% or 20% of TFA teachers remain in school past the required two-year period of service, but neither advocates nor enemies of TFA have presented any evidence of them improving the academic results of significant numbers of students.

    Michelle Rhee’s desire to fire older teachers from public colleges, and replace them with younger ones from private colleges, may represent a bizarre war of the upper-middle class against the lower-middle class, but it will not improve Washington D.C. Schools over the long haul.

    The only argument TFA has comes from the outstanding performance of kids at KIPP and YES, and these students attend charter schools after their families have consciously made application to schools which they understand have longer school days; extended school years; mandatory Saturday classes; and loads of homework.

    Teach For America performs a public service by placing good students in poor communities, no doubt; and its spin-off charter schools provide a quality education for kids from aware working -class families. But the theory that hiring recent college graduates, and firing older, veteran teachers, will make every inner-city kid a nerd, well, how stupid do you Ivy Leaguers think the rest of us are?

    So long as we have the most unequal society in the western world, we will also have the largest academic achievement gap, and school reformers will make a difference only at the margins.

  2. Ed is Watching » Catching Up on Michelle Rhee While I Look at the Tigers at the Zoo on 22 Apr 2009 at 9:19 am #

    [...] very different comments about Michelle Rhee’s recent visit to Denver — the one I was so sad to have missed. Have I mentioned how much I really like Rhee? Maybe she’ll play Legos with me [...]

  3. Ed is Watching » Colorado Making Gains in Math Achievement, Still a Long Ways to Go on 14 Oct 2009 at 12:10 pm #

    [...] should give chancellor Michelle Rhee’s aggressive reforms “a much-needed boost.” My radical side is feeling more inspired than [...]

  4. Sam, Revolutionary Teacher on 06 Feb 2010 at 6:51 pm #

    How about this for taking on the system? Check out how he refuses to accept a system that, for so many youth in the inner cities, gives so many of them a choice of only Prison, Poverty, or the military…

    “Youth Deserve a Better Future”, clip from the film “Revolution: Why It’s Necessary, Why It’s Possible, What It’s All About” by Bob Avakian…

    Truly inspiring.

  5. Ed is Watching » Michelle Rhee Inspires Me Again: Special Ed Vouchers, Teacher Dismissals on 28 Jul 2010 at 10:48 am #

    [...] Washington D.C. school chancellor Michelle Rhee has done my heart good again — she who has helped to inspire my radical education reform side. She remains serious about getting the job done, and even the big Time Magazine cover story a year [...]

  6. Ed is Watching » I’ve Got The Reformer-Michelle Rhee-Resigned-from-Her-Job-in-D.C. Blues on 15 Oct 2010 at 11:55 am #

    [...] no long post today. I’m sad, and reeling a bit. My edu-crush and reform hero Michelle Rhee has announced her resignation as chancellor of Washington, D.C., public schools. [...]

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