Monday, September 01, 2008

A prototype for saving American education?

This past Newsweek ran this story on a Teach for America alum turned head of D.C. schools who has a plan to save the D.C. school district by changing the teaching profession from one dominated by teachers' unions and job security to a higher-paced one with incentives more in line with student achievement. She was hired (and is backed) by D.C. mayor Adrian Fenty, who says he will do whatever it takes to reform the school system.

This story is quite inspirational because Rhee's plan, if it succeeds, will do to D.C. schools exactly what the schools need for a makeover. Rhee and Fenty have somehow managed to take power from the teacher's union(s?) and school board to do things like firing 100+ non-union central office workers and 36 principals. Also part of the plan is a "probation" for teachers that involves observation for a year and can result in a salary of as much as $130,000 per year. This is much closer to what the American education needs than vouchers, No Child Left Behind, etc.

Below is the Newsweek header.

An Unlikely Gambler

By firing bad teachers and paying good ones six-figure salaries, Michelle Rhee just might save D.C.'s schools.

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