Michelle Rhee will announce her resignation today. The resignation will take place at the end of the month. According to the Washington Post:
D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee will announce Wednesday that she is resigning at the end of this month, bringing an abrupt end to a tenure that drew national acclaim but that also became a central issue in an election that sent her patron, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, to defeat.
Rhee survived three contentious years that made her a superstar of the education reform movement and one of the longest-serving school leaders in the city in two decades. Student test scores rose, and the teachers union accepted a contract that gave the chancellor sweeping powers to fire the lowest-performing among them.
But Rhee will leave with considerable unfinished business in her quest to improve teaching, close the worst schools and infuse a culture of excellence in a system that has been one of the nation’s least effective at educating students.
She will be replaced until at least the end of the school year by Deputy Chancellor Kaya Henderson, a close associate.
The resignation was predictable. If Fenty lost, Rhee would go. Rhee is fairly hated by many teachers in DC. She runs a tight ship and fired people who didn’t measure up. Fenty was targeted by the DC teachers’ union. Rhee was targeted because she was a reformer.
Rhee’s goals – higher student achievement, better teachers and greater accountability for their classroom performance – were generally shared by her predecessors. But with new powers putting the struggling school system under mayoral control, Rhee pursued the goals with an unprecedented zeal.
She closed more than two dozen schools, fired teachers by the hundreds and spent more than two years negotiating a labor contract that gives principals new control over teacher hiring while establishing a new performance-pay system that ties compensation to growth in student test scores.
From an outsider point of view, DC Schools are seen as a place where mediocrity has been allowed to flourish and seniority rules over student needs. DC has some of the worst test scores in the nation. Test scores aren’t everything and many of DC’s students are poor and unmotivated. Somewhere there has to be a happy medium.
From the documentary, “Waiting for Superman.” Please do not walk about with the notion that all schools are failing. Many are not.