Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Fire Rhee before she speaks again

"I didn't mean all of them..."

This morning, some ed reporters told me that they were still waiting by the phone for a return call from Michelle Rhee in hopes that the D.C. supt. would explain her vicious teacher-bashing comments from a week ago. The call never came.

Rhee, supposedly laying out the rationale for her firing 266 teachers had told a business magazine:
"I got rid of teachers who had hit children, who had had sex with children, who had missed 78 days of school. Why wouldn't we take those things into consideration?"
Dakarai Aarons at Edweek writes:
Questions immediately arose. If these teachers had been physically and sexually abusing children, why were they allowed to remain until a budget crunch required dismissing teachers? How many of the 266 teachers had been abusing students?
After days of embarrassed silence, Rhee and her PR team finally figured out what to say. The response came in a letter to D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray and members Kwame Brown and Marion Barry that was released to the press today. She probably would have been smarter exercising her right to remain silent. The letter contained not a hint of self-criticism for defaming hundreds of teaching professionals. Rhee still insists that there was one and only one teacher among those fired, who was accused of having sex with a student months ago and was no longer a classroom teacher.
"'It was never our intention, nor did I ever say, it was all of the teachers who fell into these categories...Our intention was not to paint all teachers with a broad brushstroke."
It's now time to fire Rhee and bring someone in with some leadership experience and self-control. Rhee's so-called reform has done nothing to improve schooling for most of the District's children. She has become an embarrassment, even for her most avid supporters/apologists like those at the Washington Post, who have been forced into damage-control mode.

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