The sudden resignation of Michelle Rhee actually makes perfect sense. It was inevitable, so why wait around? It’s easy to imagine Ms. Rhee coming to that conclusion once she recognized that she and the next Mayor, Vincent Gray, would not be able to work together the way she did with the current Mayor, Adrian Fenty.
What happens next in Washington is the big story, although most of the attention will be on Ms. Rhee. She’s a national figure, subject of much speculation. Will she go to California if Meg Whitman wins the gubernatorial race? What about New Jersey? Iowa? Funny how the Republicans love her to death now, even though she was chosen by an ardent Democrat and has been praised to the skies by President Obama.
We’ve followed Ms. Rhee closely during the three plus years she’s been in Washington, airing a total of 12 segments on PBS NewsHour about the changes she’s made there. Scores and enrollment are up locally, but, make no mistake about it, she also has altered the national conversation about how teachers are paid and evaluated. No one can defend the current system, which bases everything on years in the classroom and number of graduate credits, as appropriate or rational. That approach is history, even though it may take years for it to be removed for good.
What is going to replace the old way is now the question. Continue reading