October 13th, 2010
01:20 PM ET

Embattled D.C. schools chief stepping down

Washington schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee announces her resignation Wednesday.

The chancellor of the District of Columbia's Public Schools announced she was stepping down Wednesday, after three and a half years as head of the troubled school system.

"The best way to keep the reforms going is for this reformer to step aside," Michelle Rhee said in announcing her resignation.

Her time in office included successes in the form of higher test scores for D.C. students and a win in the second round of Race to the Top, a federal education program that provides funds to states that have innovative plans in education.

However, Rhee also frustrated the school system's teachers with layoffs for those who didn't meet new evaluation criteria. Both local and national teacher unions fought her changes.

The school system in the nation's capital is one focus of the documentary "Waiting for Superman," which features Rhee as a key voice in advocating for school reform.

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Filed under: District of Columbia • Education • U.S.
soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. Glen Parker

    couldubanydumber: You must be a public school educator or with the teacher's union. No one else would bother to deride someone (phil) making a legitimate point about the fact that the quality of public education has so obviously eroded over the last few decades. It certainly has something to do with the fact that the unions protect no-account "bozos" who have no business educating future generations. It used to be that the best and the brightest went into teaching. Now it's become a job-for-life also for slackers who can't make it doing something else. It's time to bring prestige and a healthy paycheck to teaching. Pay teachers what they're worth–say what a critical engineering position pays in the corporate world would pay. They are, after all, engineering the futures of our children. Michelle Rhee tried to put these types of reform wheels in motion, and surprise, surprise, the teacher's union can't abide the idea of being held accountable. Now, as to whether children are products of their home environment, I would not argue that point, but an excellent teacher can take a tough nut and turn them into pliable putty.

    October 13, 2010 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • couldubanydumber?

      Oh, blow it out your ear, Glenda. Phil blamed his employee's teachers for failing to provide adequate instruction in spelling, and then proceeded to eff up a word any student in 8th grade should have been able to spell. On top of that, he attempted to deny that he made an error and blamed his typing skills.

      Get real. You're both inept and hardly capable of passing judgment about anyone's ability to educate.

      You haven't the slightest clue what you're blabbering about, either of you. If you think you're so special, then go teach in the schools. Otherwise, you're both frauds.

      October 13, 2010 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
  2. phil

    @Glen Parker...wow! I couldn't have said it better. I mean really, I couln't have, no matter how hard I tried. Thank You.. And I'm living proof of your "pliable putty". I had a horrid upbringing. And if not for Mr. Anselmo, Mr. Greathouse, Mrs. Fuller, Mr. Snare, Miss Tate...well, I had a lot of really good teachers. And they didn't just teach me how to graduate. They challenged me. They disciplined me. They hoped for me. They talked to me. I mean really talked to me. They guided me.....sheesh! They really cared. I will always love them and cherish the memories. Thanx again! And pls. tell "couldyabe..." I'm sorry for my less than kind replies. ( Just now thought of Mrs. Bunger. She would have swatted me but good if she heard those replies I posted.) You sure have a nice way of putting things. ya know?

    October 13, 2010 at 10:10 pm | Report abuse |
  3. phil

    @couldyabe....please pardon me. It's hard to convey everything in these little boxes. And c'mon. Johnny, the kid I let go....it wasn't just his spelling. He demonstrated lack of repect for his elders, his communication skills where kinda scary. He could hardly maintain eye contact. I toyed with the idea of "taking him under my wing", but that part of my life was already full. I had too many others to help at the time. Anyway, I hope you aren't too upset with me. .PS I would stay away from spelling beez if I were you. just kidding (smile)

    October 13, 2010 at 10:25 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Glen Parker

    couldubanydumber?: I think you could benefit from a good educator. Perhaps one that instructs in anger management?

    phil: Thanks for the kind words. I was also exposed to excellent teachers who made the world a more fascinating and compelling place. As such, I take exception to the idea that just "anyone" can teach. It's simply not a job that everyone can do well, and moreover, educators need to have the appropriate temperament. But, our kids deserve the best, and we should up the pay scale and hire excellent teachers. However, until we demand accountability in public education and couple that with high standards, as Michelle Rhee was trying to do in Washington D.C., we will continue to see pronounced systematic failure in our public education system.

    October 13, 2010 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
  5. phil

    Glen, you make sense to me. And that might not be so good for you around here. (cnn blogs) There aren't many that I agree with. Especially in the past couple of deckades.( spell check.....calling for a spell check) It's so bad, when others named Phil get a grip on the thread, they waste no time changing to s/n "other phil". It sure has been pleasant this chat. .And really...what price the teacher. I know that I can't afford to pay them what I know they are worth.. And times have changed since my teachers were around. It's so much more expensive to live. But you are right. There must be a way to compensate them more fully.

    October 13, 2010 at 11:05 pm | Report abuse |
  6. rabbitg

    the children are all rotten and need to die.

    October 13, 2010 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
  7. phil

    rabbit g? Is that a famous line from some block-buster prime time everybody heard of it but me tv show? otherwise, i don't get it. yeah, kids can be rotton... but spoiled would be my choice. better to err on the side of caution. (I gave up on the puncuation, etc for some reason) succubus took the life right outta me

    October 13, 2010 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
  8. phil

    Carl? Me, an engish teacher? that's a real knee-slapper there Carl. That's fine by me. Because I'm not that fond of double-speak, and we don't want that rubbing off on our kids now do we Carl.

    October 13, 2010 at 11:53 pm | Report abuse |
  9. whitekong78

    I'm still in school, so I can offer some insight. There are great teachers, ok teachers and bad teachers. The great teachers are engaging and colorful with their words, so every student understands. The ok teacher may lack some of the energy, but will cover the subject fully and is capable of answering questions. The bad teachers will ramble on for the entire hour about nothing pertaining to the material and then assign homework from the book. The student's responsibility is to do their best with whatever teaching style their instructor has. If a student gets a bad teacher then reporting that teacher may be an option. Overall most my instructors have been very good. Demanding higher standards for teachers would be great and the most skilled should be paid more too. I know people who can't get jobs as teachers because there are no job openings. Americans are getting dumber by the day and we need to stop this immediately.

    October 14, 2010 at 12:12 am | Report abuse |
  10. phil

    Yeah, it was as you describe even years and years ago whitekong. earlier this eve. a post had me remebering teachers from my youth. and your post reminds me of the others. the "wall-flowers" and the "door-mats" and the harsh disciplinarians. etc. and I swear my 8th grade art teacher's brain was damaged. but ya know, times were simple then compared to now. the strain society places on todays teacher would overwhelm teachers of old. the old school system pay scale is way out of wack.

    October 14, 2010 at 12:34 am | Report abuse |
  11. tomcat

    If our teachers were allowed to teach instead of just worrying about the academic achievment test then many things would be diffrent. what about the cut backs in music art and many other progms that allowed individuality? i guess known cares just have them brain washed can get more money for better performance on the tests. you wonder why kids get bored and drop out?

    October 14, 2010 at 1:38 am | Report abuse |
  12. TJ

    CNN, how is this not front page news, and yet the mirrors in Macy's dressing rooms are?!?

    October 14, 2010 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
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