Friday, September 17, 2010

Teacher in troubled school likes Rhee's impatience

Speaking of Rhee, here's Jay Mathews with a story about her urgency and responsiveness:

By January, after the school was evacuated to search for a rumored gun, another teacher emailed Rhee asking for help. Rhee responded in 30 minutes and soon met the Spingarn faculty, with no administrators present. Ten days later the school had a new principal with a different approach to suspensions and other matters.

Priest applauds this, as do many educators, parents and students who have seen Rhee's lightning responses to emailed pleas for action. The chancellor has an impatience that many people like. It is the hallmark of her cohort of aggressive younger educators who are working in urban school districts and in some cases starting their own public charter schools.

As new teachers they saw their schools were broken, tried to make quick changes and were told to slow down. They decided their students should not have to wait for a decent education, so they charged ahead. Some of the ones I have watched closely have had wonderful results. Others have struggled.

The Spingarn story has been repeated elsewhere in the District. Rhee appoints a principal who looks good but fails to deliver. She fixes the situation as best she can, and appoints someone else. She believes, as do business-trained admirers like Priest, that this is the best and fastest way to make improvements.


Teacher in troubled school likes Rhee's impatience

Anthony Priest is one of those personnel office surprises--a 44-year-old just starting as a teacher. He has two degrees in engineering from Georgia Tech and a masters in business administration. He does marathons and triathalons. In 2008 he was project manager for the redevelopment of a 300,000-square-foot D.C. office building.

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