Friday, July 01, 2011

Culture clash a recurring theme in Rhee story

I don't know whether to laugh, cry or celebrate, but the residents of DC are now showing much greater appreciation for Michelle Rhee (I say celebrate because their insane decision to vote out Mayor Fenty – and therefore Rhee – has freed her up to catalyze reform on a national stage, so ironically, I think we reformers owe the voters of DC a huge debt of gratitude):

A majority of D.C. public school parents give the system positive marks for the first time in a decade, according to a new survey by The Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Fully 53 percent of those with children in the public school system say the city's 123 schools are doing a "good" or "excellent" job, a sharp jump from January 2008, when 31 percent of parents expressed such approval. Former chancellor Michelle A. Rhee, a divisive figure during her 31 / 2-year tenure, is viewed more favorably than she was before her resignation in October. The survey found that 55 percent of all D.C. adults — parents and others — approve of the job she did in office, up 11 percentage points from late last summer.

The findings are consistent with other signs of slow but discernible progress in the 45,600-student system, which was placed under mayoral control in 2007 after years of abysmal academic performance. Those signs include the first enrollment growth in more than 40 years and impressive gains in math and reading scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

"We are very positive about our schools," said Eric Anderson, 43, who has a daughter heading into the school system's Montessori at Logan program in August. Another daughter is in the Washington Latin Public Charter School.

"For the longest time, once your kid got into first or second grade, you would move to Arlington or Bethesda," he said. But Anderson added that he seldom hears about such moves anymore.



Culture clash a recurring theme in Rhee story

By Mark Bauerlein

Fall 2011 / Vol. 11, No. 4


Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Mike Petrilli talks with Richard Whitmire about The Bee Eater.

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