Former D.C. schools Chancellor Rhee criticizes teacher tenure, unions

January 12, 2011 06:14

Rhee released a policy agenda for nationwide education reform Monday that criticizes tenure and teachers’ unions while lauding Rhee hallmarks like merit pay and Teach for America.

By: Lisa Gartner at Washington Examiner


Rhee’s 24-page agenda includes 35 policy recommendations for state and local officials. Chiefly, she recommends that teachers’ evaluations be based at least 50 percent on student test scores and that these evaluations should drive staffing decisions; that states should relax laws that cap charter schools and alternative-certificate teaching programs; and that schools should be more open in releasing performance and budget data to parents and taxpayers.

Of course, the agenda bucks tenure — perhaps Rhee’s biggest criticism of adults protecting “vested interests” at the expense of student learning.

“Every day, school systems quietly place into classrooms a number of teachers whom they already have identified as ineffective. Districts claim they have no choice, and they are relieved that they can do so without embarrassing any adults,” she wrote.

Rhee suggests separating the development of teacher evaluation tools from contract negotiations with teachers’ unions, saying their leadership has a “conflict of interest” because of “fiduciary responsibility to their organization to enhance unity and protect low performers.”

Rhee has said she views union officials as a “vocal minority” of teachers’ opinions.


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