Thursday, September 16, 2010
Teachers union helped unseat Fenty - Ben Smith - POLITICO.com
Four years ago the newly elected Adrian Fenty, mayor of DC and a man with a passion for improving education, appointed Michelle Rhee chancelor of the DC Schools.
"Rhee hit the ground running. She closed schools. She removed principals (who are not covered by a union) whose schools scored low on tests with more reform-minded replacements. She proposed to the Washington Teachers' Union a contract that sharply curtailed job protection. And as the contract worked its way through an interminable set of negotiations, Rhee terminated hundreds of teachers in layoffs she attributed to budget shortfalls. And she brought the union contract negotiations to a successful conclusion, trading higher salaries for less job protection.
Rhee got results. The year after she arrived, DCPS had the greatest gains of any state in fourth-grade math and was one of only five states to show increases in math for both fourth and eighth grades. The high school graduation rate increased faster than in previous years. And last month, the U.S. Department of Education awarded D.C. one of its highly competitive Race to the Top grants." NPR Report