Tuesday, January 11, 2011

In 2011, 'we have an opportunity to rethink public education'

"Michelle Rhee, who gained national attention as the chancellor of schools in Washington, D.C., called Monday for giving students government-funded vouchers to attend private schools, rating principals based on student achievement and getting rid of teacher tenure," Stephanie Banchero reports today in The Wall Street Journal.
The release of the blueprint was the first formal action of Ms. Rhee's new advocacy group, StudentsFirst, which she launched in December, after leaving her job heading D.C. schools in October. Ms. Rhee said she was in discussions with the governors of Florida, New Mexico, New Jersey, Tennessee, Nevada and Indiana to adopt part, if not all, of the agenda. ...

StudentsFirst has attracted 140,000 members, including nearly 20,000 teachers, and collected $1.4 million in contributions, Ms. Rhee said. She has said her group would donate to political campaigns and help school districts fund chosen strategies. ...

"A lot of the reason I started the group is so we can provide the cover a courageous political leader needs to push this agenda," she said. "In these incredibly tough budget times, when school districts will take a big hit, we have an opportunity to rethink public education and put students first."

And in a column which also appears in today's Journal, Rhee says "public support is building for a frontal attack on the educational status quo" and says "for education reform, 2011 could be the best of times."

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