Class Struggle: Michelle A. Rhee

Posted at 06:00 PM ET, 09/19/2010

Rhee initiative that will, thankfully, outlast Rhee

As prospective mayor Vincent Gray’s education advisors begin to discuss changes in the way Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee ran D.C. schools, it should quickly become apparent they should keep their hands off one of Rhee’s smartest moves — handing management of Coolidge and Dunbar high schools to a sharp team of educators from New York City.

By Jay Mathews  |  06:00 PM ET, 09/19/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 06:00 PM ET, 09/12/2010

Teacher in troubled school likes Rhee's impatience

Anthony Priest decided teaching math would be more interesting than his big business career, so he accepted an assignment at one of the most chaotic public schools in the region, Spingarn High in Northeast Washington. Since then, he says, he has had many adventures, including a first-hand look at the inspiring and results-oriented (at least to him) management practices of D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee.

By Jay Mathews  |  06:00 PM ET, 09/12/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 10:00 PM ET, 08/22/2010

Rhee is central to future of DC schools

If Mayor Adrian M. Fenty loses the Democratic primary, Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee — the most divisive D.C. educator in my 39 years at The Washington Post — will probably leave. If Fenty wins, she probably stays. Whether that is good or bad depends on your point of view.

By Jay Mathews  |  10:00 PM ET, 08/22/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 12:12 PM ET, 07/06/2010

Does Sousa story prove Rhee is right?

My colleague Stephanie McCrummen, a former Post foreign correspondent now on our education writing team, is not only a great journalist but has terrific timing. Her front page story today about rising test scores at Sousa Middle School in D.C. comes just at the local and national debate over the record of D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee reaches a new peak.

By Jay Mathews  |  12:12 PM ET, 07/06/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 06:00 PM ET, 07/04/2010

Rhee should get out of the mayor's race

Saying she would leave if Gray is elected is good news to those people who want Rhee gone. It is bad for the principals she has appointed, the teachers who share her commitment to raising achievement and the parents who are beginning to see the same teamwork, creativity and persistence in regular city public schools that they have found in many charter schools.

By Jay Mathews  |  06:00 PM ET, 07/04/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 12:02 PM ET, 02/09/2010

More light needed on abuse allegations

I wish Nathan Saunders, general vice president of the Washington Teachers Union, had given more thought to the statement he gave to Post reporter Bill Turque. He said "the corporal punishment rules and regulations that exist are not problematic" in the District schools. I think a lot of parents and teachers would agree with me that he is wrong about that.

By Jay Mathews  |  12:02 PM ET, 02/09/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 07:27 AM ET, 02/01/2010

Rhee's bad polls: should she go?

Public officials who try to make big changes to solve crises often risk their popularity. That is why favorability ratings for Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama dropped when they tried to revive devastated economies in the first years of their presidencies. That also explains why D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee, pushing very hard to raise student achievement in her low-performing district, has lost so much public confidence in a new Washington Post survey.

By Jay Mathews  |  07:27 AM ET, 02/01/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 12:01 PM ET, 01/05/2010

First big crisis over for Rhee--when's the next one?

I have expressed some doubt about the significance of the latest D.C. success on federal math tests for fourth graders. But my skepticism is meaningless in this context. If the test scores look good, it is going to be hard to dislodge her, or to beat her patron Mayor Fenty in the election this year.

By Jay Mathews  |  12:01 PM ET, 01/05/2010 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 12:44 PM ET, 12/08/2009

We're tied for no. 14! We're tied for no. 14!

The report shows that the gains in fourth and eighth grade math in the District began before D.C. School Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee arrived. We know there have been math gains also during her watch, but if I were she I would be careful not to celebrate this latest news too much.

By Jay Mathews  |  12:44 PM ET, 12/08/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 10:00 PM ET, 11/29/2009

Five reasons why I am a bad education writer

I rarely wrote about private schools: This is partly because of laziness. It takes much time and effort to report on private schools because so many are reluctant to give out information that might hurt their reputations in their annual competition with other private schools for students. I am also handicapped by the journalistic assumption, rarely discussed or debated in our newsroom, that paying attention to these private enterprises is like giving them free advertising.

By Jay Mathews  |  10:00 PM ET, 11/29/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 10:00 PM ET, 11/22/2009

D.C. expose--one teacher's evaluation

Overall, the evaluator gave the teacher only 2.3 out of a possible 4 points. Goldfarb got only 1 out of 4 points in one section for failing to post or say what the objective of the lesson was--to me unnecessary kid’s stuff for an AP class. He also got only 1 out of 4 points for not catering to multiple learning styles, even though some experts, like Willis D. Hawley of the University of Maryland, call learning style analysis “bunk.”

By Jay Mathews  |  10:00 PM ET, 11/22/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 09:59 PM ET, 11/22/2009

Dan Goldfarb's evaluation--D.C. schools and Goldfarb respond

Here are two lengthy responses to the Monday column on Dan Goldfarb's teacher evaluation, just above this blog post. First are the thoughts of Jason Kamras, the former national teacher of the year who oversees the IMPACT evaluation program for the D.C. Schools. Second is the response from Goldfarb, the subject of the column. I don't usually provide lengthy notes after every column, but in this case I thought they had many more important things to say. The Web gives journalists a chance to help readers go deeper, and I hope we continue to take advantage of it in this way.

By Jay Mathews  |  09:59 PM ET, 11/22/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 01:39 PM ET, 06/17/2009

Jay on the Web: Michelle Rhee's Report Card

Post reporter Bill Turque took an in-depth look at Michelle Rhee's first two-years as a chancellor of D.C. schools over the weekend, and Jay weighed in with a three-part sit-down interview with Rhee. For the Post's takeaway, see this item...

By Washington Post Editors  |  01:39 PM ET, 06/17/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)

Posted at 11:08 AM ET, 06/03/2009

Jay on the Web: Why Michelle Rhee Is Wrong on Merit Pay for Teachers

Jay Mathews wrote in Monday's column that charter schools -- not Michelle Rhee's plan -- offer a good model for merit pay for teachers: Rhee has proposed paying teachers as much as $135,000 a year based on achievement gains,...

By Washington Post Editors  |  11:08 AM ET, 06/03/2009 |  Permalink  |  Comments ( 0)