Right Thinking From The Left Coast
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Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Murder of the DC Schools

What else do you call it?  First, the Democrats kill a voucher bill that had shown, in only a couple of years, measurable success in lifting performance.  Now, they’ve shit-canned Michelle Rhee, who was taking on the unions and showing a measure of success.  The mantra is that she was too rough and tumble, too blunt.  Katherine Magnu-Ward begs to differ. She points out that the alternative being cited—Baltimore’s kinder gentler reform—is the kind of reform only Obama would like—tiny, incremental, ultimately meaningless (e.g., “Race to the Top” where states implement old failed attempts at reform like “merit pay” to get $4 billion while Stimulon pours $80 billion into the old system).

In the end, however, Rhee was one woman pushing against a sisyphian rock.

Rhee was trying to make D.C. schools into a racehorse, and now the best the city can hope for is to realize the old saw about the horse designed by committee; if we’re lucky, we will find up with a camel. As long as school reform remains in the political realm, too much assertiveness will you get booted at the next election cycle, because results can never be swift enough to win over your doubters. But too much consensus-building means little more than baby steps and backsliding. Faced with this seemingly impossible dilemma, and the disappointing outcome of Rhee’s remarkable efforts in D.C., the much-awaited Superman starts to feel more like Godot.

I remain unconvinced that “the system” can be fixed. There are too many entrenched interests.  Escape is the only option.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 10/14/10 at 07:16 AM in Politics   Law, & Economics  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink
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