With respect to my good friend Umpire, I think Rick Scott should indeed hire Michelle Rhee.
Michelle Rhee, former Chancellor of the Washington, D.C. school system and former Mayor Adrian Fenty did an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal titled, “The Education Manifesto“. What Michelle and Adrian learned while working to truly reform the worst public school system in America: “It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that under-performing teachers will not produce a new generation of rocket scientists.”
Michele and Adrian point out, “Nonetheless, year after year, our schools have been run for the benefit of the adults in the system, not for the benefit of the kids.”
So what was their biggest road block? According to Michelle and Adrian:
“[T]he longest and most difficult of our fights was the effort to reshape the district’s teachers’ contract. As in many other cities, D.C.’s contract tied the hands of principals, administrators and, yes, even teachers. Staff reductions at the school level had to occur exclusively by seniority. In practice, tenure often meant a job for life, regardless of performance. Teachers could be placed at schools without the consent of principals. Pay scales were more or less locked in place, determined by years of service and credits in professional enrichment courses—completely delinked from the impact teachers were having on their students’ learning.” [Emphasis added]
Michelle points out, “We believe that the people in D.C. who want change were, and still are, the majority. But they face special interests—unions, administrators and opportunistic politicians—who are vocal and committed. These organized interests have a significant advantage over the public officials who are willing to do what is unpopular but right for the students.”
Does our newly elected Governor with the support of a Republican controlled legislature have the will to do what is “unpopular but right for the students”?
If I had Governor elect Rick Scott’s ear I would whisper into it – Florida Commissioner of Education Michelle Rhee.
I would like to remind my good friend Umpire that we have a hard cap on class sizes, so Michelle Rhee can’t do much in terms of closing schools and mass teacher firings. She will also not be a superintendent, but a statewide Education Commissioner, which is a completely different job.
However I for one would love to see Michelle Rhee come to Florida and become our Commissioner of Education. Someone needs to playing hardball with the out of control FEA and Association of School Superintendents. She will be the Yin to their Yang. Gov. Rick Scott will have his hands busy with creating jobs and dealing with the state budget, let Michelle Rhee do the dirty work that needs to be done with our failing schools.