D.C.'s Chancellor Makes Her Case
Michelle A. Rhee has become a favorite of the school reform set for her bold efforts to remake the public schools in the nation's capital.
One of Michelle A. Rhee’s favorite tales of incompetence inside the District of Columbia public schools was her discovery, last fall, that mishandled paperwork and a missed meeting by an employee was costing the system nearly a half million dollars a year. The worker’s mistakes, Ms. Rhee said, had prompted the placement of two special education students in out-of-state schools that each cost more than $200,000.
Another story Ms. Rhee often tells is about two teachers she encountered at the same school. One, she observed, “bounded” around the room teaching a lesson on Greek mythology as students held up their arms, straining to be called on. The other teacher, whose classroom was across the hall, tried in vain to quiet unruly students by turning the light switch off and on when Ms. Rhee stopped by for a visit.
And she recounts an anecdote about high school students in one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods who told her the first thing she needed to do to improve their school was to “just get the...
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