Archive for the ‘Michelle Rhee’ Category

Inauguration ‘Refresh’

January 16, 2009

One DC Inaugural Weekend event seems rather … effervescent; even a bit … gassy. It’s the Refresh the World Symposium  on January 19th, presented by Spike Lee, Howard University and PepsiCo.

The event at historic Cramton Auditorium (2455 Sixth Street, NW) is free to college students, and features Spike Lee (natch) with fave celebs Rev. Al Sharpton, Bay Buchanan, Sean Combs, Arianna Huffington, DC Mayor Adrian Fenty, Queen Latifah, Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Michelle Rhee, Dr. Cornel West, and more. Pepsi says topics will include the economy, education, race, gender, hip-hop, carbonated beverages, and other vital national issues.


DC Schools Surplus Space – UPDATE

April 3, 2008

DC Schools Surplus Space--UPDATE

School consolidation is central to DC Public Schools reform, closing under-used school buildings. The chief reason DC schools are so empty: middle-class families leaving Washington as their children reach school age because DCPS education is inadequate. It as if DCPS is a powerful engine pumping middle class families into the suburbs, leaving an uneasy mix of very rich and very poor families and the childless.


DC School Woes Affect Primary Election

February 12, 2008

DC School Woes Affect Primary Election

I braved the sleet this afternoon to vote in the Potomac Primary, a crucial stage in the 2008 presidential elections. When I arrived at my polling place, Washington’s Eliot Junior High School (1820 Constitution Avenue NE), Precinct 86, there were no doorknobs on the heavy steel doors.

 No doorknobs, just the short stubs to attach them. I was finally able to claw one of the doors open, but how many elderly neighbors got frustrated and left without voting?



October 3, 2007

Needs Improvement - does not pay attention . . .

Elise T. Baach, the special master appointed by U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman to monitor D.C.’s special education system, issued a report Monday ascribing the city’s “abysmal effort” on special ed to a “lack of focus.”

Judging by the sheer volume of press releases, DC Government and school officials seem hyperactive, too, and don’t seem able to focus on solving other actual problems, even those created by government hyperactivity. I am not a physician, but doesn’t this sound like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, ADHD?

Physicians prescribe methylphenidate aka Ritalin for ADHD so often that both words are in the MS Word 2003 spell-check (try it).

D.C. officials: I respectfully urge you consult psychopharmacologists at the D.C. Department of Mental Health immediately. And don’t say you’ll put it off until you finally get around to fixing the problems at that agency.

Image by Mike Licht on behalf of the millions of US school kids who take this medication, many because their teachers are not good enough to make school interesting.

UPDATE: Top special ed officials placed on leave after rise in criticism

No Substandard Teachers Left Behind

August 24, 2007

No bumping! 

D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee told the Examiner that 68 educators, with a combined annual payroll of $5.4 million, will not be placed in schools this term but, due to their contracts and seniority, their employment cannot be terminated. 

The skills of these teachers, aides, and assistant principals may be too weak to allow them to teach our children, but their experience should not go to waste, nor should they sit idle while collecting public salaries.


Over one-third of the District’s adults cannot read a food label or complete a job application, and the rate of functional illiteracy is even higher for the incarcerated. 68 educators are available to help remedy this problem. Right now, immediately. Put them in half-way houses and D.C. Jail. Start a second shift or night school at the jail if demand exceeds capacity of the facilities.


Mayor Fenty has coordinated Adult Literacy programs under the State Education Office. I am sure the Chancellor and Deputy Mayor for Education could expedite detailing of these DCPS employees to the SEO for this vital effort.


And if some of the idle educators do not feel up to the challenge and decide to pursue other opportunities, good luck to them. The salary lines freed up can be used to hire more skilled classroom teachers for DC’s children.