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Rhee: Younger Teachers Got More of the Ax

Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee, going on the offensive against critics of last week's teacher layoffs, said younger instructors were "more likely" to have been shown the door than DCPS veterans.

In an interview on WAMU this morning, Rhee said: "If you look at the reality of years of service, brand new teachers were more likely to be separated in this RIF (reduction in force). I know people are spreading a lot of rumors but they are just not supported by the data."
As to giving the public a look at the data, that's another matter. Rhee told NewsChannel 8 yesterday that it s not available to the public. She and her staff have yet to respond to multiple requests for a look. They say it's still being reviewed by District lawyers.
Lack of evidence not withstanding, Rhee did have plenty to say to school activists, union leaders and some D.C. Council members who have that the $43 million DCPS budget shortfall was a phony crisis contrived to purge veteran teachers.
Rhee also fired back at Council member Marion Barry, who said Tuesday that Rhee had lied about budget and personnel issues.
"I always think that Council member Barry has an interesting interpretation of things," Rhee told WRC TV,. "I certainly am willing to answer any questions the council member has, but to be accused of lying -- I just don't think that's right."
Finally, Rhee took issue with Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray's analysis of the DCPS budget, which showed that federal stimulus money should have been able to fix any serious shortfall. Rhee said much of the stimulus funding came with specific regulations, targeting it to special education students, for example. She said the rules also required that it be used to supplement, not supplant local funding. Without the stimulus funds, she added, the cutbacks would have been much worse.

Bill Turque

By Bill Turque  |  October 7, 2009; 12:37 PM ET
Categories:  Bill Turque , Education  
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Prove it! Prove it! Prove it! I am looking forward to the day when she is run out of town nationally disgraced. She deserves this and more. Everyone please show up at the rally on October 8th.

Posted by: candycane1 | October 7, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

She lied about her experience, "success" and positive press from her time in Baltimore..
It's getting to be Lillian Hellman/Mary McCarthy time:

"Every word she writes is a lie, including and and the."
Mary McCarthy, in a statement about Hellman in a 1979 interview on The Dick Cavett Show; this prompted a defamation suit against McCarthy which was dropped after Hellman's death.

Posted by: edlharris | October 7, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

What I find terribly offensive about this whole situation is the fact that veteran teachers were escorted off campus by police right after they were notified that they were fired. Is this legal? If so, some laws need to be changed.

Posted by: Linda/RetiredTeacher | October 7, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Artists often see things that the rest of us don't. The photographer who took the TIME photo of Rhee captured her darkness (evil?) and now many of us see it as well. Anyone who would allow children to watch as their teacher is escorted out of the building by police is probably not of good character. If the citizens of DC allow teachers,"good" or "bad," to be treated in this way, they can forget any hope of educational improvement for the students of their city.

Thank you again, Bill Turque, for keeping readers informed.

Posted by: Linda/RetiredTeacher | October 7, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Yes, the chancellor is very data driven - driven to hide it and manipulate it. She's been doing it for a long time without being challenged. Let's see how she handles being called to task.

Linda - I heard Rhee on the local news - she says the only reason police were there is that the security company for the schools folded the night before. That is true -- which is another indication or poor management and poor planning, and also suggests that if it hadn't been the police escorting some teachers out the door, it would have been security guards. Not much better, is it?

Also, it was reported that police were specifically called to come to one school, so it sounds like Rhee is playing with the facts again.

Posted by: efavorite | October 7, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Public humiliation rests at the high end of Michelle Rhee's capacity for eductional leadership. Her hiring and tenure as the Chancellor amounts to a massive Madoff-like fraud perpetrated on the people of the District. The caper required a truckload of Bill Gates' money, a quisling in the mayor's office, and the power of the Post and Jay Mathews to manufacture a Michelle Rhee fairy-tale for public consumption. Ultimately, the Time cover picture will stand as a small tragi-comic monument to the damage done by this criminal conspiracy.

Ms. Rhee will be taking her broom with her soon. A while back the Chancellor even foreshadowed the hara-kiri she was contemplating and is in the middle of now. She told Mathews because she wasn't speaking to Mr. Turque at the time, "If I go down at the end of the day because I didn't play the political game right, that's okay with me," she said. "At least when you're making decisions that you believe are in the best interests of kids, you may not win in the end, but at least you can operate with a good conscience."

Lacking any discernible qualifications, her shocking appointment as D.C. Chancellor, can be understood only when you realize that Michelle Rhee was brought in to create chaos at every turn and inflict maximum damage on the district's public schools and its children. The forces of privatization behind this needed a cultist (Teach For America, New Teacher Project) and true believer in the job. Anyone else would have asked questions and refused to implement destructive or absurd policies. They could not be counted on to mindlessly take a sledgehammer to D.C.'s schools. The havoc that Rhee is now causing is no accident. It was the plan!

Yes Linda, that picture and the whole Time magazine profile provides great insight into Rhee's character and true mission. In it she denigrates every other adult in the D.C. school system including her staff. She mocks teachers that dare speak of building an emotional connection with their students. She clearly and coldly exploits a true leader at Anacostia High, young Mr. Rhodes, to advance her agenda. She seems to have no use for children being nurtured emotionally in the classroom. Just teach them to read for the test! And make sure there's no poetry involved!

Posted by: natturner | October 7, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Good riddance to the dead weight teachers. Anyone who is somewhat familiar with Rhee's work ethic and beliefs knows that she does what she does for the kids. I'm really not sure why people think she would be motivated to get rid of teachers for some other reason. Because she's racist? Stupid? Evil? Misguided? I don't buy any of these.

Posted by: tribeca487 | October 7, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

RIF Rhee!!

Posted by: schooletal | October 7, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

To tribeca487:

So, she's got you fooled too, eh? You're in for a rude awakening. Wait until she gets hit with all the defamation of character lawsuits by teachers she, Fenty, and even the WaPo are labeling as under-performing. Remember, the only defense to a defamation of character lawsuit is the truth, which Rhee and company will be forced to prove. Then, her much deserved exit from town will be as nationally televised as the reputation she has methodically manufactured that she cares about children. As one who came much too close to the viciousness and vindictiveness of her administration, when all I was doing was advocating for my special needs students, I know of which I speak. There is a saying in the country from which I hail that states, "If you want to know me, come live with me." Many experienced and qualified teachers (with far more experience, qualifications, and care for our children than Rhee could ever dream of having) have lived with her and know the nature of the beast.

Kudos to the WTU for finally taking her to court. Her campaign, geared at self-promotion, stinks, and does nothing to raise the achievement levels of our youth.

And as for her work ethic, as an erstwhile DCPS special education teacher, I would match my work hours with hers any hour of the day. Problem is, she and her staff are so clueless as to what is required to be effective in the classroom (especially a special education classroom), that she fails to recognize good teaching when she sees it. And the inexperienced administrators she favors, are even more ignorant of what they should be evaluating.

Please make an effort to become informed. There really is no excuse for drinking Rhee and Fenty's kool-aid. This awful experiment needs to be shut down. My tax dollars could be better spent, quite frankly.

Posted by: vscribe | October 7, 2009 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Of Rhee and all of her "data," as the old saying goes: "Liars figure and figures lie."

Posted by: UrbanDweller | October 7, 2009 6:21 PM | Report abuse

It is surprising that Ms. Rhee is the head of the DC public school district.

Ms. Rhee has only three years of actual teaching experience.

Ms. Rhee used this 3 years of experience to start and act as head of the "New Teacher Project" that was mainly concerned with advising on the hiring of teachers.

Ms. Rhee has absolutely no school administrative experience and without this experience she would not be qualified for the position of Principal in the DC district.

The background of Ms. Rhee would be suitable for a deputy school administrator responsible for teacher hiring.

There has been a great deal of fanfare about the actions of Ms. Rhee but very little mention that a head of very large public school system, now administers that system without any prior school administrative experience.

Ms. Rhee may fervently believe in young and energetic teachers but her position is to administer a large public school system that during her tenure has had significant occurrences of mismanagement.

Simply on experience, Ms. Rhee is not qualified to be head public school administrator of a large public school system.

Resume from:

Posted by: bsallamack | October 7, 2009 7:29 PM | Report abuse

People get fired and life moves on. All of these lawsuits will go nowhere and knowing Rhee she will have the data to back it up. Many of the "veteran and outspoken people" that they speak of as being targeted are a pain in the ass. They are always complaining, saying things were so much better before, and always throwing the union contract in people's faces when they are being asked to help in school. This does not help schools! And to top it off years of experience and certifications do not necessarily make you a better teacher or help you connect with students. You are either effective or you are not!

Posted by: jessi01 | October 7, 2009 7:48 PM | Report abuse

Jesseo1 says, "knowing Rhee she will have the data to back it up."

On what data are you basing that statement?

Posted by: efavorite | October 8, 2009 7:18 AM | Report abuse

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