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Rhee: Performance money coming soon

Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee, sitting by herself in a Sacramento studio, was a bit eclipsed by Education Secretary Arne Duncan and American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten, who were toe-to-toe with Christiane Amanpour on ABC this morning to talk about teacher pay, test scores and the achievement gap. Rhee also seemed to forget her smile lessons from message coach Anita Dunn.

But she did say that she was "about to announce in the next couple of days" the first round of payments to top-performing DCPS teachers. This is the money coming from the group of private foundations interested in tying teacher compensation to effectiveness.

Asked about the flattening of progress in closing DCPS' black-white achievement gap in 2010 after two encouraging years, Rhee said, "I think what it shows is that it is incredibly difficult." She added that while the three-year record reflects tremendous progress, "it's not a one-shot silver bullet solution."

Amanpour, a distinguished foreign correspondent, was not completely up to speed on the District story. She asked Rhee how she managed to "get rid of 241 teachers and get the unions onboard." The answer, of course, is that the unions weren't onboard. Rhee implied that the new IMPACT evaluation system, which uses test score growth as one of its measures for some teachers, was a product of bargaining with the teachers. That's not the case, and Weingarten gently corrected her a few minutes later.

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By Bill Turque  |  August 29, 2010; 12:09 PM ET
Categories:  Michelle Rhee , Washington Teachers' Union  
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Comments

Did Randi talk about her planned forced entry into the Local 6 elections? Did she reveal her position on ineffective teachers and the need to move them out?

Posted by: axolotl | August 29, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

"Asked about the flattening of progress in closing DCPS' black-white achievement gap in 2010 after two encouraging years, Rhee said, 'I think what it shows is that it is incredibly difficult.' She added that while the three-year record reflects tremendous progress, 'it's not a one-shot silver bullet solution.'"

What about teachers, who can get fired after one year of low scores on their IMPACT evaluation? How about giving teachers three years to show their effectiveness?

Posted by: efavorite | August 29, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

As one of the "highly effective" teachers, it's interesting I had to hear that the details surrounding my bonus will be forthcoming in a couple days from the chancellor who was sitting in Sacramento. I guess communicating through the dc.gov website would have been too much to ask.

Rhee was like a fish out of water with Duncan and Weingarten. They are far more articulate and intelligent than Rhee and it showed.

It's interesting when things don't go Rhee's way, such as the decline in test scores and the widening achievement gap, that she then says things are incredibly difficult. However, she doesn't seem to extend that benefit to her own teachers.

Something tells me she is in Sacramento house hunting in Sacramento since her boss will lose on Sept. 14. If she is, then that's great news for DCPS!

Posted by: UrbanDweller | August 29, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Glad to see that SOMEONE is asking Rhee questions that are difficult for her to answer, because the Post sure isn't.

Posted by: thebandit | August 29, 2010 7:04 PM | Report abuse

"Incredibly difficult"...

I guess "Go Hard or Go Home" doesnt apply to you, Michelle?! Oh that's right. You did the interview from Sacramento. You ARE home.

Posted by: isupreme | August 29, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Good one isupreme!!! :)

Posted by: UrbanDweller | August 29, 2010 7:23 PM | Report abuse

I just watched the rerun and found the whole thing incredibly bland and superficial, with Rhee the obvious loser, due to her sourpuss performance.

Posted by: efavorite | August 29, 2010 8:01 PM | Report abuse

Bill -- let's review:

In June of this year, the WTU membership overwhelmingly approved a contract that gave them a nearly 21% base salary increase over two years (when teachers across the country are being laid off in large numbers).

As the membership of the WTU surely knew, the contract implicitly accepted the IMPACT system as a means of determining which teachers could be dismissed as "ineffective" and which teachers would be eligible for bonuses as highly effective (and if the membership did not, they should raise questions with their union leadership who signed off on the contract.).

Sure, technically, the evaluation system was not subject to bargaining. But Randi did not have to affix her signature to a contract that was fundamentally based on DCPS evaluation system. President Weingarten and Mr. Parker are simply hoping that the public (and their members) won't notice that they actually traded these large salary increases for increased accountability for teacher performance in the classroom.

Posted by: Creech21 | August 29, 2010 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Forget the "Payments to the Top Performers"....what about the retroactive $$$ that DCPS has to pay us for the delay in the union negotiation talks during the past few years??? Not to worry, Ant-Union Folk, I performed "Highly Effective" on my Impact evaluation...I care about the students that I teach...that's why I am not a lawyer making the big bucks!

Posted by: nordicskichic | August 29, 2010 9:51 PM | Report abuse

"Asked about the flattening of progress in closing DCPS' black-white achievement gap in 2010 after two encouraging years, Rhee said, 'I think what it shows is that it is incredibly difficult.' She added that while the three-year record reflects tremendous progress, 'it's not a one-shot silver bullet solution.'"


Incredibly difficult, indeed.

Based her past pronouncements about teachers and about her Baltimore Miracle, she made it sound so easily doable and so, so possible.
Now that things don't look too great, it is difficult.
Yeah, right.

After seeing the Post poll on Fenty/Gray, she might choose to stay in Sacramento.
All she needs to do is pick up the kids, clean out her house and office.

Posted by: edlharris | August 29, 2010 10:34 PM | Report abuse

As for performance pay, shouldn't the names of those teachers be published?
It is information accessible through FOIAs.

Posted by: edlharris | August 29, 2010 10:43 PM | Report abuse

Will the next DCPS school chief find another word other than "incredibly"? This one has beat that word to death!!

Posted by: candycane1 | August 30, 2010 5:41 AM | Report abuse

Sorry: She has beaten that word to death and I am incredibly tired of hearing it.

Posted by: candycane1 | August 30, 2010 5:45 AM | Report abuse

efavorite:
your comment at 3:02 once again is exactly what i thought when i read that same piece!! glad to see there are like-minded people out there.

Posted by: cosnowflake | August 31, 2010 8:36 AM | Report abuse

"Asked about the flattening of progress in closing DCPS' black-white achievement gap in 2010 after two encouraging years, Rhee said, 'I think what it shows is that it is incredibly difficult.' She added that while the three-year record reflects tremendous progress, 'it's not a one-shot silver bullet solution.'"

But that is exactly what she, and RTTT, and TFA have promised. Joel Kline had to phony-up test scores to show his silver-bullett worked. Why the change? Unwilling to be held accountable? She is a phony, a liar and a confessed child abuser. Perfect to run schools for poor kids.

Posted by: mcstowy | August 31, 2010 6:06 PM | Report abuse

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