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Posted at 5:07 PM ET, 01/26/2010

Rhee's rhetorical excess

By editors

By Peter D. Rosenstein

The Post editorial “Unfit teachers?” missed the point. The issue isn’t that Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee would fire teachers who hit or sexually abused children or who were absent too often. The issue is that she can take strong action against such teachers without resorting to the excuse of a mass layoff.

Of 266 laid-off teachers, we now know that none of these teachers was convicted of sexually abusing a child (one has been accused of doing so) and that six have served suspensions for corporal punishment. Ms. Rhee’s comments were purely sensationalistic, and there should be no room for sensationalism in this area. Ms. Rhee has a responsibility to nearly 50,000 children and their parents. She needs the thousands of D.C. teachers and administrators to work with her to be successful. She should be working with them, not trying to scapegoat them.

Ms. Rhee needs to curb her enthusiasm for hyperbole and get down to the task at hand, which is educating our children.

By editors  | January 26, 2010; 5:07 PM ET
Categories:  D.C., HotTopic, schools  
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Unfortunately, she's incapable of doing the things you suggest. That's the root of the problem. It's not just a question of style -- this is her basic personality, and she cannot change it. Fenty bought us a pig in a poke.

Posted by: laboo | January 26, 2010 7:53 PM | Report abuse

laboo is right. If you've been following Rhee closely, you'd know that this is not a rare rhetorical excess - this is her basic style. She's a shameless liar who loves to bash teachers and cares so little for children that she tells a gratuitous lie that make parents fear that their kids are being exposed to sexual predators in the classroom.

Some leader!

Posted by: efavorite | January 26, 2010 10:28 PM | Report abuse

It's really easy to sit back and criticize her, but before mouthing off, I suggest that you visit one or two of our lowest performing schools, sit in several classrooms, and see what she is trying to overcome. DCPS has some of the most challenging instructional scenarios that I have ever witnessed, and before you condemn her, try to understand the monumental obstacle that she is trying to overcome. Sure she gets frustrated and spews off some regrettable words, but the reality is simple- she is tackling a dinosaur that Marion Barry created, and it's extremely difficult and frustrating to overcome. This is the time to give her the support that she needs, if you really do care about improving our schools. She has a huge task ahead of her and she needs all of the support that we can give her. If you actually care about the future of DCPS, you need to rally behind her, warts and all.

Posted by: franciscomillet | January 28, 2010 5:50 AM | Report abuse

If "reform" is dependent upon one person who is irreplaceable, then it is doomed to failure.

Posted by: phillipmarlowe | January 31, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

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