Rupert Murdoch champions Rhee in public schools reform
Rupert Murdoch is no fan of government regulation. But the outspoken head of News Corp. believes in sweeping U.S. educational reform and is a big fan of embattled D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee.
In a speech at the annual awards banquet for the Media Institute, Murdoch addressed a crowd of communication regulators, lobbyists and executives. He said more people like Rhee need to stay in place to overhaul an educational system that overspends to protect ineffective teachers through their unions and the politicians who support them. He said no business could ever operate like the monopolies that school districts have become, without performance goals or consequences when those goals weren't met.
"Occasionally I hear the leaders of the teachers union say they support reform," Murdoch said. "But I'm here of the view of Michelle Rhee, a bona fide reformer."
Last July, Rhee fired 241 teachers, including 165 who received poor appraisals under a new evaluation system that for the first time holds some educators accountable for students' standardized test scores. She has not indicated if she will stay on as chancellor after the expected election of Democratic mayoral nominee Vincent Gray.
“Let me be blunt: There’s not a single one of us in this room tonight who would allow one of our children to be randomly assigned to a Washington, D.C., public school,” Murdoch said.
He urged the audience to see Davis Guggenheim's documentary "Waiting for 'Superman'," which features Rhee and others. And Murdoch praised the Los Angeles Times move to publish a database with the rankings of 6,000 3rd through 5th grade teachers. The ranking were based on the teachers' ability to raise children's test scores.
| October 7, 2010; 11:11 AM ET
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