Tuesday, May 27, 2008

WaPo editors give Rhee high marks

As Mayor Fenty's control of the District's public schools & Michelle Rhee's tenure running them approach the one year mark the Washington Post editorial board is giving both high marks for the job done thus far.
IT'S BEEN nearly a year since Mayor Adrian M. Fenty took control of the D.C. public schools, and the pace of change has been dizzying. Foremost was his unorthodox choice of a chancellor singularly unafraid to make, and carry out, hard decisions. Michelle A. Rhee has done more in months to reshape the system than her predecessors did in years. Yet, the work has barely begun, because -- for children in D.C. classrooms -- much is still the sorry same.

No doubt the anniversary of the mayoral takeover will cause some to point to the sad state of classroom instruction as evidence of failure. There are, though, no instant results when it comes to school reform. Most experts say it takes three years for test scores to even start to improve and five to seven years for the full effects to be felt. This first year has been spent laying the foundation: restructuring the central office, closing an unprecedented number of schools, reorganizing ones that are failing, getting rid of principals who don't make the grade. Time is needed before these conditions can produce results such as better student achievement or increased enrollment. Already, there is reason for cautious optimism: books and computers are being delivered; people are being paid on time; there are exciting new candidates in the principal pool; and there is the promise of music, art and physical education teachers in schools this fall.
[via A Constrained Vision]

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