The Dom Post reports:
Prospective teachers could skip specialist university training and be fast-tracked into the classroom under a plan to cope with an ageing workforce.
Under the scheme, anyone who already has a master’s degree could bypass teacher’s college and learn on the job.
Controversial is often applied by the media as a label for someone with views that journalists disagree with. It is a way of saying “Do not listen to this person”.
So before we look at what Rhee said, who is she. Is she some sort of academic whose has controversial theories never actually trialled?
Michelle Rhee is a 39 year old Korean-American who is the Chancellor of the DC Public Schools system. She is also the founder of The New Teacher Project that has recruited 10,000 teachers in the last ten years.
As Chancellor she is responsible for 168 schools, with around 58,000 students. 84% of her students are black.
So this “controversial” woman is in charge of the public schools of one of the poorest areas in America, and in an overwhelmingly Democratic area.
So what does she recommend:
The Washington DC schools chancellor has caused debate with proposals to give star teachers huge pay rises, fire ineffective ones and introduce a voucher system that gives pupils from low-income families thousands of dollars to attend private schools.
That sounds pretty good to me I have to say. The article actually has it wrong thought. She did not introduce the voucher system A voucher system for 1,900 low income families has been operating since 2004 (before she was appointed). She just does not oppose it.
Does she see it as undermining public education?
The five-year pilot program is up for renewal next year, but Ms. Rhee doesn’t see school choice as a threat to her mission in the public schools. She shakes her head. “I would never, as long as I am in this role, do anything to limit another parent’s ability to make a choice for their child. Ever.” Instead, she sees the competition presented by school choice and charter schools as part of the process of raising standards in the public school system at large. “We have an excellent choice dynamic for parents here… I’m a huge proponent of choice…” People have tried to get her to commit to a ratio of public schools to charter schools. Ms. Rhee won’t play that game. “I don’t enter this with defensiveness, about protecting [D.C. public schools’] share of the market. I believe we should proliferate what’s working and close down what’s not. Period
She doesn’t say that vouchers are the remedy for repairing public schools, she just says that choice is good and the answer to failing public schools is to close down the bad ones, and pay great teachers heaps more money.
I’ll be delighted if Anne Tolley moves in this direction. I’ll also be very surprised.