Friday, July 3, 2009

What's Green Dot Got To Do With It ??

In an article by Bill Turque in yesterday's Washington Post it turns out that Chancellor Rhee is actively exploring with education iconoclast Steve Barr offering Green Dot an opportunity to run schools in DC. The question to ask is what expertise, if any, does Green Dot bring to the equation? Steve Barr instigated a masterful political movement of parents and then teachers in LA through Green Dot to wrest control of 17 schools from LAUSD and UTLA. He and his people never claimed to know anything about running schools.

I met the newly elected president of the Green Dot teachers union at the most recent Teacher Union Reform Network meeting in June and she seemed smart, genuine, well meaning, and honest in acknowledging that she is totally inexperienced. Even if you begin with the assumption that the schools in LA needed new management and that Green Dot fit the bill, the question remains, what do they bring to the table for DC? Green Dot is just now trying to figure out how teachers in their schools should be evaluated. They have little or no experience in this arena. Green Dot is trying to gin up a professional development program for their teachers, from scratch. To their credit, they acknowledge that they have little experience in either of these arenas, or in running schools. Is this a case of the blind leading the blind? Doesn't running schools take more than blind enthusiasm? Education, after all, does have a knowledge base. Its as if decision makers in DCPS are pretending that there is no experience among long time educators, professional developers, school leadership in other districts or nationally -- no state of the art out there that could be drawn upon. Are the ones who get hired just the ones who's stories get the best press in national magazines? ...the blind leading the blind?


meaningful change said...

Hiring on Green Dot appears to serve at least two purposes:
1) It allows Rhee to make 'radical changes' without having to implement the necessary changes herself.

2) It enables Rhee to continue her all out attack on DCPS staff as she depicts them as so incompetent that inexperienced teachers and now management firms are preferable to working with existing experienced staff members.

And I am sure Rhee will continue doing what she has been for the past year and a half-- pick and choose information to publicize that shows how 'successful' the school will be running; meanwhile if one were to talk to students and teachers (without fear of retaliation) an entirely different reality would be told.

Anonymous said...

Rhee and Barr are apparently no longer BFFs:

Anonymous said...

This blog is wonderful. Thanks for for keeping the 'main thing' the 'main thing'. Any one out there doing an analysis of the schools Rhee closed restructured? Our school's Brookland/Bunker Hill went from 55% students making AYP (2007, 2008) to 40% (2009). I also hear that at Shaw where I was encourged to enroll my child because of their "focus on academic rigor" (yea right) also did very poorly this year. My obvious question for Rhee is "What accountability for student outcomes?" or half baked decisions for that matter.

flash said...

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