$131,000 Teacher’s Salary

Michelle Rhee, the latest in a string of superintendents in the D.C. schools wants to make this possible – by linking teacher pay to student performance. Well, I hope to be moving to D.C. in a few years, this making it even more appealing, but anyone who has ever taught knows that the teacher is not the sole contributer to student performance. This is especially the case in poor, urban schools where students have a lot more to worry about (violence, lack of basic needs, lack of involvement from parents, etc) than their grades and making their teacher proud. Rhee also supports using test scores as a means of assessing student performance. Of course the unions are up in arms, as they should be. Though I believe that a good teacher can get students to test well without “teaching to the test”, such accountability is unfair to students (and teachers of those students) who don’t test well, are behind in basic skills, or have external forces distracting their learning.

Full AP Story:
http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/R/RESCUING_DCS_SCHOOLS?SITE=TXDAM&TEMPLATE=EDUCATION.html&SECTION=HOME

UPDATE: Here is the Washington Post story, focusing on Rhee’s expansion of social services, considering the student holistically.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/story/2008/08/25/ST2008082500086.html

Rhee is putting the smack down:
“The direction of the nearly 50,000-student system could be determined less by the problems she inherited after decades of dysfunction than by decisions she made in her first year: closing 23 underenrolled schools; finalizing overhauls at 26 academically ailing schools; and firing 150 people she considered poor performers.”

And putting people where they are needed most:
“Wilkinson used to have a part-time librarian; it’s getting a full-time librarian. The school had one social worker, an “itinerant” speech pathologist (shared with other schools) and no psychologist. This year, it has two social workers, a speech pathologist and two psychologists and shares an itinerant speech pathologist and an itinerant psychologist. Literacy and math coaches and an intervention specialist have been hired to help lagging students.”

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