At the heart of Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee's vision for transforming D.C. schools is a dramatic overhaul of its 4,000-member teacher corps that would remove a "significant share" of instructors and launch an ambitious plan to foster professional growth for those who remain...
Rhee plans to move the District away from the regimen of courses and workshops that have defined continuing education for teachers. Borrowing from best practices in surrounding suburban districts, she is building a system of school-based mentors and coaches to help instructors raise the quality of their work. She also wants to import a nationally prominent Massachusetts consulting firm with a reputation for improving teachers' skills.
But budget uncertainties, labor tensions and the timetable for the program's rollout have sparked questions from teachers' advocates about its effectiveness. At the same time, Rhee has dropped the school system's direct support for instructors seeking certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, a rigorous one- to three-year teacher development program, citing a lack of evidence that the training improves student achievement.
She's stepping on a lot of toes, perhaps some unnecessarily. At least she has a laser-like focus on student achievement.