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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Teachers not the problem, Michelle Rhee tells Florida lawmakers



Former D.C. schools chancellor Michelle Rhee hears it all the time: Her efforts in Florida and elsewhere to improve teacher quality represent an attack on teachers.

While she argues that "tenure" is no longer needed, and ineffective teachers must be removed, Rhee also insists that she's not out to bash the profession.

Rather, she told lawmakers, teachers are "the most powerful resource" in the effort to make schools better. "We value the profession by holding them to high expectations," Rhee said.

She had a lot of good things to say about Senate Bill 736, the latest effort to change teacher contracts, evaluations and the like. But she also urged the Senate Pre-K-12 Committee to move even faster to implement many of the ideas, such as speeding the process to get rid of ineffective teachers rather than giving them a lengthy period of time to improve.

It's about the children who don't have a year to sacrifice while waiting for their teacher to get better, she suggested. As a side note, an arbitrator ruled this week that Rhee's firing of 75 D.C. teachers was abitrary, and that the system would have to rehire those educators.

Rhee next heads to the House where she is to testify before the K-20 Competitiveness Subcommittee.

[Last modified: Wednesday, February 9, 2011 4:09pm]


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