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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Michelle Rhee throws water on Florida public schools



Welcomed as a "movie star" to the state Senate's top public schools committee, former Washington D.C. schools chancellor Michelle Rhee encourage lawmakers to abolish teach tenure laws, fire up to 8 percent of K-12 educators and watch student achievement soar.

"As long as we have practices in place that protect ineffective teachers, we are not going to be able move student achievement," Rhee said.

Sen. Bill Montford, D-Tallahassee, asked Rhee about the recent report from Education Week, that ranked Florida the No. 5 in the country. "How can we be such an inept public school system and rank so high?" Montford said.

Rhee replied: "Number five in this nation? This nation is not where we need to be in the global marketplace."

Rhee lunched in a Senate conference room with about two dozen lawmakers who peppered her with questions about vouchers, grading principles, longer school days and so-called "paycheck protection" measure, which let teachers opt-out of making political contributions to their unions.

She meets with House lawmakers this afternoon.

[Last modified: Wednesday, February 9, 2011 9:26pm]


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