Rhee's Appearance At Vouchers Conference Brings Up Old Grievances | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Rhee's Appearance At Vouchers Conference Brings Up Old Grievances

Play associated audio
Some members of D.C.'s teachers union protested a conference featuring former D.C. schools chancellor Michelle Rhee Monday. That same day, hundreds of teachers were notified that their positions would be eliminated by the end of the school year.
Matt Laslo
Some members of D.C.'s teachers union protested a conference featuring former D.C. schools chancellor Michelle Rhee Monday. That same day, hundreds of teachers were notified that their positions would be eliminated by the end of the school year.

While protesters carry signs with messages against school vouchers, it's clear the large crowd outside the Washington Marriott Monday wasn't happy with many aspects of Rhee's tenure in D.C. Besides supporting school vouchers, she renegotiated teacher's contracts and fired hundreds of teachers.

Her legacy continues even after her departure last year; DCPS will cut 600 teacher and employee positions this year, and those laid off will be evaluated for new positions based on merit evaluations, rather than seniority -- something Rhee insisted upon in the new contract.

Her critics, like former teacher and blogger Guy Brandenburg, say Rhee's legacy only added to the nationwide debate over unions and vouchers now being waged in places like Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

"I definitely do think it has spread nationally now because of her impact," he says.

Nathan Saunders, the head of the Washington Teacher's Union, says officials across the U.S. are using budget shortfalls to attack unions like his.

"It's a lot less about the unions not doing good work and not being good for the cities and the children they serve, more about the costs they're paying for good services," Saunders says.

Supporters of vouchers say the programs are all about leveling the playing field for some underprivileged students while also injecting more competition into the educational system. Rhee is scheduled to address the conference on vouchers this morning.

WAMU 88.5

Art Beat With Lauren Landau, Sept. 2

You can see a selection of Chinese films or meditate on the meaning of the word “axis” at an art exhibition.

NPR

These 5 Crops Are Still Hand-Harvested, And It's Hard Work

Saffron, vanilla, palm oil, cacao and cottonseed oil are still picked by hand in some parts of the world. Sometimes that manual labor shows up in the price of the food; sometimes it doesn't.
NPR

The Politics Of Calling In Sick

A growing grass-roots movement aims to establish paid sick leave in the U.S., enjoying some success at the city and state level. The issue is already playing big in 2014 political races.
NPR

Celebrity Photo Leak Puts Spotlight On The Cloud, And Security

The FBI and Apple are looking into how private photos of Jennifer Lawrence and other celebrities were stolen, an incident that raises new questions about storing personal data online.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.