This program was made by possible by support from the Annenberg, The Eli and Edythe Broad, Bill & Melinda Gates, William and Flora Hewlett and Wallace Foundations.
It’s an article of faith for Washington, DC Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee that teachers are the most important factor in a child’s education and the key to reforming the city’s troubled school system. Rhee also believes that Washington’s teaching force needs a lot of help. While she won’t give a firm number, last year one of her administrators told us that “50% [of DC teachers] don’t have the right mindset, and there’s the possibility that more of them don’t have the content knowledge to do the job.”
Rhee is not one for timid steps. She’s proposing to pay excellent teachers a lot more money (doubling salaries in some cases) and, at the same time, get rid of ineffective teachers. To do that, she says she needs a new union contract that ties teacher pay to student performance and gives her the flexibility to remove ineffective teachers—but the 4,000 members of Washington’s teachers union may not agree—and they are the ones who must vote on her plan.
(Originally aired September 18, 2008)
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