Sunday, December 23, 2007
DC School Chancellor Michelle Rhee had some vitally important comments regarding school choice, private school vouchers, and charter schools in an interview with the Wall Street Journal's Collin Levy. In fact, these are the first remarks I have seen her make on these subjects in print:
The five-year pilot program is up for renewal next year, but Ms. Rhee doesn't see school choice as a threat to her mission in the public schools. She shakes her head. "I would never, as long as I am in this role, do anything to limit another parent's ability to make a choice for their child. Ever."Of course, if she is such a proponent of choice then why doesn't she follow my advice and turn all of DCPS into charters or private schools. We will see what happens.
Instead, she sees the competition presented by school choice and charter schools as part of the process of raising standards in the public school system at large. "We have an excellent choice dynamic for parents here. . . . I'm a huge proponent of choice, but I'm also an unbelievably competitive person, and my goal is . . . to create schools within the system that I believe are the most compelling choices."
People have tried to get her to commit to a ratio of public schools to charter schools. Ms. Rhee won't play that game. "I don't enter this with defensiveness, about protecting [D.C. public schools'] share of the market. I believe we should proliferate what's working and close down what's not. Period."