"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

DC Public Schools Just Got Less Public, Again

Staying faithful to the script, Michelle Rhee continues her consolidation of power:
By Bill Turque
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, May 26, 2008; B01

D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee has scrapped a funding formula introduced in the late 1990s to bring more transparency and public participation to budget deliberations, replacing it with a system that critics say diminishes the autonomy of individual schools.

Rhee says that the funding method, known as the "weighted student formula," has not served many schools well, placing too much power in the hands of principals. Her alternative, she said, will increase transparency and help her make good on a core promise: to provide every D.C. school with art, music and physical education teachers.

Dismay over changes in the formula is part of a broader unhappiness with the development of the 2008-09 budget, the first on Rhee's watch. Information about the proposed allocation of money, usually available to the public in February, was posted only a week ago on the D.C. Public Schools Web site. . . .
There does seem to a minor annoyance standing in Rhee's and Fenty's way, however. It's name is Deborah Gist:
By V. Dion Haynes
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, May 28, 2008; Page B04
In February, the D.C. Office of the State Superintendent of Education was ready with a 17-page rubric to approve or reject Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee's plan overhaul 26 academically troubled schools.

But about a month later, State Superintendent of Education Deborah A. Gist had to do an about-face when she learned she did not have the power she thought she had. Her lawyers told her she could review the plan but had no authority over it.

Now, some elected State Board of Education members, who serve as advisers to Gist, are seeking to elevate her role in scrutinizing Rhee. . . .

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