Tuesday, September 09, 2008
CNN has an interesting profile on the new superintendent of DC schools, Michelle Rhee. Now, I'm not enough of an education expert to know what plans are good and what ones are bad. Indeed, to the extent that I have an opinion, its skepticism of the trend towards mass imposition of standardized tests, which Rhee seems to support. But whatever opinions I have on particular educational policies are far outstripped by my sentiment that the primary barrier to true reform of school district's like DC are structural. Rotting infrastructure, calcified bureaucracies, inept record-keeping -- these things can swallow even the best-laid plans and spit them out as if nothing happened. Rhee, if nothing else, seems to have gotten enough momentum to shake things up in DC. And while that phrase is normally a cliche, in the district I think it is quite apt. DC school reform has failed before because nobody could even get the reforms started. Rhee, to her credit, has decided to start with step one, and not let off the gas pedal. Hopefully it will work.