Rhee urges top school officials to get political, find supporters

School district superintendents should find ways to gain political support from community members, according to Washington, D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee.

At a Sacramento Press Club luncheon Monday, Rhee urged the city’s businesspeople, media professionals and politicians to back Sacramento City Unified School District Superintendent Jonathan Raymond in his efforts.

These groups should “give this man some cover,” Rhee said.

Superintendents are not elected to their positions, but they can benefit from making alliances with groups, she said.

“When you are a superintendent and you want to do bold things that might not be popular, you have to have some political capital," she said.

Rhee, who is engaged to Mayor Kevin Johnson, gave the example of layoffs she made last fall. She said that because of a budget crunch, she laid off 266 teachers.

Rhee said she changed the way layoffs had been carried out, deciding that the criteria for a layoff should be the quality of a person’s work instead of the length of time they have worked for the school district.

The business community’s support of her criteria was helpful, she said.

“The business community were the ones who were my strongest supporters of this,” she said. “They came out and said: This is how we run our businesses. We would never run an organization in a way that you were just … getting rid of people based on how many years they’ve been there instead of looking at what they produced for the organization.”

Rhee, who praised government systems in which mayors run schools, said she and Johnson were not planning any efforts to reverse California law to allow mayors to manage schools. However, she did say that an effort to change state law could be worthwhile later.

“Now, a few years down the line: Is this something that might be appropriate?” she asked rhetorically. “Absolutely.”

Asked after the event if she planned to move to Sacramento, Rhee responded that she still has a lot of work to do in Washington, D.C.

A move to Sacramento is “not going to be any time in the near future,” she said.

Kathleen Haley is a staff reporter for The Sacramento Press.

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May 24, 2010 | 10:34 PM

Why does Rhee think Superintendent Raymond needs cover? The school board chose him and brought him here. He will only need cover if he doesn’t work with the community, parents, students, teachers and all other employees in the district. Michelle Rhee seems to thrive on controversy and drama. We don’t need more of that in Sacramento. The Mayor provides plenty.

May 25, 2010 | 10:19 AM

Remember the Teach for America issue back in March?

http://www.sacbee.com/2010/03/11/2598445/sacramento-vies-for-teach-for.html

“Teach For America would require Sacramento school districts to take 30 of its teachers each year for three years for a total of 90 teachers. The $2.7 million would pay for the selection, recruitment and support of those teachers. Salary and benefits would be paid by school districts.”

At a time we were giving out pink slips!

” Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson has been pulling for Teach for America to expand to Sacramento. Johnson was on the national board, and his fiancée, Washington, D.C., schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee, taught with Teach For America in Baltimore.”

Rhee also headed The New Teacher Project National Non-Profit prior to her DC appointment
http://www.tntp.org/newsandpress/061807_TNTP.html

Here’s a policy brief from The New Teacher Project-March 2010
http://www.tntp.org/files/TNTP_Smarter_Teacher_Layoffs_Mar10.pdf

Here is an opinion how Michelle, last year, hired 900 new teachers…just prior to announcing layoffs, predicated on new rules for evaluating teachers.

Mass Teacher Layoffs in D.C. Amount To One Hell of a Power Play by Michelle Rhee

by Dan Brown

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dan-brown/mass-teacher-layoffs-in-d_b_291701.html

May 25, 2010 | 12:51 PM

Well said heidimclean: “Michelle Rhee seems to thrive on controversy and drama. We don’t need more of that in Sacramento. The Mayor provides plenty.”

Have you heard her talk? like a Valley Girl on meth with an ego the size of Kevin’s.

“Why does Rhee think Superintendent Raymond needs cover?” and why does she assume that he embraces her agenda for privatization of public schools, mayoral control of schools and reversing state law, among other undemocratic, “bold” ideas?

“When you are a superintendent and you want to do bold things that might not be popular, you have to have some political capital,” she said.”

By “cover,” Rhee means pressure. By “popular,” she means the “business community’s” agenda “might not be popular” with “the community, parents, students, teachers and all other employees in the district.”

The more dumbed down the schools, the more people can’t sort through their lies. It’s a win/win.

May 25, 2010 | 8:41 AM

Rhee is sure to be fired IMMEDIATELY when Fenty loses his next electoral bid, and now she’s hawking (I’d like to use another word for it, but local media frowns upon that sort of thing) herself for some sort of local ed position, after having RUINED DC schools, in every way imaginable…

She’s as irresponsible a spokesperson for education as there ever has been, gaming the system for charterization, playing off a right wing media cache seeking to wreak havoc on teachers, blaming THEM for HER own hubris and folly and caprice…

But what’s worse, is that she played ‘fixer’ for Johnson’s alleged dalliances with little girls in a pathetically pathological play and ploy enabling her bf’s, or whatever he is, needs and desires.

This pair, Rhee & KJ, are as toxic as a pair of turdsss in a punchbowl, and that they are granted press favor is a miracle in the eyes of so many reasonably prudent people in Sacramento and in DC who see through their antimonious hypocrisy…

Btw, Diane Ravitch, author of DEATH AND LIFE OF GREAT AMERICAN SCHOOLS, and the antithesis of Rhee and Johnson and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s charterization of public education, may be visiting Sacramento this fall in conjunction with two or three visits to California…

In her note to me in response to my request that she visit Sacramento and address this recent move to ‘mayoralize’ public schools, she stated “If you get mayoral control, you will lose public education.”

Hopefully she’ll visit this fall to amplify upon this statement, and her book…

May 25, 2010 | 12:40 PM

“She’s as irresponsible a spokesperson for education as there ever has been, gaming the system for charterization, playing off a right wing media cache seeking to wreak havoc on teachers, blaming THEM for HER own hubris and folly and caprice…

“But what’s worse, is that she played ‘fixer’ for Johnson’s alleged dalliances with little girls in a pathetically pathological play and ploy enabling her bf’s, or whatever he is, needs and desires.

“This pair, Rhee & KJ, are as toxic as a pair of turdsss in a punchbowl, and that they are granted press favor is a miracle in the eyes of so many reasonably prudent people in Sacramento and in DC who see through their antimonious hypocrisy… ”

Top of SacPress front page today SMI right next to Rhee at the Press Club.

“In her note to me in response to my request that she visit Sacramento and address this recent move to ‘mayoralize’ public schools, she stated “If you get mayoral control, you will lose public education.” “

May 25, 2010 | 12:21 PM

What a relief that Queen Rhee and King Kevin do not plan to “reverse California law” — at least for now.

The politicization of the Sacramento City Unified School District is the reason central Sacramento is currently deprived of its rightful, tax-funded high school campus — and the way that Johnson was installed as Mayor.

Rhee doesn’t want “These groups should “give this man some cover.” The business-run-government (aka fascism) folks want “These groups to “give this man some” PRESSURE. Heard one of his underlings saying as much the other day, criticizing the man for actually RESEARCHING changes to the District rather than “just learn by doing it.’

That’s what you get when you get rid of teachers, legislators, professionals who know what they’re doing — schools, government and professions run by bottom line, “just do it,’ ignoramuses. Profits over people.

Privatization of public schools is the game here. KJ, please join Michelle in D.C. to do your dirty work.

May 25, 2010 | 5:30 PM

Rhee must be desperate and looking for a job due to the mess she’s created in DC. Political advice from Rhee is reckless – like buying a ticket for the Titanic.

May 26, 2010 | 6:56 AM

Superintendent. Rhee and Mayor Johnson appear quite confident that Superintendent Raymond is on their side when it comes to the push for charters. I don’t think the school board understands this, and I suspect Superintendent Raymond holds the promise of reopenning Sacramento High School as a full serviced area high school like a carrot, guiding board members to support him. They will not see that promise fullfilled unless they make the steps to get control over the school district, something they appear to be ready to give up.

Now that they have agreed not to publically criticize the Superintendent, he can use Mayor Johnson to press the board members even more by threatening to raise money to buy opponents in each of their elections.

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