Good news on the teacher quality front from DC schools in a WSJ editorial.
The breakthrough is a new contract between the District of Columbia and 4,000 public school teachers that shatters taboos on teacher tenure, seniority and pay-for-performance.
The contract, which was approved by the D.C. Council on Tuesday, is a triumph for hard-bargaining Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee, who took on American Federation of Teachers (AFT) … and has lived to tell about it.
[T]he new contract abolishes lock-step pay and implements a voluntary performance-based system…
How has Ms. Rhee pulled this off when so many others have failed? One reason is the political support of Democratic Mayor Adrian Fenty, who appointed her in 2007. Another is the awful state of the schools she inherited, where only 8% of eighth graders were performing at grade level in math when she took over, even though D.C. was spending $14,300 per student, or $6,300 more than the national average. Even [AFT] couldn’t defend those results.
Credit also goes to the Washington Post, which has supported Ms. Rhee even as most big city liberal newspapers have backed the status quo.
…D.C.’s breakout on teacher tenure shows that the status quo can be broken. Let’s hope more big city mayors and chancellors have the courage of Ms. Rhee’s and Mayor Fenty’s convictions.