Michelle Rhee described her decision yesterday to step down as Washington, D.C., schools chancellor after 3½ years as “heartbreaking”… That one of the nation’s most talented school reformers was forced out does not bode well for students.
[F]ew believed that [the new mayor-elect,] Mr. Gray[,] would retain Ms. Rhee’s services, especially since the teacher unions spent more than $1 million to elect Mr. Gray so that he would replace the chancellor. The Washington Post reports that Ms. Rhee’s resignation “won immediate support from the Washington Teachers’ Union,”
Ms. Rhee’s tenure was marked by improved test scores and putting the interests of students first. She closed underperforming schools, fired bad instructors, supported school vouchers for low-income families and opened charter schools.
One reason education reform is so difficult is because unions believe their political influence and money will outlast even the bravest reformers in the end.