Among other things that the Frontline piece documented was that Michelle Rhee did fire some ineffective principals.  After watching the public education system and experiencing an excellent private school for several decades, I have become convinced that the most important single factor in the first 5 or 6 years of a child's education in our system of education is the principal.  A sensible and assertive principal with the authority of exercising her convictions, including the ability to get rid of those teachers for whom there is no hope, (a highly unusual situation) can be extremely effective (a la Nancy Ichinaga).

LA Unified has never had a Michelle Rhee but we do have a writer, Jill Stewart, who writes about such things and one of her most famous was the "Dance of the Lemons" in the (since deceased) New Times of LA:
"This disastrous state of affairs has given rise to the Dance of the Lemons, a treacherous yearly practice in which the worst principals are transferred to unsuspecting schools--most often in poor areas where unknowing local parents will not figure it out for a year or more."
I'll email her and see if she can give me a current URL of the article or, failing that, a copy of the article itself..


At 06:53 AM 1/9/2013, Haim wrote:
GS Chandy Posted: Jan 9, 2013 8:55 AM

>And how many members of the 'Education Mafia' have YOU
>managed to put in jail to date?

   The question is:  how many members of the Education Mafia did Michelle Rhee put in the jail?

Answer:  None.

And, after four years, super-human effort, and lots of money, did Rhee succeed in reforming what is certainly one of the worst school systems in the country (ie, lots and lots of low-hanging fruit to pick)?  Hardly.

   Correlation?  I think so.

   According to Frontline, there is evidence of some improvement in some schools.  I believe it.  But, as we all know and as Frontline documents, the Education Mafia comprehensively defeated the reformers politically.  The only reasonable expectation is a speedy return to status quo ante, and Rhee's tiny perturbation of the system probably has already dampened to nothing.

   Such has been the case in every other reform effort, for example:  California, as Wayne Bishop knows only too well.

   To my friends on the right side of the debate I say again:  reform of the existing system is impossible.  If we want to do something constructive, if we want to avoid the specter, a generation from now, of people just like us (our own children) in forums just like this one carrying on the same debates in virtually the same words, we must, must, must explore alternatives to the sisyphean job of reform.


No representation without taxation.