Michelle Rhee, the gutsy former chancellor of Washington D.C. schools, has a tendency to make the education establishment’s life harder by doing something all too rare: holding them to account.
Now out of Washington and living here in California with her husband, Sacramento Mayor (and former NBA star) Kevin Johnson, Rhee runs an organization called Students First, which advocates for education reform based around the needs of the kids rather than the unions or the bureaucracy.
Students First has just released its first state policy report card, which evaluates the states based on a wide variety of reformist criteria — emphasizing teacher excellence (read: having the ability to let the underperformers go), meaningful teacher evaluations, educational choice, correlation between pay and performance, accountability measures, and pensions among them. The news is sadly, but predictably dismal.
Judging on an A-F scale, not a single state in the union received an A grade. Only two fell in the B range: Florida (thank you, Jeb Bush) and Louisiana (thank you, Bobby Jindal). The vast majority fell into the C and D range, while an unconscionable 11 received Fs: California, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Alabama, West Virginia, Vermont, and New Hampshire.
What are conditions like in your state’s schools? Have any accountability measures been proposed or implemented? And what could be done to make your state’s schools better?