Washington, D.C., school leaders may have pushed too many reforms too quickly, Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee said. "In our exuberance to fix everything all at once, we've thrown so many different programs at you," she wrote in a letter to D.C. educators. "But now I see that we may have pushed on too many different fronts all at the same time." ...
...Since her appointment by Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) in June 2007, Rhee has moved with urgency at all levels of the school system. Her most visible changes include closing 23 schools, firing dozens of principals and attempting to introduce a potentially groundbreaking pay-for-performance package in labor negotiations.
Less visible, but just as significant, are a flurry of pilot programs and policy changes that have placed increasing demands on many teachers. They include Saturday programs to prepare students for the DC-CAS standardized tests; a push for inclusion of special education students in regular classes; a new accelerated math program; a cash reward program for students in selected middle schools that requires new paperwork and record-keeping; and new guidelines for bilingual, arts and health education.
In a letter to the District's 4,000 teachers and specialists yesterday, Rhee acknowledged that she might have tried to take on too much too soon.
"In our exuberance to fix everything all at once, we've thrown so many different programs at you," Rhee said. "Please know that this comes from a desire to support you, not inundate you.
"But now I see that we may have pushed on too many different fronts all at the same time," she wrote. Rhee did not specify which programs or initiatives might be slowed or delayed.
Rhee is in contract negotiations with the teachers union at the present time.