Somebody has been posting in a couple of places that I got forced out of teaching by Michelle Rhee.
That’s not true.
I retired, with great relief, on my own, after over 30 years of teaching in DCPS. That’s a long time in the trenches. Teaching is a very hard, demanding, and stressful job, and it’s even harder when you live – as I do – with a debilitating chronic intestinal disease (Crohn’s). Don’t get me wrong: a lot of times, teaching is and was a lot of fun, and I certainly tried to make a positive impact. I know I made a lot of errors in my time in the classroom, as my students often used to inform me. I am human, after all.
Yes, Rhee has directly forced out or fired hundreds of other teachers and DCPS staff, many (most?) of whom were probably doing a fine job, despite the media smear attacks on them. Yes, Rhee has made it so that teachers have to teach according to a formula whose real purpose is not to improve teaching, but instead to give excuses for firing teachers. Yes, Rhee and her ilk have turned education in DCPS and other big cities into one long test-prep factory.
But now that I am retired, I can finally get enough sleep. I am SOOO glad that I never had to work under IMPACT (the new DCPS evaluation system). I now have time to do other things that I enjoy doing, such as hands-on astronomy, educational research and advocacy, and trying to be a better house-husband. Fortunately for me, DC teachers, firefighters, judges and police officers still have a pension plan that enables people like me to eat and pay the mortgage and utilities. (I know the trend these days is to give billionaire bankers and stock traders golden parachutes when they are found stealing even more money, while stripping ordinary workers of any possibility of a pension. Not to mention eliminating Social Security. But this trend is just plain wrong – it’s reverse Robin Hood at its worst.) And I also don’t have to work under my former principal! Yippee!
But no, I was not forced out.
On the other hand, I hope I can say that I played a small part in getting rid of Michelle Rhee!