For the Children

Can there be good education with the teachers unions standing in the way?
Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee says the District is no longer exploring the idea of seeking federal legislation declaring the school system in a "state of emergency," a move that would have freed it from the obligation to bargain with the Washington Teachers' Union.
What happened?
In a recent radio interview, Rhee said that the initiative, patterned after a state takeover of schools in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, was never seriously considered.
Never seriously considered? The proposal appeared in a statement drafted for a Sept. 22 news conference at which Rhee and Mayor Adrian M. Fenty were scheduled to present a series of steps to rid the District of teachers deemed ineffective. The steps, dubbed "Plan B," were based on existing powers the chancellor possessed and fell outside the legal scope of contract negotiations.
The news conference was canceled, and the draft statement was never made public. The Washington Post obtained a copy of it in November under the Freedom of Information Act.
Why was she stopped, and why did the Post have to force release of the truth? <!-- if ( show_doubleclick_ad && ( adTemplate & INLINE_ARTICLE_AD ) == INLINE_ARTICLE_AD && inlineAdGraf ) { document.write('</div>') ; } // -->
Mayoral spokeswoman Mafara Hobson said Nov. 14 that the emergency scenario was one of several ideas under active consideration at the time. "The Mayor and the Chancellor will continue to keep these and all ideas on the table," Hobson said in a statement then.
Do we believe the Mayor, or the Superintendent?
"That was reported, falsely really, based on a FOIA request that was done by a reporter, and what they did was FOIA all of the e-mails that had gone back and forth," Rhee added. "At some point, somebody did say this is a possibility for something that the District could do, but it was never something that was considered strongly and I think that it was totally misrepresented in the press."
Could it be that Rhee was forced to alter her plans to save the schools because of the Democrats' insidious partnership with the unions?
In New Orleans, a state takeover placed most of the devastated city's 78 public schools in a special Recovery School District. Taking such an extreme measure in the District probably would have fueled heavy opposition in the Democratic-controlled Congress and from the Obama administration, which came to office with strong backing from organized labor. The plan was denounced by American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, one of President Obama's most prominent labor supporters.
Nevertheless, the Mayor and the Chancellor are clear - the union's choke hold has to be broken to save the most highly funded, and disastrous, school system in the country.
Two other ideas mentioned in the draft statement in September remain on the table, Hobson said. They would enable the District to leverage more control over the hiring and firing of teachers and diminish the number of unionized teaching jobs.
How would Rhee do it if she won't try to break the unions?
"Since charters and autonomous schools are not subject to the collective bargaining agreement, these schools would be better positioned to ensure quality teachers in the classroom," the statement said.
Ah, so they're going to do an end around - pretend the unions are acceptable partners, but use charters to shut them out.
Until recently, Rhee had voiced little optimism about the future of the talks, which have been stalemated over her proposal to offer huge raises and performance bonuses in exchange for teachers' relinquishing tenure.
Yeah. Teachers Unions don't like the idea of teachers only keeping their jobs when they do good work. And kids continue to suffer because of the Democrats control of the schools and their deal with the devil.u