Top Line: What would Rhee do? Author Richard Whitmire Talks about the Battlefield of Education

Feb 25, 2011 2:55pm

ABC News' Karen Travers reports:

Today on ABC's Top Line we talked to Richard Whitmire, author of "The Bee Eater: Michelle Rhee Takes on the Nation's Worst School District,” about education reform, the fierce debate over teacher evaluations and Rhee’s controversial tenure as the head of the Washington DC public school system.

Whitmire said that in the battles taking place across the nation over budget cuts and public workers’ salaries we’re seeing “some acceleration” of the reforms that Rhee tried to bring to Washington schools

“I thought that what she was doing here would play out on the national scene in the future and I think that's what's happening here, especially with this issue of if you have to fire teachers, and of course nobody wants to do this, but if you have to fire teachers should it be the last hired?” he said.

President Obama has indicated he wants to overhaul the No Child Left Behind Act, the signature education reform bill signed into law by his predecessor George W. Bush.

Whitmire said there is “momentum” building for “realistic evaluations” of teachers and that will be at the heart of what the Obama Administration tries to do.

“If we think we have ineffective teachers, how do we identify them? If school chiefs need to lay off teachers how do they identify teachers who should be laid-off so that perhaps the younger, more effective teachers get to stay,” he said. “So I think a lot will revolve around teacher evaluation that works and I think, I think the Obama Administration is on the right path with that one and I expect to see that play out in the legislation."

You can view the full interview with Richard Whitmire HERE:


We also checked in with ABC News White House Correspondent Ann Compton on the potential for a government shutdown and how today’s political climate compares to 1995.

You can view the full interview with Ann Compton HERE


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