Sunday, May 02, 2010

Whether or Not Rhee Stays Or Goes....

This level of ambiguity about the future funding of salaries is unacceptable:
There's been wrangling over how to pay for raises and bonuses that teachers could earn if union members vote to approve the contract. Private foundations might reconsider their support if Ms. Rhee left. City budget officers worry that they might then get stuck with an unexpected bill. As we've written, both concerns are understandable; as we've also said, the obstacles seem small enough to be overcome with some ingenuity and goodwill. But there's a larger point that needs addressing.
You don't actually need much ingenuity to see the solution - a binding contract, enforceable against the entities committing money to Rhee's experiment, irrevocably locking them into their five year commitment.

To Rhee's credit, I have not heard her raise the Washington Post Editorial Board's implied threat - that if she leaves her job, the compensation package she just got through negotiating will collapse. When it occurs, that type of extortion that should lead to an executive's being asked not to let the door hit her in the posterior on her way out. But a similar issue arises with outside entities that have promised funding - they should not be permitted for the duration of their commitment to threaten to bankrupt the district or cause massive disruption of teacher compensation if they don't happen to like who the Chancellor is or what she does. If that's allowed, it's not just a question of whether Rhee stays or goes, but whether she does what they want, whatever the wishes of students, parents, teachers, other administrators or the school board. If they can yank their funding on a whim, the situation is not acceptable.

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