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Michelle Rhee's IMPACT on the Washington D.C. Public Schools

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  • Product Description

    Abstract:
    The case opens in 2007, when the Washington, D.C. public school system was failing. Parents, politicians, labor unions and activists all agreed that reform was necessary due to abysmal student test scores, attendance records and safety concerns. But stakeholders disagreed sharply on how to achieve their shared goal of providing a good education to the city’s children. Reformers wanted to close failing schools, parents wanted to choose where their children attended school, and the teachers' union wanted more compensation for teachers. Michelle Rhee, a former teacher and "outsider," was hired by Mayor Adrian Fenty to institute sweeping and speedy reforms. As Chancellor, Rhee came under fire by teachers and their union, parents and the public for her swift move to close underperforming schools and, controversially, to fire teachers rated as "ineffective" by IMPACT, a value-added evaluation system designed to isolate each teacher’s unique contribution to their student’s educational achievement based on student test scores. The case discusses the steps Rhee took to reform the D.C. public schools and the support and opposition she encountered along the way, culminating with her November 2010 resignation. Through compelling interviews, the 7-minute video supplement explores the two sides of the battle for school reform in Washington DC with an emphasis on the IMPACT evaluation system. In it, Michelle Rhee and Mayor Adrian Fenty explain why they chose to measure teacher performance using a value-added approach, and teachers’ union representatives argue that IMPACT is both too narrow and unfair. The video also features powerful footage illustrating Rhee’s leadership style.

    Learning Objective:
    This case discusses the steps Michelle Rhee took to reform Washington D.C. public schools and the support and opposition she encountered while Chancellor. In particular, it focuses on the use of a value-added evaluation system, IMPACT, in education reform.

  • Other Details

    Publication Date: August 23, 2012
    Teaching Plan: Available with Educator Access
    Material Included: Case and Video Supplement
    HKS Case Number: 1958.0
    Case Author: Laura Winig
    Video Producer: Patricia Garcia-Rios
    Faculty Lead: Joshua Goodman
    Pages (incl. exhibits): 16
    Setting: United States
    Language: English
    _year: 2010-2015
    _pages: 16-25
    _video: Yes
    _geography: US & Canada
  • Warranty Information

    /review/1958.0.EducatorCopy.pdf, /teachingplan/1958_2.pdf

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