City Desk

Rhee: Why Fire Oyster Principal?

Is D.C. schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee nuts?

That's the question I had after reading the account in yesterday's Washington Post about her firing of Marta Guzman, the principal of Woodley Park's Oyster-Adams Bilingual School. Rhee's own two children attend the school.

And based on the report by the Post's Bill Turque, Rhee had an awfully weak explanation for parents who wondered why she'd fired Guzman. Here's Rhee's side of the story:

Rhee said that as a parent "in the school three days a week," and with information from her own staff, she had a broad base of opinion to draw on. She said a major concern she had, for example, was that while the "English dominant" students, such as her daughters, were learning Spanish, they were "not truly bilingual in the way we would want." For that to happen, bilingualism needed to be more deeply embedded into all moments of the school day.

So I'm thinking–Rhee's daughters aren't yet running around the house using the imperfect subjunctive to perfection, and so Rhee fires their principal. Now, I am not an Oyster parent and haven't done a lick of reporting on this matter, nor will I. But I do want to state one thing: No new principal is going to come in, snap some fingers, and make bilingualism more deeply embedded into all moments of the school day. Kids speak their dominant language, and if that language is English, they're going to be speaking English in the hallways, English in recess, English in the lunchroom and so on. Even some Spanish-dominant kids go through a phase when they reject the language they speak in the home and go with English.

So, Rhee: Good luck getting a principal who can reverse these tendencies.

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  • Jay Raddy

    Rhee is not qualified for the job she now holds. Previously she was the owner of a very small employment agency that placed teachers.

    hat do you expect from an incompetent?

  • Jim

    I've heard from teachers and parents that everyone was fed up with the principal who, by all accounts, was doing a terrible job. I don't have kids in school there and I've never set foot in the school--I'm just passing on what I've been told.

  • Don

    A simple check of the No Child Left Behind scores- pretty much the easiest fact checking a reporter can do- would show the downward slide from previous Oyster principal... ummm... Paquita Holland? It was the original principal that made the school great. All parents would tell you that Oyster was losing out to schools like Murch and progessive up and comers like Bancroft's Bilingual Arts Program. Rhee stopped the bleeding Erik Wemple, ye journalist of no research.

  • DC

    Oyster used to be located in a low income area with a lot of hispanic students. Now, the student body is dominated by non-hispanic kids from the very wealthy neighborhood families in Woodley, Cleveland Park, and Kalorama. Peoplelike Rhee and her $300,000 salary. So, why not give up the bilingual farce, and reallocate some of those bilingual ed dollars to actual neighborhoods with Latino children.

  • Fister

    Oyster used to be located in Woodley Park, a beautiful, historic neighborhood with stately row houses and 6 figure incomes. It still is. It also borders on Adams Morgan, and always has. The combination offers a unique opportunity for residents of both neighborhoods (and others if there are lottery spaces).

    It isn't a bilingual farse, but it is a community that isn't reaching its potential under the current leadership.

    Most parents at Oyster will tell you this was a good move.

  • Maria

    Marta Guzman has been at Oyster for at least 4 years, maybe longer. Hardly a "new principal" with "no time to snap her fingers."

  • Jaun

    Commenter "DC" (#4), Oyster has always, and only, been located exactly where it is. In fact, the number of low income students has INCREASED as one can easily ascertain by the doubling of the number of children on subsidized lunch.

    You are spouting the disinformation that has followed the firing of a number of non performing principals. When the 15 year principal at our local school (Ross) was let go after years of declining results.

    Non performing administrators and principals like the low income parents. Why? Because they don't complain or if they do they have no power to force change.

    The parents at Oyster were fed up. Including, if not especially, the Latino parents.

  • Scott D

    4 years is not a new principle. Guzman was not performing and was rightly fired. case closed.

  • Peace

    American Teacher's March In Washington ! Meet all operational needs to support teacher's and principle's working with 10% and NCLB to enable them to effectively run their business ! That's a good place to start for reform efforts in education ! Rhee, you're headed for a class action law suit with your broken three legged stool executive business model and top down approach to reform. Watch that GS 94-142 and GS 115C-325, but you need principles and teacher's in your buildings to accomplish that !You may end up being the only commander left to run your school buildings !Pearl Oyster's are not widely eaten !Have the flower beds been planted ? Please don't step on the flowers !Do the Orginal Hampster Dance !"Shake,Rattle and Roll !" For $300,000, find another adjective to describe your vision reform confusion other than,"pissed" as quoted by the Washington Post.Don't choke on the pearls in the oysters !

  • Peace

    Education law Association,American Civil Liberties Union,American Federation of Teachers,National School Boards Association,NCLB re-authorization, we want you to speak at the event ! We need a marching band to lead the way and all troops to teacher's, let's go !Roger that !The freight train ride to be there will be fun !

  • Peace

    Might have to call those pistol packing teacher's down in Texas !We know the school and do you still have a railroad track after that hurricane Ike ? Say Bi Sa to the teacher's in New Orleans ! It's a jambalaya fish fry !It's an all call for public education !We need our operational needs meet in all American public educational buildings ! Enough is enough !Go after the green chip stocks and they are all invited ! Nothing like a little competition and fair balance !Yeeha ! Get up and fight for the students in your classrooms !

  • Peace

    English is an Indo European,West Germanic language originating in England and is the first language for most people in the United Kingdom,the United States,Canada,Australia,New Zealand,Ireland,and the Anglophone Caribbean. English is used extensively as a second language and as an offical language throughout the world,especially in common wealth countries and many international organizations.We have basic english,special english,sea speak.euro english,e-prime and manually coded english.Schaffer v Weast,2005 Supreme Court ruling stated that the burden of proof is on the party challenging the effectiveness of a student's IEP.Do not think this situation had anything to do with trained personnel or the professional knowledge of the principle fired.TitleIII of NCLB PL107-110 places central emphasis on rapid English acquisition,provides grants to states to choose the programs and methods used to teach the English language to immigrant children and those with limited English proficiency.I'll be,that o'l NCLB scores one but we're short with that 10 %! Fair balance in proceedures operationally and the old "sink or swim" days viewing this case is for the principle.Lau vs Nichols was replaced by a new law Ms Rhee !Another wrongful firing ? View Dr. BenZion just fired after four months ! Meet the operational needs of your school buildings Ms. Rhee.

  • Peace

    Knight up two over one ! Defending Champions of Public Education !Rook takes Rhee's bishop !As soon as they handed us one on Title III somebody sneaked out the back door. Title III Language Acquisition Act !Title III reduced funding for teacher training,research and funds available per eligible student as well as support services !Thanks for the snack and we're going to smack your "Queen reform" out with a swift moving rook quick !Get the trash off the cartoon channel viewing the Orginal Hamster Dance!Clean it up and how dare you ! Google and Yahoo !"Heads Up" and you know little ones sneak on the computors !If you want to put classless trash on the little kid channels, we'll call FISA and the pentagon having every mom and teacher in America watching with the grandmoms after you !

  • Peace

    EXTRA,EXTRA,READ ALL ABOUT IT !DEFENDING CHAMPIONS OF PUBLIC EDUCATION JUST PUT RHEE ON AN ACTION PLAN !1.Fair proceedures and due process.2.Meet all operational needs in school buildings for principles and teachers to run their business !3.Don't put the horse before the cart on educational reform re-writing educational law books and it's our United States of America capital too !4. Meet all special educational needs in school buildings.5.Meet all needs per the report with the Ready Schools Initative ! It's a straight talking teacher freight train to Washington for a rally and our American Public Schools and the children are #1!6. Repeal contractual agreement and no penalities !Happy trails ! You've Got To Give The Teacher's and Principle's What They Need To Run A Business ! Equality and balance with fair proceedures meeting all needs in your reform efforts and take care of your front lines in the trenches !You're still on scrub and buff ! Wax on right hand,wax off left grasshopper !Remember that movie ? You've got to much yankee doodle went to town and you're not covering your two point position to take the jump ! You're starting to look like a yahoo in a red coat hill "topping" ! This is a serious jump and it's high ! Cut the hounds loose ! Hello VA. !Yahoo ! What happened to B-Tap ? No sweat, in the saddle on this one ! Rhee,we want to support you but you're re-writing to many educational laws and it's screaming , you're way or the highway and we're losing 50% of our teacher's in the US ! You're out the saddle !Put your heels down !Balance is everything ! You can lead a horse to water but you make him drink ! "Unity !" O'Jay's to ya ! They're not going to look back to pass you smelling salts ! You're dealing with tax payer money and our American children at the state capital of the United States of America and we have serious questions with your educational reform viewing research and valid with reason !It's a team effort but you can't fire you're way to reform ! Real change really does start from the bottom up !