City Paper is not for tourists
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.