Public Meeting in DC on Future of Eastern High School  

Got this in an e-mail:

Eastern Senior High School

1700 East Capitol St, NE

One Community. One Shared Vision of Success for All Students.

The Chancellor's Office of District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) will host a community meeting on Wednesday, February 4, 2009 from 6:30 pm – 8:00pm to discuss the future of Eastern SHS. This meeting will be the first of a series of discussions about the plans to restructure Eastern's academic programs and to modernize the school building.

All members of the community (past, present, and future fans of Eastern High School) are encouraged to attend. Your input will help shape the overall design of the building and the programs that will be offered when Eastern re-opens to incoming 9th graders in SY 2010-2011.

If you need child care and/or language interpretation services (Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Amharic, French and American Sign Language), please call or email Jennifer Nguyen at (202) 442-5191 (Jennifer.Nguyen@ by January 29, 2009.

So, Rhee has a reputation for trashing adults, so does this mean that she'll be there on Wednesday night? To actually talk to real live adults? I'm betting she'll make a brief appearance, if I were a betting woman.

This weekend, I had the great fortune to be eating at Mr. Henry's after psa105's monthly meeting. It was yummy, as usual. But as we sat there, I started to run through country names with my daughter and our German ex-change student:

Name 3 country's that start with the letter M.

Name 3 country's that start with the letter C.

Name two major African Rivers.

Name 2 mountain ranges in Europe.

okay, you get the picture. At the end of my quizzing, I added, name all 7 continents. My German ex-change student says, there are only 5 and then my kid says

no, there are 7 because Antarctica has land under the ice.

I'm proud, but still, no one has answered my question. That's when I hear the woman next to me say:

Hope you don't mind me interupting, I teach Kindergarten and I teach the kids to remember the 7 using a song that works really well.

She goes on to sing the song and my kid is just beaming. Music, can just make you smile.

Now, not being a shy wilting flower, I decide to ask if she's at DCPS, and as luck would have it, she is. So, I venture further:

What do you think of Rhee?

And she stops herself, trying to come up with the right words.

Teacher: I was filled with great hope when she came on.
Me: Now?
Teacher: I don't know.
Me: It's okay. I don't think much of her. What do you really think?
Teacher: She did have great promise of transforming the schools, making it easier to reach kids, but now, she thinks that teaching is a stop over, a place yuo go for a few years until your career starts. She thinks that the entire school system can be filled with Teach For America folks for 2 to 5 years and she's aiming at teachers like me. She wants to get rid of us because we made teaching our careers. She doesn't think you should or can and doesn't understand that anyone would want to.

When I started out, it took me 2 years before I had good classroom management. It took practice and consistancy and it didn't just happen over night.

I have enough time in to retire, so we'll be fine, but the kids...

Me: She's very short sighted about schools.

Teacher: Yes, it's very short sighted.

This is likely her last year teaching after nearly 30 years. And she's only even considering it because of how badly Rhee is managing the schools. And sitting there, thinking about how she just taught a German exchange student about the 7 continents and made my kid smile, it made me worry about what we will lose as a city and what all of our kids will lose if Adrian Fenty wins re-election.

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    11:41 PM

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