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Michelle Rhee to host town hall meeting on ed reform

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

by Isaac Riddle

Michelle Rhee, the former D.C. schools chancellor who now heads the influential education reform group StudentsFirst, will be holding a town hall meeting at 6 p.m. today inside Temple University’s Student Faculty Center Auditorium.

The purpose of the meeting, the third in a series held nationwide, is to have an honest and open conversation about improving public education. Rhee asked specifically that teachers — often her most outspoken critics — attend the meetings.

Rhee will be joined by Steve Perry, principal of Capital Preparatory Magnet School in Hartford, Conn., and George Parker, the former Washington Teachers Union president, now a senior fellow at StudentsFirst.

Writing in an Inquirer op-ed on Sunday, Rhee said the crisis in Philadelphia schools was an opportunity to advance a set of reforms, which were championed by Mayor Nutter and Superintendent William Hite. She advocated specifically for changes in the teachers’ union contract — still in ongoing negotations — arguing for the use of merit pay and the ability to hire and assign teachers with little regard for seniority.

"I see a clear opportunity in Philadelphia to use this moment to implement education reforms that will increase transparency in school funding, ensure that available dollars are going toward the programs that have the most impact on student learning, and protect effective teachers and keep them in the classroom," wrote Rhee.

Kevin McCorry, a NewsWorks reporter, will interview Rhee before the town hall meeting, and he asked that people submit, via Twitter, questions they wanted him to ask. Questions for the town hall meeting can also be submitted using the #RealEdTalk hashtag. A livestream of the meeting can be viewed at the Teacher Town Halls website.

Isaac Riddle is an intern at the Notebook.

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