Michelle Rhee penned an article about how to fix the public schools of Philadelphia. She says it is time for performance pay, so that there is “a great teacher” in every classroom. She apparently is unaware that merit pay has been tried for nearly a century and has never worked, not in any district. It causes teaching to the test, narrowing the curriculum, gaming the system, rivalry among colleagues, and cheating. It does not improve education.

She says that there is no point in pouring more money into a “broken” system, but does she know that the public schools of Philadelphia have been under state control for a dozen years? Who “broke” the system?

Nowhere does she mention that the district is underfunded as compared to the surrounding suburbs, nor does she mention that Governor Corbett cut the budget across the state by $1 billion, which had a disproportionate impact on struggling Philadelphia.

There is no way to avoid the state’s responsibility to fund the district adequately.

If you are anywhere near Philadelphia, you will have a chance to hear Michelle Rhee on September 16, and to hear me on September 17 at the Free Library.