Donald Trump is not the only one who knows how to get attention with the words, "You're fired." Michelle Rhee, chancellor for the District of Columbia schools, has just done a pretty nifty job of it herself.
On Friday, Ms. Rhee fired 241 teachers—roughly 6% of the total—mostly for scoring too low on a teacher evaluation that measures their performance against student achievement. Another 737 teachers and other school-based staff were put on notice that they had been rated "minimally effective." Unless these people improve, they too face the boot.
Now, getting good teachers in the classroom and rewarding them for their work has always been a key aim of reformers. Alas, that also requires getting the dead weight out of the classroom and off the payroll. That's not so easy to do in big-city school districts, as reformers like Joel Klein, New York's school chancellor, have found.
So why has Ms. Rhee succeeded where others have come up short? One huge reason is the advance of school choice and accountability throughout Washington. Though reform has come fitfully to D.C., today 38% of the district's students are in charter schools. Until the Democrats killed it, there was also a voucher program for a few thousand more. The result of all this ferment is that the teachers union is feeling pressure it has never felt before.