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Posted at 8:48 PM ET, 09/15/2010

Rhee should stay or go, not be a lame duck

By Valerie Strauss

Oh, no. Two D.C. Council members are essentially daring Vincent Gray, the man expected to be the District’s next mayor, to turn D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee into a lame duck.

Let’s hope Gray resists the call. Lame ducks shouldn’t be running a school system in need of reform; by the very nature of lame duckdom, nothing much can get done that can’t be undone when the lame duck leaves, and nobody knows that better than the folks who work in the D.C. public school system, who have had so many superintendents in the past 15 years that I can’t keep track. They know how to dig in and wait out reformers.

My colleague Bill Turque reports in this story that Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) and Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3), allies of Gray, are urging him to negotiate with Rhee for an "extended transition" that could keep her in the job until the end of the 2011-12 school year.

What Gray, who beat Mayor Adrian Fenty in yesterday's Democratic primary, and Rhee should do right now is sit down and figure out whether, for the sake of the kids -- remember, it’s all about kids, right? -- they can reach some compromise that will keep her here plain and simple.

And if they can’t, because there is so much enmity between them, Gray should move swiftly to find a replacement and get on with reform.

Unfortunately, Rhee is supposedly going on vacation tomorrow. Not a great time to be away, though it seems pretty obvious that she planned it this way so she wouldn't have to be in the city if her patron, Fenty, actually lost. I can’t imagine what a principal would say to a teacher who asked for vacation time in the first month of school, but never mind.

Gray has to get on with it. If that’s with Rhee, fine. If it’s not, that’s fine, too.

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By Valerie Strauss  | September 15, 2010; 8:48 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. Schools  | Tags:  d.c. election, d.c. schools, d.c. vote, gray and rhee, gray wins, is rhee leaving, is rhee staying, michelle rhee, vincent gray  
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Comments

The voters have been very clear about what they want for the children in D.C. They want real reforms, not teacher bashing. It's time for Michelle Rhee and the Bill $ Malinda Gates Foundation to leave D.C. Public Schools alone.

Posted by: PhilLombardo | September 15, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

The voters have been very clear about what they want for the children in D.C. They want real reforms, not teacher bashing. It's time for Michelle Rhee and the Bill $ Malinda Gates Foundation to leave D.C. Public Schools alone.

Posted by: PhilLombardo | September 15, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

I teach in DCPS and I can't imagine asking for a VACATION at this point in the school year... Way to MODEL high standards, Boss.

Posted by: adcpsteacher | September 15, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

If Gray does keep Rhee, he will get a lot of people angry.

Posted by: educationlover54 | September 15, 2010 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Three words for the presumptive Mayor Vincent C. Gray to remember ...

General Douglas MacArthur

On April 5th, 1951, Representative Joseph William Martin, Jr., the Republican leader in the House of Representatives, revealed a letter from MacArthur critical of President Truman's limited-war strategy, providing copies of it to the press and reading it aloud on the floor of the House.

The letter concluded with:

"It seems strangely difficult for some to realize that here in Asia is where the Communist conspirators have elected to make their play for global conquest, and that we have joined the issue thus raised on the battlefield; that here we fight Europe’s war with arms while the diplomats there still fight it with words; that if we lose the war to communism in Asia the fall of Europe is inevitable, win it and Europe most probably would avoid war and yet preserve freedom. As you pointed out, we must win. There is no substitute for victory."

General MacArthur was relieved of his duty by President Truman five days later.

And just in case anyone is wondering, EUROPE IS STILL FREE ...
and almost all of their PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEMS ARE DOING JUST FINE.

Posted by: AGAAIA | September 16, 2010 2:22 AM | Report abuse

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