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The Chancellor Rhee Ties That Do or Don't Bind?

We told you once, then twice, about DC resident Kristin Ehrgood, and the group she helped put together, DC School Reform Now. A reminder: they are citizens and parents circulating a petition in support of the education reform plans of Mayor Fenty and Chancellor Rhee.

Then D.C. Wire heard an outcry that group founders, and specifically Ehrgood, had not disclosed a personal affiliation with Rhee.

So we went back to Ehrgood and asked for details because we believe that full disclosure is important.

Ehrgood recounted in an email where she and the chancellor's paths have crossed but said they are not friends and have not socialized together.

Like Rhee, Ehrgood was part of the 1992 summer training corps of Teach for America, which included more than 500 teachers.

"We did our training at the same time in California but we did not spend time together nor did we really know one another," Ehrgood said. Rhee then taught in Baltimore and "I taught for one year in Baton Rouge, La., and then two years in Trenton, NJ."

"In 2000, I went to Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. Chancellor Rhee had already graduated from the Kennedy School by the time I got there."

Ehrgood took an administrative job at Teach For America. During that time, Rhee launched The New Teacher Project. "I certainly knew of her and her work at that time and was impressed with her commitment to ensuring that EVERY child receives a high quality education.

So when Rhee was appointed, "I was definitely excited. Like most DC residents who voted for Fenty, we knew change was coming and were eager for it. In Chancellor Rhee I knew that change would be focused on the needs of children. I was looking forward to learning about her plans to overhaul DCPS because that is what is needed."

Ehrgood says she has only met Rhee privately once, last fall, to introduce her to a colleague who she thought could be a resource to the new chancellor.

The group got started with an idea from a friend to call City Council Members asking them to support the Chancellor's request to reclassify central office staff.

The group has about 7 organizing members and a steering committee with members who live in Wards 1, 3, 4 and 5, Ehrgood said. They have more than 150 petition signatures and have set a goal of collecting 200 by the end of April, according to their site.

Since the mayoral takeover last June, this group represents the first organized citizen effort in support of Fenty and Rhee. D.C. Wire will be watching where things go from here.

By Theola Labbé-DeBose  |  April 16, 2008; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Browse By Writer , Education , Theola Labbé-DeBose  
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