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Rhee: Not Going to Take a Council "Beating"

If D.C. Council members wonder why Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee has not been the most communicative or accessible of city officials, they might want to take a look at the September issue of Fast Company magazine.

She doesn't seem to like the way they do business.

In his profile of "The Iron Chancellor," Jeff Chu writes that Rhee "refuses to play the traditional, subservient role of a D.C. agency chief with the city council, which, despite its limited authority over DCPS, has repeatedly questioned her decision making and management."

When Rhee catches a council hearing on late night TV she sees "her own version of a horror movie."

"There's this crazy dynamic where every agency head is kowtowing. They sit there and get beat down," she told Chu. "I'm not going to sit on public TV and take a beating I don't deserve. I don't take that crap."

The mostly admiring piece contains some interesting personal bits, such as her capacity for enormous meals despite her slight build --Chu describes a buffet lunch in which she went back twice-- and her idea of the perfect Saturday: "This is going to make me sound like a loser. If I had my druthers, what I'd really like to do on Saturdays is stay in bed and work."

When asked what will happen if she can't get a new labor deal with the Washington Teachers Union that includes big pay raises but more power for administrators to hire and fire, Rhee smiles and responds with her signature bluntness.

"Then I'm screwed."

Bill Turque

This entry previously incorrectly identified the writer of the Fast Company piece.

By Marcia Davis  |  August 18, 2008; 8:28 AM ET
Categories:  Bill Turque , Education  
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The Government of the District of Columbia is well known around the country as the only government where crooks, drug addicts, ex-convicts, liars and people with no moral turpitude can get a job or elected to public office and DC officials cannot figure out why the U.S. Congress won't give them a vote or take D.C. Seriously.

After the Marion Barry Affair, D.C. Voters knowingly elect a wife beater, drug user, lair and mentally unbalanced person Adrian Fenty for mayor.

Yet, D.C. government officials are going to the Democratic Party Convention to take issue with the lack of voting rights for the District while everybody around the USA knows that Mayor Adrian Fenty has been running the District with the same principles as did Cambodia's Pol Pot.

DC voters must hate themselves as they keep on electing loser after loser!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 18, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Please note the previous comment was from Jonathan R. Rees.

Posted by: User Admin | August 18, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

I think Chancellor Rhee is wrong on both accounts. There is a system of checks and balances that she mistakely has forgetten. When was she elected to office? The Councilmembers were, and their constituents are saying quite the opposite where is the accountability?

And I seldom comment on womens weight but although Chancellor Rhee is still very slim, you can tell she gained weight.

Posted by: Crazy | August 18, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

User Admin,

Which Jonathan Rees? Sr. or Jr.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 18, 2008 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Hey Bill Turque,

Is Turque pronounced like TURKEY?

Posted by: Jonathan R. Rees, Jr. | August 18, 2008 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Does it matter which Rees user name is there? It's all the same person regardless of which name he's using for the latest posting.

Posted by: Sigh | August 18, 2008 3:20 PM | Report abuse

screwed? crap? It's been a few years since I taught in a DCPS middle school, but that language would not have been acceptable for students or teachers. Please, Ms. Rhee, realize that language is important. You are modeling a very poor standard for those you lead. Demonstrate respect for the community you serve.

Posted by: terpteacher | August 18, 2008 3:48 PM | Report abuse


You are so wrong and Councilman Kwame Brown can tell you he has met with Sr and Jr for breakfast at Politics & Prose!

Posted by: JR | August 18, 2008 4:04 PM | Report abuse

I think that Chancellor Rhee may come to regret this interview. It shows a lack of understanding of the system and an arrogance that will not serve her well.

If one of her students or teachers used the word "screwed" as she did in public I would hope she would talk to them about the proper use of language.

Posted by: peter | August 19, 2008 8:23 AM | Report abuse

Ms. Rhee, I'll stand beside you and fight these horrible creatures!

Victory will be ours!

Posted by: Dr. Drei | August 19, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

She is screwed!!!!

Classy, REAL classy...

This is what you get when you have a Superintendent who has not been through a quality PhD program. Screwed!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 20, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

wow, does Rhee understand that this is what you do in government, it's called accountability. They are trying to hold agencies accountable to the taxpayers, people like me (and my neighbors).

As for that first commenter, Mr. Annonymous, dude, seriously, DC is not the only city that elects people of dubious backgrounds, there's Detroit, Cleveland, San Franciso, Atlantic City, Phily, London, etc... Hell, even Stevens remains in office AFTER indictment, and Vitter's still a Senator from Louisiana.

Posted by: uniongal | August 20, 2008 6:15 PM | Report abuse

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