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Who Muzzled Gist? Looks Like Gist

It's not easy being a state superintendent of education without a state. Deborah Gist occupies that peculiar and frequently awkward spot in District government. She carries little of the authority of peers in actual states, such as Nancy Grasmick of Maryland.

Under the law that gives Mayor Adrian M. Fenty control of the city's schools, Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee wields complete operational authority and reports directly to him. On the organizational chart, Gist reports to Fenty through the seldom heard-from deputy mayor for education Victor Reinoso.

Even on matters where she does have some clout, Gist tends to duck and cover. Last week we sought comment from her on the new advanced teaching credential she is developing. It would require D.C. teachers to demonstrate effectiveness in order to keep their jobs. The measure is widely thought to be a part of Rhee's so-called "Plan B," her blueprint to bypass the Washington Teachers' Union and establish policies to weed out underperforming teachers.

Gist said that before talking she would have to "check with Carrie," meaning Fenty's chief of staff Carrie Brooks. Gist was not heard from again.

But Brooks yesterday denied any role in muzzling Gist.

"I had no involvement with Deborah Gist's ability to speak to you about teacher certification," Brooks said.

Bill Turque

By Marcia Davis  |  September 10, 2008; 1:40 PM ET
Categories:  Education  
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She's on a leash. No doubt.

Posted by: SpeakLyfe | September 10, 2008 7:43 PM | Report abuse

What are the State Superintendent of Education and Deputy Mayor of Education positions for???

They seem like more bureaucratic positions that are given to the Mayor's friends.

I say get rid of these jobs that are eating taxpayer dollars and streamline everything.

Posted by: james | September 11, 2008 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Yes, she is on a is everybody in DC Gov't. In fact, cabinet members have been repeatedly lectured about the fact that they should not talk to the media without getting permission from the Mayor's Office first. Wasn't there an article a few weeks ago that mentioned that Allen Lew was forbidden to talk to the press? He went ahead and did it anyways...but he is lucky that he holds such a valuable positon that he wasn't fired because of course everyone knows that that is Fenty's MO.

Posted by: HeatherinDC | September 11, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

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