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Rhee to hold office hours

Starting Wednesday evening, DCPS parents and other stakeholders will have a chance for five minutes of face time with Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee, who will begin to hold monthly "office hours" at selected schools. Tomorrow's session will run from 6 to 8 p.m. at Smothers Elementary School in Ward 7, at 4400 Brooks St. NE.
Rhee is trying the personal approach to drill more deeply into school communities. She has held monthly community forums across the city, but they are often sparsely attended, usually turning out the same small, stalwart group of activists who closely follow DCPS affairs.
"Effective school reform requires input from the entire community," Rhee said in a statement on the DCPS website. "I value the partnership of DCPS families and communities - and this is just one more opportunity to meet and hear from everyone face-to-face."
Rhee will also hold office hours on Jan. 14 at Raymond Elementary in Ward 4, 915 Spring Rd. NW, and on Feb. 11 at Noyes Elementary in Ward 5, 2725 10th St. NE. Those sessions will also run from 6 to 8 p.m.

--Bill Turque

For more on Education, please see

By Washington Post editors  |  December 8, 2009; 10:47 AM ET
Categories:  Bill Turque,Education  
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This is interesting. She has made significant changes to Hardy MS with NO parent, teacher or community input, and NOW wants to hold office hours for parents?

Posted by: dcpsteacher1 | December 8, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

this is all to get fenty reelected and save her job. don't go for it dc. if you reelect fenty you'll be sorry!

Posted by: stayone | December 8, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

What's the point of "office hours" if all you hear is propaganda? Perhaps if she cut some of the speaking trips and trips to California to see Kevin she could have the community input one would expect from a school system leader.

Posted by: southyrndiva | December 8, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse

THis is all for 2010. She doesn't give a flying flick about parents. She proved that a long time ago when parents took her to court to have input regarding the budget. She also got flack from her staunchest supporters on October 29th. Evans told her this maddness has got to stop and Catania told her that he is really trying to continue his support but that she has got to find a better way of communicating.

IT's too late there is no more damage control. BTW: Kudos to the protesters who booed Rhee and Kevin child liking Johnson at the Fenty party.

Posted by: candycane1 | December 8, 2009 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Rhee actually announced back in August or September that she would start holding regular office hours/meetings. This isn't a new plan or "damage control." The only strange thing is that she was supposed to start this in October, per earlier reports, but is now starting them in January (I'm sure the layoffs and lawsuit kept her busy in October!).

Posted by: vivace751 | December 8, 2009 6:49 PM | Report abuse

To vivace751

Are you drinking? Do you live in the Hardy MS neighborhood? Are you REAL? Are you Rhee’s first cousin?


Posted by: dccounselor72 | December 8, 2009 7:07 PM | Report abuse

This is nothing more than a P.R. move, engineered by rhee or her handlers, designed for damage control. rhee knows her stock is clearly nosediving, and she wants to "appear" as if she's really interested in what parents have to say. She has already demonstrated her myopic view of reform (read: her way or the highway) that devalues collaboration and cooperation with stakeholders. Detractors be damned. I wonder how well she'll be able to hide her oft-stated disdain for adults (for two-hour periods, no less).

Posted by: schooletal | December 8, 2009 7:38 PM | Report abuse

""Effective school reform requires input from the entire community," Rhee said in a statement on the DCPS website."

But if the entire community had input, she would be out of a job. The first thing the community would do is to replace her.

Posted by: aby1 | December 8, 2009 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Fear not, the office hours aren't being held for the benefit of DCPS parents; they're the latest CV builders for her national profile (evidence of her willingness to communicate; her ability to look dissent and adversity in the eye and not blink; the grace to laugh in the face of angry parents who demand to be included; the willingness to go toe-to-toe with the parents who don't care about their kids education or future). She's more comfortable being viewed from afar and praised for her determination to run experiments on DC residents than she is having an honest discussion with the people she's meant to serve (yes, SERVE as a public official).

Perhaps she should hold some office hours for DCPS staff to hear about their ideas and concerns. Ah, but that would suggest she actually cares what others think.

If this is her idea of engaging parents and the community, I shudder to think about what non-engagement looks like...

Posted by: verumputo | December 8, 2009 10:18 PM | Report abuse

She's doing it so she can talk about her community outreach efforts during her many national speaking tours.

Posted by: efavorite | December 8, 2009 10:20 PM | Report abuse

If you listen to the audio of the Hardy Meeting (provided by the Georgetown Metropolitan) you can hear Rhee say that she is there to get input on "decisions already made and decisions about to be made." Exactly how do you give input on decisions already made? At that point it is too late, the decision is done. Your input becomes nothing more than criticism. This is Rhee's doublespeak and disingenuous nature, she seems to think she has done the right thing if she has given the parents a sop by meeting them or reading their emails at 2am. She has done the same thing with teachers. She meets them and claims to "hear" what they are saying, but she doesn't act on what they say. Ultimately, this is also on the audio, she admits to lying to the Hardy parents through one of her deputies. Her reason (she always has a reason for her unethical behavior) is that it is better for the parents to hear her tell them their principal has been replaced at a meeting like this than from her deputy. But of course that statement is a lie because at 5 pm on Friday the 4th Dana Nerenberg sent an email to Hardy parents telling them how happy she was to be their new principal. Ms. Rhee is brazen.

Posted by: adcteacher1 | December 8, 2009 10:38 PM | Report abuse

What about SouthEast?
Or has she written off that area?

Posted by: edlharris | December 9, 2009 12:40 AM | Report abuse

You've got it right, efavorite.
BTW, does she still spend Sundays at the African American churches?

And adcteacher1, where can we find that email?

Posted by: edlharris | December 9, 2009 12:44 AM | Report abuse

I was told about the email by a Hardy parent.

Posted by: adcteacher1 | December 9, 2009 7:22 AM | Report abuse

It will also be used as a cover for her private meetings with Hardy neighborhood parents and non-meetings with current Hardy parents. She'll mention her office hours in one part of one of her complex sentences and the Hardy decision in another part, so that the reader or listener conflates the two. Or else, when confronted with her poor handling of the Hardy situation, she'll unblinkingly segue into her fabulous community-outreach “office hours” routine as if the two are related.

Only the suspicious listener will notice that there's anything amiss. Luckily, there are more and more of those.

Posted by: efavorite | December 9, 2009 7:51 AM | Report abuse

To dccounselor72,
I'm not related to Rhee, personally or professionally, and I don't live in Ward 2. I'm not even a Rhee supporter. I was just stating the fact that the Washington Post reported back in August or September that Rhee would begin holding regular office hours beginning in October. Then October came and went without her starting the new office hours. I figured she decided to change course because of the lawsuit, layoffs, etc. My main point is that her holding office hours isn't a new thing -- the Post reported several months ago that she would start this.

Posted by: vivace75 | December 9, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Is this a joke? A five minute meeting? What could possibly be accomplished in a five minute meeting except that Rhee can claim after it is all over that she met with X many parents one on one? Then the Post editorial board can marvel at her 'out of the box' thinking.

How can anyone defend this as substantive engagement?

Posted by: letsbereal2 | December 9, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

I see that Mrs. Rhee will be in SE in June, near the end of the school year.’s+Office+Hours+at+Smothers+Elementary+School

Posted by: edlharris | December 9, 2009 6:19 PM | Report abuse

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