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Gray camp responds to Rhee

Tim Craig

Vincent C. Gray's mayoral campaign is responding to comments from Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee that his victory in Tuesday's election is "devastating for the school children of Washington D.C."

Traci Hughes, a Gray spokesman, called Rhee's statement "unfortunate."

"It is unfortunate that the children have been thrown in the middle of the political fray," Hughes said. "Chairman Gray has made it very clear from the very beginning: He will continue education reform. It's his top priority already and he will put children first."

Rhee comments, made Wednesday night at the Newseum, are likely to exacerbate the tension between her and the chairman. During the campaign, Rhee questioned Gray's commitment to school reform. Gray, in turn, refused to say whether he would retain Rhee if elected.

Gray and Rhee are tentatively scheduled to meet Wednesday to discuss her future.

By Tim Craig  | September 16, 2010; 1:18 PM ET
Categories:  2010 District Election  
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Mayor Gray: It is evident that she does want to work with you. She is disrespectful. Please give her her walking papers so that we can get someone who is willing to put the children of DC public schools first. Trust and believe, she is replaceable.

Posted by: samvped205 | September 16, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Uhh, she is stank. She is trying to provoke Gray into "firing" her so she can take the "high road" and her cult of personality on to the next city.

Posted by: hoos3014 | September 16, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

We need new leadership for DC schools. Surely we can find a mature woman of experience dealing the the education bureacracy and the union. Preferably an Afro-American woman with an out-sized personality and of such a stature that she will not be intimidated.

We need Barbara Bullock back in DC!!!!!

Posted by: wagtdn | September 16, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Rhee said, "Yesterday's election results were devastating, devastating," Well it’s not about YOU chancellor Rhee. By the way, Rhee you never burn your bridges!

If Mayor Gray retains Chancellor Rhee, it would be devastating to his administration. Chancellor Rhee and Mayor Fenty were held accountable for their arrogant and condescending behavior toward the people of District of Columbia. Chancellor Rhee is incompetent and she end up as one the most polarizing figures in our city. She had no vision, just a narrow goal of improving test scores. Rhee’s legacy will be known for firing, threatening and intimidating principals, teachers and staff members. Rhee never had a plan evidenced by only 10 schools meeting the national standards. The people have spoken and this Rhee experiment is over. Rhee must be fired!

Posted by: hello101 | September 16, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

It is just a shame that Michelle Rhee's true colors now surface. I think her comment shows a lack of professionalism and the very character we need in a School's Chancellor. Fenty should do what is right and ask for her resignation now, since it is his problem. She is biased and unpleasant from every sense of the word. We need a real educator, like Arlene Ackerman, with a masters and a doctorate from Harvard, it simply doesn't get any finer than the talents of Dr. Ackerman. This city can easily kiss Michelle Rhee good bye and welcome a kind caring and compassionate educator which mind and mindset will be on our children.

Posted by: | September 16, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

wagtdn: Do you not see why your comment is racially-biased? "Preferably an Afro-American woman with an out-sized personality and of such a stature that she will not be intimidated." 1) Why should any race be given preference? What does that have to do with anything? 2) So, all African American women have outsized personalities?; and 3) All African-American women are not intimidated? Gee, well, I'm Italian. Therefore, I think, preferably, the new chancellor will be a beautiful Sophia Loren-type who makes great lasagna, uses her hands a lot when she speaks, smells faintly of garlic at all times, and wears only Milan's latest fashions

Posted by: DC-UM-UDM | September 16, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: | September 16, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

wow. I thought "Mayor" Gray had already promised to fire her --- since that made him the "blacker" candidate for Mayor. I guess I did not read the fine print on his campaign material and missed such information in all the scrutiny and vetting the Washington Post did of Gray in it's incredible coverage of this exciting race.

Posted by: MikeMIke3 | September 16, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

It is obvious that Michelle Rhee has only her own interest at hand and not the children of D.C. Michelle Rhee and Adrian Fenty have single handedly reformed DCPS school system into a raging entangled web of confusion and mayhem. She introduced a impact system that would rate teachers, principals and other staff on their performances. Well who's rating her and her watchdog Adrian Fenty? What's devastating for the children of DCPS is the fact that she had fired some of the most influential teachers and staff that ever worked in the school system. She says that she will not operate under Vincent gray's rehlm, then let the door hit her. That really shows that she and Fenty never had the children of DCPS best interest at hand. Now that's devastating!!!!!!!!

Posted by: sherrilynbatie2 | September 16, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Rhee's comments reflect the fact that she knows she never could work for Gray because Gray would not be supportive of her methods of school reform.

I think Rhee, Fenty, Gray, and most others knew for a long time that there was absolutely n...o way Rhee was going to continue serving as schools chancellor under a Gray administration.

I'm a big supporter of Rhee. I agree with what she said, but I also agree that it was unfortunate for her to speak ill of Gray, given the sensitivity of the situation. Rhee has done a great job with improving schools, but not a very good job of effectively communicating with and appealing to some DC community members.

Posted by: ark252 | September 16, 2010 6:18 PM | Report abuse

What was devastating was the exoneration of the pedophile who impregnated one of our precious resources: a vulnerable, emotionally disabled student who looked to her teacher for guidance. That Rhee and her team (including peter nickles) found that low-life not guilty of gross misconduct speaks volumes about her "acting in 'kids' best interest" rhetoric, especially when those children are black.

The exploitation stops here. DCPS will be much better without the likes of this wretched woman at the helm!

Posted by: shame_the_devil | September 16, 2010 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Nickles says he will not stay, Gray says Nickles will not stay. And we're walkin, we're walkin......

Posted by: msdooby1 | September 16, 2010 7:31 PM | Report abuse

OK, you are the newly appointed CEO of your company. You turn on the TV and you see a promising young company VP giving an interview saying that your appointment was going to be "devastating" for the company.

In your first meeting with that popular young VP, what do you do?

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | September 16, 2010 7:32 PM | Report abuse

Michelle Rhee is the best thing that has happened to DC in a long time. She took the difficult road of going against the established politics of keeping teachers, just because they chose to stay. It is about time that the school system was revamped, and teachers fired for non-performance. No one else ever got rid of teachers that did not actually teach, or increase student knowledge. As a result, DC school performance has increased greatly.

It seems obvious that Vincent Gray has a different idea about the schools. He would rather keep in the old cronies, regardless of the performance of the students and schools. It is politically easier. Rhee apparently will not work under those conditions.

It is too bad that so many of the people in DC would rather bring the entire city down to the lowest level, rather that up towards the highest level.

Congratulations have your new Marion Barry wannabe.

Posted by: SaverOfManyThings | September 16, 2010 7:36 PM | Report abuse

She is trying to provoke Gray into "firing" her so she can take the "high road" and her cult of personality on to the next city.

Posted by: hoos3014 | September 16, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

I;ve been wondering about that also.

Posted by: educationlover54 | September 16, 2010 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Fenty was an effective Mayor, who set forth an amazing transformation of the City. Chancellor Rhee took on special interests with the same vigor and impressive results. Both could have been less abrasive and arrogant, and Mayor Fenty certainly should have exercised better judgment – in multiple instances. It is unfortunate that the Mayor did not have better political instincts, and that he did not listen to his own advisors until it was too late.

Should Gray become Mayor, he will at best be a mediocre one. He was a vacuous candidate who avoided the issues like the plague and who does not have any major accomplishments to showcase. He ran as the “anti-Fenty”, and as effective as that may have been in giving him a win in the primary, he does not have a true plan to govern.

Looking back, decades from now, this will be recognized both as a case study on the cost of political arrogance, even in the presence of great results, and as the day that the District stopped moving forward.

Posted by: AT13 | September 16, 2010 8:47 PM | Report abuse

Traci Hughes is a class act. I hope Gray makes her his spokesperson. She is good at what she does.

Posted by: LoveTheCapitol | September 16, 2010 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like she's jockeying for some big money. She wouldn't play these media games if she was leaving. Fenty lost, she is free.
By using the media tact, she is forcing it to come to terms. I bet a lot more money is one of them. Rhee, for all the hard choices she made, has education on a good path in DC. The kids nowadays need more of a "lifestyle direction" these days than new textbooks. We need really smart, good energetic teachers with character to want to teach in DC. Switching chancellors or supers or whatever, every four years won't impress any one like that. Just keep doing something. Until its done. Give her a raise. Make a few new demands. Ride off into the sunset. Kids and all. Happy.

Posted by: dmdorsett | September 16, 2010 9:09 PM | Report abuse

I think Rhee's comments send a powerful, disrespectful message to the Gray administration, the children of the District, and the larger community. I don't think Rhee's way of reform is the way to go, otherwise, Fenty's administration would still be in office. Gray, at this juncture, would be foolish to keep her on board, particularly after those public comments. I think the city can do a much better job.

Posted by: rasheeedj | September 16, 2010 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Wow! Rhee's comments showed total disrespect for Gray and the city. She confirmed why she is bad for the school system and should be fired. Gray shouldn't even waste his time meeting with her. He should have one of his staff hand deliver Rhee's walking papers to her. DC's school problems are not the fault of the teachers, but the result of the environments that a lot of the kids are raised in. Unbeknownst to the elite and well to do, the main reason for low test scores and grades is the horrific home/neighborhood environments that most of the impoverished kids are coming from. It is going to take considerable improvement in employment and the cleaning up of crime and drug use in the improverished areas for the affected kids to be able function in school. The majority understands this and that is why Fenty and Rhee are gone.

Posted by: awesomelm | September 16, 2010 10:35 PM | Report abuse

Rhee-move her or rhee-gret it ! Michelle Rhee is not the end-all/be-all to education reform ! It is for this very arrogance that we, the majority of voting citenzry, of DC want her 86'd ! We can do better ! A lot better ! Foolish people, please stop thinking that Michelle Rhee is the best thing that has happened to DCPS - SHE AIN'T ! IT'S A LIE ! IF Michelle Rhee gets hit by a bus (preferably one that she has thrown so many others under) would we be crippled as a result of her demise ? I think not. At this point I would rather her become someone that we choose not to Rhee-member !

Posted by: | September 16, 2010 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Gray NEVER said he would fire Rhee. Ms. Rhee conducts herself in an ugly and unprofessional manner. She is a narcissist to a T. What's going to be interesting is to see what kind of reception she might have in California if she intends to bring her reform there. The teachers/unions in that state and Michelle Rhee???

Posted by: mjvdc | September 17, 2010 3:02 AM | Report abuse

This is another classic case of why blacks will never get out of the basement. Other minority groups don't spend their days worrying about what skin color their public officials. Rhee is great for DC but blacks don't like her. We need more people like Rhee to reform our school systems. Shame on the blacks for once again playing the race and gutter card.

Posted by: RockTheRed2009 | September 18, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Hello everybody: Supposedly, Ms. Rhee (in her own words to the news media) is currently away out of town on her (sic) "pre-honeymoon", whatever that is, because her Sacramento wedding had been previously abruptly postponed -- leaving the rashly, suddenly last-minute DIS-invited (un-invited), disrespected guests to cough up money (ie. cancellation fees & airplane fare / car rental costs) for prior-booked travel plans. Where in the world is NON-superintendent Michelle Rhee ? Very Obviously -- Written communiques & "Interviews" published by complicit media (newspapers, websites, MSNBC, ABC, etc.) these past few days -- which are supposedly coming from Ms. Rhee are actually being produced by Ms. Rhee's public relations shills (staff & consultants, such as Anita Dunn, along with emergency P.R. assistance from Eli Broad's & Bill Gates' entourage, et. al.) Ms. Rhee is a narcissistic scam artist & a Walmart, Hedge Funds, Billionaire Boyz concubine -- she also apparently has diarrhea of the mouth..... Hey, "Chancellor" -- don't trip up your tongue or slip on your (Ron Moten mojo) "Go-Go" boots on the way out, and watch out for your own slick pile of dippity-do..... this is your wake-up call Ms. Rhee as you brazenly bumble & stumble, as you cuddle up in the boardrooms & backrooms with Eli Broad & Bill Gates, as you cover-up for Kevin Johnson's ("St. Hope" academy) financial illegalities & his sexcapades with students (teen minors) & with his school-staff (Americorps) subordinates too -- as documented by U.S. Govt. Inspector General Gerald Walpin. Watch your step and your mouth --- try to think before you speak --- Ms. Rhee, Non-superintendent !

Posted by: honestaction | September 19, 2010 2:23 AM | Report abuse

Just the facts: Shaw Middle School's scores did not even stay about the same. They went down -- reading scores declined from 38.52% in ’08 to 29.20% in ’09 and it’s math scores went from 33.33% to 29.02%. This can easily be verified at the official website Did you not check? Did you just take Chancellor Rhee’s or Principal Betts’ word on it? The fact that Shaw’s scores didn’t go up is a major embarrassment for Rhee. She installed a new principal, who hired a new staff, selected for being young and “unjaded” and he paid the kids for good behavior and attendance. It seems imperative that Rhee is asked to re-examine her determination to pursue this method and not gloss over an obvious failure with her ongoing pathological prevarication & misrepresentation of the facts. (as per writer "efavorite") -------------------------------------------- Michelle is full of herself..... and facts show... Her scores went down ! The ironic part is watching Rhee loyalists twisting themselves into pretzels to rationalize a 4% drop in D.C. elementary school test scores. Suddenly, the entire test-and-punish crowd is explaining to us how test scores don't mean anything and how test scores are tied much more to out-of-school conditions. The problem is that she has made rising standardized test scores a central measure for achievement -- hers, students and teachers, writes Washington Post columnist Valerie Strauss. So, feel free to judge Rhee on her insistence on placing so much importance on test scores (as have today’s other titans of education reform, such as Joel Klein in New York City). She believes they are so important, in fact, that she recently announced that she wants to expand their use in city schools, so that, in time, every D.C. student from kindergarten through high school is regularly assessed to measure academic progress and teacher effectiveness. But judging her reforms on the actual test scores, well, as my kids say, “Not so much.” -- Posted by Mike Klonsky

Posted by: honestaction | September 19, 2010 2:25 AM | Report abuse

There are an unusally high number misinformed, idiotic statements on here. It's almost laughable. To say that Gray is vacuous is utterly ridiculous. He presented exhaustive positions papers throughout his campaign. He has been very clear about his plans in the areas of school reform and economic development (jobs). And the comparison to Barry is absurb and was manufactured by the Post and fenty. There is no, and I mean NO evidence that Gray is Barry. I believe this is first-class ageism at best. I have been in Gray's company and he is extremely bright, optimistic and well-informed about the workings of the District.

If you do not know something, simply say you do not know. Everyone is entitled to his own opinions, but not his own facts.

Posted by: roscoedc | September 21, 2010 1:29 AM | Report abuse

It is amazing how most of these postings fail to recognize the hard to digest truth of the matter:

Playing nice when it comes to the future of the children of DC is not an option anymore. Whether Michelle Rhee is head of DCPS or not, the tide has turned and the days of being "politically correct" when making tough education decisions are now over for good. To the folks that don't get it yet, the clock is ticking and your days are numbered. In another few election cycles, the DC majority will likely be voting in many, many more Michelle Rhees in every sector of this inefficient beurocracy that needs cleaning up and cleaning out for that matter.

Don't get it twisted.

Posted by: IgnorantPeopleofDC | September 22, 2010 11:57 PM | Report abuse

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