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Excerpts: Post reporter Bill Turque on Rhee resignation

Washington Post reporter Bill Turque, who covers the D.C. Public Schools system, was online earlier today to take reader questions after this morning's announcement that Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee will step down by the end of the month. Excerpts from the discussion follow.

Q: What does this mean for the union contract?

Bill Turque: So far as we know, the union contract remains binding and in full force. Of course, it will be renegotiated in two years.

Q: Is a black DC school chief what Mayor Gray wants?

Bill Turque: I honestly don't think Gray approaches the issue that way.

Q: Where to next for Ms. Rhee? Another school system? A book deal? Speaking gigs? Combination of all three?

Bill Turque: Books and speeches for sure. Another school system? Doubtful. She has said that D.C. is her first and last superintendency, and I tend to believe her. I also think it would take a mayor willing to essentially cede all his power over schools to hire her. Not many of those.

Q: Does Rhee's contract provide for a severance package when she resigns (e.g. is this really a resignation, or is she being forced out, making her eligible for severance)? What will Kaya Henderson's salary be as the interim chancellor?

Bill Turque: Working on that as we speak. Been looking around for a copy of her contract that's in my files somewhere. Don't know yet about Henderson's salary.

Q; Do you think that Mr. Gray offered her the position of do you think that she quit?

Bill Turque: That's something we're still trying to sort out. Late Friday afternoon, my colleague Valerie Strauss ran into Gray outside The Post building. He said then that he was still open to retaining Rhee and if he thought she was the best choice for the city he would "swallow it," meaning forget about all of the campaign season rhetoric. What exactly happened between then and now, we're not sure.

Q: I heard some people are surprised she didn't wait until the end of the school year or even the next. Me, I'm surprised she didn't split sooner. What do you think?

Bill Turque: I'm somewhere in the mushy middle. I didn't expect to stay until the end of the school year, but I thought she might stick longer than she did to smooth the transition. Henderson's appointment I think obviates some of those concerns.

Read the full discussion with Turque.

By Christopher Dean Hopkins  | October 13, 2010; 2:26 PM ET
Categories:  Bill Turque, Education, Michelle A. Rhee  
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(reference to post
by thooker65):

Read about the scam testing procedures,
described below ! ---

"My daughter participated in the D.C.
Saturday Scholar program for nearly two years.
After I found out that she was only 1 of a few students from each school that had above average skills in learning, (Talented and Gifted), were asked to participate in that program. She along with other students that processed that higher level of learning were in this class to take the test (the NAEP exam
a national assessment, deliberately administered to only a selected 'sample group' of DCPS students) --which was then manipulated to artificially bolster DCPS test score ratings, as a whole district.
So how does that make the school system
better (?!), if only this selected group of smarter kids bring up the school standings (via a clandestine process)?
After I found out what was going on, I removed my daughter from that program. I’m pretty sure that Michelle Rhee would like to take credit for the
better scores, but did anyone really look into that smoke screen of what was really going on, I can only imagine -- and when I found out about the program I felt sick to my stomach.


Posted by: newmanagement2 | October 13, 2010 6:36 PM | Report abuse


Dorothy Brizill posted a copy of Rhee's contract on DC Watch; here's the link:

Posted by: GoldCoast | October 14, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

When discussing Rhee's departure in my English classes, some students felt vindicated after the horrible toll the riff took on them. A few, however, felt she let them down by leaving once the fire got hot. I imagine the real tally will be years in the making. Until then, I invite your readers to visit my blog at The entry "Try to Rhee-member" provides my take on public education in DC.

Posted by: dcproud1 | October 16, 2010 7:33 AM | Report abuse

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