Fenty: "Don't get into my mens rea"
Mayor Adrian M.Fenty, hammered by parents and teachers for the abortive decision to open D.C. Schools on a two-hour delay Monday, was as elusive as Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee about exactly how they made the decision. Fenty, a former Howard University law student, even went Latin on my colleague Ann Marimow when she pressed him Monday afternoon.
"You take into account a myriad and a multitude of information. I don't get into my mens rea," said Fenty. "We made the right decision."
For those not up on their lawyer talk, "mens rea" refers to the mental state in which one commits a criminal act.
In any event, there's no school on Tuesday in DCPS.
Looking back on the reaction Sunday evening, it felt as if the school closure flap was the vehicle for a lot of residual anger toward Fenty and Rhee, who've both seen their approval ratings drop dramatically in the last two years. Check out part of this letter to Rhee from Anacostia High School English teacher Sarah Otto:
"As a dedicated DCPS teacher, I would like to thank you for being determined enough in your beliefs to keep the public schools in DC open tomorrow, my only regret is that we will lose TWO precious hours of instruction. If we really want to improve our test scores, we really can't afford to miss any MINUTE of test prepping. We owe it to the children of DC to compel them to do WHATEVER it takes to get to school to work on their scores and achieve their standards and perform their duties. ... As teachers, we should have effectively instilled the belief that "hard work leads to success" (see: Teaching and Learning Framework/IMPACT), so if students don't come to school tomorrow, it is clearly because they have ineffective teachers. In fact, I am getting ready to call each and every one of my students on my own PERSONAL cell phone to insure they will be coming to school so that I can tell them what "Students Will Be Able To." To what? Well, raise test scores, of course.
"Please don't listen to any lazy teachers who may also be currently emailing you to plead with you to close schools. It is obviously their fault that many of them live outside of the District and have to drive miles through treacherous snow and ice conditions to get to school. They know that if they want to teach in Michelle Rhee's school district, they need to Suck It Up and do Whatever It Takes to be Highly Effective and raise their IMPACT score."
Another comment comes from Mary Melchior, a parent on the LSRT (Local School Restructuring Team) at Langdon Educational Campus in Ward 5. She said:
"I just want to note, school is open but recycling pick-up is canceled. It isn't safe enough for grown-ups who are picking up recycling, but it is safe enough for kids."
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