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Rhee showcases new Hardy principal

Correction: Claire Murphy Keller, not Ashley Marsh-Coan, was the Hardy student who compared Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee to Dolores Umbridge.

With a group of parents in full mobilization and the D.C. Council asking questions, Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee is trying to remove any doubt about who will be principal at Hardy Middle School next year. And it isn't Patrick Pope.

She's dispatched William Wilhoyte, her instructional superintendent for middle schools, to set up a series of meetings for principal-designate Dana Nerenberg with staff, students and parents. In a letter to teachers Wednesday morning, Wilhoyte said:

"Mr. Pope, Ms Nerenberg and I have met several times to begin the process of developing a comprehensive and transparent Transition Plan for the remainder of this school year. We want to engage everyone in a thoughtful process that will help us to develop a plan that will minimize interruptions to the remainder of the school year while also offering the greatest opportunity for a smooth and informed transition process."

Wilhoyte set out a series of meetings for Nerenberg, one with Hardy teachers that was scheduled for Thursday. On Monday evening at 6:30, she is scheduled to speak with the Hardy Leadership Transition Committee, followed the next day at the same time by a gathering of the full parent community.

And just to make sure everyone gets the message, on Wednesday "Mr. Pope and Ms. Nerenberg will visit each classroom and she will be introduced to the students," Wilhoyte wrote.

Pope, who founded Hardy's special arts and music program, has run it with private school-style autonomy under authorization from the old D.C. Board of Education, using an applications process that requires parental buy-in to the uniform policy and other aspects of school culture. Over the last decade, he's attracted a majority African-American student body from across the city to the Georgetown school. Rhee, who wants to loosen the principal's grip on admissions and market Hardy more explicitly as a neighborhood school, is turning to Nerenberg, who runs Hyde-Addison Elementary in Georgetown. Rhee also wants the school system's on-line lottery, not applications, to be the main point of entry for out-of boundary kids.

Some parents contend that Pope is the glue that holds Hardy together, and say Rhee is breaking up a successful school to cater to a cadre of wealthy Ward Two parents.

They argue that Nerenberg, who will continue to run Hyde-Addison, is not equipped to handle the rigors of a middle school, especially if her time is divided between the two campuses. Rhee has touted Nerenberg, a graduate of Duke and Johns Hopkins, where she received a masters degree in school administration, as one of her top principals. She's praised her work with special education "inclusion" programs and her role in a collaborative with principals at Mann and Janney elementary to help struggling schools with best practices.

Rhee will almost certainly draw questions about Hardy at her appearance before the D.C. Council, scheduled for Monday. At the council oversight hearing this past Monday, Hardy parents assailed Rhee's intervention at the school. A Hardy eighth-grader, Ashley Marsh-Coan, broke new ground in anti-Rhee invective by dipping into the Harry Potter canon and likening the chancellor to "a real-life Dolores Umbridge."

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By Bill Turque  |  March 18, 2010; 4:49 PM ET
 
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Comments

Rhee is applying a full court press. She is going ahead with her plans and da-- the school's students, parents and staff.

She is looking for FENTY VOTES.

Also, how many special ed students are enrolled in Hyde-Addison? If she is so great she should be in the troubled schools in other wards where the special ed population is very high. Also, a recommendation from Rhee is worthless.

Posted by: dccounselor72 | March 18, 2010 6:24 PM | Report abuse

A Hardy eighth-grader, Ashley Marsh-Coan, broke new ground in anti-Rhee invective by dipping into the Harry Potter canon and likening the chancellor to "a real-life Dolores Umbridge."
************
WJLA-TV said it was Miss Keenan who said that.

Someone needs to go to the videotape.

Posted by: edlharris | March 18, 2010 7:15 PM | Report abuse

I don't know enough about Mr. Pope to comment on his firing (it is NOT a promotion, please be serious). However, no matter how skilled Ms. Nerenberg is the decision to have 1 principal for 2 schools shows a serious lack of judgment. I would be very reluctant to have my child enrolled at a school with a part-time principal.

Posted by: Wyrm1 | March 18, 2010 7:24 PM | Report abuse

The chancellor leaves nothing but victims in her path. Pope is a victim. He is another principal being punished for working hard and producing results. Nerenburg is a victim. She may be a very effective principal but she is being stretched too thin and her effectiveness will be diminished while trying to manage two schools.

The teachers of both schools are victims. Their instructional leader will not be 100% focused anywhere. She will have a hard time building bridges with two staffs, two sets of "active" parents, LSRT's and school community interests through no fault of her own.

The students are victims. They like the principal they have now and he is being pulled away due to stupidity. Middle schools and high schools are the biggest concerns. So now Rhee is destroying what has been deemed a success and a model that parents support.

Parents are victims. This is a clear indication of her statement that concensus is overated. She has demonstrated once again that parents(the taxpayers) have no voice. She continues to demonstrate her disrespect for parents but in front of the city council she continuously vows to communicate and to work with all stakeholders.

Rhee is a sham, a hoax and with that salary, she is also a thief. Whatever candidate steps up and runs for mayor, they will have my vote to get rid of Fenty and Rhee.

Posted by: candycane1 | March 18, 2010 8:06 PM | Report abuse

The article is combining the names of two different students, both of whom spoke last week. The staff did not receive an email- we received a notice in our mailboxes.

Posted by: dcpsteacher1 | March 18, 2010 8:09 PM | Report abuse

So, candycane1:

1. Besides "stupidity," why do you think the Chancellor is putting Nerenberg in there?

2. Anything else you would like to tell us?

Posted by: axolotl | March 18, 2010 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Turgue - Can you please direct me and other readers to statistics regarding Hardy MS over the past 12 years? Given some of the allegations I'm hearing, stats on student racial composition, in vs. out-of-boundary composition, and test scores might be enlightening. In addition, it might do us all some good to remind us that there are certain "stats" that are locked behind doors and for legal reasons, will remain there. We can't and maybe even shouldn't know everything.

Posted by: CAN50 | March 18, 2010 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Axolotl: (1) I think stupidity covers it quite well.

(2) I've said what I wish to say.

Posted by: candycane1 | March 18, 2010 10:42 PM | Report abuse

I taught at an arts kinder through ninth grade school under a great principal. He was the kind of person who knew how to hire great teachers and then give them the freedom to do their job.

When he retired we tried to get the assistant principal to replace him. She was a similar type leader. My district chose to replace him with a political appointee. Within several years most of the great staff had left. The arts program was in ruins.

Again and again I have seen principals and teachers put in hours and hours of work to develop a great program, only to have the program ruined by changes in administration.

Posted by: Jutti | March 18, 2010 10:43 PM | Report abuse

RE: LOTTERY 2010-2011 SCHOOL YEAR 69 SLOTS FOR 6TH GRADERS,7TH GRADERS 4 SLOTS, 8TH GRADERS NOT SURE BIT I THINK ITS 14. THE CHANCELLOR STATES THE LOTTERY IS TO GIVE MORE KIDS THE OPPORTUNITY ETC. READ THIS ARTICLE AGAIN WITH THE INFO I PROVIDED FROM THE CHANCELLORS OFFICE AND TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK.

TIME IS GOING TO TELL AND RHEE WILL BE GONE AND HARDY WILL BE A MESS JUST LIKE OTHER DCPS SCHOOLS. THERE WILL BE A MEETING @HARDY MARCH 23RD W/PARENTS FINALLY @ 6:30PM. IT APPEARS EVERYTHING THAT COMES OUT ABOUT THIS SITUATION THE CHANCELLOR AND HER STAFF ATTEMPT TO CORRECT IT BUT SHE REFUSES TO ADMIT SHE'S MAKING A MISTAKE THAT WILL AFFECT OUR KIDS.

IT CAME OUT MS. NERENBERG HAD YET TO MEET W/PARENT NOW THERE IS A MEETING MONTHS LATER. MR. POPE BEGAN PLANS FOR THE NEXT SCHOOL YEAR KNOWING HE'S BEING "PROMOTED" NOW THIS ARTICLE STATES MS. NERENBERG WILL BE. CHANCELLOR SAID IN MEETING IN DECEMBER THE ARTS PROGRAM WOULD CHANGE NOW EVERYTHING IS STAYING AS IS EXCEPT SHE HAS YET TO CHANGE HER MIND ON MR. POPE.

CITY COUNCIL HAS ALREADY STATED THERE IS NO MONEY FOR THIS NEW PERFORMING ARTS MIDDLE SCHOOL SO WHAT IS RHEE REALLY PLANNING TO DO @HARDY AND WITH MR. POPE? SHELF HIM UNTIL HER RETIRES OR QUIT?

Posted by: LONDABAG | March 19, 2010 12:09 AM | Report abuse

Several facts are wrong:
1. Patrick Pope did not found the arts program at Hardy MS. The school had been a founding member of the Six School Complex. Before Pope, Hardy had for 25 years allowed students to choose the arts from those offered by the Fillmore Arts Center during a complete half-day per week throughout the school year. Fillmore also serves the feeder and other DCPS schools. Fillmore, for 25 years in its own building, was put on the current Hardy-Fillmore site with Hardy about 12 years ago. It still occupies most of the top floor, from which its artist-educators serve numerous DCPS schools --and students in an after-school program and in a summer arts camp. www.fillmoreartscenter.org
Pope dropped the Fillmore program, a year after becoming Hardy principal, dismissing the importance of arts as priority subjects for students, and unhappy not to supervise the arts teachers or have the program within his budget. He was especially critical of choice by students, an important element of arts. Following serious protest from feeder schools and some at Hardy, he began his own arts program. (Try to figure it out from the Hardy guide for parents and students, available from the Hardy MS web site.)
2. Pope did not newly attract an AA student body. Hardy MS has had a majority AA student body going back to when President Carter's daughter attended.
3. Hardy has employed an assistant principal for over a decade. The image Bill Turque continues to support, of a building superintendent hopelessly split between two campuses is incomplete. If the current top-of-the-payscale assistant principal,a former Hardy principal, is not gone the school will not improve. It will continue to be, to paraphrase Rhee, an assured destination if the applicant's Uncle knows the right people. The freedom of the new principal to have her own admin team is most of what the hoopla and support for Pope has always been about.

Posted by: incredulous | March 19, 2010 12:44 AM | Report abuse

The D.C. Federation of Civic Associations is hosting an education forum featuring an official from the U.S. Department of Education who speak on President Obama’s call for a Race To the Top in public education reform. The theme of the forum is parental empowerment and community involvement in District public education reform. The forum will be held, Wednesday, March 31, 2010, starting at 6:30pm, room 412 in the John A. Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW. The public is invited to attend.

Robert Vinson Brannum, President
D.C. Federation of Civic Associations, Inc.
rbrannum@robertbrannum.com

Posted by: robert158 | March 19, 2010 12:47 AM | Report abuse

candycane
WAAAAWAAAAWAAAA! everybody is a victim - typical DC thinking

Posted by: overed | March 19, 2010 7:48 AM | Report abuse

The Rhee restaurant of school reform is getting ready to open up a franchise in Ward 6 as Eastern High School will experience the same menu of change. Again, the praises of a current principals doesn't correlate to what is cooking-up in the back kitchens of DCPS. As the servers of Wilhoyte and Davis are given their orders to serve this mess to the public. I would say...Wilhoyte "take this job and shove-it" as you can move on comfortably...you lucky dog!!!

Back to Rhee's restaurant of School Savory items on the menu;

Invest time in getting to know families and potential Hardy students, as well as the larger community. (Meat and Potatoes)

Continue the design and development of Hardy with the students, staff and community from the "ground up." (Vegetables and Starches)

Collaborate with the community to establish school partnerships. (Desserts and Beverages)

When will the no-no list reveal that there's an infestation of disregarding good principals and caving-in to the rich and middle class at this restaurant?

Wouldn't this all be interesting that all of this pre-planning for Eastern and Hardy was all on the pre-tense to attract the Obama children and not about the neighborhoods at all. You know that saying once you go black you can't go back!!!! If anyone knows that, it would be ???

Posted by: PowerandPride | March 19, 2010 8:31 AM | Report abuse

I'm curious if anyone with experience in education thinks that it is really feasible to have one principal responsible for two schools.

As an interested bystander, I would think that running one school is more than enough to ask of a principal.

Posted by: sanderling5 | March 19, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Suppose there were a good public school with a 75-85% Caucasian student body, located in a geographic area whose citizenship was composed of appoximately 80% African Americans and Latinos - should the neighborhood parents wonder, "What's wrong with this picture?" What is going on with and in a school that's not attracting the neighborhood children? As a former, very involved Hardy parent, I don't think it has anything to do with race.

Posted by: CAN50 | March 19, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse


To incredulous

Do you work in the Fillmore program? Or are you one of the Ward 2 parents who can not wait to send their kids to Hardy under the new leadership of Miss Dana? You seem to be well versed in all things Fillmore and anti Pope.


To axolotl

I am beginning to think that if you saw Rhee performing human sacrifices, you would defend her actions.

Posted by: dccounselor72 | March 19, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Incredulous: If there are good reasons for changes in leadership at Hardy, Rhee should have began by treating Mr. Pope (and in turn his community) with dignity and discussing the weak areas, and either setting a course for opportunity to improve together or determine together that he may rather move on. It is the lack of decency and respect for hard working professionals, and the rampant back-door dealings and resulting innuendo and confusion that result in the nasty drama that this school community has been subject to. It's happened over and over in her reign. Will the public get a contrived hint at what "really" was forcing Pope out, some sloppy interview down the road where Rhee will imply she was protecting us all from harm? It's the method, and a reflection of terrible and inhumane management practices.

Posted by: modern1 | March 19, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Anyone know where Bill Turque is and who wrote this article? I think there should be an investigation. Authorship questions aside, what does the research say about the effect on student achievement by replacing a successful, well liked, strong principal at a middle school mid year? I thought that Rhee's reform efforts were always centered on what is best for students and improving student achievement.

More importantly, I would like to know what other principal in DCPS or school for that matter is as successful as Hardy for the demographics that Hardy has. I really don't anybody has accomplished what Patrick Pope has accomplished in this city.

More importantly, I would like to see I would like to know why student achievement, a well run and orderly school environment, parent involvement, and a diverse student body no longer matter in choosing a principal? Every principal in the city now knows that regardless of how well you do, how successful your students are it no longer matters.

Instead, a dinner party in a private georgetown home with parents from another school can trump every measure of school and principal success.

I want to applaud the Washpost, Rhee and the author of this article for setting the record straight. I have learned more about education in DC and how to measure it right here. Bravo!

Posted by: mfalcon | March 19, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

"Every principal in the city now knows that regardless of how well you do, how successful your students are it no longer matters."

Unfortunately, I think they already knew that. This just re-inforces it. All that matters is that you don't mess with Rhee.

Don't outshine her, even if it's good for kids. Be a sycophant or be quiet. Be afraid; be ready to quit or get fired at any time.

Posted by: efavorite | March 19, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Overed: Typical DC thinking? It sure is. It's typical of people who know what professionalism looks like. Thank you for noticing.

Posted by: candycane1 | March 19, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

To: dccounselor72--You want my Rhee criticisms? OK--not an effective communicator; won't deal with the gross race-card tactics and names used against her since Day 1 (maybe smart on her part); can't get Fenty to give her top cover; won't hold her nose and kiss ass, just a little bit, to the Council. She has achieved a lot, under whithering fire from the subset of crazed, self-serving teachers, the no-change obstructionists, the useless C.O. fatties, and those who think race and citations of poverty (or wealth) are their only weapons. See most any blogue comments on WashingtonTeacher for illustrations of the mindsets she and any reformer are up against. Rhee needs to counter the Big Lies broadcast by her uninformed, pitiful opponents (see incredulous comment,above, for some facts on Hardy, for example.) Why I really like and respect her: she knows what is wrong with DCPS, she will sacrifice her career to get it fixed, she doesn't accept BS and delays and outright lies, and, most of all, she is committed more to good outcomes for the kids than any other stakeholder on the scene.

Posted by: axolotl | March 19, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

It's hard to call out liars when one started their career with a lie.

Posted by: edlharris | March 19, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Rhee moves forward with her reform at any cost movement. It is abundantly clear that Patrick Pope is no longer needed at Hardy and that the educational program at Hardy will take a different tact for the 2010-2011 school year. No real educator would want one principal responsible for two schools. That will be temporary to allow for the quick demise of the current Hardy leadership. It sounds like Pope will not make it to the end of the school year. Having Nerenberg visit classrooms and speak with teachers now suggests to me that this train has already left the station. We must look to our civil rights past for direction - organize, be very vocal and always in the opposition's face. If you believe that there is another way to bring about change in DCPS you cannot sit by and allow Rhee to call all the plays. Fenty with the acquiescence of the City Council and his supporters are determined to give DC a makeover in more ways than one. Over the next ten years you will find that the only chocolate in the chocolate city will be on the cupcakes. FENTY MUST GO AND RHEE WITH HIM. RECALL FENTY OR VOTE HIM OUT. Quit whining and do something. "If you raise up truth, its magnetic. It has a way of drawing people." Jesse Jackson

Posted by: lightkeeper | March 19, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

1. Pope is being promoted.
2. His replacement has as much executive experience as Pope did, and at the same elementary school, just down the street.
3. Hardy will have an assistant principal. The elementary school is small.
4. When Pope started at Hardy,he brought with him and forced enrollment on kids a Kumon math program. Drudgery. Look it up. That's why there was no place for the arts, until they were forced back on him by the same feeder school parents sneered at in these blogs for months.
5. .....until Pope saw that arts education could be a market identifier, a way kids could be selectively encouraged or discouraged from applying. Bigger draw then a promise of skill and drill, don't you think? Besides, get the secret code, and get admitted, interested in arts or not. (Any audit done on the applications? No, I didn't think so.) Just like literacy requirements at polling places. Get the answers or have the test waived if the folks contolling the voting booth are sure of how you'll vote. Quaint.
6. Under the regime in #5, every voter who is waved through thinks the system must be great. She's great. And those suspicious types shouldn't really be voting anyway. Or bringing down the test scores of the school, as the case may be.
7. Let those who think this is an awful loss of leadership show that kids at Hardy really have been learning alot. After all, they're expected, on entry to be at or above grade level. Fair enough then, to look not at the average scores, but that NONE of them are below grade level.
8. It is hard to think of more notice given of an administrative change, except from retirement.
9. Fenty and Rhee both have their kids in DCPS schools. Pope's kids attended Sidwell Friends. Anybody mistaking Hardy MS for Sidwell?


Posted by: incredulous | March 19, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

lightkeeper appears to be playing the race card. For shame. Do you think, madame lightkeeper, that the quality of teachers is due to that (and would teachers agree!)? physical decline of the schools? too many schools to keep up? lack of teacher performance evaluation? and top-dollar per student expenditures? Are we back to The Plan, for goodness sake? Most District citizens, and perhaps all but one of our elected officials, believe that can't be argued any more, and it diverts attention and energy from constructive improvements. So find some other reasons to obstruct the Chancellor, if you must, but be sure to bring some evidence and data and some good alternatives. You sound, madame lightkeeper, rather like the Republican leadership in Congress. Just say no, eh?

Posted by: axolotl | March 19, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

axolotl - please post some results that show that the Rhee plan is working.

I just don't get the blind faith of some. many will agree school success is often tied to leadership. hardy, for it's location, is not a G-Town school. it is a conglomeration of kids from all over the city. u know this city. that peaks highly to the results of Mr. Pope and his mgmt of the school.

Please give me bullets so i can understand the position supportive of Rhee.

Posted by: oknow1 | March 19, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

The frequency with which incredulous posts about Pope and Hardy, and the lack of data to substantiate his grudges against Mr. Pope, lead one to wonder what is his problem with Mr. Pope.
The only thing one can extract from his previous postings that could cause such hard feelings is the $147 he had to pay for himself or his child to participate in the Hardy spring prom.
Spurned, no doubt.

Posted by: phillipmarlowe | March 19, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

oknow1--I have no blind faith in Rhee. Her many management accomplishments are clear, and they sure do irk the obstructionists. Her flaws are also clear. As for Hardy, I only know what I read, which is, full of he-said/she-said. But look for the facts and arguments in the posts of "incredulous." They have the ring of truth. I don't live in Hardy's environs, and I frankly don't care much for G-town. But I do know the city. The race-theory about the Hardy developments is gaarbaage of the highest order, and is a sign of real desperation by the anti-reform forces. What Rhee is doing at the school will clearly lose Fenty more votes than he might gain, and it does nothing for Rhee's career. As usual, she has given her reasons succinctly. She was hired to make decisions, not to put everything to a referendum. Her goals and strategies have been approved by the elected mayor and the Council. She takes in more input from all comers in a month than the last few superintendents did in a year. But feel free to weigh in; she listens, but she does not have to take all advice. Give some thought to the many divisive, loud, and not infrequently, vulgar input and feedback she has to deal with. She is trying to satisfy the needs, primarily, of just one group, the children, and that costs her a lot of support from some other stakeholders. I still believe that the majority of the parents in this city like what she is doing and where she is aiming.

Posted by: axolotl | March 19, 2010 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Allowing that kind of amount to be demanded of kids so they could participate in the hype of 8th grade graduation was not unusual of Pope. If that amount was collected of every 8th grader, $15,000 was collected by a teacher who spent most of her last semester before retirement doing not much else.

Glad to have the opportunity to report further on the integrity of Pope's administration. The largest grudge on this blog from such as the detective's moniker is with the Chancellor. It entirely substitutes for real interest in the Hardy program.

Posted by: incredulous | March 19, 2010 6:26 PM | Report abuse

To axolotl

You are truly a Rhee fan and your posts prove my point. Be proud of your position and stop pretending that you are not a blind follower of all things Rhee.

You are trying way too hard. If you are not careful, you are going to explode.

Posted by: dccounselor72 | March 19, 2010 6:26 PM | Report abuse

dccounselor72: the truth hurts, eh? You may have a reading comp. problem, madame, if you can't acknowledge the stated criticisms. Assuming u live in the District, please don't sink further into denial, faux race-based fears and excuses for DCPS, and blind opposition to change. Think of the children first, not the DCPS employees. IOW, get a grip.

Posted by: axolotl | March 19, 2010 7:31 PM | Report abuse

To axolot1

Again you prove my point. I am really beginning to worry about you.

I hope you are not a parent.

Posted by: dccounselor72 | March 19, 2010 8:37 PM | Report abuse

I've been teaching for many years (elementary school.) The idea of having one principal for two schools--absolutely insane. You need a hands-on open-door principal for success at any school--for both parents and teachers (and students) to have enough access to actually solve problems and address concerns. As well, a principal who is only on campus half the time isn't going to have enough time to adequately evaluate teachers, period.

Every principal and teacher I know would laugh at this. I've read so many Washington Post articles about Rhee and stayed on the fence as I often couldn't really get a sense of the actual situation (the fact that it just now seems to have become legal to fire teachers for having sex with their students--Holy Carp. In my state, you might as well take your teacher credential and set it on fire as to have sex with a student. Your butt will be out the door before your head knows where it's going.)

So, messed up on all accounts, but to have one principal for two schools, and the second to be a middle school with a divisive history--Again, Holy Carp. What a recipe for insanity and disaster.

Posted by: missyb1 | March 19, 2010 9:58 PM | Report abuse

"Allowing that kind of amount to be demanded of kids so they could participate in the hype of 8th grade graduation was not unusual of Pope. If that amount was collected of every 8th grader, $15,000 was collected by a teacher who spent most of her last semester before retirement doing not much else.

Glad to have the opportunity to report further on the integrity of Pope's administration. The largest grudge on this blog from such as the detective's moniker is with the Chancellor. It entirely substitutes for real interest in the Hardy program."

************
Reading this one wonders if incredulous is credible.
"Glad to ..report..on.. integrity of Pope..."
But he/she did not do so.
Only made a simple, elementary calculation and strung it with a "fact" that might leave the weak-minded wondering if the retiring teacher lined his/her pocket.
But not so incredible as to explicitly say it.
The problems with Mr. Pope's administration, as see by Mr. Incredulous, have not been enumerated. One has to wonder if they even exist. Perhaps incredulous could pick up some hints from a couple of the commentators over at the Georgetown Metropolitan back in December. Then maybe we won't wonder if the eighth grade promotion ceremonies are the source of this consternation.

So, now one waits for the 95 Theses to be nailed to the Schlosskirche.

Posted by: phillipmarlowe | March 20, 2010 2:00 AM | Report abuse

phillipmarlowe:

"Reading this one wonders if incredulous is credible".

I agree. Please consider that someone capable of buying in to incredulous' first point ...

"1. Pope is being promoted."

is capable of believing anything. Repeating this fabrication of the Chancellor is as far as anyone should read.

True leadership seeks public support, even if not total consensus. How has the Chancellor’s conduct contributed or hurt our ability to make progress at Hardy? The Chancellor cannot point to Hardy as a shining example of a school that should be replicated, and then seek to change it without a detailed and believable vision of what it will become.

If anyone could clearly illustrate a practical and well-conceived school model that would better address the community needs than Hardy Middle School, we should be eager to join this effort. Show it to us. Explain why it works. Make a reasonable effort to share this vision and express true convictions instead of thinly disguised rationalizations that insult our intelligence and foment distrust. That is how we lead; and not by proclamation and disenfranchisement.

It is so ironic to note that for all his quirkiness, principal Pope’s competence in developing personal relationships and trust has been at the core of what makes Hardy so successful; and the Chancellor’s lack of this skill set has done so much to divide us and do long lasting damage.

The list of ways in which the Chancellor has provoked and ignored the Hardy community is voluminous and well documented. Even so, it has been suggested that in the best interest of the children, the Hardy community should just accept the decision that the Chancellor has made. But this ignores the most salient factor that weighs so heavily against those who believe that a smooth transition is possible. Specifically, that the Chancellor’s conduct has been so poor that no one will place their trust in any choice she makes on their behalf. This is the very rational conclusion that children, parents, teachers and staff have made. And it has put Principal Dana Nerenberg in a no win situation as the Chancellor’s handpicked successor to Pope.

These institutions we value should not be changed without better consideration of the direct and immediate impact on the people who are most affected. This is not the time to push the accelerator in search of changes that will have very unintended consequences; as the tracks have not been laid and the only possible result is the train wreck that will hurt the children onboard.


Posted by: AGAAIA | March 20, 2010 3:13 AM | Report abuse

Bill Wilhoyte is a smarmy tool. He was a tool when he worked for Montgomery County Public Schools, and he continues to be a tool for Rhee. I've never met a more smug, obnoxious man. He should not be in charge of any decisions that impact the lives of students and teachers.

Posted by: willoughbyspit | March 20, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

phil. marl. and agaaia might want to consider whether they want DCPS to be the pure democracy they pine for at length. We already have elected officials who have fully chartered and endorsed Rhee's strategy, goals, and authorities, e.g., to fire teachers if deemed necessary. If you want the type of extended community input you describe on every decision, you might as well forget constructive change in DCPS. Nothing of importance will improve It will return to being a bureaucrat's heaven, featuring principals and teachers who do as they please, refuse to be managed or evaluated, with no pain for forgetting to repair the schools, distribute books, or improve professionally. Gumbaya will be the DCPS anthem, and the children will be condemned to lower-quality education. Some teachers (the ones afraid to be measured, improve or move) will be well satisfied, and the subset of carping parents will be in carping heaven. Both will have failed miserably in their responsibilities to the children.

Posted by: axolotl | March 20, 2010 7:55 PM | Report abuse

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