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Raymond: Gray or Rhee is a bogus choice

As expected, former D.C. State Board of Education president Lisa Raymond, who scuffled with Mayor Adrian M. Fenty over budget and policy issues, has endorsed Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray in the Sept. 14 primary. In a statement that went out Tuesday night to parents and activists in Ward 6 (which she represented on the panel), she took a shot at the Fenty camp for pushing the scenario that has Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee resigning if Gray is elected.

"I know that some of you are afraid that if Vince Gray is elected mayor, Chancellor Rhee will leave, and all of the tremendous movement we have seen in our schools would depart with her. Well, I am among the growing chorus of parents and others who care deeply about education and say that I support both Vince Gray for mayor and Michelle Rhee for chancellor," Raymond said.

"I reject this notion -- and let's not kid ourselves, it's coming directly from Mayor Fenty and his team, who have the most to lose -- that I have to choose between the person that I think is best qualified to lead our city and the best person to lead our school system."

Rhee, appointed by Fenty three years ago this week, has refused to say publicly whether she would serve in a Gray administration if asked. Gray has not committed to keeping her if he wins. Raymond said she hopes they would find a way to work together.

"I would never presume to speak for Vince Gray or Michelle Rhee, but I do believe that they care deeply enough about our city's children to put aside possible concerns and consider what is best for those children," she said said.

By Washington Post Editors  |  June 9, 2010; 9:11 AM ET
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Ms. Raymond,

Who are you kidding? There is a term for people that might support Rhee and Gray and that beleive that Gray will do anything other than fire her or that Rhee won't leave. It is call "Delusional."

Do you really think anyone really beleives that Gray won't fire Rhee? His actions over the last two years speaks volumes. He has called her a liar about 50 times. He insulted her in the media. He is behind this BS investigation of her and the teachers contract. By the office of campaign finance? Is Rhee running for office.

Moreover, she wouldn't work for Gray either. The Education reform is very difficult even with a Mayor that stands 100% behind the reforms.

Gray doesn't stand 100% behind anything. He most always takes the takes the path of least resistance (or the one Barry Barry get his committees back!).

And, save that "they both love the kids" crap. DC politicians and government workers have always loved the kids of DC. But, they sure didn't do jack to fix the problem until Fenty came in and made the education of our kids the top priority of the District Gov.

And, it was FENTY that pushed that down court. Not Rhee. Not Gray. So, dispite all other talk. This election is about whether FENTY will be able to continue his reforms. There is no in-between solution. Without Fenty...there would be no Chancellor. There would be a DC School board running the schools into the ground.

A vote for Gray is a vote to halt major school reform in the District. And don't forget to throw Lanier in that mix as well. He would can her two weeks in.

Posted by: politicalrealist | June 9, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Why do people feel they have to say they support Rhee? She is a terrible chancellor. Is it because the big money interests support her? Are they afraid of crossing big money?

Posted by: aby1 | June 9, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Gray or Rhee? That is exactly how I view this race.

Fenty's kickbacks to his buddies sicken me.

But I have 3 kids and I strongly fear that Gray will derail DCPS reform and since we can't afford private school tuition we will be forced to move out of DC.

Posted by: drmommy | June 9, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Drmommy - haven't seen you since the Hardy story!

Don't worry - Gray won't derail school reform - it's not in his interest, or any good mayor's, to do so.

Have you listened to Gray's plans for school reform? He wants to start much earlier - making sure pre-schoolers have good supports before entering kindergarten.

He's speaking 7:30 PM this Thursday night at St. Columba's church at 42 and Albemarle,NW, right down from the Best Buy on Wisc.

Fenty will be there too. You should go to hear them.

Posted by: efavorite | June 9, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse


What does "won't derail" mean exactly? That does not mean that he would keep Rhee. And, it says nothing about whether she would stay.

His persistant negative statements about the actual decisions Rhee has made says that Rhee will not work for him. Therefore, there would neccessarily be a change in direction for DCPS reform efforts.

Moreover, Gray has show a pattern since his campaign began. He will NOT say anything that will cause white people to see him poorly. Street cars prime example. Increase on taxes not discussed "because" of election. Refusal to work with Mayor on fees..because of election.

So, when he is silent on Rhee his established patterns tell you what he is going to do. He is going to try to avoid the political ramifications of letting his true thoughts be known. That is, he is going to be a politician.

And, why does everybody have to say they like Rhee, or shut up? Because a LOT of people know that she is doing an excellent job and how important a goood education education is for voters.

They might not like the Parks contracts brew ha ha. But they aren't throwing the baby out with the bath water. And in the case of DCPS. I mean that literally.

Since I am not completely stupid, I must conclude that people that claim to beleive Gray will work with Rhee must have the names of a few replacements in their back pocket.

Posted by: politicalrealist | June 9, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

A lot-lot-lot of people who support Gray are doing so because they believe either he'll get rid of Rhee or that she'll quit if he becomes mayor. Many of these are DCPS teachers and staff.

Posted by: chelita | June 9, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse


Rhee is doing a horrible job!

Posted by: jlp19 | June 9, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Everybody speaks of Rhee, Fenty, Gray, etc, etc, nobody speaks about the children and the damage being done to them. Can anybody see that Rhee only cares about her image and her numbers? We have kids in schools that do not know how to read, but hey, lets keep on working on standarized tests.
Rhee is firing teachers when the distric needs them by the hundres! For the salary of a master teacher, she can hire two teachers. Why do we need master teachers, are principals and assistant principals useless people that they cannot evaluate a teacher?

Posted by: jackofalltrades1 | June 9, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

As much as I dislike Rhee for her negative remarks about teachers, I must concede that she's done one very good thing for education. She has proven what every teacher knows: it is the job of the administrators, not the unions, to hire, evaluate and dismiss teachers.

Almost every district has a legal way to dismiss a teacher (similar to the 90-day plan in DC) but most administrators in most urban areas give "excellent" ratings to over 90% of the teachers. This is the main reason for ineffective teachers remaining in the classrooms. During all my years of teaching I honestly can't think of too many teachers who were given bad evaluations.

Gray sounds like a person who could keep the positive aspects of DC school reform while avoiding the insults hurled at all teachers. In addition to this, he understands factors that will bring true improvement to all children: high-quality preschool, health care, help for disruptive children, and new teachers with proven track records of success. The last thing DC needs are inexperienced teachers straight out of college.

There are several cities in the United States that have improved education for children without bashing the people who provide it. DC can do it too.

Posted by: Linda/RetiredTeacher | June 9, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

politicalrealist -

I have no doubt that Gray, like many others (including myself), wants to continue school reform, but does not associate it strictly with Rhee. I do think Gray would try to work with Rhee, but I don’t think Rhee wants to work with anyone but Fenty – she’s pretty much said she wouldn’t have taken the job unless she had the free rein he’s given her. The facts are that Rhee's popularity has declined greatly* since she came in. Fenty’s too.*

I think Gray and Rhee are both wise to not make a definitive statement about her fate after the election. I see no benefit for either of them to make a declaration about that right now.

* references in the order mentioned above.

Posted by: efavorite | June 9, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Any Mayor has the right to select their cabinet leadership. Adrian Fenty kept some of those originally appointed by Williams, as I am sure, if he wins, Gray will do the same.

However, what Rhee fans need to understand, is that the train doesn't stop because of one person. The show must go on. Rhee has the right to leave the city with or without notice as does the Mayor have the right to dismiss her with or without notice. That is just the way it is and should be.

Rhee may well stay in a Gray administration, however, SHE will have to accommodate HIS leadership style, not the other way around. She is not the person running for elected office, she is a government employee, not unlike any other government employee.

I presume that Gray, similar to Anthony Williams and vastly different than Adrian Fenty, would actually allow his cabinet leadership to do their jobs without executive micro-management. I think he would make them stand up for their own mistakes. (accountability) I believe he would hire qualified competent subject matter experts to lead government agencies and not clueless yes men/women who are intimidated by him.

The storybook of life will not end if Rhee decides to leave or if Gray decides not to keep here. Again, the train will keep on movin'.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | June 9, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse


The day after the primary is here. To our horror Fenty has won. Rhee leaves anyway. Of course she does, she has a husband waiting for her on the other side of the country---who happens to be a mayor of a major city. Rhee is only here Tuesday through Thursday and the travel will get to be too much. Now you still have Fenty but you don't have Rhee.

Because a team who would steal your money would be honest with you?

Gray wrote a lot of the legislation that they are working from in school reform. Give him a chance to impress you.

Politicalrealist is fibbing, Fenty could barely say AYP without looking at his blackberry must less understand what it means and how to achieve it. By the way annual yearly progress---it is the standard schools are measured by.

Posted by: 411Tibby | June 9, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse


Interesting tag, more like politicalmythologist.

In any case, you mean if we elect Gray, we not only get rid on Fenty, but Rhee and Lanier as well? We lose three incompetent preveracators with one vote! Awesome! Then perhaps we can get back to community policing after Lanier has returned to the dark ages, and real educatuion reform, like curriculum improvement and funding equity. Fenty is way worse than Barry ever was.

Posted by: mcstowy | June 9, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Hey Rhee fans, I am sure Rhee will work with Gray. Remember it all about the children. lol

Posted by: dccounselor72 | June 9, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Saying, "Gray or Rhee" is not the REAL bogus choice. The bogus choice is Rhee and reform or no Rhee and no reform.

Rhee has done a great job of manipulating numbers and talking tough. I don't want my kids to continue in DCPS if her leadership continues.

Posted by: letsbereal2 | June 9, 2010 7:32 PM | Report abuse

411tibby: AYP is "Adequate Yearly Progress" NOT "Annual Yearly Progress"..."annual" and "yearly" mean the same thing so "Annual Yearly Progress" is redundant.

We DCPS teachers aren't as stupid as people think we are.

Posted by: UrbanDweller | June 9, 2010 8:56 PM | Report abuse

Gray would keep Rhee. No doubt about it. His biggest problem will be explaining the gross mismanagement of Hum Services on his watch.
efav, if u will be at St. Columba's on Thursday, how will I recognize u to say hello? I will be in jeans, Birkenstoks, and an Obama T-shirt, with my red Prius parked across the street--with the Obama bumper sticker.

Posted by: axolotl | June 9, 2010 10:20 PM | Report abuse

@axolotl: Don't open that pandora's box. Gray most recently was the executive director of a non profit who provided necessary services to the District homeless population. If you go back to the 90's you are going back to a time when Adrian Fenty was an attorney assigned as trustee to a old man's estate. One that he was caught stealing from and reported to the D.C. Bar Association, whereby he was promptly sanctioned. More, from 2000-2006 he was a sitting council member who did not get a single piece of legislation passed in all that time. He was a functionary obstructionist who voted against nearly every initiative Mayor Anthony Williams put forth to drive progress in the city. Those same initiatives that he, today, attempts to take credit for. Projects born, bred and funded in the Williams Administration. Parks, Rec Centers, Libraries, Affordable Housing, DCPS Modernization, ALL were Williams initiatives. We don't have to go back to the 90's to uncover the incompetence of Fenty, the WP only need to fact check his recent lies to uncover the fraud he really and truly is.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | June 10, 2010 6:15 AM | Report abuse

concernedaboutdc--why do you advise not opening "the pandora's box" of Vince Gray's leadership of Human Services? That was, and is, his longest and most event-filled, stint as a public official.
It is also well documented.
Budgets--broken. Contracts--balled up, badly. Oversight of grantees and contractors and human services clients--a rich history in official documents and the press.
I would say it was a very tough job, and the place was a mess when he arrived--and when he left.
Regarding your allegations (smears?) about Fenty, all you gotta do is prove them. The guy is far from perfect and needs to make a lot of changes in his personal demeanor and communications, no doubt. With Vince, we get a guy easing into retirement who does not have the spine and energy to be a very effective mayor. He is fine where he is right now.

Posted by: axolotl | June 10, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

@axolotl: Fenty's theft of the estate money is a matter of public record with the D.C. Bar Association. That is not a smear, it is a fact.


The Department of Human Services when Gray was Director encompassed social programs totaling more than $1 billion in yearly spending -- ONE THIRD of the entire city budget at the time. What was under Gray's purview is now split between not only the human services department, but also the Department of Health, the Department of Health Care Finance, the Department on Disability Services, the Child and Family Services Agency, the Department of Mental Health, among other agencies. That wasn't just a tough job, it was impossible. Which is why the agency has been decentralized for better efficiency. Barry handed the Pratt-Kelly Administration a monstrous fiscal mess; clearly too far gone to correct before the feds stepped in to take control.

Let's recall, Gray was leading this agency when AIDS was just hitting the District HARD and people were dying in large numbers. It was Gray that was out there early on providing disposable needles and condoms, and enabling the District to stem the tide of HIV/AIDS at a rate much greater than any other urban metropolitan area. Under Gray, the infant mortality rate in the District, which was among the nations highest, was brought down.

When I say Fenty is opening pandora's box, I am saying that he is reaching back to the 90's to find fodder by which to criticize Gray. If one were to do that to Fenty. He would be looking square at the case he had before the D.C. Bar after stealing that man's estate money and the family reporting him. Moving into 2000 and proceeding to 2006 we'd be looking at Fenty's stint on the D.C. Council to which he, in that entire time, didn't get a single piece of legislation passed, but rather, served only to obstruct every initiative Williams presented to move the city forward. Fenty's legislative and voting record is public. Check it out.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | June 10, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

It is incredibly naive to suggest that Gray will do what's best for DCPS students. I lived through Barry and Kelly and NEVER AGAIN. Most DC politicians refuse to do what is right for DC children.

Posted by: bbcrock | June 10, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse


you should be concerned about Vince's campaigning behavior. Fenty calmly recited the damning facts of VG's leadership of Human Services at last night's forum. Vince achieved lift-off, jumped up from his chair, and completely lost his cool. this issue kept on coming up, and more Vince talked about it, with additional facts from Fenty, the worse Vince looked. He also said clearly very positive things about Rhee and made it clear he would try to work with her if he were Mayor. There were maybe 400 or more people in a hall made for 200 last night. Wild and raucous crowd.

At forums in other wards, the attendance was in the low tens.

Posted by: axolotl | June 11, 2010 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Tell me again..why should we listen to Lisa?

This tidbit has just as much weight if it came from Lisa Simpson or Lisa Pressley for that matter.

Just can't wait for Lisa "Remove herself" Raymond's analogy after the election.

Posted by: PowerandPride | June 11, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

I'm surprised there no mention is made here that Fenty was booed by the crowd of mainly white ward 3 voters. I saw it and the Post reported it.

I was surprised that so many of the people there supported Gray, and the changing clapping level suggests that Fenty was losing supporters as the forum progressed.

The Post is also reporting that Gray had a lot more donors this quarter than Fenty and actually brought in more money.

Posted by: efavorite | June 11, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

@axolotl: I am concerned about D.C. because I live and pay and incredible amount of taxes here. No matter who is in office.

I support Gray for reasons enunciated above. And, because I moved here during the Williams Administration and attended his many Citizen Summits at the Convention Center, I KNOW the initiatives that Williams labored for, many voted against by council member Adrian Fenty, that are now CLAIMED without credit by Mayor Fenty. I am speaking of Parks, Rec Centers, DCPS Modernization (1 bil. dollars set aside by Williams), affordable housing, living wages.

One only needs to look at Fenty's voting record on the Council to see how interested he was in "moving the city forward". He did all that he could to keep it at a stand still. I thank the gods that he had sense enough to stay out of the way of progress once in office. Say for the D.C. United Stadium deal in Ward 8, entered into by Anthony Williams, to which he promptly dishonored at the cost of jobs to the citizens of Ward 8.

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Posted by: rfghhjhk | June 13, 2010 10:25 PM | Report abuse

As a DCPS employee I now first hand that the success Rhee has been accredited with rides on the programs that Janey put into place before he left. The only REAL thing Rhee has done is fire qualified teachers. The Central Office has been cleaned out to make way for her people 90% of them who have no experience in Human Resources. The turn around rate for those hired is usually 3 months and these people are paid LARGE salaries. YOU ALL HAVE BEEN FOOLED IF YOU THINK FOR ONE MINUTE RHEE's PROGRAM IS WHAT YOU SEEE....You all should be thanking Clifford Janey whom Fenty didn't like and thats why he was replaced.

Posted by: ilovedip81 | June 14, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

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