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Vince Gray's McChrystal moment

D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray has come a long way in his answer to questions about the future of Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee should he be elected mayor. In April, he invoked "burnout" and the rigors of Rhee's planned commuter marriage to Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson as reasons she might not want to continue in her job.

Gray continues to finesse the question of whether he would retain Rhee --assuming she'd stay. But his response, offered Monday night at the Young Education Professionals' would-be debate, can best be described as the modified McChrystal.

When President Obama sacked the commanding general of U.S. forces in Afghanistan last week for comments he and his staff made in a Rolling Stone article, he addressed fears that a sudden change in leadership would undermine U.S. strategy in the region. "War is bigger than any one man or woman, whether a private, a general or a president," he said.

Here's Gray Monday night:

"We all benefited from the leadership that she's provided...." he said of Rhee. "But I don't think that's the right question. I don't think the question is about whether you keep Michelle Rhee or not. The question is how to broaden the embracing of education reform so that it doesn't just come down to one or two people in the District of Columbia. It shouldn't just come down to the mayor. It shouldn't just come down to the chancellor. It should come down to an entire city that recognizes that we needed to do things differently than we were doing them, that the gradualism and incrementalism that was afoot in the District of Columbia simply wasn't changing our children's lives in the ways they needed to be changed....If I had decided not to keep Michelle Rhee, I would say so. That's not the issue at this point."

There was a brief silence as the audience in the Naval Heritage Center Auditorium took in what he said, followed by applause.

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By Bill Turque  |  June 29, 2010; 8:42 AM ET
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Yes, we should, “move forward”. With or without Ms. Rhee – doesn’t matter. From my perspective, the whole idea is to get the community to come together to make changes for the benefit of the students. We need leaders, not dictators. Thanks for covering this story.

Posted by: Concerned_Citizen2 | June 29, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Really, Bill, Modified McChrystal? Comparing Gray to the most vilified character in the news this week?

How about instead of opining, you use this column to report on what "private campaign events" Fenty attended instead of participating in the education forum and tell us when those other events were scheduled.


Posted by: efavorite | June 29, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

I thought he did a tongue in cheek comparison with Rhee as McChrystal and Gray as Obama...maybe I misread it. If Fenty blew off the education forum for a private fund raiser, now that IS news.

Posted by: Concerned_Citizen2 | June 29, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for at least saying what happened.

I do not find Rhee to be a game changer for me whether he chose to keep or drop her like a hot rock.

Rhee initially copped to the fact most of the plan she is following belonged to Dr. Janey. She made the tough decisions some good and some very bad.

The chancellor needed in the future has to have a subject matter understanding beyond her level. And I honestly don't believe her when she says she staying. Commuter wedding to say the least. She is barely here more than a few days a week. And who could blame her.

I don't think good things are coming for her if she stays. Let say no one is elected---Fenty is indicted and the election had no clear winner --she would not stay a day later.

But I am not concerned with just my square of the cities and just my issues. I have a nice recreation center than Mayor Williams built but ..I am concerned about DC General turning away the poor. I have a check coming in but what about the near 30 percent in ward 8.I am told schools are improving but is that because we are improving the quality or changing the demographic because the achievement gap is growing.

Crime is going down --but not juvenile crime which is on a strong upswing.

We paid 4 million dollars for an underused bike rack at Union Station but we still not closer to being a truly green city.

I want us to be a truly Green City with reusable energy, more trees and reliable modes of transportation. Fenty is wasting my money and vanity projects that are not even well thought out (cough) Street car. As an H street resident my taxes in the immediate area may go up to fund. Just ducky.

Posted by: Fatmanny | June 29, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Efavorite: I agree with you 100% on this one. I'd like to know where he was as well. A little harsh Bill!! Also, since he missed the opportunity to debate on his #1 priority, that debate should be over. the fact that he blew it should stay up front all the way to September.

Posted by: candycane1 | June 30, 2010 12:37 AM | Report abuse

If Fenty went to a fundraiser...wouldn't that just prove why has 3 million dollars in his war-chest and Gray does not. Yes, wouldn't one think, those who gave this hypothetical fundraiser just might have the same number one priority as in our schools too. I do believe if Gray had a big-money-making fundraising activity presented on that day...he too would have been a no-show. Isn't this the primaries, where are the other candidates?

Posted by: PowerandPride | June 30, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

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