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Victor Reinoso speaks

Deputy mayor for education Victor Reinoso is usually the man of few public words in the District schools debate. With Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee and Mayor Adrian M. Fenty commanding the microphone, Reinoso is mostly seen but not heard, keeping whatever thoughts he has off-the -record or behind closed doors. His highest public profile usually comes at the excruciating budget and oversight hearings where D.C. Council Chairman and mayoral candidate Vincent C. Gray seems to hammer him for everything except the old chewing gum under student desks.

But with primary day drawing near, even Reinoso is speaking up, in the form of a piece last week in Andy Rotherham's Eduwonk blog. Reinoso speaks from the perspective of both his current position and as a former member of the old D.C. Board of Education in the days before mayoral control.

"As I see it, the recent progress in student achievement has not happened by accident, or because of some grand, genius plan," he wrote. "Rather, leaders stuck to some fundamental principles: Be unafraid to try something new. If it's in the best interests of kids, do it. Process, while important, cannot be the enemy of reform." That last sentence is a not-so-subtle jab at Gray, who says that the Fenty-Rhee regime has disrespected the process by not bringing more of the community into the conversation.

As an example of the lack of leadershaip or political will in the pre-mayoral control era, Reinoso recounts an attempt to close a significant number of under-enrolled schools.

"Back then, we met with school administrators and debated the data, the process, and the plan. Eventually we agreed on a recommended course of action for the superintendent. Yet by the time the plan was ready for a vote, it had been butchered and watered down because of the need to please so many adults and different agendas. We went from a plan to close about 20 schools to a proposal to close six."

You can read the rest here.

By Bill Turque  |  August 9, 2010; 4:00 PM ET
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I've had two comments on the eduwonk site "awaiting moderation" for two days. Perhaps someone here would have better luck posting them on my behalf? Would appreciate it if you gave it a try. Here's one of them, below

from efavorite to DCPSteacherandParent,

You say, “The more supportive and less condemning we are of a team and system that works non-stop to improve the system and the students and teachers it serves every year, the better the results we’ll yield.”

This has a totalitarian ring to me –as if you’re telling people not to criticize the efforts underway. Is what Ms. Rhee is doing above criticism, unlike anything else in our democratic society? Is the system she’s building so delicate that mere words meant to help could harm it? I thought she was tough. But apparently if she doesn’t get everything exactly her way, she’ll leave. She’s threatened us and some people are frightened by it.

You say, ” the will to strive for improvement in the form of improved quality of teaching and learning, health services, social supports, and facilities has been unwavering and inspiringly strong.”

I say, show me. Platitudes are easy. What health services and social supports has Rhee installed in the schools? She’s made it perfectly clear that “teachers are everything” nothing more is needed to improve student achievement. Facilities are not her bailiwick and she cannot take any credit for them. If you live in DC, you know that’s the responsibility of Allen Lew. Are you really from DC, are did you come her to spread more platitudes?

You say, “Missteps have occurred, but aren’t those to be expected?
Missteps?? Like saying she’d RIFd teachers who had sex with children? This is no slip of the tongue. Like RIFing teachers because of a budget deficit, then finding the money later to use for something else? Like lying about test scores?

Some missteps.

And then your admonition, “Who amongst you can cast the first stone?” As if only a perfect person could possibly criticize Michelle Rhee.

Posted by: efavorite | August 9, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Are these Reinoso's words or stolen from someone else? Remember the educational plan he stole.

Posted by: bnew100 | August 9, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Here's the other one I couldn't post there. bnew - could you try to post it? Also, how about posting the DCPS school insider link other there - could get some good cross talk.
Dear Reform Fan — You mention the importance of backing up statements with facts, then fail to do it yourself. Here are facts with verification. Please check them out.

Until 2009, student achievement scores in DC had been going up slowly and steadily for over 10 years up under 6 different superintendents? You can verify it by going to:
then clicking on “District of Columbia” and scrolling to the bottom.

It’s not a secret, but Rhee doesn’t talk about it, except to take personal credit for the gain that happened on her watch. She also doesn’t mention that the achievement gap has widened on her watch. She used to talk a lot about their intention to close the gap, but fell silent about it, when the gap widened. The Post reported on it once:

Rhee is also pretty quiet about the fact the elementary scores dropped in 2010. She mentioned it once last month, when announcing preliminary local DC-CAS achievement scores (just released to the public yesterday). Nonetheless, Rhee – and the Washington Post – have revived the refrain of improving scores, as if the bad news never happened. If you want verification, you can read about it here:

Key sentence: “After two years of significant gains across the D.C. school system, elementary students lost ground in reading and math test scores this year, a setback to Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee as she seeks to overhaul the city’s schools.”

Posted by: efavorite | August 9, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

@efavorite, Excellent! Victor Reinoso, is a fraud, just like Rhee/Fenty/Parker. These people have been covering for the chancellor for four years. I am so tired of lying people who constantly make mistakes, and nothing is done about it. From the fired teacher in October, 2009, to the low test scores from last school year. This is what happens when you employ Pinocchio and the Wicked Witch from the East.
@benew100, Right-on!

Posted by: fivetogo | August 9, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

you used h t t p, which is a no-no.
The same sometimes happens at Jay Mathews.
blind http links could be used for phishing.

Posted by: phillipmarlowe | August 9, 2010 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Thought question for efavorite and phillipmarlowe and urbandweller:

if Gray were to win the primary, one year year from now (Aug 2011), what changes (completed actions) would be evident in DCPS? Just the top three.

Posted by: axolotl | August 9, 2010 7:21 PM | Report abuse

I have now lost all respect for Reinoso in a professional capacity. To be honest I did not have much respect for him after he plagiarized his plan and vision for DCPS. Really how moronic and pathetic was that?????

Rhee has spent the last few years bullying and intimidating her employees and spent more time trashing teachers in the press than anything else.

To make matters worse she spins and manipulates everything so that as a DCPS parent I no longer believe anything that comes out of her mouth.

Posted by: letsbereal2 | August 9, 2010 7:31 PM | Report abuse

@axolotl Just curious

Did your child's school make AYP this year? And if not, how many teachers were fired?

Posted by: bnew100 | August 9, 2010 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Thanks to PhillipMarlowe for posting my comments and to dccounselor for linking to this site and to all for responding to eduwonk.

I hope that blog is widely read. I'm getting pretty sick of the Rhee-Fenty disinformation campaign.

On another (important) subject -- Hey, Bill -- when are you going to write your big investigative article on the 2010 DC-CAS results?

Posted by: efavorite | August 9, 2010 8:38 PM | Report abuse

Here's a humorous PR piece:
Dr. Leigh-Davis, Popular Legal Analyst, Expounds on the Unprecedented 241 D.C. Teachers Fired; While a Guest on The Mel Robbins Show

Dr. Leigh-Davis, media personality and legal analyst, expresses her acquiescence with Chancellor Rhee’s firings, live on The Mel Robbins Show.

Los Angeles, CA, August 09, 2010 --( Dr. Leigh-Davis was recently a legal expert on an episode of “The Mel Robbins Show,” which was focused on Washington, D.C. schools, Chancellor Michelle Rhee’s recent firing of 241 teachers, under a new evaluation system that holds teachers accountable for student test scores. Like Mel Robbins, Dr. Leigh-Davis is a retired attorney who hosts a talk radio show, which is called “The Real Deal.”

Dr. Leigh-Davis praised Chancellor Michelle Rhee for taking a tough stand and executing the unprecedented firing of 241 teachers. Dr. Leigh-Davis reasoned, “As Chancellor Rhee points out, we must do what is best for the children, even if it is not the most popular thing to do. Furthermore, if Chancellor Rhee successfully implements a better force of teachers, which produce higher test scores; we will see record firings repeated throughout the country.” Dr. Leigh-Davis went on to point out; the D.C. school system has been reported as being one of the worst in the country. (“Fixing D.C.’s Schools, a Washington Post Investigation” Washington Post, 2007; “As an educator myself, I am not only concerned about D.C.’s failures with respect to other schools in the nation; I am seriously concerned about the failures in our nation’s education system, when compared to other countries, especially in the subjects of math and science,” Dr. Leigh-Davis elaborated. Although Dr. Leigh-Davis is an educator at the postgraduate level, she is actively involved as a volunteer in the fight to end illiteracy in the United States, as well as, the world.

In conclusion, Dr. Leigh-Davis joked, “Probably, Americans start out with a disadvantage in math and science, because we are still taught to use the antiquated Old English system of weights and measures. The fact that only drug dealers in the United States use the metric system, is bizarre and is a topic for another full one-hour radio show.”

Archived episodes of “The Mel Robbins Show” can be found on Mel Robbins’ website. Dr. Leigh-Davis appeared as a legal expert on “The Mel Robbins Show” on Tuesday, August 3, 2010.

In addition to being a full-time law professor at Yuin University; Dr. Leigh-Davis is a retired attorney and a popular media personality who frequently appears on top television news programs as a Legal Analyst and Legal Commentator. Dr. Leigh-Davis’ live radio show “The Real Deal” is on Blog Talk Radio every Wednesday at 10 P.M. Pacific Time.

Posted by: edlharris | August 10, 2010 12:00 AM | Report abuse

What, exactly, does Victor Reinoso do all day except act like the mayor's hand puppet?

Posted by: dccitizen1 | August 10, 2010 3:08 AM | Report abuse

Reinoso should have remained quiet for there are even those who support Fenty who see the complete waste of taxpayer dollars his office really is. The District does not need an empowered Chancellor that reports directly to the Mayor AND a Deputy Mayor of Education. Duh!!!

Thus, the council sought to defund his office. It really served no purpose. Now that he is making it into being a campaign tool for a public official. It has dived into the illegal world of Hatch Act violations.

Yet another reason to boot the incumbent Mayor.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | August 10, 2010 6:40 AM | Report abuse

Reinoso speaks? A few weeks before the primary and he finally wants someone to know he's there? WHO CARES? He has an opinion? WHO CARES? He's just another crony that gets paid to do nothing. That I care about. One more reason to get rid of Fenty.

Posted by: candycane1 | August 10, 2010 6:55 AM | Report abuse

Visual....Reinoso at a hearing with Kwame Brown as the Chairman. Stop laughing!!!

Visual 2...Reinoso trying to save his job with Gray. Stop laughing!!!!

Visual 3...Fenty, Rhee and Reinoso...looking at Gray, Brown and Briggs. Guess who getting the last laugh?

Posted by: PowerandPride | August 10, 2010 8:53 AM | Report abuse

The Schools should only teach the Metric System, if the bloody foolish employers want their employees to know the antiquated Imperial System then the employer should teach the employees themselves. Having forcing Americans to use two incompatible tools and hardware is not cost competitively against a World that only use One Metric Measurement System. Wasteful Americans will never compete with the rest of the World.

Posted by: ScrewWallStreet | August 15, 2010 9:24 AM | Report abuse

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