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.
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