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Gray still wants to sit down with Rhee

Her declaration of devastation not withstanding, mayor apparent Vincent C. Gray still wants a meeting with Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee. Speaking on the "The Kojo Nnamdi Show" this afternoon, Gray did not directly address her Wednesday night comment that this week's primary election result was "devastating" for the city's schoolchildren--nor her Friday morning clarification that she did not intend it as a criticism of the council chairman.

Gray stuck to his campaign answer, that he wanted to sort things out with her before he made a decision about the chancellor's post.

"I'm going to be true to my word and that I want to sit down with Michelle Rhee," said Gray. "I voted for her confirmation. I've worked with her....We worked very closely together. There are some days when we've done very well together, the other days, just by the nature of the process, when it's been contentious. But that's to be expected. That's the nature of the business we're in....I want to hear from her what's important to her with respect to continuing with reform."

Gray had nothing to say about potential replacements. As for former D.C. Board of Education president Robert Bobb--an attendee at his primary night party--Gray said he has not spoken to him in months. Bobb is currently the emergency financial director for Detroit Public Schools.

Gray did say, however, that blacks were underrepresented in top education and public safety jobs, and that he wanted a cabinet "that looks like the city."

He said the teacher firings on Rhee's watch were painful because of the place educators hold in the black community.

"People saw a lot of African-American teachers going out the door," he said. "Frankly teaching is one of the most revered professionals in this city. In the African-American community there are few positions, professional positions, that are more revered than that."

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By Bill Turque  | September 17, 2010; 4:08 PM ET
Categories:  Michelle Rhee  
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I understand his statement that the firings were painful due to the fact that a large portion of teachers are African American, but what is he suggesting should have been done differently--fire people based on race rather than competence?

Posted by: horacemann | September 17, 2010 5:36 PM | Report abuse

No, Horacemann, Mr Gray is suggesting that a lot of very good teachers were fired for political reasons that had nothing to do with their competence. Can you wrap your mind around that possibility?

Other than her insistence that all experienced teachers are presumptive incompetents, there is no evidence at all that the generation of community leaders Rhee fired and defamed were worse teachers than the cronies she replaced them with. She did it to establish her grip.

Rhee was caught out a number of times inflating the "progress" in test scores in schools after she handed them over to her for-profit allies. The claim of a "double digit improvement" in proficiency is offensively condescending - a leap from 36% to 40% is a double digit percentage increase!

Demographic analysis of the areas where the "reformers" claim improvements in scores shows they used the favorite "reform" trick in their book: test wealthier kids. No, there is no golden age now, and it is a lie that no good ever came of public education before Rhee and her patrons got her heel on its throat.

Posted by: mport84 | September 17, 2010 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Hmmmm... How many of the teachers that received raises were black? How many teachers retained were black? If the majority of those two groups were black, where does the argument about the firings go? I really don't know the answers, just asking.

Posted by: eor11 | September 17, 2010 6:54 PM | Report abuse

The real question is: how many teachers of any race were fired for competency issues before Rhee?

Posted by: streff | September 17, 2010 7:38 PM | Report abuse

The real question is: how many teachers of any race were fired for competency issues before Rhee?

Posted by: streff | September 17, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse

To Horacemann- do you know how many reasons she GAVE for these firings? The budget, no incompetence, no uh ... well...
Oh IMPACT- yeah, they weren't competent according to my very recent assessment tool. I hope she's packing now, because this would NEVER happen in my city.

Posted by: Onpoint3 | September 17, 2010 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Mayor Gray, with all due respect ...


Mr. Mayor, if you say anything to Rhee, it should be:

"Thank you for your service to city. I wish you all the best in your future endeavors. Security will carry your belongings out to your car. Leave your ID card at the front desk. But you can take your masking tape."

Mayor, you (and the City) will be Rhee-lieved once that is over.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | September 17, 2010 9:05 PM | Report abuse

*Sigh* Here we go...

"Gray did say, however, that blacks were underrepresented in top education and public safety jobs, and that he wanted a cabinet "that looks like the city."

Yeah, I bet. Code word for 99% of central office employees being black - just like it was before Rhee. Before Rhee, I *never* saw someone who worked at the front office who was not black. Not once. I didn't hear Gray saying that the staff should "look like the city" at that point.

Posted by: alertcitizen1 | September 17, 2010 10:59 PM | Report abuse

Rhee should give Mr. Gray her resignation after their sit down meeting and move forward to Sacramento, California.

It's ok for Rhee to say "GOOD Luck and GOOD Bye to Mayor Gray!" All of DCPS students and parents deserve better and a qualified Superintendent.

Mr. Gray will appoint individuals with integrity, character and leadership in his administration.

Enough is Enough!!

Posted by: sheilahgill | September 17, 2010 11:45 PM | Report abuse

People on this blog want to twist Gray's words which is unfortunate. Certainly the racists are coming out in full force and effect. For those who want to believe what they want to believe about the firings, nothing will change your mind. Many DC teachers were fired because that was part of Rhee's education plan to get rid of a significant share of our workforce. Teachers were fired without observations which were required and there were teachers who were targeted by principals who abused power amongst other things. Many probationary teachers were fired in Rhee's tenure not due to performance but simply because principals were given this option by Rhee and company. Teachers of all races have been fired while there has been a disparate impact on African Americans. Also many at will DCPS employees have been fired in the central office as well.

Gray is aware of the many complaints that have been filed with EEOC and Office of Employee Appeals. I believe that in the many hearings at the council and his contacts with education stakeholders, Gray is responding to our concerns to look into what has happened with many of the wrongful terminations of DCPS employees. I believe that in Mr. Gray we will have a mayor who wants to represent all of his constituents not just the affluent white people in DC . This is how it should be.

Posted by: teacherspet | September 18, 2010 8:35 AM | Report abuse

Vinent Gray is so much calmer, smarter and wiser than his opponents and his detractors have believed him to be.

And he actually would mean it if he said “I say what I mean and I mean what I say,” as Rhee told Bill Turque in an interview on July 2nd, 2010. (thank you efavorite).

I am pleased that he will meet with Michelle, like he said he would. And I am also confident that they will sit down together and speak very candidly, as this meeting will not be before the cameras.

And, I am absolutely sure that Vince is going to make Michelle "an offer she can't refuse."

To call Rhee a lame-duck would be an understatement. Don't be surprised if Michelle is gone before, or immediately following the November 2nd, 2010 General Election. She will not be at Vince Gray"s Inaugural Ball.

Then I get to smoke my second cigar this year.

Posted by: AGAAIA | September 18, 2010 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately Bill Gates, the Walton Foundation and many other powerful entities (including well known reporters) are going to pressure Gray to retain Rhee.

Washington DC needs to resist the pressure of these people who want to dominate DC. DC needs to band together to resist their power.

Posted by: educationlover54 | September 19, 2010 3:19 AM | Report abuse

Gray should tell Rhee, "It would be devastating for the children of DCPS if you were allowed to continue to exploit them for your own political and personal reasons, so you are now relieved of your duties. Have a nice life."

Posted by: shame_the_devil | September 19, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

We should not look further than Spingarn for the next Supt for DCPS, "Mr Turn Around Principal Gary Washington"
has put in place a reform model at Spingarn that deserve aknowledgement. And one can only wonder why we do not hear more about his success in the small amount of time he has been at Spingarn

Posted by: educatededucator | September 19, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

How refreshing to have somebody who talks and acts like an adult instead of a petulent, spoiled child!

Posted by: dz159 | September 19, 2010 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Can't wait to see the unholy trinity (Rhee, Fenty, Nickles) ride off into the sunset. Happy trails, y'all!

Posted by: schooletal | September 20, 2010 2:03 AM | Report abuse

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