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Kaya Henderson, 'private citizen'

As promised by mayor apparent Vincent C. Gray, interim chancellor-in-waiting Kaya Henderson came to his Ward 2 town meeting Thursday evening at Foundry United Methodist Church on 16th St. NW. Although she showed up with DCPS family and public engagement chief Peggy O'Brien as her wing woman, Henderson said she was there strictly as a private citizen. She took a seat in the audience and uttered not a peep.

O'Brien explained that because of concerns about the Hatch Act, which limits the political activity of federal and District employees, Henderson would be just another interested resident at the meetings as long as Gray was still a candidate. That distinction lasted about five minutes into the session, however, when Council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2), the evening's host, announced that "the new chancellor of our D.C. school system, Kaya Henderson, is here." (Someone needs to tell Evans that Henderson's first name is pronounced with the first "a" sounding like an "i, not "Kaaaya.")

In any event, Henderson worked her way through the crowd with ease before and after the meeting, drawing a swarm of warm congratulations and hugs.


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By Bill Turque  | October 15, 2010; 4:38 PM ET
 
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Comments

Henderson hired the TFA’s and NEW LEADERS. Both groups were inexperienced and not qualified for urban education. We need new teachers who are “highly qualified” and experienced. We should not accept the least experienced teachers (TFA’s) for the most challenging schools.

Kaya Henderson should also catch the same plane or train out of DC. Her resume indicates she has NO experience and does not have any unique skills or competences that would ensure a successful DCPS. There is NO evidence of Kaya Henderson being a “certified” teacher or “licensed” principal of a school. We must have an experienced and fully qualified leader with a proven track record of success.


We the parents have spoken and this Rhee’s experiment is over. Rhee had no future in DC and she was a liability to the future of our students and parents. DC needs a true educator that has actually walked in the shoes of a principal and a teacher. Education reform in DC deserves far better than the Michelle Rhee or Kaya Henderson model.

Posted by: hello101 | October 16, 2010 6:40 AM | Report abuse

hello101--perhaps you should open your mind a little to consider other than standard job candidates. After all, legions of ed. PhDs and degreed teachers, all with oodles of experience, led DCPS to its awful state when Rhee showed up. Many of the decades of DCPS administrators were demonstrably incompetent and deaf to urgent needs. And they did not evaluate teachers with any effect, thus the large number who need(ed) either professional development and retraining, or new jobs in other fields.

Walking "in the shoes" of a teacher or principal is perhaps not as essential as being, say, an alert, involved parent who can objectively analyze the quality of educators and their supervisors. Visit your local DC public school and talk to the staff; see what your impressions are. See if you are satisfied. Look at the messes licensed/certified/experienced ones have delivered all over the nation. People from other governmental, NGO, and, yes, business, backgrounds, can all make major contributions. If we had to depend on teachers and principals with only public school experience alone, we would be condemned to failure.

Gray has good reasons to retain Kaya H. If you want to root for failure and continue posturing as a victim of various plots and schemes, you should move to throw everyone out, including Gray.

Posted by: axolotl | October 16, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Hopefully she will listen to school employees from the very lowest to the very highest level. And parents as well.

Perhaps Ms. Henderson will listen to the people who live in the city over the Bill Gates, the billionaire boy's club, and other false reformers.

Posted by: jlp19 | October 16, 2010 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Hello, Hello 101,

I'm not sure what your first-hand experience with DCPS is. But I can tell you for a fact that my kids' worst teachers were 20-year veterans. The best? A first-year just out of college who came out of a rigorous private school background.

The teaching profession draws from the bottom third of high school graduates in this country. Until the mid-1970s, the teaching profession was essentially subsidized by discrimination: large numbers of very smart women and minorities went into teaching because of a lack of opportunity. Not so today.

So those "highly trained and experienced" teachers that you tout? Most of them have middling academic backgrounds and achievement, and they are one of the primary reasons our education system is crumbling.

Posted by: trace1 | October 17, 2010 8:17 AM | Report abuse

How Rhee's & Henderson's
clueless and oblivious antics undermined my child's school

from a concerned
DCPS parent:

re: Michelle Rhee’s “mom friendly” comment,
prepared specifically for the Oprah show, about
moms not tolerating mediocre teachers being given time to grow and develop professionally. “Well ---
The unqualified, needing-to-grow-professionally,
TFA principal that Rhee PUSHED on our school, despite protests from a panel of engaged, informed, truly progressive, professional educators and parents with advanced degrees in education . . . . . (this TFA principal) hired and protected even more inexperienced, unqualified teachers who will take YEARS to develop into true professionals. But the principal and those teachers all know how to say “yes” to their boss. Too bad they don’t know the basics of how children learn, or the nuances of curriculum and instruction. It is hard, hard work indeed to have to reprogram my kids every day after school, to get them to embrace and understand learning again. Rhee’s influential, BAD decisions and practices, more than ANY OTHER failure of the DC Public School system, has me on the verge of pulling my kids out of school. Rhee embarrassed herself mightily at the DC screening of this film (”Waiting for Wall Street Super-scammers”) with her comment insulting DC voters. My kids, and the
350 others in their school, will not be devastated at all when she leaves. We assume she will head
to the business world for which she may have
more appropriate skills.”
—————————————---

Posted by: honestpolicy | October 17, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

How Rhee's & Henderson's clueless and oblivious
antics undermined my child's school

from a concerned
DCPS parent:

re: Michelle Rhee’s “mom friendly” comment,
prepared specifically for the Oprah show, about
moms not tolerating mediocre teachers being given time to grow and develop professionally. “Well ---
The unqualified, needing-to-grow-professionally,
TFA principal that Rhee PUSHED on our school, despite protests from a panel of engaged, informed, truly progressive, professional educators and parents with advanced degrees in education . . . . . (this TFA principal) hired and protected even more inexperienced, unqualified teachers who will take YEARS to develop into true professionals. But the principal and those teachers all know how to say “yes” to their boss. Too bad they don’t know the basics of how children learn, or the nuances of curriculum and instruction. It is hard, hard work indeed to have to reprogram my kids every day after school, to get them to embrace and understand learning again. Rhee’s influential, BAD decisions and practices, more than ANY OTHER failure of the DC Public School system, has me on the verge of pulling my kids out of school.
Rhee embarrassed herself mightily at the DC screening of this film (”Waiting for Wall Street Super-scammers”) --
with her comment insulting DC voters.
My kids, and the 350 others
in their school, will not be devastated at all
when she leaves.
We assume she will head
to the business world for which she may have
more appropriate skills.”

—————————————---

Posted by: honestpolicy | October 17, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

I believe I have endured eight superintendents (including acting) since my children first entered DCPS in 1995. Each began with much fanfare and appeared to be hard workers. But somewhere in the push from here to there, each stumbled, or fumbled, or both. I am hoping Ms. Henderson will be inclusive and lift the debate to firmer ground. For my take on teaching in DCPS, please visit my blog at teachermandc.com.

Posted by: dcproud1 | October 18, 2010 7:33 AM | Report abuse

Well first of all, Ms. Henderson needs to cut the cord of Peggy O'Brien as this woman is not the wing, let's try the butt. If anyone needed to be present with Ms. Henderson is someone from her legal-counsel and not a person from parent-engagement.

Word of advice Kaya the statement that the management team will stay in place, needs to be re-tooled. First get rid of those imbeciles who was responsible for the year long search for one high-school principal. Secondly, kick to the curb the parent engagement coordinator (Peg), who has apparently pissed-off the DC-chapter of the PTA. Thirdly, the instructional superintendents job descriptions surely need to be shredded and the paper used for packing materials for them departing.

Posted by: PowerandPride | October 18, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

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