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Parents react to Michelle Rhee's departure

My colleagues Nick Anderson and Jenna Johnson were at D.C. schools Wednesday morning, gauging reaction to news of Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee's departure. As always, she drew a mixed response.

"I was supportive of Michelle Rhee's reforms. But I gotta tell you, she didn't go out on a high note. The way she handled the last six weeks left a bad taste in my mouth. I want someone who's going to continue reforms, but who's about the kids, not an ego trip," said Brian Cohen, 42, father of two first- and fifth- grade boys at Stoddert Elementary in Glover Park.

"It's a loss," said Deirdre McAllister, 45, a government worker and Stoddert parent. "She had to make some hard decisions, and in a lot of cases she made the right decisions. There are a lot of people in the schools who probably weren't certified to do their jobs. It was really strong of her to remove those who were ineffective. ...This should be the model for the rest of the country. It's not yet, but maybe it will be."

"I figured this was coming," said Ugenia Bagley, whose daughter is a first-grader at Thomas Elementary in Northeast Washington. "She was okay. A lot of people had problems with her. I don't have many problems with her. She got some schools in order that weren't in order."

"It is actually a good thing," said Marcus Perry, who has four children at Thomas Elementary. "Parents will be excited about this... You don't want to be excited because someone lost their job."

By Bill Turque  | October 13, 2010; 9:27 AM ET
Categories:  Michelle Rhee  
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Comments

Only in the District -- parents willingly vote for worse-off schools. Christ almighty.

Posted by: tracker2 | October 13, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Contrary to some popular assumptions, most teachers and nearly all parents want excellent schools. The problem with Rhee was she made unnecessary enemies with her acerbic approach, and crowning herself "Queen of the Hill" didn't help. The struggle for great public schools will continue, only this time let's hope Civics 101 is not the first course dropped. For more on my experiences as a DCPS teacher/parent, see my blog at teachermandc.com.

Posted by: dcproud1 | October 13, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

I'm with mix emotions about her leaving. It's a way you go about doing things. Glad that her deputy is stepping in which will allow efforts to continue. I voted for Gray becuase of Fentys actions outside of education not Rhee! I'm sick of hearing people say it was because of her. I'm sure everyone who has a child in DCPS as I do wants education reform. And for Fenty not to put his own children in their neignorhood school speaks volumes as to what he really thinks about reform. Personally, I think Rhee is another Sarah Palin, she quits her post for the fame and populartiy. I'm sure she will get speaking jobs and rack in millions just like her.

Posted by: mikiacurrie | October 13, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

D.C. schools' and voters put POLITICS BEFORE Education! Now they lose a very gifted person in Michelle Rhee.
They voted out a fantastic mayor, and now with Chancellor Rhee leaving, they're back to square one.
D.C. obviously Isn't Ready for reform.
They're still in denial about what the real problems are.

Posted by: ohioan | October 13, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

She was arrogant just like her boss. With all her power she didn't even know how to engage with people that mattered and because of the many mistakes she made it over shadows the work she did. She definitely should have taken a PR and communications course before she took the job in DC. I'm elated she is leaving. She's just one person and like Vincent Gray I don't believe she's the only person that could do that job.

Posted by: ania2007 | October 13, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Have you listened to the video clips on the Post site!? "Maybe the teachers can get their jobs back now." "She closed schools." "They haven't built any rec centers or done anything to fix the schools." Is this really representative of the DC parent population? I don't think so and hope not.

Posted by: horacemann | October 13, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

MICHELLE RHEE is a
MENDACIOUS, MEGALOMANIAC FRAUD

(reference to post
by thooker65):

Read about the scam testing procedures,
described below ! ---

"My daughter participated in the D.C.
Saturday Scholar program for nearly two years.
After I found out that she was only 1 of a few students from each school that had above average skills in learning, (Talented and Gifted), were asked to participate in that program. She along with other students that processed that higher level of learning were in this class to take the test (the NAEP exam
a national assessment, deliberately administered to only a selected 'sample group' of DCPS students) --which was then manipulated to artificially bolster DCPS test score ratings, as a whole district.
So how does that make the school system
better (?!), if only this selected group of smarter kids bring up the school standings (via a clandestine process)?
After I found out what was going on, I removed my daughter from that program. I’m pretty sure that Michelle Rhee would like to take credit for the
better scores, but did anyone really look into that smoke screen of what was really going on, I can only imagine -- and when I found out about the program I felt sick to my stomach.

=========================

Posted by: newmanagement2 | October 13, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

I do hope that with Rhee gone an accurate, honest assessment can be made of her time as chancellor. There is a reason there is a $30 million dollar deficit and that reason is the overspending by Michelle Rhee on outside contractors, the raises given to her deputies and aides, as well as bonuses laid out for them as well. Her accomplishments are a mixed bag with a lot of the good being overshadowed by the bad as well as by her behavior.

I believe her time here will be seen as one, grand, wasted opportunity to create long-lasting, effective change. She created change, that is undeniable, but the key words "effective" and "long-lasting" cannot be applied to the changes she wrought.

Had she been reflective, as true teachers need to be, had she been more open to the thoughts of others instead of lost in the light of her own brilliance, had she been truly about the children instead of her own ego and pocket-book, DCPS would still have her as a leader and there might actually be some true accomplishments, instead of trumped up announcements about incremental gains.

Posted by: adcteacher1 | October 13, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse

The interim chancellor may be willing to work with people who disagree with her. This is something Rhee was unwilling to do.

Those who make real change are willing to work with those who disagree with them.

I disagree with Kayla Henderson's support of Rhee's ideas, but if she can work with people who disagree with her - she will do a good job.

Posted by: jlp19 | October 14, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

I find it funny that people from other cities/states feel as if they know whats best for the kids here. Why name call if we dont agree with you? Get some business!

Posted by: missboo | October 14, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

I've done an extended analysis on Rhee on the Root.com under the same I-address. After reading the above comments the overall sentiment is that she didn't understand PR and relationships. I could tell that stressing academics over socialization was "doomed before it began." Knowledge can always be acquired because it's individual but social skills must be learned and practiced at the RIGHT (st)age. If you have knowledge but not social skills, education has failed you. As a Catholic school product, I saw what tough-love did to destroy our social being as they drummed knowledge into our thick skulls and not empathy toward our fellow-students and fellow humans. I taught exactly the opposite of the way I was taught and it worked! Teaching is easy when you have the right attitude toward your students and fellow-(wo)men.

Posted by: ronjayaz | October 14, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Folks, Michelle Rhee is so yesterday.

Let's talk about the next neoliberal domino to fall, the for-profit "sub-prime universities" like The Washington Post Company's Kaplan University Empire. The stock is down another 9% today. Check out this story on the freefall of the parasitic universities from Bloomberg today.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-10-14/apollo-group-s-forecast-withdrawal-drags-down-for-profit-education-shares.html

Posted by: natturner | October 14, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

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