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Interim chancellor Henderson steps up

By Bill Turque

Interim D.C. Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson officially planted her interim flag Wednesday morning in a brief message to DCPS parents, pledging a seamless transition from the Michelle Rhee era.

"Many of you know me well," the former Rhee deputy said. "A 13-year resident of the District, I've worked side-by-side with Michelle Rhee for nearly four years to shape the turnaround of our public schools."

Here's the full statement:

This week, I begin serving as your new Interim Chancellor of D,C, Public Schools. Although my title may be different, my steadfast dedication to reforming education in the district remains unchanged.

Many of you know me well. A 13-year resident of the District, I've worked side-by-side with Michelle Rhee for nearly four years to shape the turnaround of our public schools. With your unwavering support, we've all seen reform pivot education in our city - and we're going to keep going!

The DCPS management team remains intact and focused on continuing reform. And we know that we can count on you to continue this journey with us.

I am excited about the success that we will continue to achieve together. I am equally excited that my tenure begins with our district-wide celebration honoring highly effective educators. A "Standing Ovation for DC Teachers" recognized the supermen and superwomen who educate our future leaders, and I can't think of a better way to illustrate the enduring quality of our reforms.

Continued progress is not an option; it is a necessity for our children's future. And it is reassuring to know that I can depend on your continued support.

By Bill Turque  | November 3, 2010; 8:44 AM ET
 
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Comments

I think it says alot about Vince Gray and his commitment to reform in DCPS that he took the measure of continuing the incredibly difficult plan...he took more than a million dollars in his campaign from the union and has not capitulated- he will continue with the reform effort, led by Kaya Henderson...the DC students are better off for it!

Kaya is far more diplomatic than Rhee, but just as effective and dedicated to the efforts of reform and accountability. She was a great choice and a wise political move from Gray.

Rhee accomplished one major thing in DC--she changed the conversation! for the last 10 years educators have been discussing their own interests and financing the politicians to ensure the conversation didn't deviate from this...while Rhee may not have effectively brokered relationships and built long-lasting support, perhaps it was far more important to shake things up so radically that the process can never return to the days of stagnation and excuse making. Like it or not reform is taking hold, conversations are changing and accountability is being defined- we're not there yet, but as Gray asserted at the Teacher Awards event- "there will be no deviation from education reform in DC!" Well said...

Posted by: teacher6402 | November 3, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Ms. Henderson will work hard to strengthen DCPS. As our new mayor's choice for the interim, she deserves a chance. For those who ignore who chose her and just wade in to obstruct and sow chaos in her plans, that would be really counter-productive. Further, the Council, parents' groups and all the other stakeholders will not react kindly to that. It is time to make the schools, beyond question, focused on the welfare of the children, not the employees of the DCPS. The whole community gains if that is the focus. It is time to stop ignoring the futures of our most precious asset in the community.

Posted by: axolotl | November 3, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

To those commenting before me, you ignore the fact that Rhee made DCPS a jobs program for her cronies. Henderson won't last...she can't last. She is woefully underqualified (another Rhee, who overcompensated by blabbing her mouth so very irresponsibly, non-stop). Our children deserve better than the hypocritical leadership we had to endure the last three years.

Goodbye, Ms. Henderson. You should follow your boss whereever she is going. Rape the treasury somewhere else. We are looking for qualified leadership to advance our school reform, not inexperienced parasites.

Posted by: vscribe | November 3, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

vscribe -- ya mean you yearn for the incompetent, negligent days of ye olde Board of Ed? Perhaps all those talented supers who presided over the pretty much steady decline over DCPS for decades? Perhaps the felons who used to head the WTU? The talented principals of olde who developed educators over the years? What "qualifications" are you looking for?

Posted by: axolotl | November 3, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

vscribe -- ya mean you yearn for the incompetent, negligent days of ye olde Board of Ed? Perhaps all those talented supers who presided over the pretty much steady decline over DCPS for decades? Perhaps the felons who used to head the WTU? The talented principals of olde who developed educators over the years? What "qualifications" are you looking for?

Posted by: axolotl | November 3, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Rhee was the only one that ever made a difference in our schools! She worked for CHILDREN! We are going backwards... We now have Marion Barry back in the mayor's office, Rhee has been replaced by Vance, Ackerman,Janey ( you could really name anyone of the last 10) and Parker is going to be replaced with BULLOCK again! This is nuts! The people of DC are officially stupid! Really... just dumb! We had a good thing going on and because she was making a difference and doing right by kids... you voted her out and replaced her with the people from the past that ruined DCPS! Oh well... your bed...

Posted by: edjook8tr | November 3, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Rhee was the only one that ever made a difference in our schools! She worked for CHILDREN! We are going backwards... We now have Marion Barry back in the mayor's office, Rhee has been replaced by Vance, Ackerman,Janey ( you could really name anyone of the last 10) and Parker is going to be replaced with BULLOCK again! This is nuts! The people of DC are officially stupid! Really... just dumb! We had a good thing going on and because she was making a difference and doing right by kids... you voted her out and replaced her with the people from the past that ruined DCPS! Oh well... your bed...

Posted by: edjook8tr | November 3, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, edjook7tr but your comment is just plain stupid.

It seems that some folks cannot see beyond Rheeform. If you are truly interested in the children of DC, please just keep quiet for a while and let the new Mayor make his own decisions.

Posted by: guylady201001 | November 3, 2010 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Hopefully she will not feel pressured to be a "Rhee" clone. I hope she is allowed to be her own right. When she is her own person, she might out shine Rhee in every way.

Posted by: jlp19 | November 3, 2010 7:26 PM | Report abuse

I know some feel we should throw the bums out. However, some of them may not turn out to be bums. And perhaps some made themselves into bum to please Rhee, they may be more than willing to "un-bum" themselves for a new boss.

Unless Kaya Henderson is pressured into being a "Ree Clone" she may turn out to have a lot strengths no one knows about yet.

Posted by: jlp19 | November 3, 2010 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Kaya Henderson is a class act and will continue and embellish upon the positive gains made by Rhee in the areas of consistent curriculum criteria and materials; timely provison of materials to schools; maintainging a totally certified work force; providing ongoing, mandatory professional development; and rigid,but objective, performance accountability and evaluatons.

Posted by: techite64 | November 3, 2010 11:45 PM | Report abuse

Henderson is indeed a class act. I hope she will NOT continue the same thoughtless, hard-charging policies that have decreased the quality of ed my kids are getting in DCPS since 2007. Curricular decisions made at central admin - those cookie-cutter reading interventions being the chief offenders - narrow opportunities for kids, lowering the bar across the board. Also, more local control of school personnel is critical. Rhee appointed an administrator-bot who is in way over his head at our building.

The mandatory pd needs to be upended so that it is teacher-centered (modeling a learner-centered approach to instruction) and revolutionary. Not more of the standard pd over the last couple years that has been merely dressed-up sessions on how to fill out forms. Treat teachers like they have minds and I bet a majority of them will treat students the same way.

Posted by: dcparent | November 4, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Meaningful reform in DCPS can occur, again, without waiting years for flawed academic claptrap and unionistas' sabotage and flawed lawsuits to run their course. Let Gray and his interim schools head proceed without sapping their time and attention and creating heat when none is necessary. Think of The Children first. Committed, effective educators and those who warrant the judicious amount of remediation and professional development don't have to be persuaded that this is the right course.

Posted by: axolotl | November 4, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

"I've worked side-by-side with Michelle Rhee for nearly four years to shape the turnaround of our public schools."

How did this "side by side" thing work out for Michelle?

See ya Kara. You are leaving also. Thanks for your service in advance.

Posted by: why231 | November 4, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Henderson sent a letter to parents via email. Great start. What about the parents who do not have computers and no email.

Also, technite, you statement has information that is just WRONG.

1. Rhee hired mostly uncertified TFA teachers to replace certified teachers.

2. If there is a standard curriculum, I would like to see it.

3. The PD is a bunch of BULL. The individual in charge of DCPS PD was fired last week after hiring a bunch of unqualified trainers.

4. Under IMPACT, many of the instructional coaches were rated ineffective but are still in their jobs. Many teachers were judged by so-called MEs with their check list supplied by Kamras and instructions on how to rate people down. I wonder why a Master Educator would need a check list to evaluate good teaching. Also, they should be required to teach at least one semester in DCPS before taking the job.

5. Also, because of a budget deficit most schools are facing a freeze on funds to buy supplies.

Stop drinking the kool aide and get the real facts and stop spreading lies.

Posted by: guylady201001 | November 4, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

glady -- we have been told over and over that a unified curriculum was a top accomplishment of former supt. Janey. True or false?

Posted by: axolotl | November 4, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

axxie

There may be a unified curriculum for the core subjects but many subjects such as career education and others do not have a standard curriculum. I cannot speak to what has been said re: Janey but Rhee and crew did not establish a curriculum for all subjects as implied by technite.

Posted by: guylady201001 | November 4, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Let's see, someone who after 10 years as the local liaison for a major labor contractor placing new college graduates with hot academic credentials the way Japanese industrialists colonized Korea for 30 years, spends the next three years not expanding her practice in school system administration, but with basically the same limited portfolio: personnel.

But, she's nicer than her buddy, who came to rescue DCPS like a British aristocrat come to an American colony to assume direct controlr, the while appointing the locally well-like chief of sales as principal lieutenant.

But, she's nice, and AA. And some of those who might otherwise be troublesome rabblerousers have had dinner and drinks with her for years. How nice for all of them.

Posted by: incredulous | November 9, 2010 1:51 AM | Report abuse

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