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Posted at 9:49 PM ET, 12/ 7/2010

Henderson: Not managing Dunbar in the press

By Bill Turque

Interim Chancellor Kaya Henderson got back to me this evening on the question of what data she had to support her concerns about Dunbar High School. She said there's plenty, but nothing she's willing to make public.

"There's actually a significant amount of data that supports my position that things aren't going well at Dunbar," Henderson said in a 9 p.m. e-mail. "But I'm not interested in managing this situation through the media (no offense to you, of course). I'm going to do what I think is best for students, and going to make some changes that I think will ensure that the kids there have the best chance of learning for the rest of this year. Some people will get it, some won't."

Sounds like FOIA time.

Henderson also said that Mayor-elect Vincent C. Gray, a Dunbar alumnus who has apparently gotten an earful from those unhappy with the school, has had nothing to do with her decisions.

"Some will say it's Gray. I'm telling you unequivocally that he hasn't told me any direction to go in on this. I'm just going to do what I think is best. Sorry I don't have anything juicier to tell you."

By Bill Turque  | December 7, 2010; 9:49 PM ET
 
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Comments

" I'm telling you unequivocally that he(Gray) hasn't told me any direction to go in on this. "

He doesn't have to tell her.
She's a smart woman.
She can figure that one out.
Good luck on FOIA, Bill.
I hope you're still at the Post when it comes through.

Posted by: edlharris | December 7, 2010 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Wait a minute Bill, You are quoting only parts of the email. If you want her to tell all, you had an opportunity.

Your FOIA request may not go very far because it probably involves students. And by the time you get a response it will be less interesting. So take a minute, and ask her the real questions.

What is going on that makes you uncomfortable? Are there lessons from other schools that could be implemented at Dunbar. What is the priority for the school now?

You know, basically do what journalist are supposed to do. I must say that in general Mayor Williams may have been right. It seems like the press is asleep at the wheel with how they are reporting. I know you have been cut deep in the news rooms but you have to be more efficient in your questioning to make up for that.

Don't be a slave to data.

Posted by: alwayswonderswhy | December 7, 2010 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Henderson: "There's actually a significant amount of data that supports my position that things aren't going well at Dunbar, but I'm not interested in managing this situation through the media…. I'm going to do what I think is best for students, and going to make some changes that I think will ensure that the kids there have the best chance of learning for the rest of this year. Some people will get it, some won't."

In other words:
“My way or the highway. If I’m doing it, it must be what's best for The Children. Buzz off."

Signed, Michelle Rhee II

Posted by: efavorite | December 8, 2010 7:52 AM | Report abuse

Not brainstorming with Bill Turque is hardly "my way or the highway."

Posted by: horacemann | December 8, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

These people need to get their freakin' heads out of "data" and start working with PEOPLE. This is the problem with all the new people in the Central Office. They are obsessed with data and can't relate to the PEOPLE they serve. I've never seen so many people gathered in one place who have such poor interpersonal relationship communication skills. I hope that office empties out soon the and they are replaced with people who have some real human resource management skills and training.

Posted by: UrbanDweller | December 8, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

The desperate reporter has been commendably open about the lack of sources he has, the (inferred) lack of success in developing new ones, and the failure of the interim chanc. to respond to his (weak?) appeals.
Other commenters on this board seem impressed with the WaPo's influence, if not its skill in recent years. No worries about either. efavorite should have some contacts at D, especially if she is a DCPS teacher. show us what you got, efavorite, please.

Posted by: axolotl | December 8, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

I've always found that for a "data-driven" system, DCPS has been reluctant to release data.

Of course, they have some master plan that would be ruined if the unwashed public (or the teachers who are the victims of the data) actually saw the data that was being used.

Don't bother asking for the data, they would probably just make something up anyhow.

Posted by: Wyrm1 | December 8, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Of course there is a significant amount of data. They just kept silent about it to give the impression that school climate issues had improved. Please!

Posted by: candycane1 | December 8, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

These data can be released: aggregated tardiness, attendance, disruption write-ups, disciplinary actions, class failures, GPA's etc. The stuff Fenty / Reinoso claimed was on their "Data Dashboard" for real-time monitoring of performance, signaling need for tuning or even intervention.

So, too, can the results of an audit assessing whether the data have been collected per sound protocols, so no time need be wasted with them if they are misleading because they are incomplete or cooked.

But, the data system is broken? Well, Bedford must have agreed to some performance metrics, even if that required them to maintain their own databases and systems.

Posted by: incredulous | December 8, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

"efavorite should have some contacts at D"

What is "D"?

Horacemann - I was thinking that Henderson might see value in talking with Dunbar parents, students and teachers - not reporters.

Posted by: efavorite | December 8, 2010 9:05 PM | Report abuse

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