New education team marches together at Sousa
Education Secretary Arne Duncan joined Mayor Vincent C. Gray at Sousa Middle School this morning for what seemed to be a high-end pep rally, assembled to show that in the post-Rhee era, the new players in the District's education hierarchy will be working more as a team.
Sousa Principal Dwan Jordon introduced the panel of Duncan, Gray, Interim Chancellor Kaya Henderson and new Washington Teachers' Union president Nathan Saunders. The audience of mostly students, teachers and parents also included Hosanna Mahaley, Gray's selection for state superintendent of education -- who once served as Duncan's chief of staff when he was CEO of the Chicago public school system -- D.C. Board of Education President Ted Trabue and board member Laura Slover.
Everybody said all the right things about the importance of good teachers, engaged parents and safe schools.
Duncan, who during the primary campaign described himself as "a big fan" of Gray's opponent, incumbent Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, said he expected the gains under the Fenty-Rhee watch to continue. "There's no reason why D.C. can't be the best urban school system in the country in four, five, six years," he said.
Sousa is one of DCPS' genuine success stories. Jordon, a Rhee appointee, has led a turnaround in culture and significant gains in reading and math scores over the past two years. Ironically, the school is depicted as an educational wasteland in "Waiting for Superman," the documentary that follows Rhee's reform efforts but predates Sousa's revival.
"We want to be able to see every one of our children graduate from a school like Sousa," said Gray (D).
Henderson, echoing Gray's "One City" theme, stressed collaboration. "These are our schools. They belong not to me, not to the mayor, but to this entire community. And we all have to work together to make sure they are excellent."
Most noteworthy might have been Saunders, a fierce Rhee critic and rhetorical bomb-thrower as WTU general vice president, who now has a seat at the big table with Henderson and Gray. He was very much the labor statesman this morning, touting the potential of the new $84 million H.D. Woodson High School that will open this fall and praising Henderson for her efforts to move more aggressively on STEM education.
"I'm very excited about the chancellor's plan," said Saunders, perhaps the first time he'd uttered the words "chancellor" and "excited" in the same sentence.
Follow D.C. Schools Insider every day at washingtonpost.com/dc- schools. And for admissions advice, college news and links to campus papers, please check out our new Higher Education page at washingtonpost.com/higher-ed. Bookmark it!
| January 6, 2011; 2:41 PM ET
Save & Share: Previous: Charter school expo on Saturday
Next: Dunbar H.S. staffer under investigation for alleged misconduct with student
Posted by: guylady201001 | January 6, 2011 5:12 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: axolotl | January 6, 2011 5:35 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: guylady201001 | January 6, 2011 6:36 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: BitterJill | January 6, 2011 7:27 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: helluvateacher | January 6, 2011 8:46 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: teacher6402 | January 6, 2011 8:49 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Linda/RetiredTeacher | January 6, 2011 10:15 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: edlharris | January 7, 2011 2:58 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: bnew100 | January 7, 2011 7:54 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: adriennespain | January 7, 2011 10:26 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: dcparent | January 7, 2011 1:39 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: axolotl | January 7, 2011 1:41 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Linda/RetiredTeacher | January 7, 2011 4:48 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: dcpsteacher1 | January 7, 2011 5:01 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: ehmartel | January 7, 2011 9:44 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: guylady201001 | January 8, 2011 4:03 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: axolotl | January 9, 2011 7:11 PM | Report abuse