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Posted at 8:55 AM ET, 09/22/2010

Schools Chancellor ... Fenty?

By editors

By Anthony Harris

Here’s a thought: Adrian Fenty as the new D.C. schools chancellor. Don’t laugh. That could be great outcome, a proverbial win-win situation for Fenty, presumptive mayor Vincent Gray and Washington.

First, let’s end the speculation about Michelle Rhee. She’s gone. End of story. Not only is it clear that she and Gray simply do not get along, her “scalp” is probably the political price Gray will have to pay for the union support of his mayoral bid. By sending her on her way, the teachers union will get something it obviously craved: a powerful message to other would-be “take no prisoners” reformers. Better be nice, or look for another place to work.

Why should Gray want Fenty as schools chancellor? Well, what better way to follow through on a pledge to unite the District than to make the young, energetic ex-mayor, a man who made D.C. school reform the centerpiece of both of his mayoral campaigns, the new chancellor? It would certainly be a relief to those who think Rhee’s exit will set back reform. And it would be the kind of gesture that could persuade some of Rhee’s more capable managers to remain for a few years to see through their potentially game-changing efforts. In short, Gray could hit the ground running by putting Fenty in charge of the schools.

Is Fenty qualified? In my opinion, more so than Joel Klein, another lawyer, who is now New York’s highly respected schools chancellor.

And Fenty, of course, has had the experience of running a major city for four years; the schools chancellor position should, in theory, be a piece of cake for him. In any event, he’d have Rhee’s management team to assist him in the new job.

What about compatibility? Would Fenty create as many headaches for Gray as Rhee would be likely to if she were retained? I don’t think so.

Okay, in the past, Fenty has had a tin political ear. But he says he’s learned and is willing to do things differently. Indeed, he’s young and, I suspect, still harbors political ambitions. To that end, schools chancellor is the ideal high-profile position in which he can prove he’s capable of changing, creating alliances and working with political opponents to forge a consensus on educational reform. In short, I think Fenty will have some motivation to do better, and if he doesn’t (hey, it’s in his nature to speak his mind and follow his own instincts), Gray can step in to set things right.

Finally, there’s precedent for such an alliance. Kennedy-Johnson, anyone? And didn’t President Obama bring Hillary Rodham Clinton on board as secretary of state? How has that worked out?

By editors  | September 22, 2010; 8:55 AM ET
Categories:  D.C., D.C. politics, HotTopic, Mayor Fenty, schools  
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The problem is that Mayor Fenty's best actions as mayor were hiring others to do the work (e.g., Rhee, Lanier), which is one model of leadership. I'm not sure he was all that enthused about actually governing, viz., getting into the nitty gritty details of policy and administration. (That said, given that he would have kept Rhee---who has been fully in the weeds on policy and administration---he would have been better than Gwendolyn Hemphill, I mean Barbara Bullock, sorry, I mean Ted Loza, actually no I meant Marion Barry, wait, sorry, I meant Vincent Gray).

Posted by: TL67 | September 22, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Adrian Fenty and Michelle Rhee’s
ongoing CORRUPT connection with thugster-
henchman-wannabe impresario Ron Moten
millions of dollars of no-bid city contracts,
including with DCPS schools !

=> Can we perhaps get the City Council to do an investigation behind exactly what goes on with Ron Moten and his Peaceoholics organization in DC Public Schools.

Several, and I mean several, of Moten’s Peaceoholics ADULT employees have engaged in sex with female DC Public School students as young as 14 years old, some of these teenage girls have children with these men as well. Much of Moten’s staff consists of convicted felons: rapists, drug dealers and murderers. When allegations are brought to the attention of school principals or MPD, the Fenty admin make them disappear…and in return DC government continues to feed the Peaceoholics piggy bank.

Concerned Citizen writes: "Mr. Harrison who is an employee of he Peaceoholics sexually assaulted a female student at Spingarn High School. I am not going to say alledged because he has been arrested. He also allegedly proposed at least six other young ladies. This is not the end. Mr. Harrison, is an ex-con who spent 22 years in prison for MURDER. Yea MURDER! This is what Mayor Fenty and Michelle Rhee allows in our school. No background check done per the policy of DCPS. THe Peaceoholics have free run of the school. They were dismissed from the school the same day of the assault. Similar allegations have been made at other schools. Why does the district continue to allow the Peaceoholics to assault our students?"
This story can be verified by legal documents, court records, and prior news reports.

Posted by: honestaction | September 22, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Let us not rewrite history, before it's even happened.

It's Rhee, not Gray, who has made it very clear that she could not work for a Gray administration.

Your suggestion that Fenty, or anyone without professional training and experience running a school district, should do so, shows the low level of respect and understanding you have related to the education field.

Perhaps your real motivation is to keep Rhee's administrative staff in place. The editorial yesterday mentioned that too, making me suspicious of your motives and your ability to get this piece in the paper.

Posted by: efavorite | September 22, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

The DC Voters have spoken. Fenty and Rhee are history!!!

Enough is Enough, No More Excuses!!!
Fenty/Rhee team lost September 14, 2010.
It' time to mover forward with a Gray Administration in 2010!

Posted by: sheilahgill | September 22, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

What a great idea!

Let's bring in someone who has NEVER studied education or education policy, has NEVER taught in a classroom, someone kicked out by voters exactly BECAUSE of his bad school reform efforts, and let's put him in charge of DCPS!

brilliant, WaPo... I mean, ahem, ahem, Kaplan, inc. pawn....

Posted by: adcpsteacher | September 22, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Are you kidding me with this?

Time for Rhee and Fenty to take a back seat. I have no doubt that with some soul searching and professional therapy, Fenty will one day make a great politician and perhaps a great mayor. But we're finally getting rid of a chancellor who was NOT qualified for the job. Why even suggest we hire another one who's not qualified. This article isn't even funny.

Posted by: UrbanDweller | September 22, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

But what does Fenty know about education?

Do you even care about the students?

Or, is it your idea that Fenty would hire educational specialists to run the district and he would just be a figurehead?

I think this is supposed to be a joke. Fenty, even if he were qualified, would be like any other former boss, it would be hard for him to be number 2.

Posted by: celestun100 | September 22, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Rhee came in to make $275K annually, because ex Mayor Anthony Williams taught us all, including Boards of Education of 4000 student school districts, that "we must compete with the private sector for top-quality talent" [and allow mediocre talent to get us to bid up prices 'cause they spout educationese AND wear sharp suits.]So, make that $300K annually.

Yes, in the name of "accountability", let our only concern be of "sending the wrong message" by handing him a PAY RAISE the minute he leaves office. Because if we don't, Fenty will be "earning" more with his name attached to bids of big-time DC contractors. As his former colleague, Jack Evans can tell him, the independent schools to which he aspires to send his three children will set him back a cool $100k annually for three tuitions.

Posted by: incredulous | September 22, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

I think you should be clear if this is a "tongue in cheek" article. If not, it appears that the Washington Post doesn't get it that the people of DC already voted.

I just don't get it. I really think you need more people who know something about education on your staff. Or maybe this is just a joke?

Posted by: celestun100 | September 22, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

This is the dumbest piece and dumbest idea I have ever heard. Fenty, like Rhee, does not have the requisite credentials to run a school much less a school system. It is time overdue that we bring professionalism back to the helm of DC Public Schools.

We need a transformational leader, not a divisive dictator.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | September 22, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Not only does Fenty lack the credentials and the temperament for the position (thank you to the previous posters who have noted such), he is not very bright. He would be a horrendous choice.

Posted by: nan_lynn | September 22, 2010 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Why not get an experienced superintendent who understands education issues from experience, and who has a proven track record instead?

Posted by: educationlover54 | September 22, 2010 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Not only does Fenty lack the credentials and the temperament for the position (thank you to the previous posters who have noted such), he is not very bright. He would be a horrendous choice.

Posted by: nan_lynn | September 22, 2010 7:24 PM | Report abuse

Why does everyone keep saying "Gray keep Rhee" when she has already said she didn't want to work for him. So instead of posing the statement that way simply say "Rhee stay". Why does Gray have to look like the (bad) guy in this situation? Personally, i'd much rather her walk - no run - out! But, then again, treat her like she's treated the teachers she fired. KARMA's always watching.

Posted by: missboo | September 23, 2010 9:05 AM | Report abuse

“Finally, there’s precedent for such an alliance. Kennedy-Johnson, anyone? And didn’t President Obama bring Hillary Rodham Clinton on board as secretary of state? How has that worked out?”

Anthony Harris made an uproariously feeble attempt at satire. Hilary Rodham Clinton actually has the credentials and the skills to be secretary of state. Kennedy pulled Johnson on the ticket to ensure he would receive the southern vote.

Adrian Fenty does not fall into either category, first he does not possess the intellectual wherewithal, let alone the background in education to be chancellor. But I can still hear some laughter out there in the blogosphere.

Also, let's not forget -- Fenty only hired a "chancellor" because Rhee does not have the credentials of a true superintendent. A real superintendent is what we need.

Posted by: sheridaw | September 23, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

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