The wrong place for Rhee
By William Rope
It’s a sad day for D.C. children, and a seeming sign of desperation in the Fenty camp, when a schools chancellor decides to politicize her position by campaigning for one of the candidates [“Rhee to hit the trail with Fenty campaign,” Metro, Sept. 4].
Who would have imagined when the mayor and D.C. Council agreed to a mayoral takeover of our school system that the schools’ leader would become a partisan? Even if D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray (D) were threatening to wreak havoc on the schools — he actually advocates continued reform — it would be his opponent’s job, not that of a civil servant, to make the case.
Fenty Campaign Chairman Bill Lightfoot reportedly claims Ms. Rhee is not violating the Hatch Act's limitations on political activity by government employees. Perhaps he is technically correct. But at a minimum this action raises questions about the mayor’s and chancellor’s judgment. The Post says the move was aimed at making Ward 3 residents and supporters of school reform more likely to vote for Fenty. That’s hardly a justification, and it could well backfire.
The writer teaches third grade in the D.C. Public Schools and is a member of the executive board of the Washington Teachers’ Union.
| September 7, 2010; 8:29 AM ET
Categories: D.C., D.C. politics, HotTopic, Mayor Fenty, education
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