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Posted at 10:45 AM ET, 09/17/2010

What I meant by 'devastating'

By washingtonpost.com editors

By Michelle Rhee
Washington

This week I used the word “devastating” to describe the potential effects of the D.C. mayoral election [front page, Sept. 17]. I want to be very clear: In using this word I was not criticizing D.C. Council Chairman Vincent Gray. I was describing the perception by some that this election had been a referendum on reform of the D.C. schools itself. If the results were to be read as a repudiation of reform, that indeed would be devastating for D.C. children, for the city and for children throughout the country who are so dependent on successful school reform efforts.

The writer is chancellor of the D.C. Public Schools.

By washingtonpost.com editors  | September 17, 2010; 10:45 AM ET
Categories:  D.C., D.C. politics, HotTopic, Mayor Fenty, schools  
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Next: Some truthiness on the way

Comments

Michelle Rhee wrote: "If the results *were* to be read as a repudiation of reform, that indeed *would be* devastating for D.C. children, for the city and for children throughout the country who are so dependent on successful school reform efforts."

Wow, how come she didn't use this conditional language the first time?! Ms. Rhee, didn't your $100,000 public relations adviser teach you anything? You have made yourself look enormously unprofessional. When will you monitor your own behavior and stop blaming other people for how they interpret it?

I know that my comments make no difference to you (just as they didn't when we have emailed privately in the past) and that you will leave DC, blaming the electorate for your hasty exit instead of reviewing your own performance.

Posted by: oldmh | September 17, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Like I said in a previous post, You can't "unsay" it after the fact. That has been her pattern. Open mouth, stick foot in it and then try to clarify. Put the tape on your mouth like you had your students to do in Baltimore.

To Mr. Gray: Let the "stench" of the Fenty admministration walk. Reform will begin with a leader who is "vetted", qualifed, experienced and who is interested in what's best for children. We don't need celebrities. You need a smooth, "professional" transition. She wouldn't serve you well in that capacity either. Her continued speech of what is devastating and what is a catastophe is unprofessional at best. Her opinion doesn't matter.

Posted by: candycane1 | September 17, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Stop already. Honey, you used the wrong word in terms of being politically correct, but we heard your true feelings loud and clear.

Posted by: Kathy8 | September 17, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

A reformer who gets results . . we need more Michele Rhee's! Thanks for the clarification and good luck to you.

Posted by: sarno | September 17, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

More accurately the results a repudiation of you.

Perhaps had you bothered to do your job instead of make outrageous comments to a national stage real reform might have happened. Running a school district is hard work, a full time job. It also takes an understanding of the job. Good Luck in your further endeavors.

Posted by: mamoore1 | September 17, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

I've defended her results because I think ultimately that is what matters most to the entire city, from many perspectives. However, she really needs to develop an understanding of how she conducts herself publicly.

Posted by: minhle1 | September 17, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Actually, I find this quite a refreshing change for Ms. Rhee, who clearly felt the need to clarify her remarks, rather than not caring what anyone thought, as she has often been accused of doing in the past. Both she and the new mayor have moderated their language over the past few days with the notable exception of the "devastating" comment, leaving open the possibility that she may remain on the job for some period of time. I think she clearly recognized afterwards that she had violated this unstated truce with her comment and sought to take it down a notch. I understand this scares the anti-Rhee crowd, who has assumed all along that she would leave if Gray won. But, if her priority truly was and is the children of DC, you will see more conciliatory comments in the days ahead, as she and Gray try to figure out if they can work together.

Posted by: horacemann | September 17, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Why am I not surprised that Rhee is now trying to clarify her "devastating" comment? It was a nice soundbite for the local and national media at the time but she had to know it was going to come back and bite her in the butt. To suggest that those of us who voted for Gray were willing (or stupidly) voting against the interests of our own children may have been the most insulting and politically naive thing Rhee has said during the three or so years that she's been in D.C. She should resign.

Posted by: rglass23 | September 17, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

so you were for him before you were against him?
for the first time in my adult life, I am ashamed to be an educator.
this charade of tokenism and union-busting is over.
bub-bye Ms. Rhee.
later, not.

Posted by: FloridaChick | September 17, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Even for those who support you, you are becoming an absolute embarrassment for the city - and your self.

Posted by: george_w_bush0 | September 17, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Score another victory for "Mayor for life" Barry. At least DC had a few good years of growth and relative peace under Mayor Fenty. What a waste. Things in the city were getting much better. Oh well, guess it'll be back to having to wear kevlar and dodging bullets like the old days. So unfortunate.

Posted by: EdgarFriendly | September 17, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Ms. Rhee - please go far, far away, and stay there. She is a giant in her own mind and she's a disaster for education.

Posted by: MarylandJ | September 17, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Actually, I find this quite a refreshing change for Ms. Rhee, who clearly felt the need to clarify her remarks, rather than not caring what anyone thought, as she has often been accused of doing in the past. Both she and the new mayor have moderated their language over the past few days with the notable exception of the "devastating" comment, leaving open the possibility that she may remain on the job for some period of time. I think she clearly recognized afterwards that she had violated this unstated truce with her comment and sought to take it down a notch. I understand this scares the anti-Rhee crowd, who has assumed all along that she would leave if Gray won. But, if her priority truly was and is the children of DC, you will see more conciliatory comments in the days ahead, as she and Gray try to figure out if they can work together.

Posted by: horacemann

You means she finally realizes she's about to lose her overpaid, part-time job, so she's begging Gray to keep her. He should meet her, ask her to publicly apologize to him and all the citiznes she has lied to. Then fire her and have her escorted from the building and the District by the police. After that, he can begin the investigations.

Posted by: mcstowy | September 17, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

No, that's not what you meant at all, but how is the house hunting trip/vacation going? Is Kevin behaving himself with the maids?

Posted by: 54465446 | September 17, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Marion Barry in 2014!!!!

Woooooo hoooooooooo!

Posted by: TheChampishere | September 17, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

EdgarFriendly wrote:

"Score another victory for 'Mayor for life' Barry. At least DC had a few good years of growth and relative peace under Mayor Fenty."

You Fenty-ites have already begun the revisionist history. Please stop invoking Marion Barry as the bogey-man. I never voted for Barry or Fenty. Frankly, the divisiveness engendered by Fenty and his cronies, far exceeds any and everything Barry may have done. Anthony Williams got the city from under the control board. Adrian Fenty had begun to send us back down that same road.

You folks seem to be overlooking the true elephant in the room. Fenty tried to bank his re-election on "results" which were disputable. His takeover of the school system has, in fact, been disastrous.

He can hold himself and Ms. Rhee accountable for that abject failure, since neither of them knew what they were doing. Nor were they willing to seek good counsel on how to implement this reform.

After decades of decline, controversy,and infighting with elected schools boards, his takeover achieved nothing -- except to bring more tumult in the school system.

Posted by: sheridaw | September 17, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Look what a good PR Firm can buy you. Lots of air time, with great national spin. There is virtually no truth behind the test scores and achievement gap closures that she speaks of. Unfortunately we may never know since the educators that are still fortunate to have their jobs have been shackled by her and the Fenty Administration. Did she mention that teachers can have bonuses and great salaries, but are ineligible to perhaps accept early out retirement bonuses for their entire careers? Note to Oprah, all that glitters is not gold.

Posted by: MissingDC2 | September 17, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse


Keep digging Michelle. You can even use a broom...that will help.

You are a disgrace. Rhee-sign!

Posted by: Nicnamibia | September 17, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Godspeed Michelle. Your only mistake was giving D.C.'s electorate too much credit. Back to the politics of cynicism!

Posted by: purpledog | September 17, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

The children in DC have been cannon fodder for local DC politics as long as I can remember. It is more important that the Central office is overstaffed, the Unions placated and the average resident feels empowered even if it means lousy schools, poor public services and blatant corruption. There were significant attempts to make UDC world class in the 80s - by distinguished African American educators - but they were put out on the street because they didn't play politics the right way. Same is the case with Rhee. Who cares about her saying just the right thing? But then quality is not the concern of Gray and company. Feeling good is.

Posted by: Dee_El | September 17, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Although it is laudable that Ms. Rhee clarified her statement, according to the Post, "Yesterday's election results were devastating, devastating," Rhee said. "Not for me, because I'll be fine, and not even for Fenty, because he'll be fine, but devastating for the schoolchildren of Washington, D.C."

It is a quantum leap to now say that she was referring to the PERCEPTION some may have that the election outcome was a referendum on school reform. Rhee was speaking her mind, which is okay if this is the way she feels, but don't backtrack and say this is not what she meant. Be a woman and stick by your words. She could have simply apologized for making that statement instead of trying to recast it as something entirely different. It is another example of her impetuous or implusive behavior.

Posted by: jaladner | September 17, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Counterproductive remarks, but people seem fed up with Rhee because she is results oriented rather than making everyone feel good. In fact this entire comment list is full of people ranting against Rhee because it feels good.

Let's hope we can soon get back to the good ole world of unused textbooks sitting in wear houses, principals who don't allow PTAs (too scary, but true at Takoma Education Center for years!), payroll systems in which it takes months to get people on payroll, workers who can't describe what they do, crappy buildings, etc.

Posted by: DCparent2 | September 17, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

It looks like disgruntled teachers are posting here. I feel no sympathy for teachers fired for under-performing.

It's wrong to keep teachers based upon seniority. Evaluating a teacher's merits and keeping the best is the only way DC will dig their way out of this hole.

If you are a teacher fired for poor performance, then shame on you. Before you criticize Ms. Rhee or the standards, just remember that plenty of other teachers in DC met the standard. Why couldn't you? Were you hoping to skate through and have your union protect you?


The shame of it is that the children pay for your sense of job entitlement.

I hope that Ms. Rhee is permitted to continue.

Posted by: Samael | September 17, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Good luck DC students. You're going to need it.

Posted by: dojemc | September 17, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

I see the nonblack saviors are in full effect today. That's right white people, Marion Barry is on his way to miraculously reclaiming his title as Mayor For Life. You guessed it, Fenty is the only person who would keep the old slaves away from the plantation.

In the interim, let's scare the rest of your nonblack neighbors (who never lived under Barry by the way) into moving away from DC. It's gonna be bad.

Old man Gray is going to listen and no progress can be made by doing that. Listening? Who does that?

Posted by: dcis1 | September 17, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Wow, how much did Randi Weingarten and the Teacher's Union donate to the Gray campaign? Seems like they got their money's worth with this bunch. Let's talk again in four years, I think you will all be singing another tune. Bill Clinton lost the Governorship in Arkansas, a loser took over for a term, and then he came roaring back. Fenty just wait your time....

Posted by: cescacraig | September 17, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

I see the saviors of black people are in full effect today. That's right white people, Marion Barry is on his way to miraculously reclaiming his title as Mayor For Life. You guessed it, Fenty is the only person who would keep the old slaves away from the plantation.

In the interim, let's scare the rest of your nonblack neighbors (who never lived under Barry by the way) into moving away from DC. It's gonna be bad.

Old man Gray is going to listen and no progress can be made by doing that. Listening? Who does that?

Posted by: dcis1 | September 17, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Ms Rhee needs to learn that results don't mean a thing to the thin skinned DC denizens.

Posted by: Ratzoe | September 17, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Be Brave. Stand tall, Ms. Rhee.

DC: You're blessed to have her. If you unwisely dismiss her, another district, or state--or, the next President--will ensure she has an even bigger role in reforming education and saving children's lives.

Posted by: ReformGuy | September 17, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

The voters election of Gray was not a repudiation of school reform in DCPS. !It was merely a rejection of "Rhee-form" for DCPS!

Posted by: ellislawoffice | September 17, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

after living in the district for 16 years, Michelle Rhee was the first hope that i've had that i wouldn't have to move out of this amazing city when my daughter finished 6 grade.

please continue her amazing progress!!!

Good luck Michelle - we'll miss you!!!!

Posted by: interestingidea1234 | September 17, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Michelle,

To hell with DC. If they can't understand what you've been trying to do, it's their loss.

Move to another city with a terrible education system, turn it around, get results, and wait for DC to come begging for you to return.

In the meantime, let them wallow in their own mess. Move on. They don't deserve you, and you don't need the headache.

Posted by: Hk45 | September 17, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

The bull in the china-shop style of management is a double-edged sword. It certainly can work in start up mode, when you're aim is to move fast, effect change, and leave burning bridges and buildings in your wake. But when the smoke clears, if noone has your back, then you're left in the wilderness. Welcome to the wilderness Ms. Rhee. Time will tell if you steered the schools in the right direction - I think you did, but you didn't really expect to be embraced by the community after the last 5 years did you?

Posted by: DontGetIt | September 17, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Ms Rhee
Two requests of you professionally:
1. Please do a root cause analysis of why the elementary scores in reading and math fell by 9/10% overall in 2010
2. Please prepare a transition plan for the next school leader.
While I have not been able to stomach your approach as it has been destabilizing and have written to you personally on the huge declines in my neighborhood brookland/bunker hill school, I do wish that decorum and smooth transitions rule the day as that would be in the best interest of children. And yes I do believe the vote is a referendum on the particular brand of reform you brought. Many parents like me want their children to have access to academic rigor and inquiry based learning experiences that prepare them for a future of wondrous opportunities. Not to spend their educational lives preparing for a test rather than acquiring a body of knowledge or in middle of of a constant hailstorm between the school leader and the teachers- which robs the educational community of an opportunity to develop its professional practice to its full potential.
Your efforts to clarify here gives me hope that you will be professionally courteous during your transition. Be it over the next few weeks or through the end of this school year. Thanks in advance for that.
Be well.

Posted by: rastajan | September 17, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Even for those who support you, you are becoming an absolute embarrassment for the city - and your self.

Posted by: george_w_bush0


================================

Now if that's not the pot calling the kettle black, I don't what is. As if DC schools aren't already an embarrassment of monumental proportions. here you have an effective leader that gets results and you idiots run her out of town. DC and schools sounds like an oxymoron.

Posted by: PanhandleWilly | September 17, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Michelle:

People with brains understand what you meant. Get out of DC and let them go back to have the worst education in the world. That's what they want.

Posted by: DefinitelyCommonSense | September 17, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Oh, so the perfect educator, who with her two years of classroom experience is qualified to oversee the firig of hundreds of teachers, can not pass a freshman test of public communication? Give me a break. This is why she was a MAJOR factor in Fenty's demise. Had she not been so abrasive, some voters may have more clearly seen some of those "questionable" improvements she is given so much credit for; some folks may have seen many of those firings as being acutely necessary. But, "Ms Travel with my own PR operation/can I have my own private elevator," needs to shut-up and leave; get married and go save the west coast from distruction.......

Posted by: OneStop1 | September 17, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Rhee is not a professional politician. She took plenty of knocks for her work and made difficult decisions to put the DC school system into the mainstream. And she hasn't had a chance to complete the overhaul. Meanwhile she has garnered federal dollars for DC in the educational grants from the federal government for her determined efforts. If the new mayor is smart, he would keep her on despite the howls from his base; barring that, he should find someone with equal determination to be the new chancellor, one dedicated to getting positive results. Yes - the school kids in the district deserve to have the best guidance available.

Posted by: robinx | September 17, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Rhee is not a professional politician. She took plenty of knocks for her work and made difficult decisions to put the DC school system into the mainstream. And she hasn't had a chance to complete the overhaul. Meanwhile she has garnered federal dollars for DC in the educational grants from the federal government for her determined efforts. If the new mayor is smart, he would keep her on despite the howls from his base; barring that, he should find someone with equal determination to be the new chancellor, one dedicated to getting positive results. Yes - the school kids in the district deserve to have the best guidance available.

Posted by: robinx | September 17, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Please focus on improving the schools, instead of spending time making political statements - this episode is a perfect example of why Tuesday went down the way it did.

Posted by: dcgirl3 | September 17, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Rhee has done wonderful things and I agree with what she wrote. Gray is going to be much more protective of mediocre teachers that ruin future generations rather than continue cleaning house.

The real "winners" of this election are the lowest-performing teachers who will now have the kind of job security they had under previous regimes.

Sad.

Posted by: nativedc | September 17, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Dear Ms. Rhee, you do not have to explain yourself. I commend you for all the hard work and accomplishments so far that you have achieved for the children of the District of Columbia. I cannot appreciate how hard it must have been to do what you have done. The status quo knows that you have made great strides to get the school system of D.C. on track. But I am sure that they will not give you one ounce of credit. If it is of any value just know this. Many, many people know that what you have done was right, and worth the effort for the children of D.C.. And they are the ones that matter, those kids and their education.

Posted by: bobbo2 | September 17, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

So she meant it exactly the way it sounded.

SORRY, public school students.

Posted by: millionea81 | September 17, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Bye Bye.

Don't let the door hit you on the butt on the way out.

Posted by: mdpilot | September 17, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Score another victory for "Mayor for life" Barry. At least DC had a few good years of growth and relative peace under Mayor Fenty. What a waste. Things in the city were getting much better. Oh well, guess it'll be back to having to wear kevlar and dodging bullets like the old days. So unfortunate.

Posted by: EdgarFriendly

Sorry friend, Anthony williams was the mayor before fenty for 8 years. Not Marrion Barry. He was the mayor in the 1980's and a short time in the 90's. Almost 20 years ago. Maybe you can invoke Walter Washington to while you are at it. Are you that stupid or are you trying to scare yourself by invoking Barry? Funny how stupid people can be when their identity is hidden.

Posted by: ged0386 | September 17, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Rhee, please shut up!

Posted by: lacy41 | September 17, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Marie Antoinette: What I really meant by “Let them eat cake” was that I was throwing a big birthday party and was going to invite all my poor starving subjects to come celebrate with me.

Posted by: efavorite | September 17, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Chancellor, what you meant was...what you said. Please cease insulting the public's intelligence (whether pro-Fenty or pro-Gray) by suggesting otherwise with this recent letter.

Posted by: TheHermit1 | September 17, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Yea Ms. Rhee don't change and kiss up to this city where the color of your skin matters more than results. Be who you are - someone who fought for the kids and hurt some adult feelings! We have had it the other way and kids have suffered for it!

Posted by: joesmoe1 | September 17, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

@efavorite

Actually, Marie Antoinette never said "let them eat cake" as widely reported: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Let_them_eat_cake

Just sayin'.

Posted by: TheHermit1 | September 17, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Too late everyone knew exactly what you meant.

Posted by: rlj1 | September 17, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

@efavorite

Actually, Marie Antoinette never said "let them eat cake" as widely reported: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Let_them_eat_cake

Just sayin'.

Posted by: TheHermit1 | September 17, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Yeah good idea people. Let's go back to using the school system as a gravy train for lackluster perfomers with political connections. Who cares if our kids can read or are competitive in the shrinking job market? Crappy school buildings at 50% more per capita than other districs pay. Who would want to change that?

Posted by: bob29 | September 17, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Rhee, you are an educator! I beleive you use words in exactly the way that you intend.

Posted by: betty1522 | September 17, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Rhee, you are an educator! I beleive you use words in exactly the way that you intend.

Posted by: betty1522 | September 17, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Rhee, you are an educator! I beleive you use words in exactly the way that you intend.

Posted by: betty1522 | September 17, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Julius Caesar: What I really meant by” E Tu Brute?” was, “Hey Brutus, old buddy – I think you misplaced your knife in my back.”

Posted by: efavorite | September 17, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

John Wilkes Booth: What I meant by “Sic semper tyrannis!” is “I really love live theatre!”

Posted by: efavorite | September 17, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

This is someone with no impulse control or judgement. An emotional trainwreck.

Posted by: GoDoZo | September 17, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Real quote from Michelle Rhee, made to Bill Turque on 7/2/10:

“I say what I mean and I mean what I say.”

On the subject of the unlikelihood of her staying on as superintendent if Gray won. Copy and paste the link below for full context: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/dcschools/2010/07/rhee_grays_disdain_no_secret.html

Posted by: efavorite | September 17, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Please go away, Michelle. You're not fooling anyone.

Posted by: nan_lynn | September 17, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Feeling Lucky?

Why are we gambling with our children’s education, self-esteem & growth?

Do you feel it is fair or humane to tell a child they cannot have a quality education because they lost a lottery drawing?

How about using a child’s anxiety, pain and sense of rejection from that lottery game to make big money on a film? How about trading their education, like pork bellies or B-1 Bombers on the Stock Market? If any of this sounds “O.K.” to you, then you know nothing about child psychology, education or democracy… just like Michelle Rhee and Joel Klein.
Reject this child abuse.

You are a disgrace Michelle Rhee.

Posted by: Nicnamibia | September 17, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

For Vincent Gray … Dis-Rhee-spect is Truly Devastating

Many people I respect expressed the hope that there was a possibility that Ms. Rhee would stay on in a Gray administration until a successor could be chosen and "smooth transition" could be arranged.

The history that Bill Turque describes in his print article in the Washington Post today, "D.C. school chief Rhee's next move probably toward the door", is very informative. What some people have called stylistic differences that they thought could be overcome, is actually a bridge to far.

Vincent Gray doesn't just treat people with respect because it is politically advantageous to do so, he does so because it is fundamentally who he is. The DC Council under his leadership was amazing to witness, as these are not a bunch of trained cats that sit at the dais of city power.

But to think that such a "devastatingly" disrespectful and self-absorbed personality as Rhee could find comfort working for our next mayor is beyond a thousand marriage counselors' best efforts and intentions. After all, it is she that has thrown a wrench in the spokes of this relationship over and over again. And then less than 24 hours after a democratic election that she deliberately and forcefully injected herself into, she makes the type of statements that she herself would undoubtedly fire a member of her own staff for making.

There is only one regret that we Washingtonians should have now; and that is that Michelle Rhee will now become someone else's cross to bear. May God have mercy on their poor souls.

Posted by: AGAAIA | September 17, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

The Rheeformers truly represent a mean spirited group of people.

It is obvious that these folks are haters hiding behind the "for the children" crap. I wonder how many are more fearful of their jobs than the welfare of DC children. I wonder how many really put their "dog parks" before the children of DC.

If Fenty can get over his loss, perhaps the RHeeformers should do the same. If not perhaps they can find some other hater to win in the next election. Or, move back to where ever. It appears that Fenty is putting DC first.

You will not continue to divide this city with your slurs and racial remarks. If you are parents, the lesson you are teaching your children is one based on hate.

Posted by: guylady201001 | September 17, 2010 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Whatever. It was not a referendum on school reform for me. I supported Gray even though I strongly support school reform. I opposed Andrian Fenty because in every matter he handled, he was an arrogant prick.

Posted by: uh_huhh | September 17, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

AGAAIA:

Goodness, you put that beautifully! It was lyrical, a hymn to the truth and to decency.

efavorite:

Don't know that your postings have ever indicated your gender. My guess though is that you are one bad* fact-checking, notebook toting, researching late into the night superwoman. So thankful that you brought your determination to the side of DC's kids and helped arm their mothers, fathers, grandparents, aunties, uncles, brothers and sisters with so much information. They walked into the voting booths on Tuesday and used it to blast away the biggest threat their children have ever faced.

*Bad in the sense that Michael Jackson used it in, "I'm Bad!"

Posted by: natturner | September 17, 2010 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Michelle Rhee got it right the first time. Yes...it's devastating for the children of DC and all others who are counting on reform of schools to weed out deadwood and the incompetent. I've seen it first hand as a product of DC schools during the 1960s and 1970s. Some of my family have voiced their own displeasure with the state of DC schools. It's long past time to put children first. Some seems to think that they're first in line. Well...news flash - the customers of the educational experience ARE the children.

Since the DC teachers union seem to not get that message, I would withdraw any foundation that flows into DC coffers because it will lip service from now on.

Enough said. I wish Michelle Rhee the best on her efforts to turn around the DC schools. The children deserve no less.

Posted by: ldsw | September 17, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

I'm a teacher in Florida but I so appreciate the struggle my brothers and sisters in DC have waged to stop Rhee, especially the many who lost their jobs and the many more who suffered abuse on the job. The enemies of public education were going to establish a beachhead in DC with Rhee and I don't think it's hyperbole to say you saved teachers across the country. Thanks.

Posted by: natturner | September 17, 2010 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Go west young woman! (and good riddance)

Posted by: tman2 | September 17, 2010 7:27 PM | Report abuse

It's amazing how often Ms Rhee has to explain what she meant and restate what she said. Here's a tip you haven't learned yet--try keeping your mouth shut.

Posted by: ceebee2 | September 17, 2010 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Who cares what she said. The people of DC can't read or right anyway. They'll just make up something for the gossip mill.

Recent reports say one third (!!!) of the adults in DC are functionally illiterate.
Youse whiners and scrappers are absolutely correct. It's all Michelle Rhee's fault.

Posted by: glenmayne | September 17, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

It is heartening that so many people, like guylady201001, are on to these wolves in "school reform" sheep's clothing.

When Rhee mouthed the line she's "doing what's best for the kids", she was simply parroting a new slogan created in ultra-conservative think tanks. She's not alone. Joel Klein is doing it in New York City, Paul Vallas is doing it in New Orleans, in fact, every graduate of the Broad Center for Superintendents is singing the same tune. There isn't an ounce of sincerity in one of them, but it was especially apparent in Rhee! They are all ideologues and functionaries who collect fat paychecks to do as Bill Gates, Michael Bloomberg, Jeb Bush and other super-rich men instruct them.

These think tanks are places like the Hoover Institute where followers of the fascist midget Milton Friedman slink around considering how unions, public schools and Social Security can be destroyed and the US can be transformed into a vast slave labor camp in their service.

The DCPS is overwhelmingly populated with African-American children and other children of color, so in Ms. Rhee's case the comment implies that until she came along, no one cared for these children. No one cared, not their parents, not their teachers, not the men and women who represent their parents in political office, no one before Michelle of Arc.

Since you are meeting with her next week Mayor-elect Gray, please ask Ms. Rhee if she really believes that she cares about Black children more than you do. Ask her to go back in her life and cite concrete and demonstrable acts that prove her anti-racist credentials and superior wisdom on these matters.

Posted by: natturner | September 17, 2010 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Rhee - why don't you resign? You aren't wanted.

Posted by: educationlover54 | September 17, 2010 7:37 PM | Report abuse


Ms. Rhee certainly does know how to cut her own throat, doesn't she!

Sorry Michele, but "IT'S ALL OVER!"


Posted by: helloisanyoneoutthere | September 17, 2010 7:42 PM | Report abuse

I've been very interested in Michelle Rhee's work in DC, and to my mind it's no deal-breaker that such work may annoy the parents of under-achievers. Lots of them need some serious annoying.

However, for the head of a school system to have adopted a partisan stance in the election of her boss was an incredible lapse of judgement and failure to grasp fundamentals of the USA's political traditions.

We don't want school chief's jobs to be patronage jobs, Ms. Rhee. That would be a worse outcome that the status quo you encountered when you took on the job.

Posted by: douglaslbarber | September 17, 2010 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Hello everybody: Supposedly, Ms. Rhee (in her own words to the news media) is currently away out of town on her (sic) "pre-honeymoon", whatever that is, because her Sacramento wedding had been previously abruptly postponed (leaving the rashly, suddenly last-minute DIS-invited
(un-invited), disrespected guests to cough up money (ie. cancellation fees & airplane fare / car rental costs) for prior-booked travel plans). Where in the world is NON-superintendent Michelle Rhee ?

Very Obviously -- Written communiques & "Interviews" published by complicit media (newspapers, websites, MSNBC, ABC, etc.) these past few days -- which are supposedly coming from Ms. Rhee are actually being produced by Ms. Ree's public relations shills (staff & consultants, such as Anita Dunn, along with emergency P.R. assistance from Eli Broad's & Bill Gates' entourage, et. al.)

Ms. Rhee is a narcissistic scam artist & a Walmart, Hedge Funds, Billionaire Boyz concubine --
she also apparently has diarrhea of the mouth.....
Hey, "Chancellor" -- don't trip up your tongue or slip on your (Ron Moten mojo) "Go-Go" boots on the way out, and watch out for your own slick pile of dippity-do..... this is your wake-up call Ms. Rhee as you brazenly bumble & stumble, as you cuddle up in the boardrooms & backrooms with Eli Broad & Bill Gates, as you cover-up for Kevin Johnson's ("St. Hope" academy) financial illegalities & his sexcapades with students (teen minors) & with his school-staff subordinates (Americorps) too.
Watch your step and your mouth --- try to think before you speak --- Ms. Rhee, Non-superintendent !

Posted by: honestaction | September 17, 2010 8:19 PM | Report abuse

Hello everybody: Supposedly, Ms. Rhee (in her own words to the news media) is currently away out of town on her (sic) "pre-honeymoon", whatever that is, because her Sacramento wedding had been previously abruptly postponed (leaving the rashly, suddenly last-minute DIS-invited
(un-invited), disrespected guests to cough up money (ie. cancellation fees & airplane fare / car rental costs) for prior-booked travel plans). Where in the world is NON-superintendent Michelle Rhee ?

Very Obviously -- Written communiques & "Interviews" published by complicit media (newspapers, websites, MSNBC, ABC, etc.) these past few days -- which are supposedly coming from Ms. Rhee are actually being produced by Ms. Ree's public relations shills (staff & consultants, such as Anita Dunn, along with emergency P.R. assistance from Eli Broad's & Bill Gates' entourage, et. al.)

Ms. Rhee is a narcissistic scam artist & a Walmart, Hedge Funds, Billionaire Boyz concubine --
she also apparently has diarrhea of the mouth.....
Hey, "Chancellor" -- don't trip up your tongue or slip on your (Ron Moten mojo) "Go-Go" boots on the way out, and watch out for your own slick pile of dippity-do..... this is your wake-up call Ms. Rhee as you brazenly bumble & stumble, as you cuddle up in the boardrooms & backrooms with Eli Broad & Bill Gates, as you cover-up for Kevin Johnson's ("St. Hope" academy) financial illegalities & his sexcapades with students (teen minors) & with his school-staff subordinates (Americorps) too.
Watch your step and your mouth --- try to think before you speak --- Ms. Rhee, Non-superintendent !

Posted by: honestaction | September 17, 2010 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Hello everybody: Supposedly, Ms. Rhee (in her own words to the news media) is currently away out of town on her (sic) "pre-honeymoon", whatever that is, because her Sacramento wedding had been previously abruptly postponed (leaving the rashly, suddenly last-minute DIS-invited
(un-invited), disrespected guests to cough up money (ie. cancellation fees & airplane fare / car rental costs) for prior-booked travel plans). Where in the world is NON-superintendent Michelle Rhee ?

Very Obviously -- Written communiques & "Interviews" published by complicit media (newspapers, websites, MSNBC, ABC, etc.) these past few days -- which are supposedly coming from Ms. Rhee are actually being produced by Ms. Ree's public relations shills (staff & consultants, such as Anita Dunn, along with emergency P.R. assistance from Eli Broad's & Bill Gates' entourage, et. al.)

Ms. Rhee is a narcissistic scam artist & a Walmart, Hedge Funds, Billionaire Boyz concubine --
she also apparently has diarrhea of the mouth.....
Hey, "Chancellor" -- don't trip up your tongue or slip on your (Ron Moten mojo) "Go-Go" boots on the way out, and watch out for your own slick pile of dippity-do..... this is your wake-up call Ms. Rhee as you brazenly bumble & stumble, as you cuddle up in the boardrooms & backrooms with Eli Broad & Bill Gates, as you cover-up for Kevin Johnson's ("St. Hope" academy) financial illegalities & his sexcapades with students (teen minors) & with his school-staff subordinates (Americorps) too.
Watch your step and your mouth --- try to think before you speak --- Ms. Rhee, Non-superintendent !

Posted by: honestaction | September 17, 2010 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Frankly I hope she does leave - huge supporter of Michelle Rhee but I am clearly in the minority in this city...DC has always had a preference for low quality, lack of results, and high dysfunction (this is the city that re-elected Marion Barry after all - something to be proud of I am sure you fools). Let them have their "vetted" professional come in and run the schools back into the ground where they were before. She may be ungraceful and divisive but she was actually educating your kids! Thankfully I don't have kids and don't have to deal with the systematic reduction of standards to the lowest common denominator like you all want.

Posted by: Chadjeremy | September 17, 2010 8:43 PM | Report abuse

Just the facts:
Shaw Middle School's scores did not even stay about the same. They went down - reading scores declined from 38.52% in ’08 to 29.20% in ’09 and it’s math scores went from 33.33% to 29.02%.

This can easily be verified at the official website http://nclb.osse.dc.gov. Did you not check? Did you just take Chancellor Rhee’s or Principal Betts’ word on it? The fact that Shaw’s scores didn’t go up is a major embarrassment for Rhee. She installed a new principal, who hired a new staff, selected for being young and “unjaded” and he paid the kids for good behavior and attendance.
It seems imperative that Rhee is asked to re-examine her determination to pursue this method and not gloss over an obvious failure with her ongoing misrepresentation of the facts.
(as per writer "efavorite")


Michelle is full of herself.....
and facts show... Her scores went down !
The ironic part is watching Rhee loyalists twisting themselves into pretzels to rationalize a 4% drop in D.C. elementary school test scores. Suddenly, the entire test-and-punish crowd is explaining to us how test scores don't mean anything and how test scores are tied much more to out-of-school conditions.

The problem is that she has made rising standardized test scores a central measure for achievement -- hers, students and teachers, writes WaPo's Valerie Strauss. So, feel free to judge Rhee on her insistence on placing so much importance on test scores (as have today’s other titans of education reform, such as Joel Klein in New York City). She believes they are so important, in fact, that she recently announced that she wants to expand their use in city schools, so that, in time, every D.C. student from kindergarten through high school is regularly assessed to measure academic progress and teacher effectiveness.
But judging her reforms on the actual test scores, well, as my kids say, “Not so much.”
-- Posted by Mike Klonsky

Posted by: honestaction | September 17, 2010 9:09 PM | Report abuse

glenmayne commented: "The people of DC can't read or right anyway."

ROTFL! People, set your irony filters on maximum!

Posted by: imback | September 17, 2010 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Rhee behaves like someone with a narcissistic personality disorder:

-Reacts to criticism with rage
-Blames others for her own mistakes
-Takes advantage of other people to achieve her own goals
-Has feelings of self-importance
-Exaggerates achievements and talents
-Is preoccupied with fantasies of success and intelligence
-Has unreasonable expectations of favorable treatment
-Requires constant attention and admiration
-Disregards the feelings of others, lacks empathy
-Has obsessive self-interests
-Pursues mainly selfish goals

She exemplifies delusional tendencies – egotistical, self-absorbed, and self-important. Rhee is unfit to lead any organization.

Rhee brought on her own failure with support from the kool-aid drinking media and the for-profit teacher blaming pseudo-reformer crowd.

Where are the investigative reporters?

Posted by: nfsbrrpkk | September 17, 2010 9:50 PM | Report abuse

If her name had been Michelle Jones and she had been a black female, her achievements would have been heralded as nothing short of miraculous.

Posted by: gen_coz | September 17, 2010 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Everything we do teaches - including uncivil and goofy remarks after elections.

Posted by: therev1 | September 17, 2010 10:11 PM | Report abuse

Its so funny to read the pro fenty comments. They all want to say without fenty its barry all over again. Wrong! Sorry about facts but you can have an effective mayor who does not view himself as infallible. Who is not supremely arrogant and will not listen to anybody. That is not the recipe for success in the end. A second term of Fenty would have been a disaster. People forget he voted against school reform as a council member and voted against the baseball stadium that is going to be a cash cow for DC. The only reason you have school reform is because Vincent Gray was able to get it through the Council. One only has to look at Anthony Williams, who actually rescued the city, to see you dont need arrogance to be effective.

Posted by: niceday971 | September 17, 2010 10:17 PM | Report abuse

"The enemies of public education were going to establish a beachhead in DC with Rhee and I don't think it's hyperbole to say you saved teachers across the country. Thanks."

The next to go should be US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. But, I don't believe Obama has the guts.

Posted by: lacy41 | September 17, 2010 11:11 PM | Report abuse

@ NatTurner

I think you are brilliant. Thank YOU for your enlightened commentary!

Posted by: Uptowner | September 17, 2010 11:17 PM | Report abuse

'Who cares what she said. The people of DC can't read or right anyway. They'll just make up something for the gossip mill."

I think you meant "write" and not "right." Where were you educated?

Posted by: lacy41 | September 17, 2010 11:18 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Rhee, the first two words of this sentence resemble misery; uxorious is your husband.

Posted by: Martial | September 17, 2010 11:19 PM | Report abuse

Say what you mean and mean what you say. Its the only way you can be judged.

Posted by: luvleep | September 17, 2010 11:26 PM | Report abuse

@Uptowner

I'm having trouble putting my hat on my head all of a sudden. Funny, it fit perfectly just a minute ago.

Thank you for the kind words. Let's do our all for the precious children of DC and the nation.

Posted by: natturner | September 17, 2010 11:43 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: ReformGuy

"Be Brave. Stand tall, Ms. Rhee.

DC: You're blessed to have her. If you unwisely dismiss her, another district, or state--or, the next President--will ensure she has an even bigger role in reforming education and saving children's lives."
_______________________

ReformGuy could be a hedge fund manager or for-profit charter school scam operator. ReformGuy may be a testing conglomerate insider, run a multi-million dollar data base scheme, or peddle scripted curriculum-in-the-box. Or maybe, he's just drinking the pseudo-reform kool-aid.

Posted by: nfsbrrpkk | September 18, 2010 12:09 AM | Report abuse

Why would Fenty allow Rhee to stain the remainder of his term. It would serve him well to put his pants on and tell her to shut up. Isn't he still her boss? Considering the family business, and Gray's positive attitude toward charter schools,you would think she would not be burning her big city bridges.

Posted by: Tilii | September 18, 2010 8:02 AM | Report abuse

A zebra does not change her strips and a mule is very stubborn.

It's time to say "GOOD BYE" to Rhee and Fenty!!

Enough is Enough!!

Posted by: sheilahgill | September 18, 2010 8:38 AM | Report abuse

The Rhee backed education reform groups lost elections by wide margins in DC and in NY. Results show taxpayers in urban cities are on to the con perpetuated by the pseudo-reform crowd and pro-charter horde financed by Gates, Broad, Walton Family, Wall Street investors, hedge fund managers, Democrats for Education Reform (DFER), Teach for America, USDE grants, think tanks, etc.

Pseudo-reformers and their proxies spend tremendous energy attacking teachers and unions. Behind the scenes, they pay off candidates for the purpose of changing public education policies. Then, they work together to alter policies in favor of the charter school con while destroying the public schools so the business oligarchs can privatize, reap billions, and hire on the cheap – leading to a greater education and financial crisis across America.

By pulling the curtain back on “Waiting for Superman,” taxpayers will connect the issues and gain insight into how minority children and their families are used for greed and to perpetuate the same propaganda by the same players.

“Mr. Pollard, who vied for a Senate seat in Brooklyn, had received more than $100,000.00 over the course of his campaign, much of it from hedge fund managers.”

Elections Show Hurdles for Charter School Backers
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/17/nyregion/17charter.html

Posted by: nfsbrrpkk | September 18, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

I hear she dined at Zentan downtown prior to the movie premier, maybe she was a little drunk? Anyway she seems to apologize after the fact over and over...maybe it's not narcissism, but another ism...

Posted by: modern1 | September 18, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, Natturner - You got me pretty right. I got mad when Rhee accused Turque of printing inaccuracies about her. So I decided to go straight to official statistics and check articles, speeches and letters for quotes in Rhee's own words that she could not deny.

And thanks to you for your commentary and attention to our school district -- and to all of us who are seeing this thing through.

Finally, in the words of Michelle Rhee:

"If I go down at the end of the day because I didn't play the political game right, that's okay with me. At least when you're making decisions that you believe are in the best interests of kids, you may not win in the end, but at least you can operate with a good conscience." http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/13/AR2009061302073_pf.html 6/14/09 Turque reporting mathews interview

Posted by: efavorite | September 19, 2010 1:01 AM | Report abuse

To Samael
I don't know what you do for a living and I don't know how many years that you invested in preparing for it, but it is my hope that you get a boss who will institute an evaluation system for you that has not been vetted to determine your livelihood. I hope that you get a boss who will intimidate your supervisors to do whatever you can to get rid of targeted persons and hold over their heads the threat of their own jobs. I hope that you will get a self-absorbed, ego-maniac who will promote himself or herself as the only solution to the problems of your job while asserting that you are incapable and incompetent while establishing the aforementioned evaluation system so that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Argue until you are blue in the face about the efficacy or incompetence of Michelle Rhee, but shut the hell up about real people who came to work and did their job and were screwed. You don't know how this group of people operated. You don't know how they manipulated data, created no win classroom situations, and then trumpted firing of people as if they had just been hunting for deer in the forest. All you want to hear is what they say they have accomplished, even though the prima facia evidence is that it is mixed at best. Why is it that because the majority black population rejected this administration and its tactics that somehow it is tainted. The last time I looked this country is based upon majority rule. What happened to the wisdom of the electorate; or is that only true when the electorate is predominantly not African American. Black people vote their interest whether you see it or not; and isn't that the AMERICAN WAY. At least that's what we were told for over 300 years.

Posted by: 4therecord | September 19, 2010 1:30 AM | Report abuse

And Samael
When you get that boss I hope that he uses that unfair system to fire you unceremoniously and proclaim it to the nation. I further hope that he comes on tv and accuses you of being a child molester, a child abuser, or incompetent. Then I hope he puts the tag on your employment record of ineffective based upon a flawed, unproven, untested, unused evaluation sytem. Then and only then maybe you will refrain from making such ignorant, ill-informed, and ill-advised statements; sort of like your idol Michelle Rhee.

Posted by: 4therecord | September 19, 2010 1:42 AM | Report abuse

4therecord:

Wow! Well said, and Amen.

This election has upset many in NW, and their outrage has been difficult to observe. The topic of conversation of many families in NW these days includes their possible escape to the suburbs. Even if you want to tell them, "Go then already!" This in not constructive and an equally thoughtless response.

It is so ironic that the minority populations that have suffered the most under the school reform policies of the Chancellor rarely have options to move where or when they wish.

When people are scared and angry, they think irrational thoughts and do irrational things. When Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, the blacks didn't go into the residential neighborhoods of Georgetown, they burned down their own neighborhood business district in those riots.

Today, we have an entitled class that is threatening to "take their ball and go home" to some suburban district rather than take the time to understand why so many rational people voted Fenty and Rhee out of power. It would be much easier to find understanding, but it takes effort and an open mind.

Posted by: AGAAIA | September 19, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

First, Rhee was never a "reformer" and second she never spent enough time in the classroom to even understand what needed to be reformed. She took the administratively convenient approach of improving education by dumping on teachers rather than focusing what is wrong. Boys and girls, this may be a little hard for you to accept, but the vast, vast majority of our students in this country are doing just fine, thank you. 56,000,000 children go to school in this country and if DC has a problem, they may want to examine what kind of student is arriving at their schools. Furthermore, it is time to clearly identify what schools are supposed to by. Are they academic institutions, or are they hospitals that are appraised by how well they fix a failing society?

Posted by: jdman2 | September 19, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

dcpsparent :
re: Michelle Rhee's "mom friendly" comment, prepared specifically for the Oprah show, about moms not tolerating mediocre teachers being given time to grow and develop professionally. ------- Well,,,,,The unqualified, needing-to-grow-professionally, TFA principal that Rhee PUSHED on our school, despite protests from a panel of engaged, informed, truly progressive, professional educators and parents with advanced degrees in education . . . hired and protected even more inexperienced, unqualified teachers who will take YEARS to develop into true professionals. But the principal and those teachers all know how to say "yes" to their boss. Too bad they don't know the basics of how children learn, or the nuances of curriculum and instruction. It is hard, hard work indeed to have to reprogram my kids every day after school, to get them to embrace and understand learning again. Rhee's influential, BAD decisions and practices, more than ANY OTHER failure of the DC Public School system, has me on the verge of pulling my kids out of school. Rhee embarrassed herself mightily at the DC screening of this film with her comment insulting DC voters. My kids, and the 350 others in their school, will not be devastated at all when she leaves. We assume she will head to the business world for which she may have more appropriate skills."

Posted by: honestaction | September 20, 2010 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Michelle Rhee is a narcissistic, under-qualified and under-performing whiner. She lacks people skills, likes to smirk when she's firing black teachers and other school employees.
If she cared for D.C.'s schoolchildren, she would have stayed out of the recent mayoral election. Instead, she boldly and brazenly injected herself, proving that she's more interested in self promotion than the welfare of the children she pretends to champion. In no other city would a schools chief have tried to dictate to voters whom they should self.
As a tin pot autocrat, Michelle said the election results were "devastating". Obviously they were devastating to her because people contemptuously disregarded her ill-considered advice. Politically, her actions were stupid, reflecting political immaturity. Nowhere does it say the duties of the D.C. school chancellor include telling voters how to vote. Who does she think she is? Does she think we are not smarter than fifth graders?
The best thing for Michelle is to leave D.C. Schools. We need a school chancellor who wants to work collaboratively and cooperatively with the students, the parents, teachers, other school employees and the community. We need one who respects all stakeholders, not some who thinks she can come and dictate to us, because she knows what we want.
Presumptive Mayor-elect Vince Gray has no reason to ask Michelle to stay. She has been politically rule. She said she did not think she could work him if he won. He won. She actively campaigned for the defeated Adrian Fenty. She found it "devastating" that D.C. residents ignored her advice by voting for Fenty. Michelle is dysfunctional. She is bad for the schools. Let her go on promoting herself and her ideas--but not in D.C. She is disrespectful to a majority of D.C. taxpayers--who pay her inflated salaries. Michelle should have been reaching out to the new mayor. He owes her nothing. Gray should smirk and give Michelle her marching orders. We should be able to find a new chancellor who will work with the district's residents. School reform will move forward for the good of the district, but without the autocratic, dysfunctional and smirking Michelle Rhee, despite the arguments of some morons who think reform and Michelle are symbiotic.
Good-bye Michelle. Hit the road, Michelle...

Posted by: mcilwaine2010 | September 22, 2010 6:28 AM | Report abuse

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