Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Posted at 7:30 PM ET, 10/15/2010

Kaya Henderson's instructive background

By editors

By Mark Kane

I have been following the many controversies surrounding the D.C. Public Schools. Kaya Henderson seems to be well qualified to be a leading administrator and to serve as interim chancellor. I was greatly surprised, though, to learn that none of her degrees is in education.

When it comes to education reform, some of the attention should be moved from the performance of teachers to the institutional systems that educate, train and certify teachers. More focus should be placed on our universities and state departments of education instead of on performance schemes and attacks on teachers unions.

I think that Ms. Henderson may well have an advantage in not having followed the traditional certification route. The system for preparing and hiring teachers needs to be questioned and opened up to those who want to teach but who may not have traditional training.

By editors  | October 15, 2010; 7:30 PM ET
Categories:  D.C., schools  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Open season on pedestrians?
Next: In school reform, 'collaboration' has an iffy pedigree


Henderson hired the TFA’s and NEW LEADERS. Both groups were inexperienced and not qualified for urban education. We need new teachers who are “highly qualified” and experienced. We should not accept the least experienced teachers (TFA’s) for the most challenging schools.

Kaya Henderson should also catch the same plane or train out of DC. Her resume indicates she has NO experience and does not have any unique skills or competences that would ensure a successful DCPS. There is NO evidence of Kaya Henderson being a “certified” teacher or “licensed” principal of a school. We must have an experienced and fully qualified leader with a proven track record of success.

We the parents have spoken and this Rhee’s experiment is over. Rhee had no future in DC and she was a liability to the future of our students and parents. DC needs a true educator that has actually walked in the shoes of a principal and a teacher. Education reform in DC deserves far better than the Michelle Rhee or Kaya Henderson model.

Posted by: hello101 | October 15, 2010 8:21 PM | Report abuse

info. source =>

REMEMBER THIS (!!!)............

In the debate about bringing change to the District's
troubled schools, there's been much talk about putting the interests of students first. But self-interest seems to top the agenda as evidenced by the big money demands coming from both the incoming and outgoing school leadership.

{For the record, the Post is finally getting involved because money is at stake, not children. (When it comes to the interests of low-income kids, the Post seems willing to swallow down anything.) After briefly criticizing DC’s outgoing superintendent, the Post declares itself shocked, just shocked, to find Rhee awash in self-interest}:

"Then comes a lesson on how not to begin a new administration from Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee, with a big assist from Mr. Fenty. Her plan to pay two aides $200,000, exceeding a $152,686 District cap, has sparked a dust-up with the D.C. Council. She's also offering six-figure salaries to half a dozen other people on her staff. This comes after some concern over her own pay. Instead of the $250,000 first proposed, Ms. Rhee is being paid $275,000 plus a $41,250 signing bonus plus a possible performance bonus of $27,500. Keep in mind that Ms. Rhee makes more than her counterparts in Montgomery and Fairfax, who preside over far larger systems...

Given the magnitude of the task she faces, perhaps her salary is understandable. But what about the generous paychecks being proposed for her staff? Kaya Henderson, who worked with Ms. Rhee on the New Teacher Project, is being offered what amounts to a $70,000 raise to serve as deputy chancellor. Ms. Henderson lives locally, so there's not even the excuse of relocation costs. This proposed salary is larger than that of the police or fire chief and the same as Mr. Fenty's; we won't contrast it with what the average teacher makes. City officials say such salaries are the only way to get the best talent, that they are comparable to other cities, and that officials will be working long hours. The D.C. Council was right to balk until a more thoughtful examination of the executive pay structure can take place in September."

see next post)


Posted by: honestpolicy | October 16, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

(continued from previous post)
see source =>

CRUCIAL INFO. -- Must read
(from July, 2007):

For ourselves, we wouldn’t care about pay-days like these if there were some indication that DC was actually “getting the best talent.” But such indications are quite hard to find.
On paper, Henderson may be even less qualified for her
new post than the similarly inexperienced Rhee. Who knows? Rhee may turn out to be a good “chancellor.” But the big
pay-days are arriving before we get any objective indications.

But isn’t it just like the Washington Post to express its shock so belatedly? Much more troubling than Rhee’s big pay are the stories she told the mayor and the city council—and Washington’s parents—in the course of earning the right to these pay-days. Big-*ss self-interest? Rhee won her job on the strength of a stirring narrative—a tale of the way her “outstanding success” in the Baltimore schools “earned acclaim” from the national media. But to date, there is no indication that Rhee’s third-graders recorded the implausible test scores she has claimed; if they did record such scores (on the nationally-normed CTBS), there is no indication that they ever recorded similar scores on any other measure (like Maryland’s state-run MSPAP tests). And we can find no sign—none at all—that Rhee actually “earned acclaim” for her “outstanding success” from the Wall Street Journal or the Hartford Courant, or on Good Morning America. Might we be a bit indelicate? It seems that Rhee may have lied in the District’s face when she talked her way into this high-paying job. But the Post agreed to avert its gaze then. It only complains now, about money.

What are the facts behind Rhee’s stirring claims? We don’t know, and we don’t have the authority to make the new “chancellor” answer. (Who knows? Maybe “chancellors” cost more than “superintendents,” the moniker used until now.) Of course, the Washington Post does have that authority; for starters, the paper should insist that Rhee produce the media reports in which she allegedly earned that acclaim. But let’s be honest! To all appearances, the Post doesn’t give a flying fig about the interests of low-income children. If they did, they would have screamed about signs of inappropriate pursuit of “self-interest” long before now.

Rhee recited a tired, destructive old tale as she talked her way into office. Was the “chancellor” telling the truth? If the Post really cares about low-income schools, it will telephone Rhee and find out. If Rhee was “misstating”—about urban kids!—
then a hundred-buck pay-day’s too much.


Posted by: honestpolicy | October 16, 2010 9:43 AM | 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 Did you not check? Did you just take Chancellor Rhee’s or Principal Brian 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 pathological prevarication & misrepresentation of the facts.
(as per writer

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 Washington Post columnist 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: honestpolicy | October 16, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

How Rhee's antics undermined my child's school

from a concerned
DCPS parent:

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 . . . . . (this TFA principal) 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 (”Waiting for Wall Street Super-scammers”) 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: honestpolicy | October 16, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Recent Test Scores DECLINED
with the arrival of a horde
of inexperienced TFA cult teachers,
including these temp. instructors
at my daughter's school --
test scores went down in 2010 !

The DCPS decline in test scores
in elementary schools
(Reading and Math) now reflect 2007 levels.
In actuality the drop was 4 points of proficiency.
These drops in elementary reading and math represent
an overall drop of 9-10% fewer elementary children
scoring proficient compared to last year.

One of the realities of Rhee’s brand of reform leadership is that our youngest children
are not being taught well.
See here= />

If the reforms were having an impact one would expect
that the third graders who entered the school system
when Rhee did 3 years ago, and are taking the DC CAS
tests for the first time, would have shown great promise now. Unfortunately the opposite is true;
the test scores show declining proficiency rates.

The most difficult thing about being a parent of a child in DCPS is the huge lack of analysis in the mainstream media and the general spread of misinformation about the nature of educational gains (or lack there of).
We have a lot to learn from our third graders and owe them a qualified educational leader who can truly enable them to have high-quality learning experiences.

Unfortunately for DC teachers, the greatest beneficiaries of Rhee’s lack of real educational leadership have been the charters — because people have flocked to them for cover as Rhee closed 20 some schools. But perhaps as a teacher you and your colleagues at the charter should ask yourself why isn’t the quality of the schools good enough. Why aren’t all children everywhere being provided with the curriculum rich learning experiences you benefited from at the private school?
What needs to happen next to ensure that goal?

I assure you it is not it has nothing to do with the desperation and other articulate passions expressed by people like Rhee.
It has to do with getting to the hard work of providing children with significantly enhanced academically rigorous curriculum and learning experiences —
including their families in the process.
Passion (and broom-mongering) aside, Rhee
really didn’t bring it ---
nor was she headed in that general direction in my view.

I have heard Gray speak on the educational issue and he has stated that he will move forward with reforms just not with the expansion of testing as Rhee planned. Hopefully that will mean that our children are getting higher quality instruction here in
DC, rather than Rhee’s’ ‘teaching to the test’ approach which has
hijacked meaningful, viable real education.

Posted by: honestpolicy | October 16, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

(and her Deputy needs to
steer a less crooked
and more viable route
to develop sustainable
academic achievement, holistic development
and meaningful progress for all students.

(reference to post
by thooker65):

Read about the scam testing procedures,
described below ! ---

"My daughter participated in the D.C.
Saturday Scholar program for nearly two years.
After I found out that she was only 1 of a few students from each school that had above average skills in learning, (Talented and Gifted), were asked to participate in that program. She along with other students that processed that higher level of learning were in this class to take the test (the NAEP exam
a national assessment, deliberately administered to only a selected 'sample group' of DCPS students) --which was then manipulated to artificially bolster DCPS test score ratings, as a whole district.
So how does that make the school system
better (?!), if only this selected group of smarter kids bring up the school standings (via a clandestine process)?
After I found out what was going on, I removed my daughter from that program. I’m pretty sure that Michelle Rhee would like to take credit for the
better scores, but did anyone really look into that smoke screen of what was really going on, I can only imagine -- and when I found out about the program I felt sick to my stomach.

note: I arranged for my daughter to participate
in other educational & enrichment activities
(academic development and creative arts) on Saturdays instead.

Posted by: honestpolicy | October 16, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Did anyone else read the article in September's Ebony where Michelle Rhee proudly touts the fact that programs like TFA and her 'New Teacher Project'
are bringing in teachers from the 'elite' schools?
She had to backtrack when
Dr. Julianne Malveaux, president of Bennett College, challenged her.
And, Rhee didn't mention that these programs bring in teachers with no disciplinary skills (such as herself -- remember her fond anecdote about
"taping shut 2nd grade students' mouths
in Baltimore")
and these unqualified, untrained or minimally trained recruits are basically temp. workers not committed to the profession of teaching.

These programs are NOT designed to develop
a professional corps of teachers. No one becomes an expert in only 2 or 3 years. I don't understand why Rhee (or anyone else) spends their energy trying to build and repair schools with these types of temporary teachers. They are a band aid -- nothting more (band-aids are easily peeled off, fall off) --
a pseudo-reform sham providing cover
for a Wall Street-funded
edu-profiteering scam
that doesn't heal anything
and doesn't construct anything
worthwhile for the children.


Posted by: honestpolicy | October 16, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

@honestpolicy --- "I don't understand why Rhee (or anyone else) spends their energy trying to build and repair schools
with these types of temporary teachers." (?)

TFA & New Teacher Project;
and a recent 'bumper crop' of educrat 'fink' tanks
& foundations -- funded by Bill Gates, Eli Broad,
the Walton/Walmart clan, Hedge Funds &
corrupt, criminal banksters (eg. Michael Milken) --
(filled with inexperienced never-teachers,
non-teachers, colonial brief-stint cultural tourists,
or teachers who quit because they couldn't successfully, sustainably teach) --
but, these (waste-of-salaries) wannabe
policy wonks emit endless jabbering,
tendentious tomes & reams of 'advice'.
Of course, lurking behind the curtain
are the media-hyped
corporate edu-profiteers, privateers & Hedge scamsters
rapaciously grasping taxpayer-funded $$$$$
(ie. corporate welfare)
dollars in their claws............

(significant, insightful
message from 'efavorite') --- />

"Because there is money in it.
There's Money for
the teacher recruitment firms that place them
(ie. the New Teachers Project,
that Rhee used to run).
There's money for the consultants who vet the new grads who enter the program, then train them on how to be a teacher in
5 weeks, and there's money for the new teachers themselves -- they get a portion
of their college loans forgiven and get a tuition break on their master's degree.

So it's a big win, for everyone,
but the kids."


note this financial
FACT: --- The New Teacher Project
actually charges fees of
several hundred thousand dollars ($ !)
per each school district to embed themselves
as on-site full-time consultant staff
(within the central offices) inside the
H.R. depts. (oh, excuse me -- "Human Capital"
Depts.) of these particular school districts !!
Everybody do your homework
to research more about these
behind-the-scenes arrangements
with school districts.


Posted by: honestpolicy | October 16, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

"honestpolicy" is clearly a nutjob.

Posted by: confounded | October 18, 2010 9:55 PM | Report abuse

Henderson started her career as a middle school Spanish teacher in the Bronyx.

Posted by: MD113 | October 20, 2010 1:53 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2011 The Washington Post Company