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Michelle Rhee has managed to offend me now, too

There are some people that Michelle Rhee managed not to offend during her tenure as chancellor of the District of Columbia's public schools. Apparently, in whatever time she has left, she's determined to make it all the way to the bottom of the list.

Speaking Wednesday night at the Newseum, where a documentary on school reform was having its red-carpet premiere, Rhee pronounced the following words: "Yesterday's election results were devastating, devastating… Not for me, because I'll be fine, and not even for [Mayor Adrian] Fenty, because he'll be fine, but devastating for the schoolchildren of Washington, D.C."

Okay, she can put a big check next to my name.

The arrogance takes one's breath away. Rhee essentially declares Fenty -- and herself -- to be indispensible. Moreover, she alleges that District Council Chairman Vincent Gray, who will be the city's next mayor, is prepared to allow students of the D.C. public schools to suffer "devastating" consequences. I know this will sound like hyperbole, but it's literally true: I've seen Latin American juntas surrender power more gracefully.

It may be the case that Rhee, who can point to some admirable accomplishments during her tenure, is the only visionary-cum-taskmaster who can whip the chronically troubled D.C. schools into shape -- though it's always foolish to forget Charles de Gaulle's famous observation that "the graveyards are full of indispensible men." But what's so offensive is the idea that Gray -- a native Washingtonian who graduated from Dunbar High School and has dedicated his career to public service -- would inevitably allow the children of his beloved city to be devastated. Whether through incompetence, callousness or some other failing, Rhee does not specify.

Maybe it's just me, but I'd think that someone who cared so desperately about the city's students would do everything she could to try to ensure that the reforms she initiated would continue. She might look for a way to stay on with the new administration, learning to work under a new boss. If that were unrealistic -- and, after what she said, I find it hard to imagine how Gray could ask her to stay -- she might at least begin a constructive dialogue aimed at a smooth transition. But the way to start that conversation would be with words of congratulations. Instead, she took the peremptory Louis XV approach: "After me, the deluge."

But it's not about her, you understand. As she said at the Newseum, "I'll be fine."

By Eugene Robinson  | September 16, 2010; 7:01 PM ET
Categories:  Robinson  | Tags:  Eugene Robinson  
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Comments

Back to business as usual at DC schools. Teachers and administrators with jobs for life. Everyone gets a paycheck from the government. Any parent dopey enough to send their kids to a DC school better be looking at property in NOVA.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | September 16, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

No matter how many dump stupid arrogant things she does - some people treat her as an angel.

Why does she get to get away with massive incompetence and arrogance and still get treated like a hero?

Why can't she be held accountable for her actions like everyone else?

Posted by: educationlover54 | September 16, 2010 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Massive incompetence? The schools have gotten BETTER since she's been here. Incompetence is what she's been getting rid of! Sure, she may be arrogant but she's done a good job. It would be a mistake to get rid of her.

Posted by: ScottP1l | September 16, 2010 7:50 PM | Report abuse

She makes Albert Haynsworth look like the ultimate team player

Posted by: mamoore1 | September 16, 2010 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Maybe a way to start towards a good transition would be to take Mr. Gray's phone call to discuss moving forward.

She was not brought into the world by virgin birth, and she has not really done that much for DCPS. She is very good at self promotion, but her impact has been marginal. She is a media darling, but there is little there there. You should check out http://gfbrandenburg.wordpress.com/ he has done better analysis of publicly available data than most reviewing her spin.

Posted by: qazqaz | September 16, 2010 7:56 PM | Report abuse

What unbridled Rhee arrogance and self-importance!

To hear Rhee tell it, it's devastating that "those people" weren't smart enough to vote for Fenty/Rhee. Don't "those people" know what's good for them? More more Rhee!

And how crazy is it for Rhee to bad mouth Gray while the Post and Rhee's friends aggressively try to intimidate (or fool) Gray into keeping Rhee as Chancellor?
_______________

Day One of Gray administration:
1. Brush teeth
2. Eat breakfast
3. Pick out new desk, and ...

4. Eject Rhee and her masking tape.

What a great RHEE-sult!

Posted by: broadwayjoe | September 16, 2010 7:56 PM | Report abuse

If Rhee's not out within 15 minutes of Gray's swearing in, those hard working folks who voted for him will go absolutely nuclear.

Why didn't the Post have a problem with Fenty getting rid of his predecessor's top people, most of whom were, uh, black? Oh, guess we answered our own question. LOL.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | September 16, 2010 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Thank you Eugene!

If taxpayers are not drinking the reform kool-aid, it's easy to understand that Rhee's propaganda is like Enron and Wall Street. Pseudo-reformers under the guise of “bad school syndrome” and according to Rhee, “crappy education” work to marginalize, defame, scapegoat, fire, and silence professional educators so the favored insiders armed with their scams will reap billions in profits from taxpayers.

Pseudo-reformers like Rhee, Gates, Fenty, Duncan, Bloomberg, Klein, charter management operators, etc. can work to take teachers’ voices - they can’t stop teachers and administrators from voting.

Follow the money and conflicts of interest related to lobbyists, politicians, government employees, hedge fund managers, data system operators, education publishers, for-profit scripted curriculum industry, fill-in-the-bubble testing industry, on-line education industry, TFA, and charter school schemes.

Where are the investigative reporters?

Posted by: nfsbrrpkk | September 16, 2010 8:03 PM | Report abuse

In sum, the cost of the voters' turning a crook out of office is their children's education. GET REAL.

A responsible person who leads a huge educational establishment will, when leaving office for reasons of politics, provide suggestions for her successor and anodyne predictions for the public when possible. Gray would have kept her had she kept her mouth shut.

Posted by: Martial | September 16, 2010 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Better than Rhee's improvident words would be a graceful exit, viz:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zEIzyhu5txE

Posted by: Martial | September 16, 2010 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Gene, it is you. Totally uncomprehending as usual. Back to the usual DC school incompetence. Oh well, I don't have to pay the taxes to support this disaster nor will my kids have to endure the consequences. I'm surprised that you don't nominate Marion Barry for mayor again...those were great days, weren't they, Gene?

Posted by: dcmowbray1 | September 16, 2010 8:44 PM | Report abuse

you folks who bought the idea that Rhee was a superwoman, who's the only one who could save all those poor colored chillin' should put down the kool-aid and check this out:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/answer-sheet/dc-schools/rhees-problem-with-dcs-new-tes.html

Posted by: vecobb | September 16, 2010 9:08 PM | Report abuse

you folks who bought the idea that Rhee was a superwoman, who's the only one who could save all those poor colored chillin' should put down the kool-aid and check this out:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/answer-sheet/dc-schools/rhees-problem-with-dcs-new-tes.html

Posted by: vecobb | September 16, 2010 9:08 PM | Report abuse

Vincent Gray is no Marion Barry. Michelle Rhee sounds morally like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdFBA2r-FiE&feature=fvw

The difference: with the opera, one feels sorrow knowing the heroine will soon die in an avalanche.

Posted by: Martial | September 16, 2010 9:12 PM | Report abuse

It's pathological. I really think she has a personality disorder and fueling her ego leaves no resources for other priorities.

Posted by: barbaque | September 16, 2010 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Rhee is probably correct when she says that the result is "devastating". Why? Gray's base includes those who want no accountability in schools whatsoever. They long for the good old days of DC being last in the nation in education.
They're overly concerned about skin color over results, and are more concerned about protecting "good jobs" than results for kids.

Gray is beholden to them and won't have the stomach for real reform. He'll placate the adults and the children will have to fend for themselves. Gray wants to please everyone and will vacillate and meet forever but won't make any tough decisions that cost one person, especially a black person their job no matter how incompetent.

He's likely to appoint a lap dog Chancellor who is conciliatory and says all the right things but has already gotten the word from Gray to go easy and not offend the unions.

What's amazing is that no reporter ever asked Gray "What is your exact plan for getting rid of poor performing teachers?" They let him go on with generalities about "one city" etc. Well now the rubber meets the road and the results will show or not. Unfortunately the kids will get lost in the shuffle.

The next four years are going to be interesting. Rhee is gone, so Rhee haters rejoice. Just be careful what you wish for. Let's hope Gray finds a backbone as kids both black and white are sinking in DC schools.

Posted by: getreal17 | September 16, 2010 9:37 PM | Report abuse

DC Taxpayer and DCPS Parent here. I am absolutely LIVID at Rhee's juvenile behavior since Tuesday. She has turned herself into Colonel Walter Kurtz from "Apocalypse Now" and set herself up as God before the ed-reform establishment. At least Fenty has the class to go out with a bit of grace. She needs to start packing her &*&* tonight!

Posted by: hoos3014 | September 16, 2010 9:52 PM | Report abuse

ScottP1 - the schools have not gotten better since Rhee Arrived:

Elementary scores went down for the first time in three years:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/13/AR2010071306622.html
Key sentence: “After two years of significant gains across the D.C. school system, elementary students lost ground in reading and math test scores this year, a setback to Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee as she seeks to overhaul the city’s schools.”

The achievement gap widened during her stay:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/26/AR2010082606773.html

Both stories were in the news - for a day - then they disappear and the spin continues, and too many people believe it.

Posted by: efavorite | September 16, 2010 10:12 PM | Report abuse

Exactly! Michelle Rhee is a disgrace.

Posted by: Nicnamibia | September 16, 2010 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Rhee is correct: "devastating for the schoolchildren." The general public has been hoodwinked and most educators turn a blind eye to the catastrophic devastation camouflaged as education in DC before Fenty/Rhee. Even Rhee has been shielded from some of the down-right horrific acts of neglect: students graduate without 2.0; students graduate with EXCESSIVE absences; students fail (multiple years and years) without ANYONE noticing, etc... Rhee doesn't need a broom for DCPS; it requires an open-back-hand slap.

Posted by: Dash99 | September 16, 2010 11:34 PM | Report abuse

getreal17: is that you Sarah Palin? Haven't seen such ignorant ranting since she came on the scene. Every parent in the city wants what's best for their kid... and it's not low achievement. White people don't have a monopoly on wanting good schools and well educated kids.

But there's no need to defend Gray's leadership and competence. He'll be inclusive, then do what's smart and best for all of DC's children and families, even if some don't agree.... without being a divisive element like Michele Rhee-pulsive.

Just watch and learn.... time will tell.

If you want to see his education plan go to http://www.vincegrayformayor.com/education/

Posted by: do_right | September 16, 2010 11:56 PM | Report abuse

Eugene, I'm usually with you , but this time, give Rhee a break. She campaigned for Fenty and they had a chance to really improve the D.C. schools. What was she supposed to say after the defeat? At least she was honest, she said it was "devastating" and she felt for the kids. And I believe her. She took on a lot of criticism and made some tough choices as chancellor - she got almost everybody to hate her. But she was smart and on to a good thing. She didn't come across as if she and Fenty were "indispensable" - she probably shouldn't have said anything at all - that's safe - but we all know her chances of staying on the job are nil with Gray as the new mayor, don't we?

Posted by: robinx | September 16, 2010 11:57 PM | Report abuse

By the way, thanks Eugene for stepping up. Wish you'd done so sooner though.

Posted by: do_right | September 16, 2010 11:58 PM | Report abuse

Robinson and King are simply mediocre, incompetent, biased and insular individuals. It is disturbing that they possess a prominent public platform. They have little interest in changing the corrupt D.C. culture, which they admire simply because they are in the minority. Get over yourselves, it's never been a racial issue with Rhee. She is ASIAN!!!!! She is not a racist. Please enlighten yourselves. African-Americans are losing their ground because the education of their kids is not up to par. It requires more than just a political commitment. Until African American parents take a siginificantly greater role in their children's lives, little will be achieved. I am Asian and we are the epitome of what all Americans can do with an opportunity. Instead of bashing Rhee and laughably comparing her chancellorship to Latin American juntas, what proposals do Kin and Robinson have to offer? None, is the answer. They offer nothing except tired arguments and slow thinking.They are happy with Gray and the status quo. There will be no improvement in D.C. education with Gray at the helm. Please write a column documenting this in 2 years, because it will be true. Mark my words. Grays's victory is a sad day for the children of D.C. This will be seen by those who are willing to think long term. Peace.

Posted by: posselts2007 | September 17, 2010 12:03 AM | Report abuse

Anyone who is interested in the DC Public School reform under Michelle Rhee must read "Proving Grounds: Rheeform in Washington:

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:hWx3VLNkO3YJ:www.rethinkingschools.org/special_reports/rheeform.shtml+michelle+rhee+rethinking+schools&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

Posted by: jaladner | September 17, 2010 12:23 AM | Report abuse

posselts2007 wrote "(Gene) Robinson and (Colby) King are simply mediocre, incompetent, biased and insular individuals."

posselts2007 must think the Pulitzer Prize Committee awarded one to Gene Robinson for his "mediocre, biased and insular" writing.

Posted by: jaladner | September 17, 2010 12:28 AM | Report abuse

Hey Gene,

What did Marion Barry, Sharon Pratt Kelly, or Tony Williams do to improve DCPS?

NOTHING.

Rhee changed all of that. What makes you think we should expect Gray, a member of the Barry/Kelly old guard, to NOT screw kids like they did?

Fenty's loss IS devastating for DC kids. That's blatantly obvious to anyone who has witnessed the history of DC schools - or simply watched Waiting for Superman. I guess you haven't done either.

Posted by: RL67 | September 17, 2010 1:03 AM | Report abuse

Consider for a moment that Michelle Rhee has been and might still be the most competent person for the job, i.e., that her willingness to make tough choices will result in the most improvements for the children. And consider that her removal might in fact result in a poorer education for the children. Another form of arrogance is displayed by Eugene Robinson in this article -- he puts his offense at some of Rhee's words above what is BEST for the children. It seems to be more important to run Rhee out and replace her than it is to actually improve our schools for the children. To turn his football analogy, one might say to a team that it has an arrogant QB, but the only question that really matters is -- do you have a BETTER one? In football, the best always wins because winning is the point. In school politics, however, we'll evict the best person for a job out of personal animus even if it means the children LOSE. Sure Vince Gray cares an awful lot about the schools, but ultimately, I could care less that he cares -- he has to flat out DELIVER RESULTS and if he does that, he can be as arrogant as he wants. So far, Gray has no specific plan for our schools other than to evict the one person who has MOST IMPROVED THEM IN THE HISTORY OF DC.


Posted by: gthompson2 | September 17, 2010 1:50 AM | Report abuse

Gray needn't be a monster foe Rhee to be right. It's nor about his intentions; after all she can see who has supported his bid for mayor, his allies. Within that group she sees a lack of willingness to take unpopular decisions. To face up to organizational acceptance of mediocrity.

Posted by: bromid | September 17, 2010 1:56 AM | Report abuse

Gray's "inclusive" style really means that he wants to make everyone happy and will be pushed by this or that interest group. He'll bend with the political wind.

Look what he did on the streetcar issue. He immediately put the funding back in once word got out about his plan that he hatched in the dead of night.

Leadership isn't "inclusive". At the end of the day someone has to say "no" or "yes". When you have the massive catastrophe that is DCPS you don't have time to sit around and make sure no one is upset, ESPECIALLY when the perpetrators of the problem (incompetent teachers and the union that protects them) won't ever be happy with ANY meaningful reform. Their platform is no TEACHER left behind no matter how out to lunch.

Gray is already on record saying that there are problems with the IMPACT evaluations of teachers. Why? Because the teacher's union wants NO teacher fired for ANY reason and Gray is securely in their back pocket. They bankrolled his campaign and will now want to collect. He knows this and will salute when requested. At their command he'll work in the coming years to undo accountability.

Gray is bright and knowledgeable but he's not a leader. Fenty was a leader, but unfortunately his PR skills were absent. Rhee is certainly a leader and will be gainfully employed within 5 min of leaving DC. You don't win wars with "nice' generals.

Someone is going to be pissed about any real hard decision that changes the status quo and Gray wants above all things to avoid this so he will be weak and indecisive. He wants to be liked. So he will meet, talk, dither and meet some more to try to fashion some monstrosity that makes everybody happy. Only problem is that is not possible. The interests of the kids and the unions are mutually at odds.

So I'd say this could indeed be "devastating"for the kids of DCPS. I do HOPE I'm wrong but I seriously doubt it.

Posted by: getreal17 | September 17, 2010 2:54 AM | Report abuse

Let's see if I have this right.

Before Rhee, district schools spent more money per child than any other district in the nation -- and had worse results than Alabama and Mississippi, who spent least. Kids were learning less and less, and those who could escape the theories of Democratic politicians fled to charter schools -- unless they were the children of Democratic politicians, in which case they went to private schools.

Michelle Rhee, say what you will, reversed the downward trend, held teachers and students accountable, and made things better.

So you are offended?

Posted by: spamagnet987 | September 17, 2010 7:13 AM | Report abuse

I have to agree that the DC school children will suffer. Meaningful school reform in DC means stepping on toes, angering people, disturbing the status quo. Gray has not yet shown he is willing to do any of these things. If Gray does not kowtow to the teachers' union, they will simply find another candidate at the next election.

If Gray wishes to show that he is committed to school reform, he needs to engage Rhee and stand behind her like Fenty did. I'm not saying Rhee couldn't be more politic, but compromise is *not* what DC schools need.

(I am sure next year, if test scores go up, we will hear Gray and the teachers' union crowing. Of course, the reason scores might go up is because Rhee and Fenty had the courage to rid the schools of underperforming teachers and a sexual abuser.)

Posted by: cypherp | September 17, 2010 7:14 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Robinson:

I believe you are misinterpreting Rhee's remarks. It's not that she believes herself indispensible; it's that she believes Gray would cave in to the teachers' union. She's likely correct.

Posted by: lcandell | September 17, 2010 7:16 AM | Report abuse

"and, after what she said, I find it hard to imagine how Gray could ask her to stay"

Perhaps Grey could show some maturity and ignore what she said and continue with a plan to improve the schools for the sake of the children. Did I read correctly elsewhere about a 60% functional illiteracy rate?

Posted by: glenmayne | September 17, 2010 7:20 AM | Report abuse

Thank you. This is great.

Test scores declined under Rhee and the achievement gap widened. The only real improvements were in facilities, which was NOT under Rhee's control.

Rhee made things worse and while as a DCPS parent, I very much wanted reform, it wasn't happening under Rhee.

She functioned as a 24/7 helpdesk, fixing locks and answering certain parents directly via email. Seriously, the head of the school system is the person a teacher should email to get a lock fixed?

Rhee lacked the ability to put systems in place to address the problems of DCPS and she lacked the experience, content knowledge and interpersonal skills to effect true reform.

I'm anxious for a leader who actually has degrees in the field and the skills to bring about real reform. A curriculum that consists solely of test prep is not an education.

As for the children of DCPS being devastated, not so much at my house. My children were devastated when wonderful administrators and teachers fled the system. They didn't want to work for such an egomaniac. Can you blame them?

I think Rhee in defeat has shown the public the true face of Rhee, the one that principals and teachers have suffered under the past 3 years.

Posted by: Title1SoccerMom | September 17, 2010 7:31 AM | Report abuse

Rhee said, "Yesterday's election results were devastating, devastating," Well it’s not about YOU chancellor Rhee. By the way, Rhee you never burn your bridges!

If Mayor Gray retains Chancellor Rhee, it would be devastating to his administration. Chancellor Rhee and Mayor Fenty were held accountable for their arrogant and condescending behavior toward the people of District of Columbia. Chancellor Rhee is incompetent and she end up as one the most polarizing figures in our city. She had no vision, just a narrow goal of improving test scores. Rhee’s legacy will be known for firing, threatening and intimidating principals, teachers and staff members. Rhee never had a plan evidenced by only 10 schools meeting the national standards. The people have spoken and this Rhee experiment is over.

Washington Examiner said….Number of D.C. Schools Meeting National Standards PLUNGES!

It’s time for Michelle Rhee and Mayor Fenty’s experiment on DCPS to end:

1. 8 out of 87 DCPS elementary schools met their DC CAS AYP targets

2. 2 out of 34 middle and high schools met their DC CAS AYP targets

Over the past 3 years the number of DCPS Schools NOT meeting their DC CAS National Targets has increased since Mayor Fenty hired school Chancellor, Michelle Rhee.

Rhee continues to recruit unqualified (TFA’s) and un-credentialed folks to teach and run our schools (New Leaders). The above facts speak for themselves.

DCPS SCHOOLS JUST OPEN and Chancellor Rhee is on VACATION…Rhee must be fired!

Posted by: hello101 | September 17, 2010 7:32 AM | Report abuse

Barbara Sizemore, the first black female to lead the DC school system shared the same problem as Michelle Rhee: a strong female fired for radical reform. And you wonder why Marion Barry's Ward 8 has near 40% unemployment: a dysfunctional school system and grossly unaware residents. DC school system is criminal!

Posted by: Dash99 | September 17, 2010 8:33 AM | Report abuse

People don't like Rhee because she held teachers and parents accountable, bottom line. She challenged the status quo. The fired teachers didn't like her. They obviously weren't doing their jobs. DC had one of the worse literacy rates in the nation amongst their young people. Can't blame the teachers for everything, parents also need to take some of the blame. I know too many teachers that have left DCPS to head to Maryland or No. VA because parents didn't care. They couldn't get parents to show up to PTA meetings or get invovled. If the parents do not care, why should the teachers. Thank God for private schools and charter schools outside the city.

Posted by: hsj3 | September 17, 2010 8:38 AM | Report abuse

What took you so long?

Posted by: martymar123 | September 17, 2010 8:39 AM | Report abuse

lmao @ hello101

Anyone can post articles to support their argument. Here is one from the Washington Lawyer's Committe stating signficant improvement in DCPS since Rhee and Fenty made changes. DC is now spending more per student than all surrounding counties.

http://legaltimes.typepad.com/blt/2010/08/washington-lawyers-committee-dc-public-schools-making-substantial-improvements.html

Posted by: hsj3 | September 17, 2010 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Go for it Robbie! I know you can do the job!

Posted by: MikeMcLamara | September 17, 2010 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Robinson:

Perhaps you should have finished your article on Rhee by saying you would revisit the matter in 12-18 months. By then, you would know if Gray has succumbed to teacher union pressure and the reforms are backsliding.

Jay Tucker

Posted by: jaytucker | September 17, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Schools get better, crime goes down and the people of DC vote the guy out for basically being too mean. What do you expect from the city that voted for a crackhead mayor multiple times?

Posted by: kevin_rigsby19 | September 17, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Ok, someone has to say it. There is a strong cultural difference between high performing asian culture and low performing black culture. The question is why. Research shows that asian parent put a high priority in general to acheivement culturally and spend more time that most involved in their childrens education compared to black and white parents. Those black and white parents that do this also have high performing students.

Rhee not only had to break the bureacracy of the school system but tried to impose asian cultural mores on parents. That is and was a high bar to break a pattern that will take generations to change.

Posted by: sandnsmith | September 17, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Ok, someone has to say it. There is a strong cultural difference between high performing asian culture and low performing black culture. The question is why. Research shows that asian parent put a high priority in general to acheivement culturally and spend more time that most involved in their childrens education compared to black and white parents. Those black and white parents that do this also have high performing students.

Rhee not only had to break the bureacracy of the school system but tried to impose asian cultural mores on parents. That is and was a high bar to break a pattern that will take generations to change.
-------------------------
I am African American and could not agree more. For those ready cite historical and institutional racism as factors, stop right there. Stop. It has nothing to do with reading a book to your child every night. Yes, it starts there.

Posted by: katedog | September 17, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

You are super Eugene. This entire education situation is another racist misadventure by all politician from Obama on down. It is another assault on the fact that America is changing. The Conservatives will like to get rid of public education because the schools were ordered to be integrated. The President in his perpetual bowing to Republicans is attacking the teachers and labor unions. Let me say this clearly. You send a well trained, well behaved, well taken care of kid from a well taken care of community to a school that is not over crowded and has up to date equipment and supplies and you will see a well educated student. Fix the communities and you fix the schools.

Posted by: vjturn | September 17, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

How unprofessional! I used to think that saying there is a "cult of Michelle Rhee" is way overstating the case. Now I'm not so sure. Michelle Rhee certainly seems to be a charter member of it.

Her statement brings up visions of Vince Gray shoveling babies into Marion Barry's mouth full of the flames of hellfire. Wow. If she can't work for anyone besides Adrian Fenty (who gave her far too much rein), then she needs to go. At least Peter Nickles was honest about it.

Posted by: oldmh | September 17, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

If Gene didn't already have a Pulitzer, this piece would be Exhibit 1 for the prize committee. It's not that I agree with his take (I do), but it's the way he captures Rhee's hubris and self-involvement. He also asks the question at the bottom of this sad little episode: if Rhee truly believes she is the only person who can "save the children", then why is she slurring the presumptive mayor-elect? Why isn't she doing everything she can to remain in her post, rather than rudely failing to congratulate the winner in a fairly held democratic election? In the end, just as it comes in the piece, it becomes clear that Rhee's concern is really, and solely, for herself.

Posted by: stevec3 | September 17, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Rhee was the only hope the minorities in DC had... too bad they won't even have that.

But then no one will want to offend them by pointing out their ignorance, intollerance, selfishness and ego. Naw... we'll just have to let them wallow in it.

God did not create hell, He simply gave us free will and allows us to create hell for ourselves and each other.

Welcome to hell on earth.

Posted by: Karl_Quick | September 17, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

"Schools get better, crime goes down and the people of DC vote the guy out for basically being too mean. What do you expect from the city that voted for a crackhead mayor multiple times?"

They are creating hell on earth for themselves and have no one BUT themselves to blame. I'd be ready to move the government out of there and return the land to Maryland, but I'm already committed to shrinking government anyway.

If big ANYTHING worked without screwing people, we'd be all for it; unfortunately it lies, cheats, steals and then claims it would have been worse if it were not for it.

Competition is the only cure... get the government out of the way as much as possible and competion would kill off the cheats, liars and scondrels in big business. (BIG is bad: big government, parties, business, unions, airlines, etc. They all become unresponsive and self-centered as they use their sheer size to kill competition.)

Posted by: Karl_Quick | September 17, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Doubt my rant about "big is bad"?
Check this out:
http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/63228/20100917/american-recovery-and-reinvestment-act-arra-los-angeles-stimulus-wendy-greuel.htm

Los Angeles auditor reports only 55 jobs created out of $111M in stimulus spending due to red tape, confusion, etc.

Posted by: Karl_Quick | September 17, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

No doubt she wonders if any of her charges will get to matriculate before the resumption of single minded pursuit of sinecure halts her fine reform.

Posted by: almorganiv | September 17, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Did anyone ever consider that maybe she actually cares too much about the kids of D.C. such that she says something stupid? I'm not supporting her comments which were destructive toward reform, but she evidently tried her best to improve the lot of children in D.C. I just pray that her replacement continues to try their best. After all, it is about the children, isn't it? Circle the wagons and start shooting folks -- a version of what we are seeing today with the left wing of the democratic party. Obama's done the best that he could. Don't throw out the bathwater with the baby.

Posted by: Fergie303 | September 17, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

If Michelle Rhee had been Shireley Sherrod, the Obama Administration would have fired her before she arrive home from the event.

Rhee is a disgrace to the human race. I'm appalled of her negative behavior and she needs to resign today.

Rhee is not an Education expert. She was afforded an opportunity to experiment on DCPS students to implement "Education Reformer's Hidden Agenda."

Educators for Vincent Gray and a New Superintendent with credentials for our DCPS students!!! We can do better without Michelle Rhee.


Posted by: sheilahgill | September 17, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

You are about to choose a chief of surgery for your hospital.

Would you prefer a skilled surgeon who had the full training, i.e., undergraduate study, medical school, internship, residency and substantive experience in performing complex surgical operations?

Or would you prefer someone who made it through college and maybe medical school and their first year internship. No real surgical training or experience?

That is essentially what Fenty chose in Michelle Rhee, someone who had little classroom experience and zero administrative experience. After three years she figured out how to hustle the system. That is right, I said HUSTLE THE SYSTEM. How could Fenty blindly choose someone who had never led an urban school system?

Forget the hubris, the overly inflated sense of self-importance, she was never qualified to do the job.

Posted by: sheridaw | September 17, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Karl_Quick, you are clearly here for the so-called Value Voters conference. Take your ridiculously ideological and obviously incorrect theory that competition insures appropriate behavior and right sizing of enterprises, and GO HOME.

Have you never heard of the monopolies and oligarchies that arouse during the era of unrestrained competition? Robber barons? As for behavior, do you know how American drug companies tested their drugs in the 1950's and '60's? They gave them to doctors with directions go GIVE THEM TO THEIR PATIENTS: no clinical trials for eficacy, let alone safety. Does the word "Thalidomide" ring a bell?

You need to pick up a history book, or even better open your mind to the thought that, perhaps, it is not good to dismiss facts that do not fit into your pre-conceived narrative. Stubborn things, facts.


Posted by: stevec3 | September 17, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

"But what's so offensive is the idea that Gray -- a native Washingtonian who graduated from Dunbar High School and has dedicated his career to public service -- would inevitably allow the children of his beloved city to be devastated. Whether through incompetence, callousness or some other failing, Rhee does not specify."

If his council service is an indication, I don't think Rhee needs to specify her comments, Eugene. Gray is a known puppet of the teacher's union -- everyone knows this; it is inarguably one of the big reasons he was elected.

There will be no progress without disposing of the waste. And progress means that the DCPS might someday be an actual choice for parents, as opposed to the only option for those residents who are unable to afford private schools. Bigger cities than DC do not have this problem to the degree DC does.

Posted by: dc-chi-guy | September 17, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Michelle Rhee is a dishonest, arrogant, ignorant narcissist.

She's a bully & a Walmart/Hedge Fund shill
because she knows her corporate puppeteers will protect her from her own brazen bumbling and also ply her with dollars, under the table.

Posted by: honestaction | September 17, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Michelle Rhee is a dishonest, arrogant, ignorant narcissist.

She's a bully & a Walmart/Hedge Fund shill
because she knows her corporate puppeteers will protect her from her own brazen bumbling and also ply her with dollars, under the table.

Posted by: honestaction | September 17, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

How sad for the students. They are not going to make it, if someone does not take real control of the school system in the District. I taught for 10 years and that was in the 70's, nothing has changed! How tragic for the children.

Posted by: 212541858 | September 17, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Her speech showed arrogance and why so many in the school system do not like her. She insulted all of the parents who voted for Gray.

Fenty had the grace and dignity to say he will support Gray and they even held their hands up as a show of unity.

Posted by: rlj1 | September 17, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

In what meaningful way would a return to the previous condition of the DC school system NOT be devastating?

Posted by: gwcross | September 17, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Dr. Clifford Janey, when appointed to run DCPS under Mayor Anthony Williams, brought to the District the best and brightest minds in education to reform the DCPS curriculum in an effort to achieve excellence in education. Today, we are seeing the fruits of his labor in the form of improving academic performance.

Dr. Clifford Janey, who was shackled by a D.C. School Board, which made his efforts all the more convoluted, never wrapped academic success around himself as a person, he saw success as coming from all those vested withing the DCPS system taking ownership of improvement. This is a concept that was/is beginning to make gains.

Chancellor Rhee is a very decisive figure towards the stakeholders of DCPS she relies on to bring about change. Namely, teachers, principals and parents. She wears school reform as a prostitute wears a thong while taking a stroll down main street. Interested only in getting personal attention and accolades ignoring how cheap and empty it makes her appear.

For all that Rhee may have done, her rhetoric has made it impossible for her to continue on in a Gray Administration. She demonstrates that she is insubordinate, self-centered and childish. It is time to enter into a Post-Rhee era in DCPS education.

I suggest that Gray bring back Dr. Janey and allow him to finish what he began. Without the barrier of a school board between he and his initiatives, DCPS will move strides forward.

I really is time for Rhee to go.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | September 17, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

It appeared that Fenty was very pro education and Rhee was leading the charge toward an excellent education system. But, how dare they. And so down goes Fenty and you can bet Rhee will be gone before the end of Gray's first day. Sad for the kids in Washington. They'll stay down here with the boys and girls in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. The great uneducated and unable to get a job in the 21st Century. That's what you get for 'insulting' the so called adults. Sad.

Posted by: vjfevp | September 17, 2010 6:29 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 a misrepresentation of the facts.
(as per writer "efavorite")

Posted by: honestaction | September 17, 2010 6:53 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 a misrepresentation of the facts.
(as per writer "efavorite")

Posted by: honestaction | September 17, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

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 7:09 PM | Report abuse

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 --- think before you speak --- Ms. Rhee, Non-superintendent !

Posted by: honestaction | September 17, 2010 7:33 PM | Report abuse

I didn't realize how many people believe that if they say something often enough and loudly enough it would come true. These narrow minded and prejudiced individuals are so devastated and frustrated by Vince Gray's success that they will now say and do all they can to undermine his efforts even before he has begun.
Karl_Quick said, "Rhee was the only hope that minorities in DC had, too bad they won't even have that." Reminds me of the times when only the great white hope could save us from ourselves. It was time for Fenty and his pseudo educator to go. God was good to us on the 14th. Let us continue to move our city forward and let those who can't bring themselves to make the effort pack up and go to the counties that are led by real educators not the likes of a Michelle Rhee.

Thank you Mr. Robinson for using your intuitive skill to say what must be said.

Posted by: lightkeeper | September 17, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Arrogant she may be, but she has the courage of her convictions and has remained true to them... She is the first in a long time, if ever, who has stood up for the students, and put childrens' needs and their right to an excellent education in the forefront, despite the self-serving adult interest groups whose clamoring and political manipulations have bankrupted public education in D.C. and elsewhere. She undertook a thankless job, a formidable challenge, not for professional, political, or financial gain, but because she felt she could make a difference. She understands that politics and the issues of adults have held Washington students' public education hostage in an immense swampland, and that time has run out for reform...She is not wiling to water down the reform that is needed, and Gray's leadership style and record would lead one to believe that he will "go along to get along" politically with special interest groups, thus diluting/ slowing down any reform efforts. Throwing down the gauntlet in front of Gray was pure and honest frustration; she knows too well that he is not strong enough to continue this thankless job.. As usual, it is the children who will suffer the consequences of adult political infighting. There will be no progress in public education anywhere as long as it is held hostage by adult issues.

Posted by: candide1 | September 18, 2010 12:15 AM | Report abuse

spamagnet987 says, “Michelle Rhee, say what you will, reversed the downward trend, held teachers and students accountable, and made things better.”

This is not accurate. Please see my comment at September 16, 2010 10:12 PM

Sandnsmith says, “[Rhee] tried to impose asian cultural mores on parents.”

This is not accurate. Rhee discounted the role of parents completely, believing that only great teachers were needed to improve student achievement.

Fergie 303, when you ask, “Did anyone ever consider that maybe she actually cares too much about the kids of D.C. such that she says something stupid?” it makes me wonder if are you on Rhee’s communications team.

Posted by: efavorite | September 18, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

The day that DC no longer has to utter the words Fenty and that abusive narcissist RHEE, will be the beginning of better days ahead. I think that it is only fair that the media expose Rhee for the hoax that she really is. As more of the truth unfolds, I hope that coverage of her failures is given the same "national" attention as her lies.

Posted by: candycane1 | September 18, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

You nailed it Mr. Robinson, but I must say you are very polite about it Ms.Rhee's arrogance would have increased had Mayor Fenty be re-elected. She made herself one of the major issues in the campaign and the voters sent their message. She undercut herself when she said that she would leave if Mayor Fenty lost. Even if she wanted to stay, her ability to intimidate is gone.

Posted by: mjfraioli | September 20, 2010 7:33 AM | Report abuse

It appears that the ink has run out of Mr. Robinson's Pulitzer Prize winning pen. His rant against Ms Rhee is allied to that of his colleague, Colby King who believes that the city should be run by blacks. Neither of them care whether or not standards have been raised for education, or that other city agencies have improved under Mayor Fenty. They make clear their alliance with the likes of the Marion Barry approach for governing, entitlement ...no strings attached. I look forward to Mr. Robinson's review in four years.

Posted by: JAS51 | September 20, 2010 7:40 AM | Report abuse

Robinson like Vincent Gray are part of the same generation -- gutless, old guard, Barry forgivers, compromise supporters of a dysfunctional school system, jaw boners, not doers. These two men are without courage in words and deeds to take on the malaise and embedded cancer that Fenty and Rhee knew undermined the future of the children. This is the mentality that has laid waste to DC government and school system over all these years. Robinson mistakenly and ignorantly sees Fenty's and Rhee's political courage and passion to save the children as arrogance. If there was one battle that necessitates vision, courage and passion it is saving children from the decades of mediocrity that Robinson and Gray have justified and supported. Neither man has a courageous bone in their body.

Posted by: rickpayes | September 20, 2010 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Rhee is abrasive, for sure, but positive changes were happening in the schools.

Who says teachers get jobs for life, anyway? Pay them more to attract and keep talent, and fire the lazy or incompetent ones -- sounds like a good plan to me.

To me Gray is simply part of the old establishment in DC that let the schools become the mess they are. I hope I'm wrong, but I fear that the bad old days are coming back.

Posted by: PrinceBuster21 | September 20, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Thank you for having the same reaction I did when I read her response to the results. What a display of breathtaking arrogance.

Posted by: NoVirginian | September 20, 2010 7:27 PM | Report abuse

As a teacher in DCPS, I am not looking for a job for life. Nor am I now wandering aimlessly in the desert waiting for the next light. To me, the abject paranoia of status quo defenders is telling. Clearly, we need a better way. For my personal take, please check out my blog at teachermandc.wordpress.com.

Posted by: dcproud1 | September 20, 2010 8:40 PM | Report abuse

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