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Are Michelle Rhee and Vincent Gray playing chicken?

My first question to D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee in the latest Post Opinion Leaders video centered on the elephant in the room -- namely, her future.

In the months leading up to the Sept. Democratic primary, Rhee was unabashed about her support of Mayor Adrian M. Fenty. She campaigned for him and spoke glowingly about how she was only able to do her job because of his support. How come, I wanted to know, she hasn't resigned or been fired by presumptive mayor Vincent C. Gray?

Rhee adroitly handled the question, saying it's too bad the dynamic about her future has been boiled down to two unfortunate precepts: if she were concerned about children she would stay; if Gray cared about school reform, he would keep her. Of course, Rhee is right that the situation is more complicated than that, but I also have to wonder if those two ifs aren't also part of the problem.

Rhee and Gray are both smart people. They know what they want, and they know each other. What can they possibly discover about the other that they don't know from three years and 10 four months of sitting across the table from one another? Most people are expecting Rhee to leave -- so could part of the delay in reaching a decision be because the two are playing chicken with each other? Does Rhee want Gray to fire her so she won't be accused of walking out on the children she says she cares about? Does Gray want her to quit so he won't be accused of abandoning the school reform he says he supports?

If so, someone needs to blink.

By Jo-Ann Armao  | October 5, 2010; 6:30 AM ET
Categories:  Armao  | Tags:  Jo-Ann Armao  
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Let’s… Get real, everybody!
Michelle Rhee is a wholly-owned subsidiary
Eli Broad, Bill Gates, Goldman Sachs et. al.,
Hedge Fund edu-profiteers
(& their mindless ‘think’ tanks,
planted pundits & sycophants);
and she’s blatantly
a frontwoman / spokesmodel for
KAPLAN learning services, Inc.
(testing, test-prep & online divisions) which is a major business arm (tentacle)
of the “Washington Post” company.


Posted by: honestpolicy | October 5, 2010 8:15 AM | Report abuse

Jo-Ann Armao is a paid shill of the privatized education industry. Her employer makes most of its profit from snaring local and federal government education grants to the tune of billions per year. The Post should make clear when its writers have a business interest in the topic at hand.


Posted by: honestpolicy | October 5, 2010 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Will ELI BROAD (the Southern Calif. real estate mogul
& rhee-form oligarch, otherwise known as
Sugar Daddy Warbucks) please clean up after your
crews' deep dippity-do & stinking pile of hypocrisy!
Will ELI BROAD & cronies
please arrange (ASAP !)
a consulting gig for his
political concubine & broom-humping pet

if she's got too many skeletons rattling
in the closet (along with Kevin Johnson,
including financial misappropriation scandals,
cover-up of sexual misconduct with
minor students & teenage staff,
and a range of federal /state /city
illegalities & violations) --
and if no other school district
will hire Chancellor Queen Rhee
(because she's not qualified to actually
be a school-district superintendent)
--- it's not the DC voters' problem !!!

There are excellent, experienced,
qualified candidates who are ready
to replace her and ready to implement
strategic, viable improvements.

Rhee-move her !


Posted by: honestpolicy | October 5, 2010 8:18 AM | Report abuse

It is another example of the intellectual hypocrisy of Ms. Jo-Ann Armao as she writes Chancellor Michelle Rhee "adroitly handled the question" about her staying, but has written harshly that Chairman Vincent C. Gray chose to defer his stance on her future. The description of Chancellor Rhee as an "elephant" is Ms. Armao's not mine.

Ms. Armao's misstates most people expect Chancellor Rhee to leave. It is more correct to state most people want Chancellor Rhee to leave. If Chancellor Rhee has put in place any credible public education reform initiatives worth keeping, they may survive after her. Let's not forget, the current education programs which have led any reported DCPS successes were put in place by former DCPS Superintendent Clifford B. Janey for which Chancellor Rhee seeks credit.

The game of "chicken" in District public education reform is being played by Ms. Armao and the editorial board of The Washington Post as they promote racial hostility in the post-election evaluations and give support to unmerited fear to aid in a post-election campaign to smear Chairman Vincent C. Gray and his supporters.

Ms. Armao and the editorial board need to end this post-election racist strategy. Parents, students, teachers, and residents of the District need a new and more effective and qualified chancellor. The Washington Post needs a new and more credible editorial board.

Robert Vinson Brannum

Posted by: robert158 | October 5, 2010 8:21 AM | Report abuse

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 5, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Are Jo-Ann Armao and Michelle Rhee revising history?

Are they planting doubts about Rhee’s long-planned and loudly threatened departure in an attempt to transfer some of the responsibility to Gray who has never wavered from his stance of not addressing personnel changes until after the general election?

Is it manipulative to plant the phrase “Rhee adroitly handled the question” to discourage readers from recalling the “close to tears” and “shaken” depictions of Rhee after her private discussion with Gray following the primary?

Is it unethical to tape a staged video interview and then attach it online to three different articles (so far) in the same newspaper?

Should Jo-Ann Armao recuse herself from interviewing and reporting on Michelle Rhee because of their close personal relationship?

Is it true what I heard about those two?

Is it responsible journalism to pose a series of questions based on speculation and innuendo and publish it as an article?

Posted by: efavorite | October 5, 2010 8:55 AM | Report abuse

As someone who believes education can uplift a society , and also has always worked in an atmosphere that only rewards those who produce, I think Michelle Rhee is at the forefront of what has to be done in this country for our education system. What has transpired in the nations capital and all over the country for the last thirty years is disgraceful. Just as unions had a hand in ruining our automobile industry, bad teaching practices are largely to blame for our undereducated population. All you have to look at is how naive people are about politics with the Rush's , the Becks , et al on the right and left. They cannot reason and think for themselves well enough to understand the manipulation.

Posted by: Oilcan4148 | October 5, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Vincent Gray is trying not to antagonize the 44% of DC voters who voted for Fenty before the general election. He still feels vulnerable to a run by Fenty either as an independent or as a write-in. He wants to avoid mobilizing Fenty's base by taking any controversial action. Once the general election is over and he feels more secure, Gray will fire Michelle Rhee. Her firing is part of the deal he struck with the American Federation of Teachers in return for $1 million of support.

Unfortunately for Gray, if there is a hiccup in test scores in DC, he will be roundly blamed for not following through on Fenty's education reform.

Regarding user "honestpolicy"'s overwhelming amount of spam insinuating school reform is driven by moneyed interests, I though everyone would like to know lobbying expenditures in New York State and California (two states which closely track lobbying expenditures):

Top lobbying expenditures in New York State, 2009:

$3,559,550: United Teachers (NYS)
$3,048,531: Mayoral Accountability for Student Success
$2,316,419: 1199/SEIU & GNYHA Healthcare Education
$1,799,999: Healthcare Association of NYS
$1,759,372: Greater NY Hospital Association
$1,451,579: Medical Society of the State of NY

Lobbying expenditures in California over the past 11 years (selected organizations):

$40.6 million: California Teachers Association
$14.5 million: California Medical Association
$ 2.4 million: Pearson Education, Inc.
$ 0.436 million: Educational Testing Services (ETS)

Notice how the "poor" teachers are outspending the "rich" doctors 2.5 to 1, and the testing companies are spending tiny amounts compared to the teacher unions.

Posted by: cypherp | October 5, 2010 9:16 AM | Report abuse

oilcan4148 says, "I think Michelle Rhee is at the forefront of what has to be done in this country for our education system."

then says,"They cannot reason and think for themselves well enough to understand the manipulation."

Unfortunately,oilcan is a victim of the same manipulation that he/she decries.

Posted by: efavorite | October 5, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Ms Rhee is such a liar Did she NOT say that she would not work under Gray, Why is she still more or less begging for her job?Like Moses (Let My People Go)"Let Her Go". Gray should say "Good Bye" to her, if not then he too is a Liar, and HE will NOT get reelected next term, a LOT of people have Voted for you. YOU said she was to go, Don't be a LIAR like she is, by starting off as a Mayor that does NOT keep his promise's,Let's wait for the wedding bell's to ring for her, Is she a Liar about that too?

Posted by: onesugar | October 5, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

It really doesn't matter who blinks. Rhee's supporters are going to stand by her and say that she was run out of town. The kicker is that no matter what happens Gray is going to lose politically when it is all said and done.
If Rhee leaves and the schools keep getting better everyone will say it is because of her reforms and if she had stayed it would have gone even better. If the schools take a turn for the worse then EVERYONE will blame Gray.

Now the only option Gray has to come out on top on this issue is to keep Rhee on and give her full control over the schools for this year and next year (as councilman and Gray supporter Tommy Wells suggested). Also if Gray comes out with this plan publicly than he immediatly eliminates the threat of a Fenty Write-in campaign. And mark my words there is an underground campaign going on right now to see how viable a write-in campaign would be.

Posted by: AndyR3 | October 5, 2010 10:28 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: newmanagement2 | October 5, 2010 11:27 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;
educrat 'fink' tanks (filled with inexperienced
never-teachers, non-teachers or teachers who quit because they couldn't successfully, sustainably teach,
but they have endless jabbering,
tendentious tomes & reams of 'advice';
and, of course, the media-hyped
corporate edu-profiteers & hedge scammers
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.
of these particular school districts !!
Everybody do your homework
to research more about these
behind-the-scenes arrangements
with school districts.


Posted by: newmanagement2 | October 5, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Jo-Ann Armao, aka the Larry King of the Washington Post, asks Michelle Rhee if she wants to stay.

Michelle's response:
"That's a hard question."

Doesn't seem hard to me, but then, I didn't lie about teaching in Baltimore (her Baltimore Miracle) or about what has happening at Hardy Middle School or the test scores at Shaw MS or about the teachers who were RIFed a year ago.

Posted by: edlharris | October 5, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

RESEARCH Michelle Rhee’s ongoing
CONFLICTS OF INTEREST machinations, financial gaming the system, and legal violations — in Washington, DC and also in Sacramento.
Did you know that every time she brings in a new inexperienced, unqualified “Teach for America” intern that she pays her ex-husband’s organization (he’s the “TFA” Communications Director) a fee of several thousand dollars for each recruit — which goes toward his salary and he then repays back to her as child support ! — that’s self-dealing. ======= Investigate the rattling skeletons in both Michelle Rhee’s and Kevin Johnson’s closets, while they’ve been protected from consequences by their big-money financier and corporate backers (including — deliberate prevarication, budgetary machinations & financial scandals (including misappropriation of over $400,000 in federal grants), sexual misconduct with students (teen minors)
and staff subordinates, cover-ups and ‘hush money’ deals
Must-read important
news article:

See website:


Posted by: newmanagement2 | October 5, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Ditto edharris! Jo-Ann Armao's quesiton isn't hard, it is redundant. Rhee responded to the question before the "Primary Election." However, Rhee doesn't have any credibility with the DC Voters. Once a liar, is always a liar!

DCPS students, parents and community
deserve a highly skilled experienced Superintendent who is honest.

Honesty builds character!! Again, Rhee has answered the question several times publicly. It will be devastating to keep Rhee as a "Wannabe Superintendent Reformer."

Chairman Gray is an intellectual scholar
with integrity. He doesn't need any individual in his Administration who isn't trustworthy, especially Rhee.

Enough is Enough, Rhee MUST GO!!

Posted by: sheilahgill | October 5, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

I thought the same thing that both were playing politics. Neither one wanting to lose face. Good article. You can see by the other posters that Ms. Rhee really draws a heated response. It is a shame for I felt she was doing a good job.

Posted by: joelp77440 | October 5, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Rhee has done very little with grace here in DC which is why her approval ratings are now below 50%.

Maybe the one thing she can do is hand in her resignation with some grace and get on with her life and let the children of the District and our new Mayor get on with his.

She made it perfectly clear she didn't want to work for Gray and that she thought his election was as she phrased it, "devastating for the children". So it is now time for her to move on.

She gets no kudo's for playing this game when everyone knows she won't be around after January 1st. Ms. Rhee needs to develop some class. Even Adrian Fenty was gracious after the election, time Rhee took a hint from that and did the same thing.

Posted by: peterdc | October 5, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

You people are clueless. Here's a hint: Vincent Gray was elected mayor of DC, and as the new leader of the city it is HIS RESPONSIBILITY to make appointments and develop a plan to run the city. He's the mayor, not Michelle Rhee, and he is the one who needs to hit the ground running with a plan for the school district. I hope its not lost on you folks that he does not seem to have a plan in place (at least not one he's shared with anyone), yet you all voted for him anyway because, apparently, he agrees with most of you that gentrification is BAAAAAD.

So what is the opposite, ghettoification? Are we angling to return to a completely disfunctional school district? Maybe see if we can regain Murder Capital status? That would certainly help avoid all that evil gentrification, I'll give you that...

Posted by: Plix | October 5, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Wow!! Truly a lot of educated knowledgeable Posters here. It's a shame the WashPost RHEEFUSES to be honest about Michelle Rhee. One Poster wrote about the deliberate attempt at fanning race on this issue and the future of Vince Gray's term of office. What a shame. The Post can be pathetic at times. Never since Barry was reelected have I seen this paper so bias about local politics. If the Post were doing their job they could have a field day at exposing Rhee, her consultants, untrained non education majors in TFA programs, outside corporate profiting etc,etc,. They just don't care. It's more important to be against the Black voting base than to be professional and ethical with their newspaper. Shameful!!!

Rhee is a fraud, thief, liar and bad for this city. The Post needs to get the message.

Posted by: kentonsmith | October 5, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

She better hurry up and go because if she leaves Kevin alone too long, all their wedding gifts will have to be hocked for defense attorney fees!

Posted by: 54465446 | October 5, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

one sugar--
She never said she wouldn't work under Gray. Here is what she told WAMU on June 30:

"I think the chairman is certainly interested in education reform," she said. "I think that he is committed to this city and its progress, certainly. But in terms of what I'm talking about with Mayor Fenty and his willingness to make some very difficult decisions . . . no, I haven't seen the same thing from the chairman."

She later, when pressed, put up some scaffolding around this comment, but never went so far as to say she would not work for Vincent Gray. She said she could not work with someone who was not committed to school reform. People said, "Oh, this means she'll quit if Gray gets elected."

I also love the trend of newmanagement2 answering honestpolicy's never-posed questions. How many usernames can one person have?

Posted by: gardyloo | October 5, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Gentrification is not bad. Nobody says it's bad. But, the newcomers need to have tact, respect and better attitudes. You don't move into a neighborhood and the first thing you ask is "when do you vote for ANC officers". "Ghettofication" can be prevented if investors are truly interested in capitalizing on consumers. Money is "green" in case some have forgotten.

Remember...."One City".

Posted by: kentonsmith | October 5, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

How about Rhee not wanting to resign because she is a "contract" employee. A resignation could be seen as a breach of contract. I think it boils down to money.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | October 5, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

How about Rhee not wanting to resign because she is a "contract" employee. A resignation could be seen as a breach of contract. I think it boils down to money.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | October 5, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

When I was a school boy, we had a phrase for this kind of situation; we said "one was afraid to fight, the other was glad of it".

It is my opinion Michelle Rhee is not exactly how she makes herself out to be, or is made out to be by others. What I believe is that Michelle Rhee makes herself out to be nothing more or less than a farce playing her status's politically, educationally, economically, socially, etc... as they best serve her own special agenda and interests with care for noone other than herself; not even one student or educator under her watch and supervision. She amounts to me as a strong and long-lasting storm taking a long time to pass. I trust when this storm has passed, we will see students, educators, citizens, and the school system at whole having learned how, and devised a way in which they have become bigger and better people in a stronger and wiser school system. Rhee has done everything; everything to destroy the education of students and to quash and quell the dreams and aspirations of educators young and old, new and seasoned, as a whole.

Michelle Rhee, you need to step up to the city and demonstrate the real substance and strenght a fighter truly is made of and resign immediately. Your pompiety, pompousness, and pussilanimity, have endured for way too long. Its time for you to take a bow and let our great city, it's students, and people heal from your injurious reign.

Posted by: maarten2662 | October 5, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Thank goodness I live in Northern Virginia where the public appreciates good schools and the efforts of folks like Michelle Rhee to improve a school system. From some of the tirades from above, it appears that the teacher's union supporters have gone off of the deep end in their dislike of Ms. Rhee.

Posted by: dojemc | October 5, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Michelle Rhee is under no obligation to step down. Vincent Gray, on the other hand, has an absolute obligation to do what he thinks is best for the city. If he thinks Rhee is a detriment to the school system IT IS HIS JOB to replace her.

Yet, almost all the posters here seem to be giving Gray a free ride for refusing to share any sort of plan for what he intends to do. This makes no it black vs. asian racism?

Posted by: Plix | October 5, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

It looks to me that Michelle Rhee knows she is not liked by at least 60% of the people in her district, but she is hanging on to her job until someone offers her big bucks to buy her out. In the meantime, until this happens, the students, parents, and voters are being held hostage by someone who no longer has the leadership skills and the vote of confidence from the community she represents, which is so important, in order to bring reform and improvement to a failing school district. Shame on Michelle Rhee!

Posted by: fridaolay | October 5, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

I suspect that after sitting in the teachers union and campaign echo chamber for the last year, Mr. Gray has been caught off guard by the amount of support Ms. Rhee has both locally and nationally . Fenty had the same problem as he was caught off guard by how many people didn't like her since she is very popular in some parts of the city. This is a no win situation for Gray. If he keeps her half the city hates him on day one. If he fires her he has the same result. The only way to win is to find an education superstar of her level of national reputation as a reformer. Good luck with that. She has a very high profile and the White House's respect. Anything less and he's a loser on day one.

Posted by: RCDC | October 5, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

"Of course, Rhee is right that the situation is more complicated than that, but I also have to wonder if those two ifs aren't also part of the problem."

Well, folks, here's the deal. Michelle Rhee didn't get it in the beginning. Maybe she does now. The DC Public School System is an employment agency for blacks, not gifted teachers or no-nonsense administrators. When Rhee fires black teachers she ticks off the whole black community who care more about getting an entitlement than the best possible education for their learning disabled kids. Truth be told, the community thinks everything is just fine as it is. It's okay for outsiders to look and point at the low levels of achievement and say, "send more money to fix the schools." It's not okay to point and say,"Look how substandard the teachers are. We don't have to spend more money, we need to hire better teachers." Because then you are saying let's fire incompetent, indifferent clock watching black employees who draw a professional salary for baby sitting duties.

Posted by: greg3 | October 5, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

That seems like an accurate assessment to me: a game of chicken.

Posted by: forgetthis | October 5, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Only two people so far writing here have address the question which was posed which is the "Will she stay?" and "Will he fire her?" question that interests her so. The other people writing here launched directly into attacks on Rhee which tells me they must be members of the teacher's union who, perhaps, are writing from the confines of the rubber roam described in "The New Yorker" and "Waiting for Superman". What brings out such hostility in these people?

Posted by: werowe1 | October 5, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Rhee is leaving. They are just trying to negotiate the status of some of the people she hired. It takes time.

Posted by: allknowingguy | October 5, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

I'm always amused by these baseless accusations about members of the teacher's union backing Gray and even writing comments on this board critical of Fenty/Rhee.

So many DCPS teachers live in Maryland that those eligible to vote in D.C. hardly could have voted Gray into office by themselves. Even if he had at his disposal 5 x the $1 million dollars critics claimed he received from the union, it still could not have bought him the election. After all, look what happened to Fenty, who started the race with over $5 million, when Gray was still operation in the tens of thousands as a budget!

Let's face it, Gray has support throughout the city from persons other than teachers. If, as a city, we are going to have an intelligent conversation at all about Gray's tenure, those who parrot the platitudes slandering the teachers' union and its members must find another scapegoat. Your charges are beginning to sound nonsensical.

And as for Rhee, I knew people in D.C. would begin to see what those working in the school system knew all along -- she is a fraud, just one with a really loud mouth. It is only a matter of time before the national media--those with the guts to engage in investigative reporting--would discover the same. I think Corey Booker, to his credit, already has discovered it based on his response to Oprah when she recommended Rhee to run the Newark school system. What Rhee has done to most of the children in this school system is bordering on being criminal and she will be found out...I guarantee you that. And if Obama has half the intelligence I believe he has, he has already changed his mind about Rhee. If he has not, he will turn out to be a huge disappointment and not as bright as I thought.

Posted by: vscribe | October 5, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

I sure wish someone could tell us what sort of golden parachute Rhee gets if she gets fired? Is it so hard for a reporter to read a contract? That dollar figure might explain who's likely to win this showdown.

Posted by: emrj | October 5, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

system. What has transpired in the nations capital and all over the country for the last thirty years is disgraceful. Just as unions had a hand in ruining our automobile industry, bad teaching practices are largely to blame for our undereducated population.

Posted by: Oilcan4148

A false and truly stupid statement. The policies that ruined American industry were chosen by incompetent managers, just as the problems in education are due to incompetent education administrators like Rhee. It wasn't the soldiers that screwed-up at Little Big Horn or Waterloo, it was the Generals. A good mechanic never blames his tools.

Posted by: mcstowy | October 5, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Thank goodness I live in Northern Virginia where the public appreciates good schools and the efforts of folks like Michelle Rhee to improve a school system. From some of the tirades from above, it appears that the teacher's union supporters have gone off of the deep end in their dislike of Ms. Rhee.

Posted by: dojemc

You must not live in Fairfax. Richmond (90% poor, 90% minority) students outperformed your rich kids on the SOL. No TFA's, no teacher-bashing, no charters, no magazine covers. Just good professional educators who know how to improve (not "reform") schools.

Posted by: mcstowy | October 5, 2010 6:15 PM | Report abuse

dojemc - if you lived in DC and had kids in the school system, perhaps you'd be more aware that Rhee is not as good as you think from reading the Post and going to the movies.

Please consider that the people who know Rhee the best, know her true character and deeds better than you do.

Posted by: efavorite | October 5, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse

I did not support Gray but I hope he puts the best interests of our children above those of interests groups such as teacher's unions. I'm not terribly optimistic but I'm rooting for our new mayor. Rhee is not the educational saviour some make her out to be but she has made some solid improvements in the DC school system. Those who cannot find anything good in what she's done do not inspire confidence that they're being honest with this debate. Enough of the vitriol.

Posted by: mwalsh3a | October 5, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse


A couple of real BASICS about civil service... 1) Vince Gray has only been nominated by the Democratic party, he has not yet been elected Mayor 2) until he holds office in January he CANNOT fire anybody 3) Ms. Rhee as an employee can resign anytime she wants 4) Mr. Fenty can fire her anytime he wants during his administration since she is an at-will employee.

It is in both Rhee and Gray's long-term career interest to be adults about this whether she is staying (e.g. setting ground rules and expectations) or going developing and executing a plan to transition to new leadership.

Posted by: shepDC | October 5, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Rhee's supporters (like Armao) are trying to put the screws on Gray so that he has to keep Rhee.

Posted by: educationlover54 | October 5, 2010 7:24 PM | Report abuse


"Does Rhee want Gray to fire her so she won't be accused of walking out on the children she says she cares about."

You can say this about Rhee in a 100 different ways, but we now she doesn't. And no matter how many times you say it, it still doesn't make it true.

Stop trying to back Gray into a corner where he is pressured into re-hiring Rhee. This is a circus act of yours.

Posted by: educationlover54 | October 5, 2010 7:30 PM | Report abuse

As always, my problem with Michelle Rhee is her lack of actual teaching experience. She does not have a teaching degree (her degrees are in government and public policy), and she spent only three years teaching before founding New Teacher Project.

Her minimal front-line experience and lack of actual administrative experience (being an administrator in a school and being a consultant telling them how to be an administrator are two vastly different things) really has made her tone deaf to the teachers. And her preference for Teach for America recruits or young teachers is just as problematic as the entrenched teachers who may be burned out. The former don't have enough experience for a school system in as much distress as DC; the latter are too scarred by years of experience where they worked with nothing.

Ms. Rhee is also very impressed with herself. If she was a former teacher who worked her way up through an at-risk system, I would say she was entitled to that level of self-esteem. But even though she's gotten results, to me, she just looks like another consultant who rams her way into a corporation or organization with no real vested interest in seeing it succeed on its' own, but in saying that she succeeded herself. (For example, see her unwillingness to work with the interim CFO of the city when she was discussing budgets - she didn't see the interim head or his representative as entities worth discussing the finances available to the schools.)

I would like to see Vincent Gray (yes, he wasn't elected Mayor, but long-time watchers of the DC political scene know that whoever wins the Democratic mayoral primary is generally the de facto winner of the election) perhaps tap someone to work alongside Michelle Rhee - use her prominence and energy to push change through, but have a well-respected DC educator to help her see that teachers aren't widgets, and that improving schools in the better part of town at the expense of the poorer schools isn't a winning strategy.

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | October 5, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse


How long will this daily bullying of Mayor Gray to keep Rhee continue? Are you Rhee's full-time publicist/apologist? Is playing that silly role worth destroying your credibility as a journalist?

There's no "playing chicken" here:
Rhee actively campaigned in "certain" neighborhoods against Gray. Rhee said/implied she would leave if Gray won the primary. Of course, Rhee didn't. Surprise! In the primary Gray wiped out Fenty in large part because voters wanted Gray to Rhee-move her November 3.

Then after the primary Rhee called Gray's win "devastating," an ugly show of contempt and disrespect. Her record as DC Schools Chancellor has been marked by racial strife, arrogance, and over-the-top self-promotion, not Rhee-form.

Under these circumstances, no politician in Mayor Gray's shoes would ever seriously consider retaining Rhee.

Isn't it odd that, contrary to the Post's prediction, Rhee would be flooded with offers from hundreds of school systems, not one school system in the US has been reported to have expressed ANY serious interest in Rhee or her masking tape, racial comedy, broom, or pink slips? Not Detroit. Not Atlanta. Not Montgomery County. Not Newark.

Why? Could it be Rhee doesn't even meet the minimum requirements for staff teacher, much less school system head? Could it be Rhee couldn't survive the vetting those systems would subject her to, see Kevin Johnson controversies. Is that why Rhee, after saying/implying she would leave, has now doubled back to lobby/bully Mayor Gray, through you and others, into keeping her as DC Chancellor? Just askin'.

Armao, quit the Rhee-diculous lobbying, accept the primary results, and get back to work. Nobody's buying what you're selling.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | October 5, 2010 7:42 PM | Report abuse

"Rhee's supporters (like Armao) are trying to put the screws on Gray so that he has to keep Rhee.

Posted by: educationlover54 | October 5, 2010 7:24 PM"

This ugly brute-force effort to force Mayor Gray to keep Rhee will backfire. If Gray wilts on this and keeps Rhee past November 3, it will be seen by his supporters as an act of betrayal and will destroy his credibility in the Community. Mayor Gray knows that. The Community supported him specifically so that he could remove her ... and her masking tape.

Mayor Gray WILL do the right thing.

BTW, we don't recall Armao ever writing an editorial protesting Fenty's removal of ALL his predecessor's appointees weeks after his inauguration.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | October 5, 2010 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Rhee is leaving. They are just trying to negotiate the status of some of the people she hired. It takes time.

Posted by: allknowingguy | October 5, 2010 4:16 PM

That has the ring of truth, guy. Keep us posted. BTW, unless we are mistaken, Rhee is an at will employee; she doesn't need to be bought out. Don't know about the status of the army of uncredentialed, inexperienced Rhee-bots that she hired into the school system.

There is real concern Mayor Gray may fall for the "Plan B" sucker play by the bad guys: conning Gray into keeping Rhee until he finds a replacement. It's a fool's game because then the Post will try to block everyone Gray selects for that job to keep Rhee in as long as possible.

Stay strong, Mayor Gray.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | October 5, 2010 8:13 PM | Report abuse

She made it very well known to the public and DC voters that she could only do "here" job for Fenty.

If she was/is a professional she would resign.

Posted by: rlj611 | October 5, 2010 8:41 PM | Report abuse

WOW - typos galore :).

Ignore - She made it very well known to the public and DC voters that she could only do "here" job for Fenty.

She made it very well known to the public and DC voters that she could only do her job for Fenty.

Posted by: rlj611 | October 5, 2010 8:45 PM | Report abuse

Wow! got the hots...fight, fire, get it over. Well, Ms. Rhee does not have to bow to the hotties until January. So, get over down...Find another topic for the about drugs in schools... bullies in schools....just work on that for now...relax...See the movie- Bullied - Southern Poverty Law Center Do something for our students....get over it for now....let on drop out problems, getting parents involved in our schools and stop being adult bullies!

Posted by: judithclaire1939 | October 5, 2010 10:41 PM | Report abuse

Oh, my goodness, Vince Gray took over the Mayor's office early...ok...then he can fire Ms. Rhee ? Why not?

Posted by: judithclaire1939 | October 5, 2010 11:07 PM | Report abuse

Not all whites support Grey and Rhee and not all blacks supported Fenty. While I (white middle class female) supported Grey), I frankly am pleased by many of the actions taken by Fenty aned Rhee over the last several years. Many schools needed to be closed so that funds spent on keeping partially used buildings going could be spent on educating kids. However, a little respedctful listening to members of the community during such actions goes along ways in helping people accept needed change. There were and probably still are many poorly qualified teachers in the DC Isystem. However, labeling all the teachers that were dismissed as child molesters or chronic no shows is disrespectful of all individuals who were laid off during the downsizeing last fall. I am sure that there were some that
were actually wonderful teachers who happened to have a job that was unneeded at the time. Simply saying that all teachers laid off (avoid the word fired) could reapply for any vacancies for which they qualified over the next few years, would have avoided the impression that they all were molesters. Rhee tended to label all teachers in one fell swoop as incompetent.

Rhee did often respond to problems getting incompetent principals out and trying to replace them with highly qualified individuals. Not every decision she made was a home run, but there were many positives.

Rhee, herself said that she could have been better at communicating. That is an understatement. Had Rhee listened a lot more and moved ahead advoiding negative statements about every one and everything that occured, many people still would have been upset. However, the focus would not have been on her petty vindetta against the people involved. Fenty and Rhee only needed to have 50.1 percent of the DC voters liking what they did more than they disliked what they did.

I really liked where DC was going. However, I disliked the respect shown to the DC voters. They (we) are not mindless followers of unions and other former politcal gurus. We do not have to agree with every decision made, but we expect to be listened to respectfully and have our concerns at least somewhat considered.

Posted by: FranJane | October 6, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse


Guess what, I'm not a member of the teacher's union. However, I am not going to pretend that a phony like Rhee is anything but a phony.

Posted by: educationlover54 | October 6, 2010 7:15 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 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 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 7, 2010 8:59 PM | Report abuse

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