A few weeks ago, in anticipation of the District’s budget being taken up by Congress, I joined D.C. autonomy activists at a small press conference tucked away in the back corridors of the U.S. Capitol. The District’s lone delegate, Eleanor Holmes Norton, and its mayor, Vincent Gray, took the opportunity to rally representatives from various organizations to join in D.C’s most awkward annual ritual: attempting to beg, scold, or otherwise shame Congress into abstaining from attaching riders to the city’s budget.
Michelle Rhee To Resign As Chancellor of D.C. Schools
October 13, 2010
The Washington Post is reporting that D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee will resign at the end of October. The news isn’t a surprise: When Adrian Fenty, who appointed Rhee, lost the Democratic mayoral primary last month, many attributed his loss—at least in part—to his hard-charging chancellor.
What Will Happen to D.C. Schools If Michelle Rhee Leaves? UPDATED
September 15, 2010
What would public schools in Washington, D.C., be like without Michelle Rhee? It’s the big question of the day, after incumbent Adrian Fenty lost the Democratic nomination for mayor to city council Chairman Vincent Gray on Tuesday. It was Fenty who appointed the hard-charging, reform-minded Rhee. Before the election, Rhee hinted that she might leave her job if Gray won and became mayor (as he is all but certain to do, since there’s currently no Republican opponent to face in the November general election).
In the wake of D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty’s loss to Vincent Gray last night, many of Washington’s political and media elite turned out for the red-carpet premiere of Waiting for Superman, a much-hyped documentary about education reform in America. It was interesting timing, to say the least: One of the film’s big stars is Michelle Rhee. The movie depicts her as a savior of schools and someone willing to make tough decisions others have bypassed. But, as I wrote earlier today, it’s not clear whether Rhee will have her job as chancellor of D.C.
Washington, D.C.'s Racial Polarization Is Not That Bad
September 10, 2010
It’s still a close race, but the odds are that Washington, D.C., mayor Adrian Fenty will lose to D.C. Council chairman Vincent Gray in the dispositive Democratic primary next Tuesday.
September 10, 2010
Journalists often annoyingly inflate events in their own backyards, fallaciously treating the local and provincial as mega-trends and national harbingers. Those of us who practice political journalism in Washington, D.C., have been somewhat immune from this tendency. Our city government, with the still-looming figure of a former crackhead mayor and the not-very-distant memory of a federally imposed control board, is way too sui generis for that. But for once, Washington has emerged as an urban vanguard—a home to bold and laudable reform.
Last week, D.C. public schools chancellor Michelle Rhee announced that she had fired 241 teachers, including 165 who received low ratings under the District’s new teacher evaluation system, called IMPACT. As I wrote on Friday, the firings represent a big step for education reform. Teacher evaluations across the country are badly constructed and executed, as are the processes used to remove bad teachers. D.C. is leading the way in improving both. But this story runs deeper.
Is Michelle Rhee Breaking the Law?
October 30, 2009
DC Public Schools Commissioner Michelle Rhee is the closest thing the education world has to a celebrity. (Education Next recently photoshoped an image of Rhee in medieval armor, under the heading "DC's Braveheart") Her take-no-prisoners approach to education reform, sometimes at the expense of tenured teachers, has won her much attention nationally--and many enemies here in the District.