Friday, August 27, 2010

It IS the schools, stupid

Speaking of fellow reformers with whom I totally disagree, I'm hearing that some charter school folks in DC are supporting Gray rather than Fenty because he'll supposedly be better for charters.  How totally selfish and short sighted!  I'm aware of some things Fenty and Rhee have done that have pissed off charter supporters, but if you care about ALL of DC's kids, it's a no-brainer to support Fenty (and Rhee).  This column in The Washington Examiner nails it:

The Fenty vs. Gray mayoral election IS about Michelle Rhee -- and school builder Allen Lew. It's about the schools, stupid.

It's not about crime. The nation's capital is a safer place than it was two years ago, a decade ago, certainly better than back in 1990, when D.C. was Marion Barry's Murder Capital.

It's not about economic development, either. Mayor Adrian Fenty and his economic development team have done as well as possible in a time of tight credit and general recession. I didn't see Vince Gray use his council chair to employ more folks in his home territory of Ward 7. So call it a draw.

Both candidates promise better health care, better housing, better care for the homeless. Both carry cronies in their baggage.

So it does come down to the schools and Michelle Rhee. She stays with Fenty; she goes with Gray. Period.

To those who criticize her style and comb test scorers to find signs of her failure, which are few, I serve up the cancer analogy: How many times have we declared war on cancer in this country? Is is cured? Can anyone fix a school system in three years in which the cancers of nepotism, low expectations and lousy teachers have consigned generations to illiteracy and failure?


Fenty is flawed in many ways. But he is the first D.C. mayor to take on the schools because he knew they were awful and he knew that fixing them would give all residents a better chance at success in life.

Michelle Rhee needs four more years, at least, and if that means holding your nose and voting for Fenty, do it.


It IS the schools, stupid

By: Harry Jaffe
Examiner Columnist
August 23, 2010

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