Friday, September 17, 2010

Vincent Gray should find a way to keep D.C. schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee

Don't yet despair about Fenty's loss – perhaps all is not lost.  One possibility is Rhee could stay – here's an op ed in today's Washington Post calling on Gray and Rhee to do this:

He should find a way to keep her.

Now that he's won Tuesday's Democratic mayoral primary, Vince Gray's first big decision will be how to handle the future of Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee.

He needs to try hard to have her stay. That would infuriate many of his supporters, so he needs to move slowly. It also might be an impossible quest, because it's not at all clear that Rhee is willing to even consider working for Gray.

But it'd be the right thing to do for the city, its students, education reform, and Gray and Rhee themselves. Here's why:

…"It behooves [Gray] and the chancellor to bury their personal hatchet and think about the children," said Michael N. Harreld, regional president of PNC Bank and chairman of the education committee of the Federal City Council. "The most important thing that this school system needs is stability. . . . If the chancellor leaves over the next few months, change will not have taken seed and not have been institutionalized, and we will be back into the chaos that we've had for many generations."

Both Gray and Rhee would have to show some courage for her to stay. Gray would have to defend his action to Rhee critics -- notably in the Washington Teachers Union -- who opposed Fenty in large part because of the chancellor. He'd also have to rein in the temptation to micromanage her.

"At the very least, he should ask her to stay for an additional two years and pledge the same level of support as Fenty has given her," said Viki Betancourt, co-chair of the public education working group for Washington Grantmakers.


Vincent Gray should find a way to keep D.C. schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee

By Robert McCartney
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 15, 2010; 1:48 AM

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