Ed Reform Under Mayor Gray
For those of us rightly concerned about the future of ed reform in NYC after Bloomberg, look at DC and take heart – as Conor Williams notes, reform has continued under Mayor Gray and Kaya Henderson:
Years after former D.C. mayor Adrian Fenty (D) and his schools chancellor, Michelle Rhee, left office, your feelings on their tenure likely still serve as a suitable proxy for finding your place in the country’s “education wars.” Since District students just posted substantial gains on their annual standardized assessment, these debates are fresher than ever. Rhee’s and Fenty’s backers see the scores as justification for their heroes’ hard-charging approach. But that’s not the only view. Recently, Rhee biographer Richard Whitmire begrudgingly credited current Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) for sticking with reforms he ran against during the 2010 campaign.
Gray has stayed the course. Kaya Henderson , Rhee’s successor, has done a masterful job of balancing competing groups’ interests while continuing with the serious reforms that D.C. Public Schools (DCPS) sorely needs.
But Gray’s truly unparalleled educational legacy is much bigger than serving as caretaker for his predecessor’s accomplishments. As Fenty’s and Rhee’s battles with the Washington Teachers Union attracted national attention, then-D.C. Council chairman Gray quietly led the charge to establishuniversal public pre-K in the District. This was — and is — a staggering achievement.