Is the D.C. -> Sacto Connection about to become stronger?


All we know for certain is that there will be a new mayor in Washington, D.C. Everything after that seems to be conjecture. Will the District’s schools Chancellor, Michelle Rhee, be out and return to Sacramento, and her fiancee, Mayor Kevin Johnson?

In fact, the only negative that I can see happening as a result of yesterday’s election in D.C. is that it dramatically increases the odds of Ms. Rhee coming here to Sacramento after she marries our Mayor, Kevin Johnson, this month. Coincidence or not, he happened to announce today the formation of a Broad Foundation funded citywide education organization.
Larry Ferlazzo

Ms. Rhee’s comments opining on the devastation sure to follow her and Mayor Fenty’s departure would seem to seal the deal. But we hear this from D.C. Insider at WaPo:

Gray stuck to his campaign answer, that he wanted to sort things out with her before he made a decision about the chancellor’s post.

Then, Mike Klonsky shares this tidbit:

Sources tell me, big pressure being put on Gray plus huge $$$ to work out a deal with Rhee and salvage “reform.”

When I shared this with dh, his response was, “Hey, isn’t that bribery?” Welcome to the world of education reform honey! Don’t let minor things like, morality, due process, or doing the right thing get in the way as you rush to get “Superman” to teach these kids!

Look, the reasons for a mayoral change are often hard to discern from afar. Looking at this extremely unscientific comments board from WaPo post election shows most comments from Gray supporters talking about a lack of services and job development in poor, black neighborhoods (where Fenty lost big). The education comments coming largely from Fenty supporters (mostly saying, “Hey if you want to improve employment, we have to improve the schools”). My sense is that jobs and lousy relations with locals killed Fenty in those neighborhoods, and they weren’t going to wait for things to get better.

The most intriguing idea (although not knowing the players, I have no idea if this is a good one) on replacing Rhee comes from Jay Mathews, suggesting they re-hire Cliff Janey, who was kicked out to bring in Rhee. Even Rhee acknowledged that a lot of the initial bump in test scores during her tenure were a result of her predecessor’s reforms. Since most of the increases on NAEP are due to demographic changes brought about by gentrification maybe the old guy knew what he was doing?

Anyway, it has a nice closing of the circle logic to it, but that’s from 3,000 miles away. What doesn’t seem so great is the idea of getting D.C.’s cast-off  involved in education here locally. I have to say the idea that Gray might give into “bribery” and retain Rhee is more the nauseating of the two, but we’ll never know if he just decided to be…magnanimous, will we?

by posted under politics/policy | 1 Comment »    
One Comment to

“Is the D.C. -> Sacto Connection about to become stronger?”

  1. September 19th, 2010 at 1:16 pm      Reply Jenny Says:

    I’ve been thinking of you since the election last week. It was pointed out to me by a friend that Rhee’s ex-husband is here and that complicates things with their kids. I can’t imagine what she and her fiance had planned for their future together before Fenty’s loss or how that changes now.

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