Vincent Gray's Rules of Order After four years of Adrian Fenty, his chief rival thinks it's time for politeness, consensus, and lots and lots of process

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Photos by Darrow Montgomery

Some politicians rule by fear, others through persuasion. Vincent C. Gray governs by process.

Impeccably dressed, invariably polite, and indefatigably hard-working, the D.C. Council chairman runs hearings with an iron handbook: Every last colleague, constituent, and stakeholder gets a say, no matter who. When this takes longer than scheduled—like when an elderly retired economics teacher shows up in the morning to testify about tenants’ rights but doesn’t get to speak until late in the afternoon—Gray is the first to apologize.

And then, of course, he politely encourages the inconvenienced party to share all of her thoughts on the matter, whether or not they echo the others from her apartment building who’ve already testified. That’s the process.

This summer, Gray is making process the centerpiece of his campaign to unseat Mayor Adrian Fenty. Months of mud-slinging between the 67-year-old challenger and the 39-year old incumbent have failed to elicit major public-policy differences. Instead, there’s process: After four years of what Gray maligns as an impulsive, opaque, and abrasive executive style, the chairman is betting that voters want something a little more deliberate and respectful.

“He believes the details are important and he believes that if you don’t take into consideration the details it can lead you down the path of a wrong decision,” explains Gray’s daughter, Jonice Gray Tucker.

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Which is why May 26 was such a strange day in the legislature Gray has ruled with such soporific effectiveness for the past four years. At the tail end of the budget cycle, news broke that funding for the H Street-Benning Road streetcar line had been cut. City transportation officials had gone to bed almost certain the project was safe. Sometime after midnight, following a grueling budget process that included televised broadcasts of previously closed-door negotiating sessions, Gray’s office whacked the project.

Word quickly spread among the planning geeks for whom streetcars are a cause celébrè. The influential blog Greater Greater Washington advised readers to call Gray’s office, pronto. Initially, a receptionist told callers the news wasn’t true. Then the office stopped taking phone calls. Advocates decried a shady late-night deal—the exact opposite of the consensus politics Gray has elevated into a political philosophy.

By 11:30 a.m., the budget was approved. With H Street ripped up and tracks partially constructed, the streetcar line was mostly dead—just $5 million was left behind for more planning. It was all a simple matter of process, Gray said. “I am firmly committed to a new streetcar system in the District,” he wrote on his campaign blog. “But we owe it to ourselves to have a well thought out planning process. We can’t afford the Mayor’s approach of ‘build now and plan later,’ which only results in poor outcomes and much higher costs.”

In this case, though, the irate online reaction prompted Gray to condense that well-thought-out planning process.

By afternoon, Gray announced that he’d identified $47 million for the project. But trolley jollies and streetcar foes alike felt put off. “Thank you for illuminating your lack of judgment and poor leadership potential while simultaneously moving forward with the streetcars,” sneered one poster on Gray’s website. Critics, meanwhile, accused Gray of caving to a Web-savvy, vocal minority.

Gray quickly moved on, emphasizing his streetcar love by riding a rented trolley two weeks later at the Capital Pride Parade. Today, he calls the incident a staff error, something that went down on one of those rare occasions when he’d gone home before his employees. “When I got wind of it the next morning, it took us all of two hours to fix this,” he says in an interview. “As soon as the meeting was over, I sat down with everyone and said ‘Look, we shouldn’t have done it this way.’”

In other words, with a little more attention to process, there might never have been a kerfuffle in the first place.

The Sept. 14 primary will not likely be decided by streetcar votes. But the set-to still illuminates a contradiction that will likely shape Gray’s political future: Being a stickler for process can be a sign of fairness, a way to avoid cronyism, and a way to make sure everyone gets their say. But it can just as easily be a cop-out.

Did Gray question the streetcar, as he initially said, because it was the sort of ill-planned infrastructure project that taxpayers shouldn’t have to support? Or did he hide behind a bunch of process explanations—poor transit planning, staff boo-boos—to dodge blame once the cut became controversial? Opinions about such questions will go a long way to determining whether Gray will become D.C.’s next mayor.


The D.C. Council chairman does his work at one end of a long conference table in his fifth-floor corner office at the Wilson Building. The walls are decorated with predictably tasteful images of District landmarks, sports memorabilia, and family pictures. There’s also a portrait of Gray and his late wife Loretta, who died of cancer 12 years ago, among other photos of his two children and two grandchildren.

Gray spends a lot of time at that table. A lifelong Catholic, the chairman has a decidedly Protestant work ethic—a supercharged one, at that. He’s often the last councilmember to leave the building at night. His staff generally gets more sleep than he does. “It’s one o’clock in the morning, and here I am having a policy exchange over e-mail,” says Jesse Rauch, a former Gray legislative analyst. “It’s insane.”

Growing up in a one-bedroom apartment at Sixth and L streets NE, Gray skipped two grades in school and graduated from Dunbar Senior High at 16. Even at a school that was then the home of D.C.’s African American elite, Gray stood out for his academic achievements. He managed to be a double-varsity athlete, too. Gray’s baseball skills were so promising he considered a professional career in the sport.

But he opted for college instead. At George Washington University, he was the first African-American student to break the color barrier in the fraternity system.

Gray went on from college to GW’s masters’ program in psychology. A professor there named Eva Johnson took him under her wing, steering his career toward social services. Johnson was involved with the D.C. Association of Retarded Citizens, today known as The Arc of D.C. After getting his degree, Gray went to work there, too. He later became its executive director.

At a time when many in D.C. measure success by the number of new commercial storefronts in previously blighted neighborhoods, Gray says his nonprofit career serves him well in office. “All of that has given me an exposure to what it means to be in human need. As a result I have a very profound understanding of what those needs are and I bring that understanding to these kinds of [budget] decisionmaking,” he says. (He also notes that this helps him know where to look for cost savings in social services as well).

After Sharon Pratt Dixon was elected mayor in 1990, Gray was asked to be director of the D.C. Department of Human Services. After some courting, he took over a chaotic agency that had 11 leaders in 12 years under Marion Barry. Opinions differ as to what happened next: Gray’s side notes that he improved performance on issues like HIV and homelessness. Critics, though, say it remained a mess—and that any reformist urgency got lost in the director’s relentless focus on procedural matters. Pratt’s administration, at any rate, has gone down as one of D.C.’s worst, compiling an even more disastrous track record than Barry’s. Which explains why Gray’s “early ’90s days” are a campaign-trail talking point for Fenty. In the mayor’s telling, DHS was “run over the cliff” under Gray, who would do the same to the city as mayor.

Gray’s defenders argue that anyone in charge of the department would have faced great challenges. “Virtually every entity at DHS improved while I was there,” Gray said during a July 15 radio debate. “I find it interesting at a recent forum, [Fenty] got up and complimented me on having worked to create a Department of Health Care Finance. I reminded him, since he wasn’t around at the time, that the Department of Health Care Finance was part of the reorganization plan I proposed as director of the Department of Human Services.”

The stint as a top D.C. official also means Gray made some decisions that—for voters with long memories—might cause him trouble now. As Gray gave a short stump speech at Glover Park Day in early June, some longtime residents in the Ward 3 neighborhood were quietly chattering about “the man who wanted to turn Guy Mason [Recreation Center] into a homeless shelter.”

During an interview, Gray has an answer for those complaints: process.

“It wasn’t that I proposed that,” he says of the plan he announced in November 1991 to house homeless people at the rec center that borders the Naval Observatory. “There was an order that… preceded the [Pratt] administration. And it talked about overflow shelters. There had been different places that had been identified as overflow shelters… and Guy Mason was one of those places in that order.

“I don’t know where it came from,” Gray adds. “It was handed down to us. The mayor, at the time, said that we should go ahead and try to do that...I carried out the wishes of the mayor.”

He never does get around to saying on the record whether he thought the Pratt-era Guy Mason plan was a good or bad idea.

Our Readers Say

Process is good. It is only bad when a decision is never made, and process is mistaken for actually doing something. There is nothingwrong with having all the stakeholders in the room and asking for their opinion, and then making a decision. Gray is smart enough to know that he doesn't know everything!
I understand the desire to be evenhanded. And clearly the author of this article is trying to do that. But when she implies that Fenty has rightly shaken things up in the city, she doesn't seem to acknowledge that he has shaken things up out of ignorance, as opposed to any grand strategy to improve the city itself or city services. Just listen to Fenty speak on the issues.

This article really does nothing but try to feed into the stereotypes that have already surrounded these two candidates. Just a real lack of insight or thought. Is this really the front page article? What a snooze.
Process is the key to having an efficient organization. A lot of the City's department heads missed that class. That’s what I like about Chairman Gray’s philosophy about city government. It’s about delivery of city services in a well thought out manner instead of a big announcement with planning later. Plan-do-check-act. It’s sensible and effective city planning and governmental leadership.
I agree with Terry. And I know Chairman Gray well enough to know that he does follow a fair process, but at the end of the day he is courageous, and unafraid to make a decision that could be politically challenging. I think the way he handled the Marion Barry censure was a perfect example of that: he brought in outside experts who provided unequivocally damaging evidence, and then he followed through with the right decision.

From my experiences with Fenty, he equates any type of engagement or community process with dysfunction, which is a dangerous approach. A good leader, like Gray, does his research, encourages stakeholders to share their thoughts, and then moves forward. This article makes it sound like he stops after the first two steps, or that he takes so long in his deliberations that he causes harm. That is completely false.

I'm supporting Chairman Gray as the next mayor of our city and I have every confidence that he will move our city forward in the right way.

Lisa Raymond
Lisa Raymond,

The school board representative Lisa Raymond...the person who was hardly ever seen at any school beyond elementary Lisa Raymond. You are going to support who...? Wow, I guessing it is because Rhee has not embraced the stroller brigade of which many of you thought that you were going to roll-over on everyone. You have confidence, surely you jest...because you barely have confidence in yourself. I digress, your second paragrah states that your experience with Fenty equates to dysfunction. Does that mean...Fenty has too many blacks in his camp? You give me the impression that you feel between the candidates. of which both are black...that the one who's less black-power affiliated is the one who will attract your vote.
@Tales,

You think Fenty is affiliated with black power? That's a joke, right?
Where, exactly, do results enter the equation? Process is only effective if it produces the desired result. And, process is much more about exclusion than inclusion. An effective process eliminate everything that is not completely necessary to effect the result.

What Mr. Gray exhibits, and this article describes, is not a love of process. It is a love of micro-managment. Their is a major difference. Policy phone calls in the middle of the night are not a sign of an effective manager. It is a sign of a micromanager. And effective process driven manager gets his work done during the work day. The environment is not "insane". But it is with a micro-manager. They produce endless amounts of needless busy work. They desire to focus on "process" because of the illusivness of aquiring "results."

If they don't accomplish anything...it wasn't his fault. He folllowed the "process". SO, now lets just sit around and talk about the process. After we fix the process...then he wants to talk about results. Unless, that is, the desired result doesn't happen. In that case, it was the processes fault again.

By the way, what is the process that has the Republican Nominee for the BOE on the shelf for a year? Yet, the Democratic nominee flys thru in two weeks. That is not process. That is politics. That is a micromanaging buearacrat.


Thanks Terry Miller!. Process - Sequence of interdependent and linked procedures which, at every stage, consume one or more resources (employee time, energy, machines, money) to convert inputs (data, material, parts, etc.) into outputs. These outputs then serve as inputs for the next stage until a known goal or end result is reached.

The evidence is in on the new CP regime. Neither the author nor any of the editors care enough to fact check a cover story, not even when it's about the next mayor of DC.

" Gray wouldn't say whether Bereano would be assisting his mayoral bid..." Why wouldn't he say? Did you ask? Wouldn't it be newsworthy if a felon frat bro, convicted of fraudulently funneling money to politicians (and disbarred because of it) was working to get Gray elected? You bet it would.

" ... a look at campaign finance records shows Bereano has not contributed to the campaign thus far." FLAT WRONG!! What records did you look at?

Try item # 317 (page 64 of 306) from Gray's June 10, 2010 Campaign Finance report: OFFICE OF BRUCE BEREANO, 191 Duke of Gloucester Street, Annapolis, MD; date of contribution -- 6/1/10; amount of contribution -- $2,000.00 (the max).

It's right under item # 316, one of the Jemal brothers (perfect b/c Doug Jemal also is a convicted felon).

But hey, who cares about the facts? Not CP.
Let's not equate anyone with Black Power. Neither Gray nor Fenty are radical in any sense.
"He was the first African-American student to break the color barrier in the GWU fraternity system."

Assuming the truth of that statement, 45 years ago Gray broke through a racist barrier. He deserves credit.

CP, however, ommitted an important point re DC's upcoming mayoral election: Gray's big brother was felon Bruce Bereano. Google Bereano and Gray. It's easy to do.
I say stick with Mayor Fenty. Yes he may be a little arrogant but, things are getting done. Give the man a chance for God's sake.
Are you kidding me... Jason you are equating Black Power as being radical? If I would have said Women Power would you have equated that to being emotional. It is what it is...two black candidates who have to do what they do to get the votes needed. Let's go with the "fraternity" angle and that Gray broke the color barrier. Since that was about 4 decades ago...what has this interracial fraternity has done for the city? Let's see...more specific what has this interracial fraternity has done for Dunbar High School... Talking about elitism remember Dunbar was for the hoity-toity coloreds, therefore don't get it twisted.

You would think those fratboys of GW would be heavy hitters in the financial world...and therefore backing of one of their own...would be unconditional. Let's be real...Gray was the color of the month back then...even his fraternity picture which is in black and white...surely depicts more white than black.

You feel me.

Crypt, you are the truth.
Our city has been moving in warp speed since Williams...does anyone think it is time to slow down, embrace the growth of this city by processing some social and economic details needed to create a true Nation's Capital to ensure substance and character of all its people?
How Much More Experience Are We Willing To Take?

The question that begs answering is first, how the current financial disparity is being addressed by Mayor Adrian Fenty despite his “experience”, who is being served in this city of more have not’s than haves? Two, in what way is the disparity in the ways the digitally savvy who have access to the internet and who are able to hold on to higher wage jobs, and those who do not, being addressed to reach a fair and equitable conclusion for both?
There is more than enough evidence that there are those who can only see as far as the experience in running a company can go, however isn’t the job of mayor to serve all of a city he or she runs, not just the few he or she wants to cater to?
I stood in the rain as our dear mayor closed down Franklin shelter then posed armed guards outside to keep people from getting back in. I saw what many who want to back this mayor up did not see; I saw the legless & footless in the rain, those without raincoats, with no place to go. I also saw former aide Tagerlini look directly at those of us who protested this move, encouraged by him, and drive away without a word.
I also testified in front of Councilmember Wells, Councilmember Barry and others on the insanity of putting the chronically homeless and mentally ill into apartments without the benefit of enforced wrap around services.
As a formerly homeless woman who spent 1991-1993 in the area of Lafayette Square Park, I saw firsthand what happens when the homeless who have definite issues of haven’t had to be responsible don’t have responsibilities set up that they either live up to, or face being outside.
You begin to believe you are owed a free ride, you do not live up to your full potential whatever that might be, you seem to believe all will fall into place around you and that just is not so. Just look at the scores of formerly homeless who live in ward 8, ward 7, who have lost their IDA benefits, those are the benefits paid to you by the Department of Human Services until you receive disability payments. Those who have to chase down wrap around core services, those who are still using drugs, selling drugs, and coming up broke and without food every single month. I have personally seen this horror, so when someone says that this may has experience; I have personally seen what this experience has gotten us all.
A much wider gap in the disparity between who has and who does not have, more contracts for friends who line their pockets with the cash District residents should have in their pockets, and ever growing desperation.
I have met Vincent Gray, I have disagreed more times with his stances than I have agreed, however he is much more desirable than someone I have already seen weave his terrible magic.
So my final word to Mr. Michael E. Gross who wrote of Vincent Grays process as mayoral hopeful is this, why pick someone we know will screw over us for sure and who has had years to show us? Are District residents that masochistic to have deep pleasure as someone reams them over and over again, without the benefit of lubrication?

At the end of the day, what keeps me in the Fenty camp is remembering when process was the go-to excuse for doing absolutely nothing. There are many (many!) examples of this, but the number one has to be the decades of the blue ribbon panels and reports and promises regarding school reform in DC. They were all brilliant, I'm sure, but the end result- the effect of all of them- was to delay any meaningful change and to preserve the status quo. And, you know what? From a political perspective, that was the intent.
Even today, people tout how Janey was brilliant. But Janey didn't actually implement any hard changes. How many schools did he close? How many teachers or administrators did he fire? Was there even 1? No wonder people still talk well of him. He gave hope, with no pain. And he departed before any real on the ground changes started. That was typical of the old DC, and that didn't change until Adrian Fenty became mayor. And when it became clear that it would change, the whining and hand wringing and criticisms weren't two seconds behind.
Change is hard, and change pisses people off. And you don't always get it done 100% perfectly the first time around. And even when you do, someone will always be unhappy that you did. "Every inefficiency has its constituency", as the saying goes. But you never get anywhere- you never grow as a city (or as a person)- unless you are willing to take risks and make mistakes.
Hope for something better for my friends and family- that's what keeps me in the Fenty camp.
drez
"To try or not to try. To take a risk or play it safe. Your arguments have reminded me how precious the right to choose is. And because I've never been one to play it safe, I choose to try."
- Jean-Luc Picard
@DR,


In reference to Janey and education: how exactly does closing schools equate to improved education? How does firing teachers based on a flawed evaluation system and replacing them with inexperienced folks improve education? There are a lot of assumptions about how to improve education that are neither grounded in reality or executed with thoughtfulness. Please see the concerns raised by the Columbia professor, which, if accurate, are shameful.

The real questions to me, and I think most Gray supporters is not whether you want to move forward and see things improve, but how you actually get that done.

For people have little or no regular interaction with city government, things seem fine. For those who do have regular interaction, particularly those who are getting services, things are just as bad as they have ever been, and if Fenty is reelected are doomed to get worse. Please pay attention to what happens to homeless services if Fenty is reelected.

Change IS hard and it can piss people off. I agree that you must take risks, but they must be calculated, not shot from the hip. Nor should they be based on what the herd is doing. This is why I'm in the Gray camp, because I believe that moving together is the only way to move forward.
@DR,

If remembering when process was the go to excuse for getting nothing done is the reason you want to keep Fenty in office, you must not have been inclined to vote for anyone but Fenty anyway.

You can't run a lemonade stand w/o "process" Unless I'm ignorant of history, hasn't Michelle Rhee implemented changes initiated under Janey - those he didn't get the chance to see through fruition? Or are you one of those who suggest that Rhee is solely responsible for the design, implementation and results we are currently seeing? After Rhee leaves, the next chancellor will build off of what Rhee began. That's how businesses are run. Rhee did not have a clean slate to work with. No, she did not start from scratch. Even you intimate that he "left" before any real changes started. Well actually, Fenty fired him.

Risks? I contend that our most former president took risks.

Interestingly enough, Fenty won mainly because he was not Williams even though facts suggest that Williams was EXTREMELY good for the city. Now we have many, like yourself, who suggest that the only person capable of running DC is ONE person. It is the same flawed logic used by Fenty supporters who intimate that only ONE person can run the school system.



I love City Paper, but this article was so slanted.

It reminds me of an interview question about what are the interviewee's worst qualities?

I care too much and work too hard.

The premise of the article is not a criticism, it is an attempt to show a balanced review. It fails miserably. Consider this sentence:

"For Gray skeptics, there’s a temptation to see the chairman’s determination to respect colleagues and follow procedure as a sign that he’d tolerate the dysfunction of the D.C. government’s bad old days."

this suggests his opponent does neither.

gray lost me when he did the switcheroo on the trollies. this article gives him a pass on that. the reality is he was probably right the first time and should have cut the $$ b/c they don't have the zoning, etc figured out.
@TH,

If Gray has really done something illegal with this former fraternity brother of his, he should definitely be investigated. But what exactly is the charge? What are you saying that they have conspired to accomplish? You are constantly harping on this, yet I'm not sure that I understand what they've done. Is it guilt by association?
@ Indeed: Your question is a good one because most people don't know the facts about Bereano/Gray, and reporters have whiffed horribly on the subject (latest example: CP's cover story, see my comments 9 & 11 above).

Over the weekend, I'll post a detailed response to your query. I want to be thorough so it'll take a fair amount of time to chronicle Gray's troubling pattern of associating with (and accepting money from) felons who lie and cheat about financial matters. Maybe then you'll better understand my thinking.
@TH

Good! I'm interested in seeing it. Will you post here?
TH is always saying this he wants Chairman Gray to be just like that inept mayor that is already end. Prove it or be quiet already.
already in.
@Truth. Hey, just stop why don't you? It's clear that you are a Fenty HACK and I'll tell you why.

You seem to have a big issue with Gray's association with this Bereano guy, who was charged with mail fraud and served 10 months in a halfway house/home detention. Ok. We get it.

But, er, uhm,

Enter Ron Moten stage right. A former drug dealer convicted of burglary and served four years in prision. Moten, who sought to have the conviction overturned of his friend who was convicted of sexual assault of a minor AND murder.

Bereano = mail fraud/embezzlement

Moten = drug dealer/burglar

Now if you want to make a point, please put a cogent thought together lest you sound like a complete fool, nutcase, idiot, basketcase, loony toon,
<b>DCguy</b>
My argument isn't with process, it's with allowing process to be <i>misused</i> as a tool to impede <b>progress</b>. If you've been awake in DC for a minute, you'll get the distinction.
<i>Unless I'm ignorant of history, hasn't Michelle Rhee implemented changes initiated under Janey</i>
Yes. My point being that those reforms, like so many before them, were kicked down the road until after the <i>next election</i>. It's always the <i>next election</i> with the dragging the heels folks. That shit went on for decades!
<i>Fenty won mainly because he was not Williams even though facts suggest that Williams was EXTREMELY good for the city</i>
It's tellingly awesome that Williams, who as you say was so "EXTREMELY good for the city", has endorsed Fenty and has held fundraisers for Fenty. Isn't it?
The Washington Post got it right in 2006, and they got it right TODAY!
Fix the html, WCP, please.
Vincent Gray-used a City contractor to build a fence without a permit-FACT
Could not even conduct himself professionally with the host of WPFW DC Politics Jonetta Rose Barras during a debate with himself, Mayor Fenty, and Leo Alexander that aired on July 15, 2010-FACT During this debate it was mentioned that during his term as the Director of DHS, under the worst mayor Sharon Pratt Kelley, needlessly to say, thast the federal courts had to intervene and take control of the agency (FACT) and yet Mr. Gray said "he was proud of his record."-FACT
Messed up the H Street and than did an about face when it was exposed and tried to say it was because he went home early that day- FACT
There was no bid on lottery contract-FACT, if your going to give it to a associate than at least have a open bid for goodness sake.
I would like to believe that a LAWYER such as Bereano would be viewed as a person accountable to being held to a higher standard of ethical behavior. Has anyone ever encountered Mr. Gray's campaign entourage? They may ride around in Range Rovers but most of them are uncouth,ignorant, and downright disrespectful in demeanor as exhibited at the Ward 6 Mayoral Endorsement Forum held this past week. Mr. Gray states that the current administration is only focused on K-12? How can that statement be valid when my 3 year old daughter is enrolled in head start, in fact many schools both public and charter has a revamped head start programs. As an adult attending a post secondary academic institution, I have gone scholarships from OSSE and DOES. Mr. Gray argues that Mayor Fenty can't take credit for the projects that have broke ground and been completed under his administration but there is a significant difference between an idea and a deliverable.
Mr. Gray's name suits him well as according to Merriam Webster Gray means: uninteresting
5 : having an intermediate and often vaguely defined position, condition, or character.
I WOULD PREFER SOMEONE TO TAKE AIM THEN SHOOT RATHER THAN SOMEONE SHOOTING FROM THE HIP HOPING TO HIT THE TARGET. THUS ALL THE MISSES THIS REGIME SEEMS TO BE PILING UP. THE SAD PART IS THEY ARE CLAIMING BULLSEYES FROM THE PREVIOUS ADMINISTRATION AND WHEN ASKED TO PROVE THEIR OWN ACCURACY THEY CLAIM THE GUN IS JAMMED OR GIVE SOME OTHER LAME ASS EXCUSE. YOU CAN TELL THE REAL COWBOY FROM THE DRUG STORE KIND AND ITS BECOMING QUITE OBVIOUS THAT THE FENTSTER GOT ON A PAIR OF BOOTYSHORTS WITH C.V.S IN CURSIVE ACROSS HIS ASS.

PROCESSES, POLICIES, PROCEDURES AND LAWS ARE IN PLACE FOR A REASON IF YOU DONT FOLLOW THEM YOU END UP WITH UNQUALIFIED FOLK, ILLEGITIMATE FOLK AND IGNORANT FOLK CALLING THE SHOTS. RHEE, SKINNER AND MOTEN RESPECTFULLY! NOW THESE FOLK THINK BECAUSE THEY GOT A FEW DOLLARS AND SOME YOU TUBE FAME THEY ARE THE SHIZNIT. IF YOU BELEIVE YOUR LIE LONG ENOUGH IT WILL BECOME YOUR TRUTH.

************************************************************************
@Truth Hurts WILL YOU PLEASE GIVE US A BREAK ON THE FELON CONNECT! THE CONSTANT WACKING OF EQUINE WHO HAVE BEEN DEPRIVED OF LIFE AND THE FENTY NUTT HUGGING SHOWS YOUR CLINGYNESS. UNTIL YOU COME UP WITH SUMTHIN BRAND NEW YOUR COMMENTS SHOULD JUSTIFY SOME SORT OF CENSURE BY THE COMMENT POLICE BECAUSE YOU ARE POSTING THE SAME SHIT OVER AND OVER AGAIN. YOUR COMMENTS ARE PURE BULL SHIT THAT YOU HAVE POSTED ON BEHALF OF A FAILED, CORRUPT AND INEPT ADMINISTRATION.

I HAVE A SENSE THAT YOU ARE BETTER THAN THAT.
LET GO!

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
@ D-REZ SLIM RHEE IN CHARGE OF SCHOOLS IS THE EQUIVALENT OF PUTTING AN ACCOUNTANT IN CHARGE OF SOCIAL PROGRAMS. IT’S NOT A GOOD FIT. THEY ONLY SEE THINGS ONE WAY. RHEE IS BLIND TO THE REAL ISSUES OF THE DC SCHOOL SYSTEM. HER ONLY CLAIM IS THE FIRING OF TEACHERS BASED ON A FLAWED SYSTEM (AND THE REMOVAL OF THE HARDY PRINCIPAL BASED ON RACISM). SHE HAVE BOXED HERSELF IN A CORNER BY COAT TAILING FENTY AND WITH NO EXPERIENCE TO RELY ON SHE DOESN’T KNOW HOW TO FIGHT HER WAY OUT SO SHE GETS DEFENSIVE (REVIEW ALL HER COMMENTS).

I HAVE CONFIDENCE THAT THE NEXT MAYOR WILL PUT SOMEONE IN THE SEAT WHO WILL HAVE SOME LEADERSHIP EXPERIENCE AND THE MOXIE TO CARRY THIS THING OUT AND SHOW SOME REAL RESULTS BY HAVING THESE CHILDREN ACTUALLY KNOW HOW TO LEARN AND BE PREPARED FOR THE NEXT LEVEL AS OPPOSED TO JUST GETTING RID OF QUESTIONABLE BAD TEACHERS.
noodlez-
I always enjoy your writing. No doubt about it, you are a fun read.
But the point that Gray is calling for more "planning" and "inclusion" when those are the only things politicians did for our schools since the 1980's is really just too much. We've "planned" school reform to death for at least 4 mayors.
This time around, we've actually followed through. Yeah, and on the stuff that Janey planned, too. AND we've instituted a very generous pay for performance contract, AND we've fired or excessed underperforming staff in the administrative offices and in the classroom, AND we've accelerated facilities modernization.
We've had 40 years of planning how to improve DCPS. Now we have real change. And, surprise surprise, we have stabilizing (even rising!) school enrollment, rising test scores, and schools that look and work the best they have since at least, when, the 1960's? And without further change, there will be no WTU, because that will back slide, and there will be very few students in left in DCPS. Any parent who cares will put their kids in a charter or, if they can afford, a private school. You've seen the numbers, you know that's what was happening. And noodlez, the same GREAT dynamic in our schools now is happening everywhere in DC that you look. A government that's slimmer and more responsive, and that's given us more and better parks and recs, better streets, sidewalks and alleys, and more people moving to this city.
And Gray isn't promising to continue reforms. He's promising to "talk" and to "plan" and to be "inclusive". But in the past 4 years he has done nothing but talk, planned, and been inclusive. And he hasn't come up with shit, let alone a plan, let alone said how he might pay for any plan he might (after more "planning"!) eventually come up with.
Sorry, slim, that shit is just old, embarrassingly incompetent and, frankly, sad.

@DR: If you really believe that Fenty is responsible for change and that his darling Rhee is "improving" schools, then why can't this guy talk about it in a public forum?

Please explain how DCPS has improved. And don't give me this test scores bullshit. DC CAS is a test that is paid for by the DC government. NAEP is a nationally recognized test, which unfortunately only goes to grades 4 and 8. Please look at the vast difference between these scores in the fourth grade from last year. The 2009 DC CAS scores indicate that 44% of DC children are proficient or advanced. The 2009 NAEP scores indicate that only 17% are proficient or above. Which test is right? Well, personally, I don't trust tests that are bought and paid for by a city or state, which really wants to show progress. We are much further behind than we imagine.

I challenge you further to look at DC CAS test scores by school and see how absurdly they jumped, sometimes literally doubling, between 2007 and 2008. If that sounds too good to be true, then you are right, it is. The NCLB requirements for testing are a complete and utter joke. States and municipalities are literally buying their way to reform.

Stop drinking kool aid, read the data driven studies, and stop pretending like these ignorant fools know what they're doing.
DREZ-I'LL GIVE YOU THE POPULATION BOOM, STABLE SCHOOL NUMBERS AND PARKS & REC. EACH HAVE ITS OWN REASON WHY ITS SERVING THIS CITY WELL BUT ONE THING FOR SURE IT'S NOT BECAUSE OF THE SOON TO BE FORMER MAYOR.

WE BOTH ARE EDUCATION FIRST AND I BELEIVE THAT IT SHOULDNT BE A WEDGE ISSUE BUT POLITICS HAVE MADE IT SO. THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS GRAY WILL WIN THE SEAT AND WHOEVER WINS RHEE IS OUTTA HERE AND OFF TO SAC-TOWN. WHAT SHOULD BE DISCUSSED IS EVEN IF THE SOON TO BE FORMER MAYOR SOME HOW SQUEAKS OUT A WIN IS WHO IS HE GOING TO REPLACE RHEE WITH? HOPEFULLY A MORE QUALIFIED PERSON THAN SOMEONE HE CAN CONTROL.

UNLESS THEY ARE PUTTING UP MONEY TO HIRE MORE OUT OF WORK FOLK THEN PLAN, TALK, PLAN AND IMPLEMENT. THAT WAY WE GET THE MOST FOR OUR MONEY AND HAVE SOME CONTROLS IN PLACE.
noodlez-
I keep coming back to this- Fenty will win 1-4 +6.
That's my bet. This will be mainly because he has delivered on his promises- he has a clear record of accomplishment- and he a clearly stated agenda for his next term. Whereas Gray has little or nothing to run on except that he's not Fenty. He has a coalition of disaffected people who are in conflict with themselves. Their only unifying element is their dis-affectation. That's probably why he hasn't put out any policy papers. Because he can't or his coalition would fall apart. Sorry 'bout that, but it's the truth.
Indeed-
At my child's school, those who receive subsidized meals (mostly black and latino) out-scored those who don't. The achievement gap in race and wealth has not only been closed, something of a "reverse" achievement gap was made. My kid runs to school each morning, and I have to drag him out of aftercare (late!) every afternoon. He loves the DCPS environment. And he's learning amazingly fast. It's a wonder every day. And that's because of the teachers, the principal, Rhee, and, ultimately, the executive who put that structure in place.
And, guys, I've said it before: My family would qualify on census stats as solidly black middle class.
Schools facilities are in better shape than ever, classrooms are ready and supplied on time, the a/c and the heat work, the plumbing works, the roofs don't leak, test scores are up, and enrollment is stabilized and rising. When in DCPS history has any administration ever done those things. Add to that crime is down, parks and recs are way better, streets sidewalks and alleys are better, trash is collected on time...
At the end of the day, this is a city that is working. You can call it drinking cool-aid but, if it is cool aid, it's by far the best drink anyone's served to DC residents in the past 40 or 50 years.
YOU ARE TRULY A GAMBLER BETTING AGINST THE ODDS. YOU NEED TO DO A LIL MORE RESEARCH ON THE WARD BREAK DOWN. 4 AND 6 ARE BATTLEGROUNDS.

FENTY WILL LOSE WARD 4(MY WARD)IN A LANDSLIDE. THOSE FOLKS FEEL LIKE THEY'VE BEEN NEGLECTED AND TAKEN FOR GRANTED. BOWSER HAS DONE NOTHING SINCE HE PUT HER IN THE SEAT. IT'S PREDOM WORKING BLACK FOLK WHO ARE WELL ROOTED AND EDUCATED. HE IS DONE IN WARD 4.

WARD 6 ENCOMPASSES A LOT OF OLD SCHOOL BLACKS WHO ARE STILL DISINFRANCHISED. THEY HAVE TRULY BEEN LET DOWN BECAUSE THEY THOUGHT SINCE HE IS FROM HERE THAT HE WOULD IDENTIFY WITH THEM. LOOK AT THE MAP MY OVERCONFIDENT FRIEND WARD 6 IS NOT JUST CAP HILL.
@dr

Please tell us what school you're talking about so we can look this up. I haven't seen any information like this at all. overall, the achievement gap has widened between white and black students under Rhee. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/12/AR2009121201276.html

indeed-
The article you cite is based on last year's aggregated scores. And those numbers didn't include middle school, as there were not enough white students tested in middle school to create a statistically significant sample. So, basically, they were 3rd and 5th grade numbers only. Gee, wouldn't it be nice to have testing every year? I think so.
I know my school's current scores because I've taken the time to get to know our principal. But, I'll say that last year the dynamic, if not the exact scores, was the same. If you want to know more, develop your own sources and do your own research.
Reading the quote from Janey that closes the article you cite, I'd agree that the school year should be longer. I'd love it if DCPS ran year round. I've friends with children in the Charter EL Haines (sp?), and I envy that about their schedule.
But I'm a product of public schools, like my parents before me, and I want that for my kids. I'm a big believer in standards and testing, and even more of equality and a level playing field. So I'll stick with DCPS- unless we get a new captain that ship starts to sink again. If that happens, I'll leave the process and the rearranging of deck chairs to you. It will be beside any worthwhile point.
@dr:

I went to DC public schools went to ivy league schools and I currently would never send my child to them with this focus on testing. If you want your child to be an unthinking, multiple choice test taking dimwit, then please send your kids there.

Please address the discrepancies between test scores on fourth grade naep and dc cas. It's convenient that there aren't enough white students in middle school, isn't it? Not sure that you're actually proving your point, though. You have no evidence of what you're saying and yet you're sighting that as evidence! That isn't considered an argument.

You again aren't putting anything of significance on the table. No schools, no stats. Everything is based on your relationship with the principal. Good for you! But there is no actual evidence of what you're saying.
@dr

And I am not literally speaking about your child. I'm sure your child will be fine no matter where he or she goes. Not trying to be personal.

I believe that we are currently in the process of rearranging deck chairs, a process that I want no part of. The Rhee crew, which claims to be data driven, doesn't actually look at any of the evidence around teaching or the factors that help make children stable, successful students. They are a part of an ideology, nothing more.
@Indeed,

Actually, Rhee is firmly in the center of the national consensus on school reform, as illustrated by DC's winning of $75 million in Race to the Top funds, and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan's high praise of Rhee's reform efforts. It's Rhee's detractors who are completely out of the mainstream of current school reform thinking.

Everyone has an ideology--a term you use, but don't seem to understand. The ideology of the anti-Rhee forces is that we should have no objective measurements of student achievement...ever. The only measure we should use is whether or not individual teachers feel they're effective. That's fine for the 70% or so of teachers who are competent enough to make that critical self-evaluation.

70% is not good enough, though.
Let' s not talking about who gray is socializing with let' s give him the chance to do the job, fenty made a mistake by not keeping chec k on those he chose to have represent him, everyone deserves a second chance to work and function within the bands of society, yet we know that it is time to become one city regardless of race or creed; as I said in my last comment this city will except what they are calling regentification. But the people will not except their section of the city to be overlooked by those who say they want to lead the District of Columbia, I have been to prison myself and feel I am just as worthy as anyone to live and be apart of the political seen here in Washington. Yet we know that the peace of society depend on justice, meaning that everyone should be cared for regardless of their status economical, social,or educational, so MR. Gray says he can be the mayor that close the divide of our wonderful city that's for all you new comers to the city.

Bro. Ronald cooleyel
Is there a problem with being polite to people?. I think not!! Because that is the best way to get and receive respect from people who you may cpm into contact with throughout the city. I know I am one who is tried of the rude behavior of the people who a red hired to servive us; and we must hold them accountable by policy, remember rules and regulAtions are away of life for people such as the mayor, if fenty would have been more polite and used process he might still be the mayor of the city. Without process their will be no fair and justice action for the citizens. In saying that I am all for prcess if it will help get tje job done by the mayor elect gray, so please remember the magitstrae leads his ministres by example of good character in dealing fair and just wether process or rules and regulations so zwe will see what he does in picking those who will help him lead, I just hope he does not just hire friends because if he does that then nothing has really changed. So mayor gray be wise and just in picking your ministres and administrators, for we the citizens that voted for you will be waching!, yet I truly believe you are going to be more wise then your predecessor.
Bro. Ronald Cooley-EL

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