Weekend in Review
Well, it took a few days, but the opinionmakers over at the Washington Post came up with some impressions on how D.C. public schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee handled herself at a pivotal Thursday hearing before the D.C. Council. Here's the WaPo editorial board, which hardly interrupts its yearslong standing ovation of the Rhee regime:
The real cause of the anger with Ms. Rhee is her assault on the entrenched special interests that helped make District schools a national disgrace. How else to explain the extraordinary efforts of the American Federation of Teachers to demonize her? How else to interpret the total lack of interest among Ms. Rhee's critics on the council in hearing her examples of some of the bad teachers who were terminated as a result of the reduction in force? Why hasn't the council bothered to conduct a similar inquisition about the 2,500 other city workers who have lost their jobs in the past year?
Funny thing: The Post editorial board is about the only voice in town that can make you feel sorry for poor little Michelle.
The hallmark of a Robert McCartney column is care. Care not to push what the facts can justify. Care not to elbow anyone too hard. Care with grammar, syntax, and clarity. Yet in the lede of his latest column, about Rhee and the council, McCartney appears ready to throw care to the wind: "The future of the District's school system may well be decided by whether Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee's forceful reform campaign becomes mired in a swamp of her own self-defeating hubris."
Oooh, sounds like the columnist is gearing up for a slam! Well, no, turns out just a mild slap on the wrist: "At the hearing, Rhee was poised and even conciliatory at times. She also sounded self-righteous, though, especially in her repeated statements that she acts only in the interest of children. That maddened some council members, who said they, too, care about children first."
The analysis McCartney should be providing is something along the following lines: As she sits before the council, dutifully spouting talking points about conciliation and so on, Rhee is really just acting. It's been reported in these pages that Rhee told an audience that cooperation and consultation are "way overrated."
That was the candid Michelle Rhee.
As long as test scores keep creeping up, the chancellor's high-handedness will be denounced and decried and detested—and that's about it. Results trump all in a school system that hasn't had them in decades.
But when the progress on standardized testing plateaus, or just falters a bit, then Rhee will pay for her ways.
For the best stuff on all things Rhee, go to Loose Lips columnist Mike DeBonis.
Man, those Giants are stinking it up.
Credit the Barras Report for this great little look at a dispute in Ward 3 about out-of-boundary students. Barras is focusing on a movement that's apparently taking root in this well-to-do region, in which parents are urging that Ward 3 schools educate exclusively Ward 3 kids, signaling frustration with the system in which kids from other parts of the city commute in to get educated at these Ward 3 gems. One trouble with the Barras piece: She uses Hardy Middle School as a case in point, yet Hardy is squarely within the boundaries of Ward 2. Sure, it has some Ward 3 "feeder" schools, but still.