Loose Lips

Gray Struggles in First Debate on Education

Twenty-five minutes into Vince Gray's first debate since declaring his re-election plans, he found himself face-to-face with little-known candidate Christian Carter. Scolding the mayor like a high school student who had turned in especially bad homework, the longshot Carter told Gray that  D.C. Public Schools under his administration deserved an "F." Gray looked the other way while the crowd cheered.

It may have been the low point of the night for the mayor, but the rest of Monday's Washington Teachers Union debate at Eastern High School didn't go much better for him. Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells slammed the Gray administration's handling of middle schools, while At-Large Councilmember Vincent Orange lodged a comparison between Gray and Adrian Fenty, whose own education policies fueled opposition to his administration.

Gray, who can point to improved test scores under his administration and won the union's endorsement in 2010, struggled to make his case in front of a hostile audience. "Something that you do may not be popular with everybody," Gray said. "But the thing that ought to be popular with everybody is that we want positive outcomes for our children."

The debate's audience proved challenging for other candidates, too. After being booed for defending his 2007 D.C. Council vote in favor of mayoral control of the schools, Jack Evans, whose vigorous nodding to one of the mayor's remarks made him seem like the mayor's only friend in the room, had to appeal to panelist Rev. Graylan Hagler to calm the audience.

Afterward, Wells reflected on the rowdy crowd. "It was an opportunity for those that came here to make a statement to the mayor and those running for mayor," he said.

Carter and restaurateur Andy Shallal seemed to fit best with the union's agenda, both promising everything from keeping schools open to the end of mayoral control of schools under their hypothetical administrations. "I do believe that mayoral control has changed the way that we put the 'public' in public schools," Shallal said."It certainly has become a problem. People have become more disenfranchised and disaffected and disrespected."

Leaving the school, Gray declined to say whether he thought the candidates' dismal assessments of his education record were fair.

"I think people have to say whatever they say," Gray said.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

  • truth hurts

    Maybe Orange is paying Carter to attack Gray.

  • Gordon

    Vincent Orange for Mayor!!!

  • Art

    @truth hurts, LOL! Good one.

  • Brooks

    *restaurateur.

  • tony

    I told you folks that Gray will face a tough re-election because of his political gamesmanship to appease a crowd will not vote for him anyway.

    Mayor Gray is making a huge mistake in abandoning his career long support for traditional schools to carry out school reform measures which were the brainchild of the man he defeated.

    Kaya Henderson will ultimately be the reason for the Mayor's political downfall.

    Mayor Gray must quickly become the man that black Washingtonians have come to like and respect over the years.

    Mayor Gray must come back home!

  • noodlez

    DAMN TRUTH HURTS BRINGING THE HIGH CHEESE!

  • tony

    Noodlez,

    It's called divide and conquer. It's the same old game.

    Like, I said before, the mayor must come back home. He can't carry out Kaya Henderson school reform policies which only appeases the progressives and new comers.

    Gray has earned the respect of black Washingtonians with his career long support of traditional schools. He must come back home.

  • Rob

    @tony,

    You're right, it is the same game, "divide and conquer". For the past 3 years the media, mainly the Post and to some extent the Citypaper have been planting seeds of distrust and discontent in the minds of those who chose Mayor Gray over Fenty. I've said all along that my primary issue with the Gray administration has been over the Mayor's acquiescence to the bogus education reform movement supported by the Post. I'm a lifelong resident of the District and Ward 5 who is tired of seeing our city compromising the future of our children solely to accommodate our changing demographics. On that note, where was Fenty clone Muriel Bowser?

  • Pingback: Teachers turn on Gray

  • jorge

    @ Tony: I don't think progressives like "school reform"--not the union-busting kind you're talking about anyway.

  • Chris hauser

    That was what we would call an "away game" for the mayor. Tough crowd.

    Disenfranchised disaffected disrespected.

    As opposed to enfranchised, affected and respected.

  • Oh Please

    "Gray has earned the respect of black Washingtonians with his career long support of traditional schools."

    Translation: Gray has earned the respect of self-interested mediocre teachers who care more about keeping their jobs than good schools.

  • noodlez

    @TONY-I'M WITH YA ON THE SUPPORT OF TRADITIONAL SCHOOLS AND ALLOWING TEACHERS TO TEACH SUBJECT MATTER THAN THIS DUBYA, FLENTY, RHEEDICULOUS AGENDA BEING PUT FORWARD AS THE NEW WAY OF DOING THINGS. I HAVE CONFIDENCE THAT MAYOR GRAY WILL ADDRESS THIS IN HIS 2ND TERM BECAUSE HE KNOW WHAT EDUCATION MEANS TO THE VIABILITY OF NOT ONLY YOUNG PEOPLE BUT ALL THOSE WHO ARE WILLING TO BETTER THEMSELVES.

    YES OF ALL THE ISSUES EDUCATION IS THE ONE THAT I BELIEVE MAYOR GRAY SHOULD’VE CONSTANTLY PUT MORE EMPHASIS ON. THE FOCUS JUST WASN’T THERE! YEAH THE STATS ARE THERE BUT ARE THEY LEARNING WHAT IT TAKES TO BE SUCCESSFUL IN THIS TRANSIENT WORLD AND CITY WE LIVE IN? KAYA DONE A DECENT JOB BUT SHE HAS RUN HER COURSE. MEDIOCRITY SHOULD NOT BE A BAROMETER WHEN IT COMES TO EDUCATING OUR CHILDREN.

    HOW CAN FOLK WITH AND WITHOUT CHILDREN NOT BE SOMEWHAT CONCERNED ABOUT THE PRIVATIZATION OF THE PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM. WHERE TEACHING TO TESTS & TEST SCORES ARE ALIGNED WITH THE BOTTOM LINE & STAYING OUT OF THE RED OF THESE FAKE ASS CHARTER SCHOOLS!

    ALONG WITH GAYTANIA AND HIS POLITICAL POSITIONING TO FULFILL HIS PUNK ASS ASPIRATIONS WE ARE SELLING OUR CHILDREN OUT FOR SELFISH REASONS. I AM OF THE FIRM BELIEF THAT EDUCATION HAS SHOWN THAT IT IS THE BEST WAY TO GET OUT OF POVERTY, TO RISE TO DIFFERENT LEVEL OF STANDARDS ALONG WITH CREATING A BALANCE IN ONES LIFE.

    THAT FAKE ASS BAMMA CARTER GRADING MAYOR GRAY SAYING HE DESERVES AN ‘F’ REMINDS ME OF DUMB MUTHA FUCKA IN THE BACK OF THE CLASS HOLDING DOWN A 1.2 GPA JONIN ON THE KID IN THE FRONT OF THE CLASS ROCKIN A 3.4 JUST TO GET ATTENTION BECAUSE HIS GRADES AREN’T GETTING THE ATTENTION HIS BITCH ASS WANTS.

    WELLS AND ORANGE COSIGNING WHAT THAT BAMMA SAID IS ALSO REMINISCENT OF THE CHUCKLES BY EVERY ONE ELSE IN THE CLASS ENABLING THE IGNORANCE! IT AMAZES ME HOW JOKERS LIKE CHRISTIAN CARTER ARE QUICK TO JUDGE BUT SLOW TO CORRECT HIS OWN SELF!

    LOOK THE NEW SCHOOL BUILDINGS ARE NICE BUT ARE OUR CHILDREN PREPARED FOR WHAT IS WAITING FOR THEM OUTSIDE OF THOSE NEW WALLS? FUCK BUILDING HEIGHTS, STREETCARS TO NO WHERE, BIKE LANES AND CRANE COUNTING BECAUSE IF DCPS DON’T SHOW AND PROVE THE AFOREMENTIONED WON'T AMOUNT TO SHIT BECAUSE THERE WILL NOT BE A PERMANENT TAX BASE TO SUPPORT THAT SHIT.

    ONE CITY!

  • tony

    @oh please,

    Those same traditional public schools that people like you wants to trash are the same schools that produced the likes of a Mayor Gray and tons of other black folks who have gone on and done wonderful things with their lives.

    But your last comment really speaks to a damnable and destructive attitude towards black governance that is so pervasive within certain parts of this city. And it’s this sort of attitude that really serves as the basis for the imbalanced, lopsided and punitive political, social and economic reform efforts that we now see in our city.

  • tony

    @Noodlez,

    I agree with everything you said as I most often do. But I honestly believe that much of the education reform talk in this city has very little to do with properly educating our kids but everything to do with the transfer of power and control.

    The hard reality is that the issue of race remains this city and country’s number one moral agony.

  • Singapore

    @noodlez the parents are the true blame for all of this. In order for a teacher to be effective, the student must walk into the classroom with the intent to learn. The majority of these students do not see the value in school like they do not see the value of good parents in the households.

    Point blank, if you cannot raise your kids right, stop trying to have more and focus on the ones you have. People not only are spending well beyond their means, but they are also creating more babies beyond their means as well.

    Yes the politicians and teachers take blame, but if the parents were didn't care about education growing up, what type of influence do you think that will have on the kids?

    If your a teenager and you have a kid, you only have teenage years worth of experience and guidance to give that kid. You are setting yourself up to be viewed as a friend and not a parent.

    I am not saying all situations are similar to my examples, but there are far too many that fit that description.

    Gray will have a tough one on his hands because while he was voted in as Mayor, EOTR supported Gray because they believed he would help re-build his own community. I am pretty sure if they knew that wasn't one of Gray's goals going into the election, he would not have beaten Fenty. Anybody who comes out of EOTR as an At-Large position or higher is put there because people want to see change in their own ward. It lessens the value of ward 7 & 8 councilmembers but there is strength in numbers.

    People wanted Gray in because they believed he would balance the quality of life in all areas of DC. That hasn't been the case and now people are going to hold him to the fire because of it.

    Singapore + Noodlez = lol, yall aren't that hungry though!

  • Unregenerate Idealist

    Tony, I agree with you, but your comment is phrased as if Gray only lately took a wrong turn on public education. The time to have demonstrated that he wasn't going to continue Fenty's policies was when he took office. Rhee was off on her broomstick; he did not have to hire her acolyte, Henderson, nor did he have to continue as Schoolmaster in Chief. Plus, his deputy mayor for education took money from an organization that finances charter schools and is funded by the Walton family to determine which public schools deserved to be closed! That was it for Gray, as far as I'm concerned. All the rest that followed just reinforced my belief that the Vincent Gray I thought he was when I voted for him had either never existed or had left town.

  • Murph

    All of the handwringing over students being over-tested and teaching to the test can't hide the fact that the traditional schools are making improvements. I can see how teachers who were let go as part of downsizing may be upset - Rhee didn't handle that well. But critics of DC schools continue to doubt that they are capable of successfully educating students. Their reflexive association of DC schools with mediocrity blinds them to the progress that has been made, and if there is good news it gets dismissed as a result of a changing student population or cheating.

    Some of the critics may have some good ideas. I like the focus on investing more in students from high-poverty backgrounds, but too much of the effort seems focused on political gestures, being incapable of acknowledging the improvements. It has even gotten to the point of impugning the motives of the mayor's education staff, with Catania claiming their decisions on scoring DC tests were a "form of cheating" (never mind that the national tests would later show large improvements as well).

    The mayor's focus on universal pre-K, and paying teachers what they deserve is part of what has led to schools' successes. But a larger part is ensuring consistency in educational leadership. The worst thing now would be for someone to come into the to mayor's office and decide the schools need to go in yet another direction, upsetting the foundations that have been laid over the last few years. And some of the mayor's challengers seem all too willing to do a 180 (Shallal on the mayoral takeover or Catania on having a new chancellor) and start reorganization all over again.

    The mayor's critics will likely not be swayed. They will focus on dividing parents in the charter system against those from the traditional schools and dismiss Gray as 'One City.' Bringing retail to underserved areas, whether a Skyland Town Center Walmart or at the Shops at Dakota Crossing, building new playgrounds across the city, and bringing jobs to high-poverty areas is not their concern. They just claim whatever benefits they can for their own constituents without seeing the big picture.

    It will be an lively election season, no doubt. But if it is going to be all about playing to the audience and pandering to diverse interest groups and not doing what's best for the city as a whole, then I fear for the result.

  • Murph

    @Idealist. I am not sure why you thought Gray was going to go in a vastly different direction on school policy. According to a statement at the time

    "As Mayor, Vince will give the DCPS Chancellor the tools and controls to manage his or her budget.  He will continue to support the Chancellor in making hard choices with regard to staffing, hiring, and firing decisions to get bad teachers out of the classroom and keep good teachers in the classroom.  He will work closely with the Chancellor and ensure all the resources of District government are brought to bear in supporting kids."

    I think he was planning on having the chancellor be more inclusive and do a better job of communicating with parents, but I don't remember him ever campaigning against charter schools or the mayoral takeover.

  • noodlez

    @TONY-POINT TAKEN! I'M JUST HOPEFUL THAT THE POWER STRUGGLE WILL NOT CONTINUE TO DISENFRANCHISE THOSE CHILDREN WHO LEAST CAN AFFORD IT. I AM HOPEFUL THAT MAYOR GRAY WILL COME TO FULLY UNDERSTAND THE DICHOTOMY OF PUBLIC SCHOOLS AND CHARTER SCHOOLS.

    @OH PLEASE-SLIM DO YOU KNOW THE RACIAL TEACHER MAKE-UP IN THE CITY? I WENT TO A DC PUBLIC SCHOOL AND I'M ASTUTE ENOUGH TO READ BETWEEN YOUR WEAK ASS CLOSETED RACIAL BLURRED LINES. "GOOD SCHOOL" IS RHETORICAL YOU DUMB FUCK! WHAT CLASSIFIES AS A GOOD SCHOOL FOR YOU IS NOT THE SAME AS A GOOD SCHOOL FOR SOMEONE ELSE. ASK GAYTANIA WHO GOT TAUGHT THE SAME LESSON AT HD WOODSON SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL BY ONE OF ITS STUDENTS.

    @SING-OF COURSE PARENTS SHOULD HAVE MORE INVOLVEMENT IN THEIR CHILD'S EDUCATION BUT SOME DON'T SO WE SHOULDN'T LEAVE THOSE CHILDREN BEHIND, SEND THEM OFF TO SOME CHARTER SCHOOL BECAUSE NO ONE GOT TIME FOR ‘EM OR LET THEM FEND FOR THEMSELVES. SLIM WE ARE TALKING ABOUT MAYOR GRAY AND THE TRANSFORMATION OF OUR BASIC EDUCATION SYSTEM AS WE KNOW IT.

    AS I SEE IT DCPS JUST PLODDED ALONG MAKING NOMINAL GAINS WHICH IS A GOOD THING. NOW IT IS TIME TO GO TO THE NEXT LEVEL! NO SWEEPING CHANGES BUT BUILDING ON WHAT DCPS ACCOMPLISHED AND DIDN'T ACCOMPLISH OVER THE PAST 4 YEARS.

    ONE CITY.

  • Really?

    There are many who are worried about Gray especially with Gray adding lil Chucky doll as his campaign manager.

    Look the school reformers had tooo much dough invested in D.C. They fought hard to keep Fenty in place. They threw every dime and tired argument they had. Their favorite one was what oh please parroted....arh..."ya'll black folks don't care bout no education" What they didn't count on DC residents actually voting the golden boy out.

    The fact is that D.C. has been the guinea big for school reform for years. The issues that plague the system are layered and picking on one scab doesn't heal the wound.

    With all that said. I believe Gray is out powered by the reformers. His only choice is to hop on the train that has already left the station.

  • SEis4ME

    Well welcome to Bizarro World Folks!

    For the Gray detractors here, would you please post what you think the mayor SHOULD have done differently? Saying that he's pandering to the "wrong" crowd is a lazy cop out. We had an "education" debate before he became mayor and at what point did he give any indication that he would take the city in another direction beyond "reaching out." Were you all paying attention to the same race as the rest of us? Seriously?

    While it's always convenient and easy to blame the mayor, teachers, unions, school officials etc. At some point what needs to happen in DC is that PARENTS need to start becoming more proactive in the education of their kids. Until that happens, no mayor, CM or the like can FIX education,.

    That said, the issue over schools is largely isolated to the local black protectionists like Tony et. al, who believe any challenge to the status quo as an affront to their own entrenched interests. Hence, the lack of specific criticism beyond "charter schools" and such.

    But I will say this, if the attacks lobbied against Gray at this forum is exemplary of the upcoming campaign, he'll win reelection once again, especially when you consider the lack of ACTUAL and LEGITIMATE criticisms.

  • SEis4ME

    @Sing, considering there are two EOTR CM's, what exactly do you think the MAYOR should specifically do for EOTR. Does Tommy Wells, Jack Evans, Mary Cheh and other wait for the mayor to act on issues isolated to their own respective Wards? Or do they get down in the trenches and make shyt happen IRRESPECTIVE of the mayor's office.

    That's the false choice many of you continue to perpetuate. EOTR has been the last of the last even under Anthony Williams. We shouldn't expect that the to change until the community itself changes. Fenty was no more responsible for the lawlessness, lifelessness, discord and general strife EOTR than is Gray. He promised to reach out more and by all accounts, that's what he's done.

  • Pingback: A Tutorial for Washington DC Mayor Gray: How Identify Child Abuse | Save the Little Ambassador Ariana--Leilani

  • http://ledlighting.bestwhole.com/led-light/ led light

    GS(Geprufte Sicherheit) certifiedSaving electrical energy bill.

  • Pingback: Blue Coaster33

  • Pingback: streaming movies

  • Pingback: watch free movies online

  • Pingback: Missy monroe aka sloppy bi-atch vignette three

  • Pingback: parking

  • Pingback: car parking

  • Pingback: water ionizer

  • Pingback: Instagram volgers kopen

  • Pingback: water ionizer loan

  • Pingback: electricians yuma az

  • Pingback: car locksmith mi

  • Pingback: house blue

  • Pingback: click resources

  • Pingback: find out

...