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October 13, 2010
2:17 PM

CONTACT: Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA)

Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Education: Rhee's Resignation

WASHINGTON - October 13 - Bloomberg is reporting: "Michelle Rhee, the public schools chancellor of the District of Columbia ... has resigned, effective at the end of the month. Deputy Chancellor Kaya Henderson will take over, Rhee's boss, Mayor Adrian Fenty, said at a press conference today. Fenty lost his bid for re-election Sept. 14 in a primary in which Rhee’s educational policies became a central issue. Rhee said she reached a mutual decision with Fenty's opponent, City Council Chairman Vincent Gray, to resign."

Filardo is executive director of the 21st Century School Fund. She is a policy analyst focusing on issues of education quality and equity; she also sent three children (now young adults) to the D.C. public schools.

El-Amine is a D.C.-based community activist who teaches at the University of Maryland. He recently wrote the piece "Media’s Favorite School 'Reformer': D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee" for Extra!, the magazine of the media watch group FAIR.

Dingerson said today: "It will be important for Chancellor Rhee's interim replacement, Kaya Henderson, to quickly signal to parents and teachers in the District that she wants to work WITH them to develop the most effective approaches to our schools. Strong teachers need to be supported and empowered. Students need additional supports to be able to focus on learning. The damage to teacher morale in DCPS [D.C. public schools] is going to take some time to overcome. Ms. Henderson needs to signal that she understands that, and will include the city's best teachers in the process."

"Proving Grounds: School 'Rheeform' in Washington, D.C." is a piece Dingerson wrote recently for Rethinking Schools. It states: "There’s nothing remarkably visionary going on in Washington. The model of school reform that’s being implemented here is popping up around the country, heavily promoted by the same network of conservative think tanks and philanthropists like Bill Gates, Eli Broad, and the Walton Family Foundation [of Sam Walton, founder of Walmart] that has been driving the school reform debate for the past decade. It is reform based on the corporate practices of Wall Street, not on education research or theory."

Rethinking Schools initiated the web page -- largely critiquing the movie "Waiting for 'Superman,'" which prominently features Rhee.

Dingerson is an education policy consultant and community organizer, and the mother of two D.C. public school students.

A nationwide consortium, the Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA) represents an unprecedented effort to bring other voices to the mass-media table often dominated by a few major think tanks. IPA works to broaden public discourse in mainstream media, while building communication with alternative media outlets and grassroots activists.

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