School & District Management

Michelle Rhee’s Predecessor Needs No Affirmation

December 15, 2009 1 min read

Clifford Janey, the superintendent of the District of Columbia public schools until Mayor Adrian Fenty relieved him of his duties to appoint Michelle Rhee, has said nothing publicly about his high-profile successor until this week.

The low-key Janey, who is the superintendent in Newark, N.J., spoke to The Washington Post‘s Bill Turque about D.C.'s rising scores on the math portion of the NAEP exam for a story that delved more deeply into the district’s performance and lingering gaps between white and black students.

But the juiciest stuff from Janey came in response to hearing that Rhee had given him some credit for the improving scores. Here’s the money quote that Turque posted in a blog item on D.C. Wire:

“The Janey footprint is there and it needs no excavation to be seen. Those in-the-know, know. I don’t need affirmation to know we made some incredible acts of transformation in Washington D.C. over a short period of time that is evidenced now much more publicly through the NAEP.”

Janey does sound like he may have been feeling a teensy bit slighted, don’t you think? And perhaps rightfully so. It’s true that for most of their two-plus years at the helm, Mayor Fenty and Chancellor Rhee have seldom acknowledged the academic overhaul that Janey and his team executed on the city school’s standards, curriculum, and especially, a new state assessment, the DC-CAS.

Was it a slight? Or, was the lack of acknowledgment based more on Rhee’s overwhelming focus on human capital issues like purging the system of teachers she deems to be incompetent?

A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.

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