Rhee Says D.C. Abandoning Reform Would be ‘Devastating’

By Dakarai I. Aarons — September 17, 2010 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

While D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee has been enjoying a post-election vacation the past two days, a comment she made the day after her boss, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty lost a bid for a second term, has gained much traction, even causing some of her supporters to scold her.

As I wrote in my story about Rhee’s tenure we posted this morning:

The question is whether Ms. Rhee will stay and finish that work. The chancellor said she will confer with Mr. Fenty and Mr. Gray before making a decision, a meeting expected to happen this week. But at the Washington premiere of the new education documentary "Waiting For 'Superman,'" Ms. Rhee suggested she's heading for the door. "Yesterday's election results were devastating, devastating," she told the crowd during a panel discussion after the film was shown, according to The Washington Post. "Not for me, because I'll be fine, and not even for [Mr.] Fenty, because he'll be fine, but devastating for the schoolchildren of Washington, D.C."

The chancellor apparently was concerned enough about that quote, especially after it landed on The Washington Post’s front page this morning, to send in a note just under an hour ago clarifying her remarks.

This week I used the word "devastating" to describe the potential effects of the D.C. mayoral election [front page, Sept. 17]. I want to be very clear: In using this word I was not criticizing D.C. Council Chairman Vincent Gray. I was describing the perception by some that this election had been a referendum on reform of the D.C. schools itself. If the results were to be read as a repudiation of reform, that indeed would be devastating for D.C. children, for the city and for children throughout the country who are so dependent on successful school reform efforts.

Rhee had much more to say about the election, what she’s working on this school year in D.C. schools and lessons learned while leading the school district in my interview with her on Wednesday afternoon. Listen to the chancellor in her own voice in the video below.

In other D.C. education-related news, Kerri Briggs, resigned this morning from her post as D.C.'s state superintendent of education. Briggs, like Rhee, was an appointee of the mayor.

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