Voting Rhee Out


Earlier this week the voters of Washington DC ended the reign of Adrien Fenty as mayor and -- probably -- the tenure of his schools chief, Michelle Rhee, a former TFAer and Joel Klein protegee who'd closed schools and fired droves of teachers and principals (and gotten some good results along with all the bloodshed).  Rhee haters rejoiced.  Rhee fans saw this as a nightmare for DC and the rest of the nation.  To be sure, it was Fenty's loss, not directly Rhee's. But still... No one, far as I know, has gotten any traction calling for Huberman's resignation.  The mayor's poll numbers aren't notable depressed because of his management of the schools.  So what is it?  Is a mild demeanor (Duncan, Huberman) key to reform?  Is it that DC's demographics are so different?


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  • Huberman will be out, just like Rhee will be out. It's just the laws of politics!No more, no less.

  • Makes sense for Huberman to stay in place for CTU contract negotiations. I can see a new mayor doing that. I'd also like to see the new mayor name a Chief Education Officer, a bona fide educator with a national reputation for school reform through consensus building.

  • Who do you know is a successful school reformer on an significant urban scale who has done so through consensus building? Politicizing education can either make dramatic efforts at change (DC,North Carolina, Massachusetts), or continue the mire of mediocrity. So name some names and lets start vetting some candidates now.

  • I am not sure I see the logic in the argument that it would make sense for the next Mayor to have Ron Huberman stay on to negotiate the next CTU contract and then leave. If Ron Huberman remains as CEO there is a high possiblity of a teachers strike given the current bad relations and Mr. Huberman's very though style towards CTU.

    If the next Mayor is committed to Mr. Huberman's style and approach then it would make sense for that person to keep Mr. Huberman in the CEO position. Why would a new Mayor want a teacher's strike early in their term if they were not committed to Mr. Huberman?

    Rod Estvan

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    My thought was the new mayor would allow Huberman to wage war with the CTU, instead of naming a new CEO only to be bloodied in the inevitable showdown. If Huberman somehow survives the contract negotiation in the good graces of the new mayor, perhaps he will be invited to stay on. But I believe at that point he will take his school reform act to another city - and probably command top dollar.

  • In reply to mrobertson718:

    The crystal ball says...

    I see Huberman gone as the new mayor will appoint some one who is knowledgable and certified in education. I see board lawyers being told to either learn education law and labor negotiations or leave.

    And Huberman will not go to another school district. He needs to round out his resume with an airlines or a major manufacturer.

  • In reply to Rodestvan:

    Chicago is a union city and the next mayor of Chicago must have union support to be elected (i.e.- CTU, CPD, CTA). These unions will never support a candidate for mayor who would keep Huberman!

  • In reply to chijas:

    Check your facts. Less than 10% of the US workforce belongs to a union. Unfortunately the majority of that 10% tends to be civil servants who collect a paycheck paid for by taxpayers. It could be argued the best way for a mayoral candidate to connect with angry voters is to play hardball with the unions. This is what CORE and the rest of the navel gazers fail to realize.

  • In reply to mrobertson718:

    10 % may be accurate nationally or even statewide, but most of that anti-union anger in Chicago may be coming from the suburbs. In fact, just about the only people I know who still live in the city are civil servants required to live here by the city-wide residency rule. Sure there still are many immigrant and twenty-somethings here, but the latter tend to be less connected to us permanently. Most of us are in unions.

  • In reply to LoryN:

    Again fast and loose with the truth. Most Chicago voters DO NOT belong to a union. Yes, the residency requirement meant machine politicians of old could mobilize an army of patronage workers to ring doorbells on their behalf. The unions tend to be more organized and make contributions to politicians' war chests. But they are not greater in number than non-union voters in the city of Chicago.

  • In reply to mrobertson718:

    Why isn't there a way to compromise on some things? Why can't our system get rid of bad teachers more easily? We all know teachers who do nothing but read the paper in class or who can't control a classroom to save their life. Or who don't have a clue how to teach kids to read.
    And then, in exchange, the system agrees to give us books, supplies, printer ink, etc....and teacher's aides for K-3 classrooms larger than 25.
    I'd happily increase my school year and school day by some amount if we could all have reading specialists to come help the hoards of kids who need intensive, one-on-one reading help.
    I think most of us teachers care deeply about the kids and would sacrifice a few things if we got some of the things we need to really be effective. What is so frustrating is when we feel set up to fail. I need leveled readers in order to differentiate instruction. My school won't pay for them. So, how can I differentiate? How can I put into practice the strategies that are effective with even the poorest and most disadvantaged students when the system won't give me what I need to do that?

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