Jul 21, 2009

No Accountability Mayor Adrian Fenty: Fears Independent Evaluation of Chancellor Rhee

In the latest saga of DC schools- here comes Mayor Adrian Fenty's latest dastardly deed. Fenty has eliminated funding for an independent evaluator assigned to assess the progress of school reform under Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee. Are you surprised ? Well I'm not. Isn't this typical of life under Fenty ? So it seems that General Greenhorn (AKA Adrian Fenty) is afraid of a little accountability. Well afterall accounability is reserved only for us peons (i.e. teachers, principals, vice principals & central office workers). Right ?

General Greenhorn is the title bestowed upon Adrian Fenty by certain journalists early on in his mayoral career.

My email is all ablaze this morning about what should we do next in this latest 'mayhem madness' we call DCPS. You tell me ! Here's the story in its entirety as reported by Wash. Post Staff Writer, Bill Turque and might I add buried back on page B 4.

Latest Fenty Budget Cuts Funds for Schools Evaluation

"Mayor Adrian M. Fenty has eliminated funding for an independent evaluator assigned to assess the progress of public school reform under Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee, according to the revised 2010 budget he submitted to the D.C. Council late Friday.

Fenty (D) also reversed a series of other budget measures, approved by the council in May, that sought to divert some of the mayor's control of education to other agencies. They include the shift of staff and funds from Deputy Mayor for Education Victor Reinoso to the D.C. State Board of Education, which would be established as an independent agency. The board would house the office of the ombudsman for public education, which is responsible for investigating complaints and answering questions from parents.

The proposed moves reflect the council's discontent with what some members see as a lack of transparency and accountability in the mayor's efforts to transform the District's struggling public school system. The ombudsman's office, for example, is supposed to file monthly reports but has not done so since March. The ombudsman, Tonya Vidal Kinlow, resigned in December and has yet to be permanently replaced.

Chairman Vincent C. Gray (D) and the council are free to restore the funding cut when they vote on the revised budget July 31. But speaking to the council Monday at a hearing on Fenty's plan to close a two-year, $666 million revenue shortfall, city administrator Neil Albert urged that the governance structure established in 2007 remain intact.

"Our education reform efforts are demonstrating real results," Albert said, "and we strongly believe that, rather than changing course with the established structure, we should maintain momentum forward." Albert did not directly address the school evaluation, which Fenty is required to submit annually under the law that established mayoral control. He also has the option to skip the yearly reports and deliver a five-year independent assessment by September 2012.

In May 2008, Reinoso recommended two prominent education scholars for the project, Frederick Hess of the American Enterprise Institute and Kenneth Wong of Brown University. But the plan stalled when Gray raised questions about their independence. Hess wrote an op-ed piece for The Washington Post in 2007 praising Rhee. Wong testified in favor of the mayoral takeover.

When Reinoso didn't offer other candidates, Gray decided to move on his own. This past May, he included $325,000 to hire the National Research Council, one of four nonprofit organizations that operate under the National Academies umbrella, to conduct the evaluation. The money would cover about 20 percent of the total cost, with the NRC raising the rest from private sources. Fenty spokeswoman Mafara Hobson said Monday that the mayor was still committed to an independent evaluation but did not elaborate.

The council also has attempted to bolster the power of the state board, which does not run school operations but formulates standards for academic programs and teacher qualifications and oversees the school system's standardized tests. Although state board members are elected, the panel is under the control of the state superintendent, who reports to Reinoso.

"We don't believe a set of elected officials should report to a set of appointed officials," Gray said Monday. When Fenty's original budget cut the board's $1 million in funding in half this spring, the council restored the money and added money for two staff members who would answer directly to the panel. D.C. State Board President Lisa Raymond said the group is simply trying to do its job. "We understand this is a very tough time for the entire city, and if we have to reduce our budget to help the city, we are willing to do that," she said. "Cutting it in half is not acceptable. It wasn't acceptable three months ago, and it's not acceptable now."

Posted by The Washington Teacher, story courtesy of The WaPo

8 comments:

Kings said...

Time to march in protest?

scottahb said...

I feel the same way

I also think that this move, while motivated by money, seems to hedge against the declining returns that Rhee's reforms are seeing (gains this year, but not as drastic as previous years).

Kings said...

Not motivated by money - recall Rhee fought to ADD money to the budget to account for a presumed uptick in dcps enrollment this fall, despite a steady decline over the years.

Anonymous said...

Good lord, get it right: it's Greenhorn, not Greehorn.

Anonymous said...

Thursday, July 23, 2:30-3:30
Rhee, Reinoso, Briggs testify.
Send questions about student achievement and learning issues to committee members.

U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia

http://hsgac.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Subcommittees.OversightOfGovernmentManagement


senator@akaka.senate.gov (chairman)
senator_voinovich@voinovich.senate.gov (ranking minority member)

senator@levin.senate.gov
senator_bennet@bennet.senate.gov
scheduler_landrieu@landrieu.senate.gov

http://lgraham.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Contact.EmailSenatorGraham

U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia
D.C. Public Schools: Taking Stock of Education Reform
Thursday, July 23, 2009
2:30 – 3:30 PM

Anonymous said...

Here is direct contact information for the Senators in terms of their Washington offices. People need to send copies of EEOC claims, letters about the abuse and targeting of women, minorities and age discrimination. We need to stand for something before we fall for nothing.

Senator Graham
290 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
202.224.5972

Senator George Voinovich
524 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
202.224.3353

Senator Akaka
141 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510
202.224.6361
Fax: 202.224.2126

Senator Levin
269 Russell Office Building
Washington DC 20510
202.224.6221
Fax: 202.224.1388

Senator Landrieu
328 Hart Senate Building
Washington DC 20510
202.224.5824
202.224.9735

Anonymous said...

Senator Graham's fax number is 202.224.3808. I just sent information. The other DC teachers who were "put out" need to send things as well.

PaulMoore said...

When you are up to no good, you do your dirty work behind closed doors.

Cockroaches forage in the dark. They scurry away in the light.

To their great misfortune, Michelle Rhee was ushered into the lives of the District's children by the "global economy". Globalization is at the very foundation of business model for public schools, charters, vouchers, data driven instruction, merit pay, standardized testing, and most perversely of all, paying students to consume their version of education. Globalization was the reason the Business Roundtable was interested in public education at all and the reason Bill Gates orchestrated the DCPS takeover by his male spokes-model Adrian Fenty. The corporate CEO's wanted a profit making private school system and Gates wants higher profits for Microsoft. There was supreme irony in President Obama's entreaty to the NAACP that the children should put down the Xbox, one of the diversions Gates and Microsoft plies them with.

For her lack of any discernible qualifications, the shocking appointment of Michelle Rhee as Chancellor of D.C. public schools, can be understood only when you realize that she was brought in to inflict maximum damage on the district's public schools. And as a cultist (Teach For America, New Teacher Project) and true believer she came at a bargain basement salary. Really qualified people were courted (Mayor Fenty even visited Miami with several members of the D.C. commission to interview Dr. Rudolph Crew) but that was just for show. They could not be counted on to mindlessly take a club to D.C.'s public schools and the boss Gates wanted Rhee. The havoc and chaos that Rhee caused was no accident. It was the plan!

Michelle Rhee has come to D.C. to destroy its public schools. No independent evaluations can be allowed to hinder that mission!