Oct 30, 2009

Reform The Rhee-form

In the October 29 council hearing, Chancellor Michelle Rhee demonstrated that she violated the law when she laid off hundreds of teachers and school staff. Rhee by her own admission acknowledged that she decided not to adhere to cuts previously approved by the legislative branch of government. Noah Wepman, CFO for DCPS certified the school budget and at no time did Rhee  submit a reprogramming  request to  the DC City Council as required by law when shifting funds. Not unlike Mayor Fenty her boss, Rhee also failed to communicate what she was doing with Chairman Gray or council members. Instead of reducing summer school programs in order to reduce costs- Rhee decided unilaterally to lay off teachers and school staff after hiring 934 new teachers this school year. Many believe that Rhee intentionally over-hired in order to worsen the already growing budget deficit which has now reached a whopping 20 million dollars under her helm. 
As reported in the WaPo in an article by Bill Turque:  "Joyce E. Smithey, an employment lawyer with Rifkin, Livingston, Levitan & Silver, said in an interview that "if the evidence shows that the chancellor hired employees in bad faith, then the question is whether she did so with the goal of forcing a layoff of older employees. If that's the case, then any admission about advanced knowledge of budget troubles could be damaging." This abuse of power will more than likely help DC RIF'd teachers and staff get their jobs back.  In the words of Council member Michael Brown let's "Reform the Rhee-form ." Rhee & Fenty gotta go !

Posted by The Washington Teacher featuring Candi Peterson - blogger in residence, graphics by Celeste Jones. Quote courtesy the WaPo.


Anonymous said...

Too bad Mr. Wepman got caught up in the web Rhee spun.

His career is over! Or should be.

Anonymous said...

So what now? Is Rhee going to be asked to step down or will she continue to get away with her lies and incompetence?

Alexia said...

Noah Wepman is on Rhee's team and HER intern sits across from Wepman's office in the OCFO suite. Even though she has hired people with no authorized positions, at salaries in the stratosphere, and paid bonuses and relocation assistance with no budget, Wepman is afraid to speak up against her and advise her that her actions are wrong. DCPS HAS VIOLATED THE CITY'S ANTI-DEFICIENCY ACT OVER AND OVER AND THE CITY OCFO HAS NOT MONITORED AND PROVIDED OVERSIGHT TO THE AGENCY. Like the principals, Wepman has decided that his integrity can be purchased in order to retain a job. Wepman does not support other OCFO employees who caution him that collegial relations with Rhee does not mean acting as a blind follower.
Dr. Ghandi - this looks like a "three-peat" (OTR, OCTO,and DCPS).

Anonymous said...

She admits to blah blah blah. Yet the gloating look on her face is an indication that she is lying (as usual).

What shall the council do? Nothing. Anyone else would be unemployed at this juncture. What will become of Michelle Rhee? Most likely business as usual. Say good bye to Mr. Wepman (although nothing may happen to him as well).

Anonymous said...

There may be hope for Noah Wepman - John Dean had a long career after watergate.

Sharon B. said...

As far as Mr. Wepman goes, his supervisor is not Michelle Rhee, but Mr. Natwar Ghandi. His fate is probably sealed. Rhee; well it remains to be seen because the conversations are not yet over. Some type of legal action may be in the works based on her admission yesterday. Right now the Council is keeping some things close to the vest. It's not always wise to show your hand. However, I did marvel at the way the City Council grilled her. I was very proud that the whole truth is starting to unravel, because if you push, and push, with the kind of matter of fact insistence as was displayed on the part of the Council, you will get answers.
Now, concerning teachers returing to thier jobs; that's great!!!!. Just understand that you will be returning to a "hostile working environment". Don't be deceived!!!!! the pressure is still on. Next time it won't be a rif, but you'll get a rating soooo bad that you'll wish you hadn't returned, but found another position elsewhere. We all understand that's what she wants you to do, but what's more important? PRIDE and STUBBORNESS, or keeping your professional career blemish free and intact? By the way, those of you who think that you're UNTOUCHABLE, THINK AGAIN!!!!!! The press will definitely be harder now.

Anonymous said...

Sharon B. you said it right. I am still looking for a job even though my fight is just on principle. I have no intention of staying with DCPS but in the mean time I need a paycheck so that I can have the luxury of finding a job that I will love not just a job to have. The people that are still in the schools should not get comfortable it is going to be worse especialy if the principals get SMART and realize that they are the next scapegoat on her list.

Anonymous said...

I honestly don't think that anything will happen to Rhee. You saw how council member Cantania saved her butt and got her out of the criminial aspect of this. Mr. Wepman fell on the sword and he may loose job but best believe he will have a wondeful severance package. I will say this it seems that her testaminy will help with the court case. She had other options and choose to fire teachers as well as moving money which she may or may not have had the right to do in order to fire teachers.

Anonymous said...

Of course Rhee deliberately created a budget crisis so she could then fire teachers. This is part of her Plan B, to get rid of the teachers she and her people haven't hired, which includes most of us and all DCPS veteran teachers. She wants us out, through RIFs, bad evaluations, principal harrassment and now IMPACT.

Anonymous said...

The DC Council needs to modify school governance laws sooner than later.

Anonymous said...

Here are some questions Rhee should have to answer. Please feel free to use them by passing them to city council members Gray, Barry, Alexander, Kwame Brown and Michael Brown.

You rehired Cheryl Wilhoyte, wife of Assistant Superintendent William Wilhoyte, as principal of Brent Elementary School. Were you aware that she was fired for wrong doing under the Janey administration? Did you rehire her as a favor to her husband?

Why were so many building administrators who were highly qualified for their jobs targeted in your termination practices? Are you fearful they would not willingly participate in many of the questionable practices you use in the name of reform?

During the council hearing on October 29, you told the council that you disregarded the budgetary process because your ideas were “in the best interest of children.” Why do you act as if you have the right to supersede the law by disregarding the employee observation and evaluation process?

It is a rare day when you are not making a statement to the press about DCPS. Your comments are either negative or praising your individual efforts. Do you realize that your statements continue to inflame residents on both sides of the spectrum? Do you realize that many of your statements made about teachers and principals from the 2008 round of firings were defamatory and half-prevarications? You made claims in multiple media outlets that you fired principals. Is there a difference between ‘firing’ and ‘non-renewal?’

When you made the decision as chancellor to close schools, you told the Council it was because you wanted to consolidate space and save money by operating less buildings. Was that true? In an interview with Tom Brokaw, as published in the Korean Beacon on July 3, 2009, school closures were explained quite differently. It was stated that your action plan included the firing of many district teachers and principals and the closing of two dozen underperforming schools.

“The American Character of Michelle Rhee,” by Tom Brokaw
July 3, 2009 as posted on the Korean Beacon
“Rhee attracted attention from the outset with an action plan that included the firing of many district teachers and principals, the closing of two dozen underperforming schools, the proposal of a merit-based pay contract for Washington, D.C. teachers, and “Capital Gains,” a cash incentive program that provides cash rewards to middle schoolers with good records of attendance, behavior and performance. Rhee’s policies haven’t always been popular, but her hard work, determination, refusal to accept the status quo and dedication to overhauling the floundering Washington, D.C. public school system have proven that Rhee is a fearless (and tireless) advocate for students, and a true American Character.”

Anonymous said...

Here are more questions:

You have been in charge for more than two years, yet you talk about the school system as if you have no culpability for the horrid circumstances you have caused. What is your plan to improve our schools?

How many employees have you summarily removed from employment in the school district? Of those removals, how many are legally sound?

Why have you and your allies developed such a fallacious plan of attack? Is it so you can take over other school districts by making people believe your way is the right way? How do Teach For America, New Leaders For New Schools and The New Teacher Project profit from your actions? How do you profit from business relationships with these entities?

Have you entered into contractual relationships to employ teachers who only qualify through alternative teacher certification? Please explain the contract you entered into with a group in Texas when you delegated this responsibility to Ximena Hartsock and William Wilhoyte.

Your mantra has been “I make decisions in the best interest of children.” You seemingly pride yourself on saying that you don’t consider adult needs. Did you at one time consider St. Hope Charter Schools, founded by your friend Kevin Johnson, to take over DCPS high schools? Confirm for the record that Kevin Johnson lobbied each member of the Council when you were going through confirmation hearings. Please confirm that the Post photographed Johnson embracing you at the end of his testimony. When you considered St. Hope Charter Schools as a possibility for contracted work with DCPS, was it in part because you were a part of Johnson’s Board of Directors? Were you aware of Johnson’s numerous allegations of sexual misconduct with children when you decided his organization would be a good partner for DCPS? How could that potential liability be in the best interest of children?

It has been speculated that Kevin Johnson’s niece is an employee of DCPS. What position does your boyfriend Kevin Johnson's niece hold?

Please everyone, add questions. If we all have the same message perhaps the Council members who are finally stepping up can get answers. I know WE need and deserve them.

Anonymous said...

Michelle Rhee, aside from all of her other demonic tendencies, is a star prevaricator. Watch this speech of lies she presented to people in Arkansas, replete with constant put-downs of DC as a city and of it's people, adults and the children.


She lies on central office people, she lies on the City Council and she makes up some fake data. She is so animated with the audience and a completely different person than the one we see. Please contact Council members. Demand they watch this video and make her accountable. She has got to stop slandering and defacing people.

Anonymous said...

I just looked at that video of Michelle Rhee at the University of Arkansas, and it is very intersting to saw the least. It is full of lies but more people need to look at it. It is very long but well worth it, she really is a trip and it is a shame that people believe her lies. Everyone should watch.

Anonymous said...

Wilhoyte has family in Texas. A daughter, grandchildren and a son in law.

Is this another example of contracts being steered in the direction of people we know. I need to get one of these contact. Hey Michelle, I can design that data system for you for way less money. He Adrian, I can build that recreation center for less money too!

Where is the inspector general on these cases? They are suppose to be independent of the city, agencies and there influence (unlike CFO Mr. Wepman).

DST1913 said...

"This too shall pass". "Whatever you do in the dark must come out to light. We just have to patiently wait.

Anonymous said...

Wilhoyte has a daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren in Texas. OMG have they gotten a contract to perform services in DCPS?

Where is the inspector general or city auditor. Hopefully they will continue to be a separate entity than the CFO.

Also, Monica Acquire the wife of MR chief of staff.

MR had the law changed shortly after her arrival. NCLB states that you must have an advance degree in school leadership and well as a license to become a school administrator. Well MR had it changed to can have a advance degree in any subject area, but must be in an approved leadership program as well as have at least a provisional license.

Chew on that!

Anonymous said...

Monica Aguirre is married to Jesus Aguirre, her Deputy of Operations. If you recall, Rhee pushed Mr. Dale Talbert out of the way to make room for Jesus Aguirre, only a year later to push Marta Guzman out for Jesus' wife Monica. They were all friends in Denver, Colorado.

Anonymous said...

During the hearing when she was under oath Rhee responded to Councilman Thomas that the following persons on her management team were present when she decided to overrule the Council: Lisa Ruda, Chief of Staff, also an attorney; James Sandman, General Counsel; Abigail Smith, who was at one time out of Victor Reinoso's office; Kaya Henderson, Deputy Chancellor of Human Capital; Noah Wepman, DCPS CFO; Richard Nyankori, Special Education. Who else did she mention?

Also, if children and learning are first, why did she not mention Cheryl Krehbiel, the Chief for Professional Development? Since she claims she wants teachers to be top-notch, why isn't PD a big piece of her leadership team?

Glenn Watson said...

MR had the law changed shortly after her arrival. NCLB states that you must have an advance degree in school leadership and well as a license to become a school administrator. >>>

Let me make something clear. Rhee did not change federal law. Lets be smart.

Anonymous said...

Where is the data on summer school? Daily Attendance data, per school enrollment data, number of staff employed, cost per item of instructional materials (to include total cost), cost of security, per and post test data (data should how the number of students that participated at the beginning of summer school as well as the number of students at the end of summer school), etc.

Where is the data on Saturday Academy?

Anonymous said...

Question: While Michelle Rhee is jet setting across the country to any venue that will listen to her baloney (University of Arkansas, various places in California and Denver), who is leading the school system? How is constantly traveling across the country while schools are in session in the best interest of the students of DC? I have never heard of any superintendent besides Rhee that partakes in such behavior. Is the city paying for these trips? This is something the council needs to look into, as well.

just me talkin said...

Candi, what is the anti-deficiency law? What does it say exactly? You've mentioned it before, but I googled and I can't find it. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, must clarify. The DCMR was changed not NCLB so that persons not certified can obtain principal or assistant principal ships.

Look it up!

Anonymous said...

Is she still flying to California to be with Kevin Johnson every other Thursday? We need to get pictures, records of times she's not at work. That is fraud and abuse. SHE HAS TO GO!

Anonymous said...


Can you start covering Rhee and her trips across the country? We need to find out when she's taking them and whether or not they are interfering with her job. To me it does not seem ethical even legal that this woman is constantly traveling while the system is in disarray. I trust that you as our trusty blogger can find out more about this and expose it.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I agreed with the October 31, 2009 at 11:53 anonymous about the data. Yes, where are the data for summer school enrollment and cost. I was in summer school as summer school teachers helper/coordinator and most of the classes were 5-8 students maximum. Also, Teach for America were hired for summer school to perform education experiments on summer school students. Council should ask Michell Rhee to show the data for enrollment and cost of summer school; also the cost of all the consultants in DCPS. Some of these consultants have ties with Teach for America, Rhee Teacher Project and KIPPS Schools.

Anonymous said...

I think Noah Wepman was scared to death. He was loosening that tie, fidgeting, drinking water, fanning himself and shifting in the chair. To me, and I've watched the hearing more than once, I think Noah Wepman and Dr. Gandhi looked afraid. They were probably threatened. It was unbelievable how they paused and didn't want to answer certain questions.

Rhee will either fire him for telling it or keep him around to spite everyone else. I know one thing -- it was priceless when Chairman Gray swore them in. I know Noah Wepman probably needed a diaper by the end of the day and could have screamed into the night when Chairman Gray asked him to stay. He had probably thought about going home early for the day to start looking for a job.

I hope Dr. Gandhi will start telling things now. The city needs a forensic auditor to find all of the missing money. This mess makes no sense!

Anonymous said...

Yes, a forensic auditor is needed. Regardless they need to know what to look for. I believe lots of hinds have been provided in blogs posted over past week should give them hints to where to start.

Keep the information and/or suggestions flowing in!

Anonymous said...

Sorry posted a response under the wrong topic.

Yes, a forensic auditor is required. Regardless they need to know what to look for. The information posted over this past week will give them a start.

Keep the information/suggestions coming.

Anonymous said...

Do you think Rhee's intern has helped to funnel money other places?

Anonymous said...

Michelle Rhee's people paid parents to attend the hearing and wear those lime-green skittle colored t-shirts. Look at this comment from the Examiner:

put kids first

Oct 30, 2009

I am a parent with children in DCPS. I was offered money to attend the DC City Council hearing in support of Ms.Rhee. I attended for this reason only. I do not support Ms.Rhee but I did wear a lime green shirt saying put kids first.

Here is the online link:

SEND THIS TO THE COUNCIL, PEOPLE! That is slicker than an eel!!

Anonymous said...

Everybody pays somebody to campaign , sit in audiences, protest, etc. on their behalf. Rhee paying people to wear those green tee shirts and sit in audience during the hearing, is not an all time low for her.

Why are you surprised?

This fabricated rif is.

Anonymous said...

Have you read the statement by RM on the DCPS website? If not, you need to do so before it disappears.

Statement from the FY 2010 School Funding and Budget Reduction


don't believe everything you read said...

If you believe that comment from the Examiner, you are too gullible. It is super easy to write a post saying anything.

I could write one now saying, "Several people told me that they were paid to attend the Rally for Respect."

Anonymous said...

I agree that we should check in on the cost of the consultants and the coaches that work in DCPS!! Most of the Teacher's Institute people were hired by the district... and many of the reading coaches are paid extra for working afterschool hours! (like all of us do!) I know that we could shave off a few million right there!

Anonymous said...

There is a way to let the federal government know what's going on. It's called reporting these things to the Inspector General Charles Willoughby. We don't know if he can be trusted so copy Attorney General Eric Holder.

Their contact information is:

Inspector Willoughby
Phone number: 202.727.2540
Email: hotline.oig@dc.gov
Hotline: (202) 724-TIPS (202) 724-8477 and (800) 521-1639

Attorney General Eric Holder

Office of the Attorney General
(202) 514-2001

E-mails to the Department of Justice, including the Attorney General, may be sent to AskDOJ@usdoj.gov. E-mails will be forwarded to the responsible Department of Justice component for appropriate handling.

Anonymous said...

Rhee also just hired a new person on her staff as well, Josh Edelman out of Chicago, to serve as Head of The Office of School Innovation. Josh Edelman is the son of Marian Wright Edelman, founder of the Children's Defense Fund. Here's a quote from the article and below it is the link to the article:

"Edelman, an outsider to Chicago, was hired by former district chief Arne Duncan, now the U.S. Secretary of Education. He arrived from Washington, D.C., where he served for four years as the principal of The SEED School, the nation’s oldest and most successful urban boarding school. He’s the son of Marian Wright Edelman, founder of the Children’s Defense Fund. Josh Edelman went to Harvard University."

Source: http://archives.chicagotribune.com/2009/sep/20/news/chi-cps-charter-schools-20-bdsep20

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous 2:56 p.m.: It is true anyone could write a comment. However, it does not change the fact that people were paid to wear the lime-green shirts. How honest is it to PAY people to stand up for you?

1. Who paid the money to people to wear the shirts?

@Anonymous 12:36, You're right that it isn't an all-time low for her. She is the lowest of the low but to pay people to wear those shirts to support you in wrong-doing is despicable to me as well and speaks to planning the entire campaign even more clearly. But I feel you on what you said.

Anonymous said...

Just like Wilhoyte, former Asst. superintendent for Senior High Schools, there is a person called John Davis and he is the current Asst. Superintendent for Senior High School. He refused to sign veteran teacher's evaluation with exceeds. Pls. watch him if you teach high school because he's arrogant, sneaky, and toxic.

Anonymous said...

John Davis must be something because he has survived the entire time with Chancellor Rock Star. He is something else but as for being arrogant, he has nothing on Barbara Adderley.

Anonymous said...

John Davis is a flunky and is not qualified to be an assistant superintendent. What ever happen to credentials?

This is MR world where credentials are worthless!

Anonymous said...

Good bye Mr. Wepman. It was reported today that Mr. Wepman was fired as the DCPS CFO. No mention nor confirmation if he was fired from the DC government.

Please for give the typos if any!