Sep 15, 2010

Top Ten Lessons Learned From The DC Mayoral Primary

Yesterday was a victory for many educators when Vincent Gray won the democratic primary for mayor of the District of Columbia. On the morning after the primary (Wednesday), when I arrived at the school house door, teachers stopped me in the halls to express their delight about Gray's win. Some gave a nod, some winked while others smiled, one did a little jig and some took just a minute to ask "did you watch the primary results on the news last night ?" I couldn't help but feel all the positive vibrations and energy that were abuzz in the air.

This got me to thinking about my favorite bible verse "to everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under the sun." While raising my son- (now 21 and legal), I often used this bible passage to teach him some of life's hardest lessons. For Gray it is now a season to plant, to laugh, to dance and a time to seek new possibilities. For Fenty it is a time to lose, a time to weep, a time to mourn, a time to pluck up that which is planted and a time to reflect. As we have read that during Fenty's campaign he had advisers and supporters who tried to help him change course to get in touch with voters along the way, however, he (Fenty) wouldn't hear of it. While it's too little too late for a campaign victory, it's never too late to learn lessons that life and the school of hard knocks has to offer us. While reading an education list serve, I came across Jackie Pinckney-Hackett's top ten lessons learned from the DC primary election. Maybe Fenty and company will take heed as failure presents us an opportunity to intelligently begin again or maybe he (Fenty) will just keep on keeping on as he has been. In the event, he's listening here's Jackie's ten lessons learned from the DC primary:

1. Dictatorships Don't Work in DC

2. School Reform without Parent & Community Involvement is not welcomed

3. Being Nice and Showing that you CARE counts as VOTES

4. RHEE-member that the people who VOTED you IN can VOTE you OUT

5. It's not what you do but how you do it (do it with the people)

6. Mother Knows Best (Mother Williams supported Gray, while her son supported Fenty)

7. Crying won't change anything


9. Sometimes it's too late to APOLOGIZE

10. President Obama AIN'T stupid


Anonymous said...

Great news to hear that Vincent Grey won the primary. Finally DC school system can begin the healing process from Rhee's harmful, detriment reforms. Strong union shout-out to the DC teachers union for supporting Vincent Grey. Education for the children and justice for the teachers who work so hard to educate the children will be restored!

use reason said...

I especially agree with 3, 7, 8, & 9.

Breathless Marvina said...

What do people think about the buzz yesterday that the mayor-elect wants to keep M. Rhee around through at least the inauguration and quite possibly to the end of the SY? Some folks seem pretty surprised.

At San Antonio, I enjoyed meeting efavorite and other members of the group known only from blogs.

DC teacher said...

Vince Gray did not definitively say he will keep Rhee. He said we'll see. Since he doesn't take office until January, more than likely Rhee would stay until Gray is officially in office.

Efavorite was not at the San San Antonio Grill, you must be mistaken. However, The Washington Teacher (Candi) and Guy Brandenburg were.

Anonymous said...

In the immortal words of my students to Michelle Rhee, "Kick rocks B*#%h."


Imani Shazam Kazaime Washington

Anonymous said...

Just a heads up this is very telling. NY Dailey News editorial.

Anonymous said...

also \

DC School boss offers fix for NY a further down.
Take care

Anonymous said...

DC schools boss offers fix for NY

Linda/RetiredTeacher said...

No, President Obama isn't stupid. I was just reading about him in The Bridge and wondered, again, how he can allow people in his administration to bash teachers. The president has a firm grasp of the complexity of education (yes, it DOES take a village) so it is puzzling to me why his administration places the entire burden on the shoulders of teachers. After all, he's said many times that teachers can't do it alone.

Candi, you have proven yourself to have excellent leadership skills. You are also blessed with good character, as well as the ability to communicate. Therefore, I hope you help the teacher's association take the lead in improving education for all DC children. Because the nation will be watching, you can conceivably have a positive effect on education for the United States. Here are some of the things I hope to see:

Collaboration among teachers, parents, citizens, administrators;

Emphasis on infant and toddler education with the purpose of preventing the achievement gap from developing;

Peer evaluation and review. Teachers know who is "ineffective." Let them decide and weak teachers will be gone;

Teachers who are highly-qualified and experienced. Stop the hiring of young people out of college, unless they can be teamed with successful teachers. Hiring the least experienced has hurt DC and other cities more than any other factor. Insist that this practice be stopped;

Respect and dignity for all workers. All people deserve to be treated with respect. Insist on this for teachers and other workers.

Honesty in regard to money and tests. Make certain there is oversight of charter school money and insist on accuracy (no peeking or gaming) of standardized tests.

And so forth. Congratulations, Candi, and best of luck in helping Mr. Gray and others deliver the very best education to the children of DC.

Sheila H. Gill said...

Be Respectful to all, especially wrongfully terminated educators who were escorted out by the Metropolitan Police Department on October 2, 2009.

Kudos to our DCPS students and parents who played a major role in the DC Mayoral Primary and supported DCPS Educators.

Special thanks to all DC Voters who voted for Vincent Gray.

Grateful to AFT who sponsored Vincent Gray's victory celebration on Tuesday, September 14, 2010 and other events/activities.

Enough is Enough, Rhee MUST GO!

Anonymous said...

10. Spending ~1 mil, really does make a difference on an election

New day sister said...

Big shout out to Nathan and you for throwing a nice shin-diggity while we watched the results. What was wrong with the Black man who could not operate the TV? Nathan's wife, a school psychologist, was all on him like a special ed kid for testing. She was livid. I bet if the Redskins were on he could have gotten it right. That was funny. Liz Davis stopped by to handout her campaign materials. Did she pick up many voters at the Saunders/Peterson party? Do not worry we got your back, Candi. I was looking for actual party games though. Y'all could have had a George Parker Pinyata. All the teachers could stick him in the crotch with sharp pencils. Don't worry he would not get hurt cause we all know he has "no balls." Tada tad Bing Bing (thats claps for my internet illerate comedy friends). Next time, I want you to hire a Michelle Rhee look alike (Flat but required) and we could let the teachers beat her but only with our blackboard erasers therefore she would live and the few still employed teachers would not be charged with corporeal punishment.

Of course, you could not let the "Fight for fired DC P" play this game. It was nice to see retireed, fired, dismissed sharing libations. Everyone else had a beer, soda, or margarita including Tom O'Rouke who knew his way around the bar in good ole Irish fashion. It was fun.

Anonymous said...

I want to thank you for the work you did on this blog during most of Rhee's tenure. You were the only one who kept us informed on the true facts of DCPS, and many teachers appreciate it.

One last request: if you and Nathan are elected into the WTU (which I'm guessing you will be), please, please, please try to help the teachers who were unfairly terminated get their jobs back and/or the back-pay that many of them are owed. Remember, some of us were even terminated without evaluations. I understand that you will not be able to help everyone, but I am hoping you can at least make an honest attempt to assist those of us who were helpless victims of Michelle Rhee. Thank you, and keep up the good work.

Richard Lakin said...

I'm so relieved to hear that Michelle Rhee might be swept out of Washington soon--such an arrogant/destructive personality! Candi, you have put incredible efforts into fighting this plague. I so admire you.

One Washington Post commentator today was advocating for Gray to keep Rhee. (No way--only in the broom closet, in San Francisco!!)

Take care,

P. S. If you ever wish to share a free E-copy of my book, Teaching as an Act of Love, with any of your colleagues, the complimentary PDF file is on my website at

Suzie Q. said...

New Day Sister......great entry!

I am still laughing and agreeing with everything you said. The only thing that saved the tv guy was the fact that the election results were so late coming in that we did not miss much! Otherwise,I agree, Mrs. Saunders would have had his head!

Great pictures posted on facebook!

Anonymous said...

Great post.

Anonymous said...

dcblogger here,

I am not sure things will get better under Gray. They are talking about bringing Robert Bobb back

I am not optimistic.

Paul A. Moore said...

Left this comment in the Washington Post as part of the celebration of the people's victory over Michelle Rhee in DC. It applies with extra mustard to you Candi and this magnificent blog.

I'm a teacher in Florida but I so appreciate the struggle my brothers and sisters in DC have waged to stop Rhee, especially the many who lost their jobs and the many more who suffered abuse on the job. The enemies of public education were going to establish a beachhead in DC with Rhee and I don't think it's hyperbole to say you saved public schools and teachers across the country. Thanks.

The Washington Teacher said...

Thanks for all of your compliments. I am humbled by your comments. I must say that The Washington Teacher blog which started two years ago, can be quite demanding but it has become for me a labor of love. Given that our mainstream press refuses to report on real issues in education and has been in bed with the soon to be ex-Mayor Fenty and Chancellor Rhee, there has been a need to cover what's really going on in our schools.

I am glad that teachers and school personnel have found this blog to be a valuable service.

Candi Peterson
AKA The Washington Teacher

Anonymous said...

"The real election losers were Ms. Katharine Weymouth, publisher of The Washington Post; Ms. Jo-Ann Armao, editorial writer for The Washington Post; and Ms. Jonetta Rose Barras, columnist with The Washington Examiner; other national newspaper editorial boards, and reporters too numerous to name. Also losers were the national public education reformer elites who believed they know best over District parents and community activists."

Five To Go said...

I knew that this was going to happen. God blesses those who do right. Thank you Candi, for being the only voice for DCPS teachers. Your blog site and prayer are the two things that helped me these long four years. My husband and family have been so supportive of teachers and students in DC. I would like to thank the students of DCPS for being so smart . They knew that Rhee/Fenty were no good. When they booed Fenty during the graduations last year, they, the children spoke louder than any group of teacher could. They sounded the alarm, that Fenty/Rhee would soon be defeated.

no pay said...

Sorry to change the subject, but did anyone else not get a retroactive check in the mail?


I posted this victory over at SUPPORT PUBLIC SCHOOLS on Facebook.
What gets me is how she is dissing Grey and refusing to work under him. Great for DC. My fear is that she will come to NYC or work for Duncan.

Have you been following the Facebook page Education Nation. NBC is having an Education Forum and not one educator or parent is on the panel.
The panel btw are all de-formers.
And Ms. Rhee will be featured on Oprah this Monday when she spotlights Waiting for Superman.
Gotta love the media.

Anonymous said...

A little off topic, but now that the election is over, we've got other fish to fry. Namely, what happened at the AFT hearing on the 10th? When is the election going to be held? It's time to put Parker out to pasture with Rhee, Fenty, and Nickles.

And, btw, I agree with the earlier poster. Robert Bobb is not the kind of leader DCPS needs. said...

Excellent points. Meaningful change requires collaboration. Many of the underlying assumptions guiding educational policy in DC need to be reexamined in the light of day. For one teacher's take on the results, see my blog Onward and upward.

The Washington Teacher said...

The retro checks have already been mailed to active ET-15 teachers, school personnel and of course teachers/school personnel who were laid off in October 2009. Many received their checks last Saturday (9/11/10) and some received them on Monday (9/13/10). Depending on your status could determine whether you receive a retro check. Unfortunately our 'hold over' union president George Parker did not negotiate a retro for all who were working during the contract period dating back to 2007 and eligible under DCMR guidelines.

efavorite said...

Congrats all around.

No I was not in San Antonio - must have been an efavorite imposter.

I was at the polls all day Tuesday, though, and at the victory party downtown afterwards.

Happy days are coming soon.

Rashida said...

Love, love, loving this!