Mar 25, 2010

Countdown To 'Hope For Pope' At Hardy Middle School!

It's hard to say goodbye to Principal Pope!
I am posting a copy of the letter from Chancellor Rhee to Hardy middle school parents (per request) that was sent out on March 18. My inside sources confirm that Principal Dana Nerenburg was at Hardy middle school yesterday and in charge. Although the company line from Chancellor Michelle Rhee's office is that Patrick Pope, principal at Hardy will remain until the end of the school year, it seems his days are definitely numbered. Sources confirm that Pope will return to Hardy today, whether to pack his bags, say goodbye or help transition in the new principal.
Parents at Hardy still remain hopeful that they can fight to keep their esteemed principal on board. Here's to keeping 'Hope for Pope' alive !

Posted by The Washington Teacher, featuring Candi Peterson- blogger in residence


dcteacher said...

According to the letter passed out last week(to families and staff) Principal Nerenburg was scheduled to meet the students of Hardy yesterday. She did not show up.

Anonymous said...


Spoke with a teacher at Hardy today and was told that Mr. Pope is preparing to testify before the City Council. I wonder what will come out of his testimony.

Rhee is a very dangerous person who has surpassed Fenty in this area. The residents must be willing to repay Fenty for his destruction to DC by voting him out of office and thereby removing Rhee. It is the only hope the citizens have to put back the PUBLIC in public schools.

If the new principal is willing to take the job under these circumstances, it speaks volumes about her. The staff and parents will never trust her and she will be viewed as another RHEE flunkie.

Anonymous said...

I say let's rally on Friday!!!! At the new DCPS headquarters!!!! One for all and all for one!!!

Sheila H. Gill said...

Yes!!! Mr. Pope's days are numbered. It is my hope that the Chancellor and Fenty's days are numbered, too.

Since 2007, the Chancellor's reform has been to overhire and fire, overhire and fire.

It isn't about the DCPS children!

It is about the Chancellor's financial supporters (Public Educaton Reform) who pays for all of her travel expenses.

It's definitely time for the DC City Council to regain control in Election 2010.

Hardy Stakeholders, please do not give up and continue the "Fight." It's take to march to the White House and let your voices be heard!!!

Enough is Enough, Rhee must GO!
DCPS needs a certified, competent, experieced and qualified Superientendent!!

Anonymous said...

I'm assuming the commentators and others supporting Mr. Pope are just trying to do what's best for their school, but as a non-Hardy parent who might be interested in sending his child to school there, I have to tell you that the vitriol, name-calling, often hysterical language and accusations are not creating an environment into which I want to send my child. The removal (or promotion, depending your perspective) of Mr. Pope may be telling as to the character and motivations of Ms. Rhee, but the reactions by some members of the Hardy community are pretty telling as well. While it may be in vogue these days to hurl insults first and ask questions later, I hope people will consider what impact that "discussion" might have, even if they were to prevail.

Anonymous said...

Good idea! to march to the White House or rally in front of the White House!!!

Thank God Mr. Pope is preparing to testify before the council. Hopefully, after his testimony, MPD will march to DCPS Headquarters like in the movie Shawshank Remdemption with arrest warrants. PEACE

Kings said...

Anon at 12:18 - I can understand your concerns and hope you have also sent your messages directly to the Chancellor (who famously answers emails).

Remember - she started this. None of this would be happening at Hardy if the Chancellor hadn't met with some parents and not others, then dug in her heels over a bad decision.

Also, I haven't heard any hysterical language and vitriol - just parents and students standing up for themselves.

Anonymous said...

I like the point of the Mar 25 12:18pm anon. comment. The commenter is put off by all the shouting and vicious charges. We would like to be examples of civility for our children. You can make a point, very strongly if it is compelling, while also being civil. Many (of the same, wild, overwrought) parents seem to have forgotten how to do this. Also, for other parents who would consider sending kids to Hardy, unless Mr. Pope has not developed his staff, the place should be ok without him. (And, I do like the idea of him duplicating his skill for another group of deserving students, outside of Gtown.) But, like the earlier commenter, I would be more concerned about roving bands of partisan parents policing the place like truncheon-wielding trusties, figuratively speaking, of course. Thanks, Candi, for providing a way to converse with other stakeholders.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand how someone can be moved from a school with a thriving population and where children are succeeding. Why would a school administrator disturb something when there is nothing wrong with it. I fault Fenty, the City Council, and anyone else that has dealings with Rhee and the School Board and they allow any and everything under the sun to be changed. I thank God that I am not a part of the DC school system. It is a disgrace to the United States of America.

Sheila H. Gill said...


Hardy MS Stakeholders: It's time to march to the White House and let your voices be heard.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand how someone can be moved from a school with a thriving population and where children are succeeding. Why would a school administrator disturb something when there is nothing wrong with it. I fault Fenty, the City Council, and anyone else that has dealings with Rhee. They allow any and everything under the sun to be changed. I thank God that I am not a part of the DC school system. It is a disgrace to the United States of America.

Anonymous said...

LOL ANONY.. 6:03 your COMMENT IS SILLY; Rhee can call teachers abusers but you complain when someone says something about her. Rhee started this name calling: I fired lazy teachers who had sex with students and who hit students.

Anonymous said...

what shouting and vicious charges? That's garbage, sorry.

Who are you, anons? You sound like part of Rhee's new $100,000 media team hanging around Candi's blog to intimidate anyone who doesn't support Rhee. Why don't you do have a tea party somewhere?

Anonymous said...

Original anon, here. Lol, yourself. March on the White House. Reinstall Pope or the school will collapse. Anyone who doesn't agree with you is a paid plant. Rhee's dangerous and out to get us. There's no need for me to start a tea party, sounds like yours is already in full swing.

Anonymous said...

A lot of well meaning liberals have gotten behind this new generation of education reformers who believe the two best ways to improve education are to bust unions and replace older largely African-American career teachers with young privileged white teachers who will spend 2 or 3 years in the classroom before moving on to bigger and better things. These people believe that experience is a detriment and not an asset. I wonder how these became liberal values. Yes, the Bush family have embraced Michelle Rhee, but so have the Obamas and Oprah.

School reform has always been something that has been done to teachers, not by teachers, or with teachers. Parents have rarely had a say either and of course children don’t know what’s good for them. You can’t reform anything that way. When the largest stakeholders in any endeavor are seen as the opposition you will fail. There is another type of education reform you don’t hear much about. If people gave it a chance, it might have a hope of accomplishing something substantial. I don’t agree with everything that these people want, but a lot of it sure looks worth looking into. The idea of a free, equal, and quality education is an ideal that binds us as a nation. It has sadly never been a reality in the United States.

Anonymous said...

It's strange how people from miles awary are keeping tabs on this Rhee idiot who is nothing but a worm that can be crushed.

I’m not from Washington, DC. I’m from Chicago where we have had our own miracle worker Arne Duncan chosen for better things. I won’t tell DC parents how to feel about their own child’s education prospects from hundreds of miles away. However, in my previous entry, EFavorite posted the link to a comment by a Washington Post reader claiming that Michelle Rhee’s administration has fascist tendencies. I can’t really speak to that, but I wonder if the sight of police leading teachers away in front of stunned students might answer the question for me.

Anonymous said...

Remember the circle of friends, and as you continue to see things unfold you will remember the warning about Obama who is backing Rhee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Old School DCPS said...

Anon @ 5:06's above statement sums up a lot of the rationale in the current reform movement. Though it isn't said so, most of us know it in our bones. The TFA and teaching fellows model is built on the assumption that the people who've been teaching in the high poverty urban schools for all these years are failing at it. Who are those teachers but mostly older African American career educators, graduates of ed schools? The assumption is that they (we) need to be replaced, that we are not up to the job of educating the students. Teaching in high poverty urban schools is, as most of us know day in and day out, is hard. There aren't people clammoring for our jobs. The reform model is to replace us with mostly white 20 somethings who will knock themselves out for two years, staying up late to do lesson plans, taking the kids on weekend field trips and loving them to death, even the hardest to reach. Of course, such a commitment to teaching isn't sustainable for a 20or 30 year career. So these new teachers will quit before they get burned out and be replaced by new ones just like them. There is no place in this reform model for career educators: we are seen as impediments to progress or dinosaurs.

Anonymous said...

(I love "Anonymous" who complains that that other commenters are Anon.) It's sad to read purported old-timers turning this into a racial matter, in our majority AA city that has had home rule for almost four decades. (Yes, Congress interferes, but not in a way that explains the DCPS quality of education.) Teachers are just victims. Or, it's just poverty--usually voiced with a tone of resignation and unspoken responsibility in the schools decline. We have had good teachers among us in the past, but I sense many have just given up on the children--long before Rhee got here. Have lived in DC for ages, though all of this. I don't buy the decline has been someone's plan, as there's no evidence I know of. Teachers are paid well and the budget is generous relative to other districts. We need to stop the bickering and sounding like the Tea Party crowd. Marching on the White House, or even the District Building is a big waste of time. It will make us look silly. But maybe not as foolish as Randi Weingarten looked today on Bill Maher's show. She apparently wants to be a "celebrity" as much as Sarah Palin. Unfortunately for AFT and WTU, she was very unimpressive.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 12:18, it's good to see Rhee still has people posting for her on blogs where the truth is revealed about her. Are you one of the six figure people on her staff who are paid to blog from her computer room? You sound like it.

By the way, vitriol means
bitterly abusive feeling or expression; to expose or subject to vitriol.
tr.v. vit·ri·oled or vit·ri·olled, vit·ri·ol·ing or vit·ri·ol·ling, vit·ri·ols

Use big words correctly.

Anonymous said...

While I would be happy to be paid 100K to post a comment or two on a board, I'm afraid I am just a concerned parent with a different perspective. Yet, just because you are paranoid does not mean you are not being followed. I do thank you for the vocabulary lesson, as the condensation of others is always inebriating and particularly reveling as to the incense of the poster. :)

The Washington Teacher said...

I have to respond to comments by Anonymous 632:
There is a correlation between how students perform and socio -economic status. Race whether we like it or not is a factor not only in DC but nationwide. There is an achievement gap even in Montgomery and Fairfax counties and elsewhere.

Look at the research. That is not to suggest that students can't learn. Some years ago there was a study in the American Educator which looked at vocabulary of students families on welfare, the working poor and middle class families. Students whose families were on welfare were only exposed to 500 words before starting school while the working poor were exposed to 600 words and students whose families were middle class were exposed to 1200 words. This study showed how these disparities continued to grow even after students entered school.

To suggest that there are not disparities by race, class and socio-economic status are absurd. If you don' understand this reality than it is hard to address reform. A bolder approacher website which I have a link to on this blog addresses this issue and suggests that we cannot continue to think that a one size model of reform fits all. No one pair of jeans fits everybody. We have to create multiple models of reform for students east of the river as well as west of the park. These models should look differently because students have different needs. Many of our poorer students need a different prescription because learning stops for them often times at the end of the school day unlike in more affluent communities. If we don't address poverty and adult illiteracy in these communities then we will continue to not be able to make a significant impact in these communities as we would like.

I don't see teachers, students and their communities challenging politicians as bickering. For too long as Diane Ravitch's book suggests we let politicians make decisions about educational reform. It's time to march to the U.S. Dept. of Education as educators need to be at the table making decisions about education. We must take the lead in this debate. I will be there on Saturday, April 10 at 12 noon @ 400 Maryland Ave SW. For those who read my blog and are interested please join me. If not sit back and continue to do nothing but criticize those of us seeking to reform and strengthen public education.

Here's to Steve Conn and other teacher activists like him who are getting on the bus to come here to DC to defend public education.

Old School DCPS said...

I'm not an old-timer. I call myself old school because I believe in certain instructional practices that are out of fashion, but I still view as essential to learning. These include the teaching of handwriting, multiplication tables, phonics, spelling, geography, memorization of certain facts including state capitals as well as capitals of countries, the teaching of English grammar, parts of speech, important years when major world events happened, diagramming sentences and other former staples of the core curriculum. I also believe that teachers should have over ten years' classroom experience before they even dream of becoming a principal, as was the trend for years.
As for injecting race, I don't do it lightly. Both anonymous at 5:09 and others see that the new reform movement wants to replace older mostly black veteran teachers with brand new, mostly white non-ed school graduates. Not because the teachers are white or black, but because most of the veteran urban school teachers happen to be black. Reformers tend to believe that those veteran teachers are failing urban students in high poverty schools and need to be replaced with high energy, strongly commited fresh educators from excellent universities. Many of them happen to be non-black (white, Asian, East Indian).