May 31, 2012

Arne Duncan's Close Ties to Victor Reinoso, Former DC Deputy Mayor of Education

Victor Reinoso (right)

Written by Candi Peterson

Word has it that Victor Reinoso, former DC Deputy Mayor of Education from 2007-10 under the Fenty administration is now a high-powered consultant to the United States Department of Education (DOE), working for Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education.  Confirmation that Reinoso is a local friend of Arne Duncan's was evidenced on Reinoso's personal Linked in account when he proudly displayed his DOE position until recently, that is. To refresh your memory further about Reinoso, as Deputy Mayor he oversaw the education reform agenda and was the person responsible for recruiting former DC Public Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee in 2007, a former elected DC Public Schools Board of Education member, former CEO of the Federal City Council and now a Senior Advisor to the President at Georgetown University.

Reinoso received recognition when he was caught plagiarizing Charlotte-Mecklenburg, North Carolina's public schools "school takeover plan" when he was acting deputy mayor.  At his 2007 confirmation hearing, the DC City Council had lively debate about his role in the plagiarism incident. In true politician style, Reinoso dodged questions about plagiarizing the takeover plan. The DC Examiner, on June 28, 2007 reported that Reinoso said he took full responsibility for the plagiarism, calling it a "shortcut" taken "to meet a deadline." He said the omission of attribution was unintentional."

Why is it important to connect the dots between Victor Reinoso and Secretary Arne Duncan?  With Reinoso  teaming up with Arne Duncan (who by the way has close ties to Eli Broad), it isn't a stretch to believe that a deal was cut to encourage Mayor Vincent Gray to maintain then Deputy Chancellor Kaya Henderson, after Michelle Rhee's ousting. I often wondered why Mayor Gray was adamant about not conducting a national search for a DC Public Schools Chancellor and didn't allow any resumes to be submitted when considering this high level appointment and I think I now have my answer.  Most recently, I imagine that Reinoso also influenced/supported Chancellor Henderson's honorary doctorate from Georgetown University, as a Senior Director there as well. This honorary doctorate will serve to further the occupational aspirations and enhance the political appeal of Chancellor Henderson, despite her obvious lack of education credentials. The awarding of an honorary degree like Henderson's creates press releases, attracts attention to the university and DC Public Schools and also signals the strength of "special interest groups" within Georgetown University.  

Certainly we can make the argument that relationships like Duncan and Reinoso are part of a larger aggressive school reform education movement in the United States and includes unequivocal support for mayoral control of public education, adopting the business/corporate model for school leadership, opening more charter schools, turning over public schools to charter school operators, creating a revolving door teacher workforce, changing the way teachers are evaluated, and stripping teachers of tenure in exchange for lucrative pay funded by education philanthropists. (i.e. Eli Broad, Bill Gates, etc.)

In the words of a teacher "It breaks my heart to see Duncan playing along. You should have seen my students when Obama won the presidency. Their eyes were shining. I tell them they will be the ones to walk across the stage, go on to the life they are supposed to live, and bring prosperity, health, security and life itself to their struggling families. Instead, it turns out Duncan owns his own his own stock in the Emperors New Schools Venture Fund." And if I had to make an educated guess, so does Reinoso.

© Candi Peterson 2013


Anonymous said...

Arne Duncan also has close ties with Hosana Mahaley, the head of OSSE. She was his chief of staff in Chicago when he headed their schools. She came to OSSE after working for Rupert Murdoch at Wireless Generation. Who else is affiliated with Wireless Generation? Michelle Rhee.

Mahaley is the one who narrowed the erasure investigation. Sounds convenient to me.

BC said...

Fantastic reporting and very reasonable inferences!

Anonymous said...

Kevin Johnson, Rhee's husband, is very close to Arne Duncan too. He is the past chair and current co-chair of Duncan's Mayors Advisory Council on Education. Why would the US DOE Secretary condone a man with multiple inappropriate allegations of inappropriate touching incidents that lead back to the nineties serve this position? Why would Duncan have Johnson advising anything given the financial history of St. Hope? Has St. Hope repaid the high dollars the Grassley-Issa Congressional Report mentioned?

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