Michelle Rhee’s assault on the D.C. Public Schools status quo will go down as a rare attempt to raise local institutions above the low standards Washingtonians once accepted. Rhee shares Fenty’s abrasive traits, but in her case, it’s easy to be more charitable: When it comes to reforming a failed school system, you either go monomaniacal or go home. It’s naïve to think that you can do it while simultaneously making nice with the old guard.
The use of the word assault is indicative of the racial divide of our city. Michelle Rhee and the education deformers have indeed conducted an assault on the DC Public School system, with entirely predictable results, parents are pulling their children out of school as never before. Not as part of a long time trend, but at an accelerated pace.
If Vincent Gray prevails he will have a hard task healing the racial divide. There are just too many white people who delight in seeing black public employees get beaten on and insulted. Too many white people who simply have no idea about what is going on east of Rock Creek Park.
I am not optimistic. Vincent Gray strikes me as a hack, not somebody who is ready to go to bat for the city’s dispossessed, or having the communication skills that would allow him to explain to the West of Rock Creek Park crowd why it is in their interests are connected to the well being of the cities most disadvantaged residents.