There were numerous stories to follow in last week’s primary elections, but the big story was that D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee is now near-certain to leave her post after her boss, Mayor Adrian Fenty, lost his bid for reelection in the Democratic primary.
Rhee has attracted national attention for her tough reforms and clashes with D.C. teachers, and she became a central and polarizing figure in the mayoral race. But assuming she does leaveand finds another job as schools chief or in the education reform arenashe may take with her a valuable lesson from her experience in D.C. That is, communicationsand the community–matters.
Rhee was grilled about her plans at a D.C. preview of the new “Waiting for Superman” documentary on Sept. 22, taking the spotlight away from other education notables who attended. (Rhee is a central figure in the film, which promotes charter schools and will be discussed in the cover story of ASBJ‘s November issue).
Rhee called the election results “devastating for the schoolchildren of Washington, D.C.,” then later sent a letter to the Post stating that, by the way, she had not meant to imply that Vincent Gray, the presumed winner in November, was devastating.