As we witnessed in Waiting for Superman, Michelle Rhee left Washington when the local teachers’ union, an AFT affiliate, (and, as you might also remember, Davis Guggenheim had Randi Weingarten on a few times as a perfunctory counterpoint), didn’t even bother considering Rhee’s contract that would have made all the whiz-bang reforms she wanted.
In spite of that, some of what she wanted done, she was able to implement unilaterally, under authority of the same 2005 city laws which basically brought the whole school system under direct mayoral control and allowed the mayor to appoint the schools chancellor, that authority is why Adrian Fenty brought in Rhee upon soliciting Joel Klein’s advice, of course, Klein was to Michael Bloomberg what Rhee was to Fenty. And, that which she enacted unilaterally is still in place, in spite of the fact that both Rhee and Fenty are long gone.
But, before they gloat, let me suggest three possible flies in the ointment:
(1) Standardized test scores are the measure by which student achievement is said to be improving. And you’re not automatically suspicious?
(2) Student test scores might actually be increasing, only because the DCPS has fewer black students by proportion. Remember, the same cycle of displacement and gentrification which is forcing ghetto blacks out of D.C. and into Bell Curve County, Maryland is the same thing which would result in the DCPS having fewer black students, definitely by raw number, and eventually also by percentage. It’s no guarantee that white or any other non-black students are necessarily filling the void, but it is a possibility.
(3) Correlation without causation.
All told? Superman might not yet be here.