City Paper is not for tourists
Sorry to get started late here. You missed a lot of Harry Thomas Jr. grandstanding. Pity. Follow along on Channel 13.
10:50: Marion Barry wants more black people in the schools. Is outraged that none of the four top DCPS officials are black. “That doesn’t mean that no African Americans can’t teach black kids. But all four? Come on!”
10:53: Jim Graham: “Hope you have a comfortable seat, because this is going to be a very long day.”
10:55: JG: Hey, Michelle—-why do all these teachers your group brings in quit so fast?
10:58: Can’t tell if Kwame Brown wants the most qualified people or the most qualified black people. Not sure he knows, either.
11:01: Bring on the witnesses! “Lengthy witness list” says Vince. Three minutes per witness. Oooh—and they get Marie Drissel right off the bat.
11:05: Spanish-speaker hearts MR. Further: “All educators must know that education is teaching.” Yikes.
11:12: Nutty, rambling guy at mike. Three minutes I’ll never get back. Just segued from Kepler and Galileo to how his son is serving in Iraq.
11:16: Ward 5 ANC Robert Brannum really hates the Post editorial board.
11:18: Drissel: “When I say D.C. schools are disgraceful, it is on a worldwide scale.” Pro-Rhee. And clearly a pro when it comes to Council testimony: She’s speaking at a near-Micro Machines pace.
11:24: Aw, thanks,
Renee Muriel Bowser. You had to interrogate the woman who doesn’t speak English…
11:26: Drissel: “I honestly don’t think she’ll put up with people who don’t perform.”
11:27: HTJr.: “I would like to thank the diversity of this panel…”
11:41: MR already getting things done at Wilson, says parent. Of course, everyone else thinks, it’s Wilson.
11:47: OK, somebody needs to explain to Muriel that she doesn’t need to ask every panelist a question.
11:55: Carol Schwartz notices that everyone who has met MR supports MR. David Catania points out that panelists hate the Fenty plan, love MR anyway. And then he goes into a weird Ross Perot-esque digression on profit-based HR management.
12:08: HTJr.: “It’s not often that my colleague Mr. Catania understates situations…”
12:13: Marion Barry thinks Fenty/Rhee needs to apologize to Clifford Janey for being so mean!
12:18: Joel Klein in tha house!!! Says MR “has all the right stuff.”
12:31: It’s the celebrity educational administrator panel: Former Cleveland schools chief also steps up for Rhee.
12:38: Whoa—-Kevin Johnson! KJ! Remember when Jordan schooled you in the ’93 Finals? Oh wait, you do—-“The hardest thing I ever had to do was guard Michael Jordan…and that wasn’t Michael Jordan of the Washington Wizards, that was Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls.” Anyway, he’s an education advocate now, and he likes MR, too.
12:47: Klein says Rhee’s “gotta deal with the Be-team—-they’re gonna be there when you come and they’ll be there when you leave.” Vince prefers the term “we-bes” to “be-team.”
1:10: Catania again refuses to understate the situation: “This represents the last best effort to salvage what we have left of traditional public education.”
1:17: Tommy Wells asks former basketball star: “How do we get young men to care about academics?” KJ sez: More role models, and not Charles Barkley.
1:23: Chainsaw Joel! Says you gotta love firing people.
1:27: Harry Thomas Jr. becomes first councilmember to address KJ as “KJ.”
1:36: Joel Klein mentions he hasn’t studied the DCPS bureaucracy. “I can tell you: It’s bloated,” says Marion Barry, a man who knows from bloated government.
1:42: Klein says Rhee “has the magic sauce.” Jim Graham is skeptical, dammit!
1:52: Was that Graham trying to extort an autographed basketball from KJ?
1:59: After meeting with Rhee, WTU chief “left with a sense of optimism.” Just wait till collective bargaining season.
2:02: Ah, so WTU prez was good cop; VP is bad cop. “Pink elephant in the room”: The process wasn’t followed, no one asked the teachers union—-waaaah! But he likes Rhee, too.
2:09: DCPS teacher bitch session! She didn’t get reimbursed after she tore her clothes on a sharp desk! Principal parks in handicapped spot! Disgruntled bureaucrat refuses to process back pay!
2:14: Ahhh! So WTU members were consulted on the Rhee decision, just not the WTU members the WTU wanted. Whoops!
2:29: The teacher’s union has gotten over Fenty steamrolling over “the process.” Not Mendo though—-commence indignant questioning!
2:36: Wait—-Carol’s pissed, too.
2:41: Catania cuts through the WTU’s ass-kissing: Compliment her all you want—-I know you’re going to get into it with Rhee eventually…
2:44: Tommy Wells asks WTU prez how far he’d be willing to go in contract concessions: “We’re willing to do what is right for teachers and children.” In that order.
3:03: Damn! Vince is beaucoup pissed that the WTU is playing kissy-face with Fenty. Dammit, guys, Vince Gray needs allies, too!
3:14: Vocational education…blah, blah, blah.
3:18: More box talk! “Not only are we thinking out of the box, we’re taking it further and stepping out of the box,” says DCPS teacher.
3:21: Former Baltimore students of Rhee testify: She took us to Cleveland to meet our pen pals! one says.
3:41: Young, well-dressed, attractive white people—-it’s the New Teacher Project!!!
3:53: New Teacher Project woman can’t stop grinning. Spooky.
4:07: Seriously, Yvette and Muriel—-what’s with the inquisition? I mean, can’t you read a brochure about this New Teacher thing and move on?
4:25: Singing testimony! Singing testimony!
5:07: Sorry, folks. Actually had to do some real work there for an hour. Don’t think I missed much. Lots of stuff about outcomes, accountability, shit like that.
5:18: Vince takes off the skeletor glasses, rubs his eyes. We know how you feel, big guy.
5:34: Hey, look, Michelle Rhee’s finally in front of the dais.
5:36: “In short, there will no longer be faceless failure and unresponsiveness….Everyone will feel pressure to succeed.”
5:39: OK, here we go. She’s promising to rebuild special ed. “It won’t be cheap.”
5:41: “High-quality interim assessment program.” In other words, she’s going to keep stats. But we knew that already.
5:46: Vince wants to talk PROCESS, Michelle. Get ready to talk PROCESS.
5:47: I played hard to get! I told them no at first! Really!
5:51: Ah-ha! Fenty had her speak to two Post reporters on June 10—-two days before the announcement.
5:54: “I am a change agent…you don’t want me,” she told Fenty. Fenty didn’t care—-ONIONS!!!
5:57: OK, Muriel broaches the Baltimore grades issue. MR says, “We actually did not have documentation at that time….The lessons here is that…we need to provide documentation to our teachers…” Oh, snap, that’s some nice spinning.
6:10: Mendo: “I know the District can be a difficult place.” Now allow me try to make it more difficult for you.
6:11: Mendo says turning off Janey’s e-mail, locking him out was “tacky.” Rhee says she tried calling him, once. Now she has a “better phone number” and hopes to get in touch.
6:16: A Mendo gotcha: She doesn’t know how many principal vacancies there are, off the top of her head.
6:22: She’s been here three weeks and still can’t find out how many people work for DCPS.
6:32: “I have no plans to ask for additional funds—-right now.”
6:33: “Right now, I have no intentions of looking at” privatization. That’s a lot of right-nows.
6:43: Chainsaw Michelle, not so much. ” I’m not gonna say right now how many people need to stay or go…”
6:51: Rhee: “A vast majority of discipline problems” come from teachers who don’t “engage” students.
7:01: Marion Barry reminds MR than black people hate Koreans. So what are you going to do about that? “I’m not trying to stereotype you at all.”
7:02: Let the race-counting begin! Of Rhee’s 10 hires: 3 black men, 3 black women, 1 Latino man, 2 white men, 2 white women. “Sounds great!” says Barry.
7:04: Vocab lessons from Jim Graham: “Apparently you reached such a nadir—-that means bottom!…”
7:05: Pronunciation lesson for Jim Graham: It’s NAY-dur (sometimes NAY-deer), not nuh-DEER.
7:21: Vince Gray demands to know what MR’s 10 hires will be doing on their first day. Gonna take a stab here: Paperwork?
7:26: Uh oh, DCPS bureaucrat—-if you fucked up summer school, MR’s gonna be on your ass.
7:33: Muriel wants MR to look into changing some underenrolled schools to a K-8 format. MR agrees! Hurrah!
7:39: Yvette Alexander: “Ms. Rhee, how do you feel about plagiarism?” Guess what the next question is.
7:45: Rhee expects contract to be finalized over the next few days. Not fast enough for Mendo!
7:47: Mendo: “Did you find it strange to be meeting with the Washington Post editorial board two days before the announcement and not meeting with councilmembers?”
7:49: “How do we measure our progress?” asks Mendelson. Dude, you have so not been listening: That’s the “high-quality interim assessment program”!
8:10: “Is there some ‘wow’ initiative that you’d like to roll out right away…so that you could control the headlines tomorrow?” Nice try, Tommy Wells. We appreciate it.
8:18: Holy shit. Mary Cheh got her cell phone number! 202-744-7727!!!1! Hold her accountable!
8:25: Gender equity: Not just for Kwame anymore. Harry Thomas Jr. asks about Title IX.
8:29: Barry: “Our athletic program is in the basement somewhere.”
8:34: MR spent last night driving through Ward 8. Marion Barry is mad she didn’t call.
8:37: The dais begins to empty. Barry has to go to “a Ward 8 meeting.” At Player’s?
8:46: Vince Gray says DCPS has 622 bus routes.
8:57: “I could be here for another few hours,” says MR. Come on, Michelle—-no one likes a suckup.
9:03: Breathe easy, 841 North Capitol—-no one’s getting fired just yet. You’re probably safe for another couple weeks, deadweight bureaucrat.
9:06: Carol Schwartz’ attention span is apparently less than three hours. I mean, gawd, Carol: She already told us how she feels about charter schools at like 6 p.m. Sheesh.
9:17: They’re talking buses. This liveblog thing is getting a little old.
9:20: Gray goes on about how the Turkey Bowl used to draw 50,000 and was played in RFK. Take it from Tony Soprano, Vince: “Remember when” is the lowest form of interrogation.
9:24: LAST QUESTION! Something about having a strategic plan. We’re already asleep, Vince, come on.
9:27: Carol points out that the only two members left besides Gray are her and Mendelson—both of whom voted against the takeover. I wouldn’t take that as proof of your wisdom, guys.
9:29: Oh god. Lawrence Guyot, Cardell Shelton, and Robert Artisst still want to talk. (Wait, Artisst left…) I’m outta here.