On Tuesday, Vincent Gray soundly beat Adrian Fenty for the Democratic nomination for mayor. Given the one-party state that we live in, Gray can for all intents and purposes be considered the mayor-elect. So what will his mayoralty mean for Georgetown? It’s not clear, since he has not said too much specifically about Georgetown, but that doesn’t mean GM can’t do a little speculation on a few issues!
GM has kicked around the idea of writing an article about Michelle Rhee’s disastrous meeting with the Hardy PTA last December and call it “The Night Adrian Fenty Lost the Election.” Yes there were other single events that seemed to encapsulate everything that Fenty was doing wrong to get reelected, but the Hardy incident stands out as a particularly bad one. Not for nothing, but the meeting ended with Ward 7 councilmember Yvette Alexander delivering a rousing speech to the angry crowd that to get rid of Rhee they’d have to get rid of Fenty first. Step one can be checked off.
While the post-Pope transition appears to be going along with relatively minimal problems, it seems likely that an appetite remains within the Hardy PTA to roll back the changes and reinstall Patrick Pope as principal. Moreover, there may be an effort to finally convert Hardy entirely into a magnet arts school. Given that the Hardy situation became a bit of a rallying cry for pro-Gray voters, it seems likely that at least some change of course is taken.
Of course much of that depends on whether Michelle Rhee sticks around and how much latitude Gray gives her. The jury is still out on that. Continue reading →
On Tuesday morning, DC Chancellor of Schools Michelle Rhee met with parents of students at Hardy School in Georgetown. The meeting was another contentious round of a fight that has been raging for months (and perhaps years, depending on your perspective). Last December, Rhee announced her decision to transfer the principal of Hardy School, Patrick Pope, to a new arts middle school that he would help develop. This was met with anger and frustration by current Hardy parents. However, of the Georgetown parents that GM has spoke with on this issue, most have viewed it favorably.
But how favorably? According to the reports (GM’s got a job and couldn’t make it to the morning meeting) the parents objecting to the removal of Patrick Pope argued that notwithstanding the change that is supposedly going to attract local families, no in-boundary families have yet applied to attend Hardy next year. Here’s a Fox report mentioning this specific point: Continue reading →
Last Friday night, Chancellor Michelle Rhee came before the Hardy School PTA to announce significant changes to the school. As described earlier, this meeting came as a culmination of months of speculation and recriminations regarding the present and future states of the school.
The meeting was led by Hardy parent Keenan Keller. He began the meeting by setting out the ground rules of three minutes for questions and three minutes for answers. Before handing the microphone to Rhee, Keller read an email off of his phone that was sent from Hyde-Addison principal Dana Nerenberg describing her new role as principal of Hyde-Addison and Hardy. The email was apparently sent around 5:00 that night to the Hyde-Addison community. Thus before Rhee even took the microphone, the audience already knew that Patrick Pope was not going to remain as principal of Hardy School after this year.
Rhee began her remarks by stating that Hardy’s arts integration program is a model both for the city and the nation. She further stated that not withstanding any personnel changes at Hardy, the arts program will remain. She then segued into announcing that a new performing arts magnet school would be created and that Patrick Pope was offered the position to design, plan, implement and lead the new school. He will remain principal through this school year. Next year Dana Nerenberg would take over the principal function of Hardy on top of her responsibilities at Hyde-Addison. Patrick Pope would then take a year to create the new school. While implied, it was not 100% clear that he will actually be the principal of the new school when it opens in 2012. Continue reading →
Tonight at a meeting for the Hardy PTA, Chancellor Michelle Rhee announced that Patrick Pope would leave his position as principal of Hardy Middle School and become the principal of a new arts and music magnet middle school. Dana Nerenberg, principal of Hyde-Addison, will become principal of both Hyde-Addison and Hardy.
The announcement was not taken well by the Hardy PTA. With Mr. Pope sitting silently in the audience, speaker after speaker criticized Chancellor Rhee for the content and process of the decision. GM will write up a fuller account of this, but for the curious, here is a recording of the bulk of Chancellor Rhee’s Q&A session (GM’s batteries died after 80 minutes or so):
What was not caught on the tape was what happened after Rhee left. Mr. Pope gave a heart felt speech of thanks and encouragement to the audience (he did not, however, discuss the plans for the new magnet school or whether he was in fact forced out; but in not addressing those issues he appeared to be confirming the PTA’s suspicions that he was forced out and that he was not entirely excited about starting over at a new school). After Pope spoke, Ward 7 Councilmember Yvette Alexander gave a rousing speech in support of the PTA and Mr. Pope. Big quote: “We’ve got to get rid of Fenty. And Rhee. And you can quote me on that!”