Why did Washington,DC's Mayoral incumbent Adrian Fenty, and his school reform champion Michelle Rhee, go down in defeat? For an answer to this question I turn to Diane Ravitch, which is itself deserving of an explanation because I usually disagree with her. But, lately, on very special days, I have noticed Diane Ravitch is right. I think this might be one one of those days.
In her most recent letter to her pen pal Deborah Mier, Ms. Ravitch addresses the election in Washington, DC, and hits the nail on the head, arguing that Mr. Fenty lost because Mayoral control of the school system led to an undemocratic process of school reform. The speed with which Ms. Rhee worked her changes, and her apparent unwillingness to compromise, may have led the majority of African American voters to feel they were being ignored. The vote became a referendum on school reform and the reformers got schooled. Sadly, the district's children may not be so lucky.
Ms. Ravitch makes another strong point:
"When the Tea Party wins a race, journalists don't write about who controlled their vote, but about a voter revolt; they acknowledge that those who turned out to vote had made a conscious decision. Yet when black voters, by large margins, chose Vincent Gray over Adrian Fenty, journalists found it difficult to accept that the voters were acting on their own, not as puppets of the teachers' union."
Read the rest at Education Week.
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