AP source: DC schools chief Rhee to resign

AP News
Posted: Oct 12, 2010 11:48 PM
AP source: DC schools chief Rhee to resign

D.C. schools head Michelle Rhee, whose decision to fire many teachers helped bounce the mayor who appointed her out of office, will announce her resignation on Wednesday, a person with knowledge of the situation said.

The decision was mutually made by Rhee and D.C. Council Chairman Vincent Gray, the presumptive next mayor, said the person who spoke on the condition of anonymity because an official announcement wasn't scheduled until a morning news conference.

Gray defeated Mayor Adrian Fenty in the Democratic primary last month, partly because Fenty continued to support Rhee. Deputy Chancellor Kaya Henderson will take over for Rhee on an interim basis, the person told The Associated Press.

The impending resignation was first reported by The Washington Post.

Rhee earlier this year fired teachers based on a system that evaluated in part on students' standardized test scores. Her moves got her nationwide recognition. She was interviewed in "Waiting for 'Superman,'" a documentary film on the wretched state of America's public schools, that was released last month.

Gray has said that his education plan would include a focus on pre-kindergarten services, parity between public and charter schools and special education reform. During his victory speech, he said he wanted to move forward with education reform in a "holistic way with a strong and empowered chancellor who works with parents and teachers."

Rhee met with Gray a week after he won and he had said no personnel decisions will be made until after the general election. Gray has no Republican challenger on Nov. 2.

George Parker, president of the Washington Teachers Union which mobilized against Fenty, on Tuesday night commended the chancellor for deciding to step down sooner rather than later.

"That will eliminate the uncertainty that existed in the system," he said. "The school district cannot move forward not knowing who the leader would be."

Recent data from D.C. Public Schools had shown progress has slowed in closing the achievement gap between black and white students. A 2009 report said fewer than 50 percent of high school students graduated within four years from D.C.'s public schools.

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