Though many had hoped that fiery school reformer Michelle Rhee would remain at the head of Washington, D.C.’s public school system in the wake of her boss’s loss to Vince Gray in the Democratic mayoral primary, it is not to be. Effective the end of this month, Rhee is stepping down. She will be replaced by Kaya Henderson, a deputy who shares her vision for reform, on an interim basis.
It’s hard to say what this means for reform. Gray was elected with a ton of help from the Washington Teachers’ Union and American Federation of Teachers, and this move is almost certainly payback for that support. Where does reform go from here? Will Henderson be able to pursue reform with the same vigor as Rhee? Is this a warning to others who might pursue similar reforms in other struggling systems?
The other question is what will happen to Rhee. Will she take her talents to New Jersey, where Gov. Chris Christie is in constant conflict with the teachers union? Will she step into the Obama administration? Will she run for office herself? If you’re interested, you can follow Rhee on Twitter, on Facebook, or at her brand new website.