No Rhee-Considering

WaPo ed board weighs-in again on the Rhee selection for Washington’s public schools. Post basically urges the City Council to ratify the choice based on merits not process and highlights some of the validation for her based on her work. Still, overall, I’m not sure the process was as bad as it’s now fashionable to make it out to be in some circles. Here’s why:

(A) The mayor is ultimately on the hook for all this (in fact, by picking an unconventional choice like Rhee he’s raised the stakes for himself, he could have deflected some blame if one of the usual suspects was brought in and it didn’t pan out) in terms of results, so he deserves some room; (B) These public vettings rarely lead to anything good for kids. They drive the bidding up and deter candidates for whom it would be awkward for their current employer/board to know they’re interested; and (C) If you’ve ever been close to one of those processes you will understand how they turn into exercises in speechmaking, marker laying, and fire hydrant peeing by various actors and groups, it’s not a serious hiring process.

All that said, I get why Fenty should play his D.C. politics carefully and some Kabuki is par for the course. But considering the state of the D.C. schools, I’m happy to see some leadership that is willing to ask forgiveness rather than permission in the name of getting something done.

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