Thursday, December 16, 2010


Rhee's "turnaround" contractor gets the boot 

More than two years after Friends of Bedford,  a N.Y.-based private operator was hired by Michelle Rhee to run one of the city's most venerable schools, her replacement under new mayor Vincent Gray, has given them the boot. 
D.C. officials said Tuesday that Dunbar High remains plagued by a litany of troubles: Nearly half the senior class is not on track to graduate, more than 100 students are taking courses they've already passed and the campus is growing increasingly unsafe. (Bill Turque at WaPo)
New Chancellor Kaya Henderson said the school's record, as well as classroom observations and complaints from teachers and parents, led her to conclude that the environment at Dunbar had "deteriorated significantly" under Rhee's turnaround plan. Henderson, who was a top deputy under Rhee, said that because Bedford was given autonomy and a premium of about $1.2 million in the past year above usual funding levels, she expected more progress. Some of those funds also paid for the contractor to run Coolidge High School.

Money talks, Cheney walks

Halliburton is paying Nigeria a $250 million bribe to drop bribery charges against Dick Cheney. The move followed the intervention of ex-president George Bush Sr and former secretary of state James Baker, according to Nigerian press reports.

Running the schools, controlling the info flow

New York's billionaire Mayor and likely 2012 presidential candidate. Michael Bloomberg has made three giant moves to expand and consolidate his massive information/education/political empire. Last year, he bought Business Week. Now, he's building a huge D.C. operation, aptly called Bloomberg Government, that will sell information about government contracts to lobbyists. Next he  bought two big-name, politically connected editorial writers — James P. Rubin, a former assistant secretary of state under Bill Clinton, and David Shipley, editor of The New York Times Op-Ed page — to lead a push into the editorial market, which will be named Bloomberg View.
“Our aspiration is to be the most influential news organization in the world,” said Mike Riley, the managing editor of Bloomberg Government in Washington. “I think Bloomberg sees a great opportunity here, and they are wisely investing on the front end,” he added, declining to say exactly how much the company has spent building the service over the last nine months. “Suffice it to say, it’s not inexpensive.” 
Now his placing of Hearst publishing CEO Cathie Black atop the city's public school system and former chancellor Joel Klein's move over to Rupert Murdoch's media plantation begins to make sense. More reasons to put an end to mayoral control of the schools.

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