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When Local Politics Becomes A National Debate

Sep 21, 2010

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It's a local story and it's over; but it's still resonating and ricocheting around the country. I am talking about the D.C. mayor's race — and not even the mayor's race but the Democratic primary (well, in D.C., that IS the race).

My neighborhood listserve is still buzzing about it, but it's way beyond local. In part, it was seen as a referendum on the very kinds of education reform measures that President Barack Obama's administration favors. So the question is, with the Nation's capital as its very own laboratory for change right outside the front door, how did all that work out?

Not so well, it might seem, from the vantage point of the election results.

The prime mover behind D.C.'s educational initiatives, Mayor Adrian Fenty, is out the door after just one term, decisively defeated in last week's primary by City Council Chairman Vincent Gray, who, if published reports are to be believed, was reluctant to get into the race. Fenty had a massive war chest, was endorsed by The Washington Post, and his schools' chancellor, Michelle Rhee, had garnered national attention and acclaim (as well as much angina) for her bold style and uncompromising stance toward teacher accountability and other hot button issues.

So what's the verdict? Was it worth it or not? Was it POLICY that doomed Fenty (Michelle Rhee's/ Arne Duncan's/Barack Obama's) or PERSONALITY (Fenty's)?

Here are some of the pieces that are still rolling in:

The Washington Post:

Fenty's out, but can D.C. school reform still succeed?


theRoot.com:

Adrian Fenty's Charm Deficit

http://www.theroot.com/views/adrian-fentys-charm-deficit?auto=true

As I said, fascinating.

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