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Monday, April 21, 2008

Exporting the miracle of the Cleveland school system to Washington, D.C.

Posted By on Mon, Apr 21, 2008 at 3:48 PM

Barbara%20Byrd-Bennett.jpg
Yuppies call this "delicious irony": Barbara Byrd Bennett is now training principals to – get this! -- turn around failing schools.
Cheer up, people of Cleveland. We now have irrefutable proof that America possesses a worse school system than ours. That’s the only way to explain how a rash of administrators from our fair district have now found gainful employment in the nation’s capital. We knew something strange was going on when Lisa Ruda, the chief of staff for the Cleveland schools back in their heyday of horror, got hired to play the same role in the Washington, D.C. school district [“Thanks, D.C,” August 7]. She may have been part of Barbara Byrd-Bennett’s Dream Team that invented attendance numbers, bungled the $1.5 billion construction project, and helped the district earn a reputation for the Worst Education This Side of the Mississippi. But we never would have believed that someone else wanted to repeat our experiment in abject failure… Then it go worse. Ruda hired more Cleveland castoffs — Tracy Martin, Mayor Frank Jackson’s former education chief, and Sherry Ulery, the district’s former director of professional development — to be top brass. Now a legion of Cleveland dysfunction had been being transplanted to the helm of D.C.’s doomed ship. What the hell was going on? The answer soon became clear. Turns out that Byrd-Bennett, the former Cleveland schools chief who led Ruda and the rest of the disastrous team, also has a new job in D.C. She’s a director for New Leaders for New Schools, a non-profit that trains principals to – get this! -- turn around failing schools. Which means, unfortunately, that one of Cleveland’s most-hated government flunkies is now spreading her wisdom to younger generations. According to the Washington Post, she’s been advising D.C. schools chief Michelle Rhee on some issues, too. Washington, we weep for your children. – Lisa Rab

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