Former D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty got booted from his sweet gig as the big boss of D.C. thanks (at least in part) to his staunch support of education reformist superintendent Michelle Rhee. These days Fenty runs a traveling ed reform roadshow, which brought him to Scottsdale, Arizona, today, where he is chatting up education tech entrepreneurs at the Education Innovation Summit.
On a panel this morning with Gov. Jeb Bush (R-Fla.) education henchman and former chairman of the Florida State Board of Education Phil Handy, he dropped this line:
Fenty: "I’m a Democrat. I say this every time someone hands me a microphone. My party is on the wrong side of education reform."
Handy: “So is mine.”
And then there was laughter from the crowd. Sad, sad, laughter.
And they're right. Neither party is taking education reform seriously. Obama's Race to the Top is a drop in the ed spending bucket, and while Republicans sometimes have better rhetoric, they mostly only pick the fight when there are partisan points to be scored.
Asked how he knew it was time to get serious about education reform, Fenty offered this depressing bit 'o self-deprecation:
I’ve got about as much common sense and intelligence as most politicians. But when I got elected in early 2007, DC schools were ranked at the bottom of the entire country. Even I could figure out that we had to do something different.