Ex-D.C. Democratic Mayor Adrian Fenty: "My Party Is on the Wrong Side of Education Reform."


adrian fenty

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. 

NEXT: Muslim Brotherhood Denounces Boston Attack

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. 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.

    Obviously you’re just not spending enough on teacher salaries.

    1. Heh. All the same, give the guy credit for a good line.

    2. It’s not the teacher salaries, it’s tbe bureaucrats who never set foot inside a classroom.


  2. 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.

    Yeah, more money for teachers and the bureaucracy.

    1. Damn you, Hugh!

  3. Fenty losing re-election is one of the least covered and important stories of the last few years. Here was a reasonably competent mayor who actually tried to fix the schools. And his reward was being voted out of office because the people of DC would have have horrible schools that act as a jobs program than good schools that might actually fire incompetent people and cut back on staff.

    That election really goes to the heart of the failure of the liberal big government model. People have gotten so dependent on government employment that it has become impossible to improve government’s performance. The welfare state has now swallowed the bureaucracy and any liberal dreams of doing anything but shuffling money around.

    And that is in addition to the racism angle of a black city revolting against an Asian school chancellor who tried to improve things.

    1. “fixing” schools does not mean to you what it means to the educrats. You know that.

      1. He and Rhee fired a whole lot of teachers and administrators, and made all the rest of them really nervous. That’s a lot of fired-up and well organized votes for the opposition. Even though there should be about 50 times as many non-teachers on the side of better education for kids, people aren’t nearly as motivated by “hey, looks like they are trying something new on education” as they are by the potential of losing your fat government job with all its guarantees.

    2. I think that a lot of people just want to think that teachers are all good people doing their best. And won’t accept that they might be, like pretty much everyone else, out for their own self interest. So people believe the crap that comes from teachers unions about the dangers of reform.

      It just amazes me that so many people are OK with how public sector unions operate (especially with the decline in unions in recent decades). It’s not as if they try to hide it. They are out to get as much money and as much benefits for their members as possible, by whatever means are available. And yet people believe them when they claim to have the public’s best interest in mind.

      1. And they serve to demoralize and drive out the quality people who are in the profession. I have known several people who left teaching out of frustration with the bureaucracy and the incompetence.

        1. I thought about being a teacher for a while. But as I looked into it I realized I would not be able to tolerate all the bullshit. It’s too bad. I probably could have been a decent math or science teacher. Maybe as a semi-retirement gig at a small private school.

          1. When I was living in Killeen, there was a guy in the local area who was a retired former Chief Counsel to DOD. He wanted to teach government at the local high school. They told him he would have to spend a year getting a teaching certificate. He told them to fuck off and found something else to do. Meanwhile the football coach taught the government classes. But hey, he was a certified teacher. I am sure he knew so much more about government than a former chief counsel to DOD.

            1. On a related note, I was already better qualified to teach physics in high school than my 11th grade physics teacher, and today I could teach math, computer science, geography, physics, English, chemistry, wood and metal shop, and theater tech, but I’ll never bother with the bullshit “teaching credential”. I might teach some classes when I retire, but I’m sure not going to do it in a government school.


          2. That was my original plan, but then I started looking at CA teacher certification programs and none of them seemed hard, but the regulations seemed stupid. I also talked with people who had gone through those programs and they all said there was one class that was actually useful (classroom management) and the rest were masturbatory time wasters.

      2. And yet people believe them when they claim to have the public’s best interest in mind.

        It really is a bizarre case of cognitive dissonance. Not many liberals think that private sector unions like the Teamsters operate with the best interests of their employer in mind. In fact, they argue that they’re supposed to check the interests of their employers with that of their members.

        Public employees work for the state, and thus, according to liberal democratic theory, work for the people. And yet they don’t think they’re working against the interests of the people in favor of their own.

        And it’s all because they think all things government is benign.

    3. Well, stop and ask yourself, who is it in D.C. that would value public education as a service versus who is it in D.C. that would value public education as a jobs program. If a relatively small portion of the population has children in public school and that portion of the population is deemed less desirable demographically than those without children in public schools, then the value of public education rests on its value as a jobs program for the demographically desirable elements. Welcome to the dark side of gentrification.

      1. Except that is not how it worked. Fenty was very popular with the gentrifyers. He lost because he lost big in the black community. The gentrifyers wanted to fix the schools so they could save the money on private education. It was the black community who just wanted the jobs.

        1. Okay. My bad for assuming some rationality on the part of statists.

    4. Sad but true.

    5. The worst part was that the few teachers Rhee/Fenty managed to fire were eventually rehired with mother-fucking back pay.

      Rhee and Fenty weren’t your typical “just throw money at it” Democrats, at least not on education. They actually stood up to the unions, and it got them fired.

      Now, the current DC mayor has faced one scandal after another. Everything is back to normal in the nation’s capital.

  4. Q. Boyfriend’s Kink Is Not My Thing: My boyfriend of three years and I decided to try new things in bed to spice things up. He told he had a fantasy and I went along with it even though I felt a bit weirded out about it. It was awful and left me feeling disgusted with myself. My boyfriend on the other hand was very happy with the experience and wants to do it again. How can I tell him it’s not going to happen? I don’t want to make him feel judged or like he can’t tell me things.

    Sugar Free, please call your office. Any guesses on what the kink was?

    1. It should be against Dear Prudie rules to send a letter like that without telling what the kink is.

      1. I know. Or at least give some more information about herself. Just how much of a prude is she? What is her threshold for feeling disgusted with herself? Did the poor guy just want a blowjob or did they hire a hooker for a threesome?

        1. Seriously. It could be anything from him wanting her to take a shit on him to him wanting to have sex in the shower or something. How are we supposed to get our judgment on here?!?

          1. I know. And without judging, what is the fun of advice columns? Does Prudie really think anyone reads this shit for the advice?

            1. Well the fun comes in when you start speculating. I mean, if the column had just said “my boyfriend likes rubbing his wiener on my boobs”, you’d have written her off as a prude and not thought twice.

              This way, we get to guess about all the dirty, degrading things he may have requested.

              Like rusty trombones or chili dogs.

              1. Yeah. Speculation is usually more interesting than reality.

              2. It’s probably something stupid like feet. It’s possibly the most innocuous “dirty” fetish, which allows me maximum room for judging the woman. It’d be nice to know what branch of kink it was though. If she’s just not into being tied up I’d have an entirely different set of reasons to judge her.

                1. Probably. Or some mundane thing like oral. I know a few women who think it’s just the most disgusting thing ever and would never give or receive.

                  I pity their boyfriends. I don’t think I could go the rest of my life without ever getting another BJ.

                  1. You are not alone in that. And these same women are then shocked when their husbands are out seeing hookers or having affairs.

                  2. We found out that a friend of ours was freaked out by oral and my roommate went on a tirade about how giving head was like tipping 15% at a restaurant, it was required common courtesy, and it’s recommended that one goes over and above that, particularly if one likes being in the relationship.

                    1. Anal Thread?!?!?!

                    2. This is more of a general perversion thread. Anal, oral, birds, cartoon characters. We’ve covered it all.

                    3. These are always the best threads. No other board does general perversion like Hit and Run.

                    4. One day we’ll have a 1000 comment thread on perversions. I dunno, maybe if Nick ever admits to making love to The Jacket we could get a good kink discussion going.

                    5. Wait, does that need to be admitted? I thought that was one of them glass closet topics.

                    6. I suppose not, but I think it would be a great kick off point for an epic kink discussion. I mean, what other way could that topic head?

    2. God dammit John. Please stop shitting up these threads with retarded Slate advice columns. The only people more feebleminded than Slate writers are Slate readers.

      1. Screw you. I love Prudie.

      2. “The only people more feebleminded than Slate writers are Slate readers.”

        Yeah, there’s a link in the blog post to an article written in Slate by Mangu-Ward.

        1. Guess the question is, if we read what she writes here are we still more feeble-minded?

          1. Slate needs “balance”.

    3. Maybe she should get “Exit Only” tattooed on her ass.

    4. My guess is he’s into bondage. She’s probably way too uptight to ever enjoy submission.

    5. A dominatrix thing? That she was “weirded out” and doesn’t want to “make him feel judged” suggests it’s not something offensive or embarrassing to her, but might conventionally be considered embarrassing for him. So my guess is that he wanted to be submissive and she felt disgusted with make-believe dominance.

      Which may or may not involve sticking things up his pooper.

      1. That is a good guess. I am thinking a strap on was what made her feel disgusted with herself.

        1. I think she is way more prudish than that and he asked her to dress up like a sexy nurse or something and she couldn’t handle it. Anyone who is remotely into non-vanilla things wouldn’t have a problem saying, “Sorry, that one just wasn’t that much fun for me.”

          1. I don’t get some women and sex. I really don’t. I understand that women view sex more emotionally than men and thus generally find it harder to be promiscuous. But for the life of me I do not understand how women can be in committed relationships and still hung up about sex. You snagged yourself a guy. You think you are or are in love with him. What is there to be hung up about anymore?

            1. Retarded social expectations don’t just melt away because you’re in a relationship. There are plenty of things people find sexy, partly because there’s a degrading aspect, and his interest in degrading or being degraded might be a radical mismatch of her tolerance for it.

              1. I think John is more talking about women being insecure about their bodies or about just regular sex.

                I once dated a girl that would only give it up at MOST twice a week because she didn’t want me to think she was a sex fiend… Uh, wut?

                I have dated a few girls that refused to ever do it with the lights on, or it had to be under the covers because they were insecure about their belly fat or whatever.

                Ok, I know I’m a guy and I’m kinda a freak, but if I’m sleeping with you, it’s because I find you attractive. I’m not going to see a few extra pounds and suddenly go limp.

                1. That is exactly what I am talking about. And if you find your partner’s kink to be truly degrading or revolting, then you shouldn’t do it and they shouldn’t expect you to do it. But “I just don’t like that” or “that just doesn’t turn me on” seem like pretty selfish reasons not to do something. My view is that if you are in a relationship and your partner is into something, you should generally indulge them unless it is something that is dangerous, illegal or just totally beyond the pale for you. You of course are then free to expect something in return from them. But that is the fun of it.

                2. I guess pointing out that you can still feel where the extra fat is on her body even with the lights out wouldn’t have helped much.

                  1. Probably not Zeb. But it might have been better than telling her that her sister is always willing to leave the lights on.

                    1. “But I like your jiggly bits!”


                  2. Oh god no, Zeb. I still wanted to get laid, even if I couldn’t see all the fun jiggly parts. That would have guaranteed no sexy times.

                3. I think John is more talking about women being insecure about their bodies or about just regular sex.

                  I have seen and heard some crazy shit from women along these lines. I have put in my masochistic time on wedding-related message boards, and until you see them, you have no fucking idea. And by that I mean, no idea how many people really don’t want to fuck.

                  Women upset that their fianc? wanted to have sex more than once a week or once every two weeks. These same women disallowing porn or masturbation. Women upset that their man would get a boner because of a hot waitress, when they are abstaining from sex until marriage.

                  And my reaction is just like…so wtf are you guys doing all weekend then?

                  1. I was friends with a woman who was a reasonably high end escort back in my 20s. I was actually her friend. I could never have afforded her. But all of her clients were men whose wives were like you describe. You always think of men who see hookers as these deviant sex crazed perverts or losers who can talk to women. But her clients at least were nothing like that. They were mostly men who were married to women who just refused to have much sex. And they were too successful to want to lose half of everything they had and custody of their kids in a divorce.

                  2. Ugh, no. I’ve heard/seen pretty much all of that. I had one friend who was a slut, she would sleep with anything with a dick. She started actually dating a guy that she wanted to have a relationship with… SO, she refused to sleep with him. dafuq kinda logic is that?

                    I had another friend who was living with her boyfriend, presumably having sex. The moment they got engaged, not only did she insist on a long engagement, she declared no sex till the wedding… unsurprisingly, he cheated on her.

                    Neither of them could figure out “what went wrong”

                    1. Itsnotmeitsyou,

                      I had a law school classmate who was a total slut. And a fun one one on top that. Then she gets very serious with a guy and marries him. And no longer would do all of the fun and nasty stuff she used to do with her old boyfriends because “she was in love now and didn’t want to do those things with a man she loved and wanted to be the father of her children”. It was all I could do not to say “and he hasn’t divorced you?” when she told me that.

                    2. Haha, yeah. One of my friend’s is married to one of my ex girlfriends. Once at a party, the conversation turned dirty and I made a subtle joke about his wife’s oral skills. The look that he gave her was priceless. Apparently, she refused to give him BJs because she thought he wouldn’t respect her if she did.

                      I’ll never ever ever let him live down that I’ve gotten farther with his wife than he did.

                    3. That is pretty humiliating. I am not sure I would take that very well. Your friend must really love his wife.

                    4. Yeah, he’s got a good sense of humor about it. The first time I joked with him about me sleeping with his wife, everyone thought he was gonna jump over the table and murder me. He started laughing and made some joke about my penis or something.

                      The BJ thing, though… I’m sure they had a loooooong talk when they got home.

                    5. My wife did a few things when she was single that she found out wasn’t really her thing. And thus does not do them with me. That doesn’t bother me. Of course I am not friends with the men she did them with.

                    6. Most people experiment when they’re younger. That’s how they find out what they do and don’t like. I just have an issue with people who think sex is some horrible, shameful thing that should only be done for procreation, in the dark, under the covers, missionary style only.

                      How are you going to find out if you like butter pecan if you only ever try vanilla?

                    7. dafuq kinda logic is that?

                      Maybe she spent some time on wedding-related message boards and found out all these bitches who refuse to put out somehow get a ring anyway.

                    8. Nicole, that’s a sad state of affairs. I know there’s more to love than sex (no, really, there is), but sex is a HUGE part of romantic love.

                      I’ve been called a shallow asshole because I broke up with girls that weren’t that interested in sex. Bitch, people date to figure out if this person is the one they want to spend the rest of their lives with. If one wants sex every day and the other is meh about sex and only puts out every few weeks, that’s not a good match and you shouldn’t waste your time dating someone you have no permanent future with.

                    9. Yep, could not agree more. Sexual compatibility is a must and incompatibility among the best reasons to break up. It’s not shallow, it’s sane.

                    10. There’s some compromise involved, but that’s ok. I “joke” with my wife that if I had my way, she’d be naked 24/7 and coated in lube at all times. But since that’s not actually reasonable, we settle for usually once a day.

                    11. Yeah, I mean, there’s a point where you’d just be too cold most of the time.

                    12. I’d be willing to pay the gas bill to keep the house at 80. It’s really the lube that would get prohibitively expensive. 55 gallon drums are NOT cheap.

                  3. Bleargh, seek therapy or join up with the asexuals, don’t marry people if you don’t want to sleep with them.

                    Actually a lady friend of mine was in a long term relationship with a guy who had a very low libido, she is a freak (we shared a house for 9 months, and she is quite vocal). She was miserable and finally ended it.

                    1. don’t marry people if you don’t want to sleep with them.

                      Yup, I was engaged once before and we broke it off because we couldn’t see eye to eye on sex. She thought I was being greedy and selfish because I didn’t think her “once every 3 months” schedule was enough.

                    2. I will never get people who don’t like sex.

                    3. How old were you at the time? That sounds post-menopausal.

                    4. Mid 20s. She just wasn’t that keen on sex. She never once initiated it and seemed to have no interest in having an orgasm. I’m pretty sure hers was a psychological problem.

                    5. Seriously. Part of marriage is agreeing to be someone’s sexual partner. Not that you should be able to necessarily demand sex whenever you want, but there certainly should be an expectation that both parties will generally be satisfied sexually.

                    6. Exactly Zeb. Even serious religious people who say no sex before marriage also say that it is both parties duty to satisfy the other sexually in marriage.

                    7. Paul, who was generally not pro-sex even conceded that it was better for married couples to get it on:

                      I Corinhians 7:3-5

                      The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

                    8. See, even Paul said it.

                      Put out or he’ll find it elsewhere. And don’t be such a fucking prude.

                      Ok, maybe the way Paul says it is a bit more eloquent, but I like my version.

        2. I’m gonna go with he wanted a “prostate massage” while she was blowing him.

          1. That is a good guess too.

    6. So what was her answer? I would look for it myself, but I don’t want “boyfirend’s kink” in my search history.

      1. A: He was able to tell you what he wanted and you were open enough to call him master, or handcuff him, or dress up as Dora the Explorer. Now he has to be open enough to hear your honest reaction, which was “Blech!” Sure, you don’t have to put it that way, but he has to accept that this particular experiment had the effect of making you want to flee from the bedroom. It’s not a put down for you to explain your reaction to his particular desire. It may be that you two are ultimately incompatible in the bedroom. It may be that he has a whole range of fantasies and one of those would jibe better with yours. And maybe there’s something in your personal spice rack that would shake things up.

        1. or dress up as Dora the Explorer.

          Which of our esteemed Reason commentators once admitted to having a fetish for Dora?

          1. That one wasn’t me. I’ve admitted and will admit to many things, but Dora just doesn’t do it for me.

          2. Oh snap, I’d forgotten about that. Who was it? The memory of the commentariat is long. If nobody comes up with it here we should query the PM Links crowd.

            1. Enough About Palin. I remember that vividly.


              1. Art Vandelay:
                The episode when Dora tries anal is fantastic.

                Had to close my office door I’m laughing so hard.

                1. That is awesome. So wrong but so funny.

                2. That’s just wrong.

                  1. Who are you to judge me???

                    You have to have men who are moral… and at the same time who are able to utilize their primordial instincts to assfuck without feeling… without passion… without judgment… without judgment! Because it’s judgment that defeats us.

                    To reiterate, I would pay ten grand to fuck Dora the Explorer up the ass. Ten Grand.

                    1. I’m certainly in no position to judge. I’ve just never thought of a cartoon character in a sexual way.

                3. Had to close my office door I’m laughing so hard.

                  My office unfortunately has no door. Excuses for laughter were made…

                  It’s just not acceptable in a work environment to answer the question “Why are you laughing” with “Just thinking about Dora taking it up the butt”

                  Prude assholes.

                  1. “Backpack! Backpack! I’m the backpack loaded up with things and knick-knacks too…”

      2. Here is one reader who actually seems to get it

        Q. Re: Boyfriend’s kink is not my thing: My husband’s fantasy involves me dressing up in ways that I find ridiculous and somewhat uncomfortable?complete turnoffs for me. Over the years, I have seen how happy it makes him. It also makes him unbelievably generous in bed. I resisted for a long time and felt disrespected by him because he really wanted me to do these things. I more willingly participate in these fantasies with him because they have helped us communicate better, they make him happy, and I get a lot more positive, engaged attention from him than I have ever gotten from anyone else sexually. It has taken a lot for me to do this, but I’m very glad I have.

        1. The difference between sensual and kinky.

          Sensual is using a feather, kinky is using the whole chicken.

          But don’t worry, it only seems kinky the first time.

          1. But don’t worry, it only seems kinky the first time.

            Then what? Frozen turkey vulture?

            1. Nah, the cold is too big a turnoff.

  5. I have to say, Jeb Bush did some things wrong, but the creation and/or support he gave to the Florida Virtual School was not one of those things. And the vehemence the virtual schooling option receives from lefties, public teacher unions, and anti-education reformists goes to prove my point, I believe.

    1. Jeb seemed to be a pretty good governor. Truth is we probably got the wrong Bush as President.

      1. we’ve all been there.
        {using your best Kramer on the Merv Griffin set voice}

        1. yeah, we have. Alcohol and loneliness don’t mix.

    2. The article linked to Slate implied that Jeb’s support was simply to funnel money to his campaign financiers and away from unions.

      1. Well, it churned out a hell of a better product (FLVS) than the public schools have been able to do for two or more decades.

        1. “Well, it churned out a hell of a better product (FLVS) than the public schools have been able to do for two or more decades.”

          But, if some private entity made any money off of it, then it is pure evil and cronyism. There is no alternative

          1. Nonononono – it’s TOTALLY OK for a private entity to make money off of government mandates for green energy.

            Profit is only evil if a private entity makes money out of attracting students away from unionized public schools.

  6. It is an article of faith on liberal boards that the widespread cheating undertaken by teachers in response to the standards set by Rhee is Rhee’s fault, since by setting standards that had actual consequences, she gave teachers “no choice” but to cheat.

    The next reform program to die will be in Pennsylvania. I’ve been following this one for a little while. In PA, they passed a charter school initiative that allowed for virtual charter schools, i.e. online education. And the virtual charter schools have been pretty successful in attracting students. Naturally, the unions are enraged, because they think it’s not fair that the charter schools get reimbursed per student at a normalized rate, even though it’s much cheaper to educate kids online – and they’re using the money they save to advertise for more students. The PA governor is going to change the system so that charter schools are forbidden to advertise, and if they cut costs, their reimbursement rate will be cut.

    Because naturally we have to avoid the dual horrible outcomes of charter schools realizing lower costs than public schools AND telling people about it.

    1. That is why I have always been pessimistic about charter schools. The unions will just get the states to create rules that set them up to fail and then point to their failure as evidence that only public schools can work.

      I am very pessimistic about the future. Basically the future will belong to the children of the elite who can afford private school and those who get home schooling. Everyone else will graduate unskilled and doomed to government dependence.

      1. Basically the future will belong to the children of the elite who can afford private school and those who get home schooling.

        I sure hope so. I could be sleeping late instead of brushing up on trig and calculus while working out an AP-level microeconomics class for them.

        1. It will. think how much smarter and better prepared your kids will be. The only drawback is I am not sure they will have the social skills and patience to tolerate the world of idiots the public schools are creating.

          1. I can’t serve as a good example, but I can serve as a warning when it comes to patience. Maybe that will be enough.

    2. Make people’s jobs depend on test scores, and there will be cheating. It is the fault of the person who pursued such a blunt and stupid means of improving education outcomes.

  7. And they’re right. Neither party is taking education reform seriously.

    Is it any wonder? You do realize that at the Democratic National Convention, the entire floor is largely people by public school teachers, right? Have you ever confronted an entire stadium full of angry, active Teacher’s Union members screaming about smaller class sizes? Yeah, you want to end up on Team Win? You don’t take that on. Fenty found out the hard way.

  8. No clue why those DC schools are ranked so badly, huh?


Please to post comments

Comments are closed.