Vince Gray, Michelle Rhee meeting today to discuss chancellor's future with D.C. public schools
Updated: September 23, 2010 - 11:29 pm
2:08: Hey! Here's some special post game analysis from councilmember Kwame Brown, who just walked by TBD's bureau on the floor outside Vince Gray's office.
"I think it's a good step that both of them are sitting down and looking to move forward," Brown said of the Rhee/Gray meeting.
So does he want Rhee to stay?
"I think we need to have some continuity and it needs to be something that's a win-win situation for our kids," Brown said.
1:47: Rhee, who appeared shaken when she exited the meeting, deferred to Gray's remarks and declined to speak at the microphones, saying she wouldn't be making any other comment.
When asked when the public would know when or if she would be leaving her post or staying through the end of the school year, Gray said, "We don't know ourselves, right?"
Here's some more snippets of the post-meeting presser:
Gray, on what was discussed and what they learned in the meeting: "We talked a lot about the elements of my education paper. We talked about career technical education, we talked about special education, we talked about stakeholder involvement. We talked about a lot of issues which came right out of the paper."
Gray, on What This Meeting Was: "This was not a decision making meeting. This was an opportunity for the chancellor and I to have a conversation broadly about public education in the city."
Rhee stood off to the side of the hallway, behind Gray, while he was speaking. She tried to exit out a different elevator, but was followed by reporters, some of whom managed to get into the elevator with her. This group included TBD! A victory! Followed closely by a defeat. Rhee didn't want to answer questions there, either, or didn't really answer them when she was met outside the building by more members of the media.
"The chairman's comment is the only comment that we're giving," she said.
1:22: It's over! Gray said no decisions were made. And they talked about the state of education reform in the city, Gray said. Rhee didn't say much. She was just chased by reporters out of the building.
She was asked, "Are you going or leaving?" And she said, "I stick to what the chairman said."
1:10 P.M.: TBD popped in Mayor Adrian Fenty's office around 11, before this meeting started, and was told by a desk attendant that AF probably wasn't in the building. So if you were hoping for an awkward encounter between Rhee, her current boss, and her possible future boss, keep dreaming. UPDATE: TBD should have also noted that this was a lengthy meeting, and AF could have stopped in the building after 11. TBD likes to keep your dreams alive.
1:06 P.M. TBD's prayers have been answered! "What on Earth could you possibly be writing at this point?" asks none other than the Post's BILL TURQUE. Ha. Good question, Turque.
- We're waiting. (Photo: Jay Westcott)
1:05 P.M.: The hallway is getting louder. The press corps is getting restless. The Cheez-its are almost gone. And the floor is still cold. The corridors of power are a lonely place for TBD, who hasn't had a visitor to her corner in a while. Who will talk to TBD? Not Loose Lips, who is playing on his iPhone.
TBD is running out of reporters that she knows and is growing concerned that that this live blog is likely getting increasingly dull for you, The Reader. Hurry up, Michelle Rhee and Vince Gray! TBD wants some drama!
1:02 P.M. Let's go ahead and point out the recent speculation that Rhee might be on her way to New Jersey — the Garden State (right?), home to the greatest of the Real Housewives franchises (absolutely). This wasn't TBD speculating. This was the PolitickerNJ.
1:00 P.M. We're reached the hour-mark. Everybody take a drink!
Obviously, THE question is: "Am I invited to your wedding?" Ha. Kidding.
What will David Gregory and Rhee talk about if she answers THE question today? Awkward.
HIGH NOON PLUS 50 MINUTES: Yowzas. Is it OK to call this a marathon session yet? TBD's Cheez-it supply is dwindling.
HIGH NOON PLUS 40 MINUTES: We're hitting in the 40-minute mark here. By now, Rhee and Gray have surely broached the most important subject of this summit: The Children, which Gray and Rhee have cited as the main issue practically nonstop since the primary last week.
But there are lots of non-children issues to discuss, like the teachers union, contracts, Rhee's previous dealings with the council, her vocal support of Fenty, and the state of education reform in the District. Gray is known as a consensus builder and a team player. But could he work with such a controversial Fenty appointee and could he go against the union that supported him?
HIGH NOON PLUS 29 MINUTES: Bill Turque now working the room, talking to coworker Tim Craig. Think Twitter secret is safe.
HIGH NOON PLUS 28 MINUTES: Bill Turque just looked over at TBD. Do you think he knows we discovered his Twitter feed?
HIGH NOON PLUS 27 MINUTES: The Washington Post's Bill Turque makes an interesting point on Twitter: "Rhee in with Gray for 20 min so far.Exceeds McChrystal's final mtg w/Obama."
HIGH NOON PLUS 19 MINUTES: Gray and Rhee certainly have a lot of talk about, so we're glad this wasn't wrapped up so abruptly. They might start with the comments she made shortly after the election, calling the primary results "devastating" to D.C. school children. Although Rhee later clarified her remarks, we can't imagine that went over too well with Gray. We also wonder what Rhee thought about how Gray, who is known for soliciting outside opinions and keeping an open door, waited until after the primary to meet with her.
HIGH NOON PLUS 16 MINUTES: Stand down, press corps! There was just a minor moment of panic, when the television crew lights flipped on and some reporters (TBD included) thought maybe this meeting was already over. It was not. The TV folks were checking the "white balance." One reporter giggled. TBD breathed a sigh of relief. For the record: TBD works in a TV newsroom and still doesn't know what "white balance" really means.
HIGH NOON PLUS NINE MINUTES: It should be noted that this is Gray's second high-profile meeting in two hours. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder paid a visit to Gray earlier today. A fellow mustache-wearer and D.C. resident, Holder said he voted for Gray in the mayoral primary and was calling on the chairman on behalf of the White House. "I'm here as a representative of the administration to convey our congratulations and our continued support for what I'm confident will be a great Gray administration." Nice alliteration, Mr. Attorney General.
HIGH NOON PLUS TWO MINUTES: There will be no lunch at this lunch meeting, says a Gray spokewoman. NO LUNCH!? TBD does not approve.
HIGH NOON — The floor of the corridors of power is cold.
11:58ish a.m.: INSIDE THE CORRIDORS OF POWER — After some technical difficulties, TBD has finally logged in from the Wilson Building. The media scrum was anxiously waiting for Michelle Rhee and Vince Gray outside the offices of the D.C. Council chairman. The offices, btw, really are wood paneled! Who knew! There's about 15 media types here, including Tim Craig, of the Washington Post and Twitter, and Bill Turque, another Postie. Turque's in a suit! Craig's in a tie! Segraves is here, looking very important. Your TBD reporter even wore her "good jeans" for this occasion. Rhee, for what it's worth, is in a black and white dress.
TBD is coming to you LIVE, from the Wilson Building, for this afternoon’s main event. In one corner, Michelle Rhee, embattled schools chancellor and one of Oprah’s favorite things. In the other: Vince Gray, D.C.’s presumptive mayor-elect and hand dancer. Gray and Rhee are scheduled to meet at high noon, an event that we, The Media, have been shut out from. Totally rude, right? So much for more transparency!
We’re on the outside because this meeting is very, very interesting, and Vince Gray has a moratorium on fun in this town or something. Not really. It’s because this meeting is very, very important, and interested parties are trying to quell the drama. Whatever. It won’t work, Gray! TBD always finds a way to get our story!
But we can’t get that right now, because they are closing the door on us. So this will have to do.
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