October 13, 2010; Source: TBD.com | The superhero superintendent of the nonprofit education reform crowd, Washington D.C.’s Michelle Rhee, has resigned as chancellor of the D.C. public schools—and within milliseconds, her new website, michellerhee.org, was up and running with a presence on Facebook and Twitter.
Although there was a public dance between Rhee and D.C.’s almost mayor-elect, Council President Vincent Gray, it was as certain as the sun will rise tomorrow that she wasn’t long for her seat. For whatever good or bad she might have accomplished in school reforms, earning her the support of some of the nation’s large education-oriented foundations such as Walton, Broad, Robertson, and others, she was a goner as soon as she departed from nonpartisan orthodoxy by campaigning with the outgoing Mayor Adrian Fenty. She didn’t help her cause when she called Gray’s victory “devastating” new for D.C. schoolchilderen.
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It is obvious that she didn’t simply resign today to start working on her resume, but rather to reposition herself as a leader for education reform—she already has a sharp website—hosted by BlueStateDigital, a political marketing firm that did work for Barack Obama during the 2008 elections—and she had hundreds of Twitter followers only hours after her first tweet. Is this the beginning of a new nonprofit education advocacy think tank, something like the Rhee Institute? We will be watching and following, and who knows, maybe even friending.—Rick Cohen