For months Democratic Mayoral nominee Muriel Bowser has been noncommittal on whether she would keep DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson in her position if she went on to hold the city's highest office. In reaction, people just shook their heads from side to side. After all, the decision, if there was ever a definition of a no-brainer, clearly falls into this category. Ms. Henderson worked for Michelle Rhee, the Chancellor named by Ms. Bowser's mentor Adrian Fenty. The current Chancellor had a hand in devising and implementing the exceedingly difficult changes Ms. Rhee brought to the traditional schools, but her approach is one of collaboration and respect for others in clear contrast to the combative style of her predecessor. She has not backed away from these policies and has continued education reform on a steady trajectory. All indicators of whether DCPS is improving, whether referring to standardized test scores, enrollment, or student and teacher satisfaction, are moving in the right direction.
Ms. Henderson is also one of the most optimistic and focused individuals I have ever met. Just to sit in the same room with her is inspiring. She has a vision to make DCPS one of the greatest school systems in the country, and if enthusiasm equates to results then the Chancellor is certain to reach her goal.
So the logical question is why would Ms. Bowser reach this conclusion now? The answer, of course, is that she is facing a difficult challenge in her electoral contest by Councilman David Catania. Mr. Catania, who also has been not saying whether he would stick with Ms. Henderson, has numerous substantial accomplishments in his role as education committee chairman, something which Ms. Bowser lacks. There is no better way for Ms. Bowser to obtain instant credentials with those interested in public education in the nation's capital than to endorse Ms. Henderson's performance.
But what does it say about a candidate who does the right thing only in the face of the possibility of losing an election? I'll leave that for others to decide.