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Week on The Journal Editorial Report a setback for school reform as the movement's most visible and controversial figure resign.
Washington DC schools chancellor.
Michelle -- is here to tell us why he's leaving.
And what's next day plus with just over two weeks to go until Election Day Wall Street Journal writers are hitting the campaign trail.
We'll have the reports from the field.
And Democrats step up their attack on corporate America declaring war on the chamber of commerce and other groups they dare to oppose them.
What liberals really mean when they call for more campaign disclosure.
Welcome to The Journal Editorial Report I'm Paula you go well but.
Score -- movement suffered a setback this week when it's most visible.
And perhaps most controversial champion resign Michelle Rhee served as Washington DC.
Schools chancellor for three and a half years during her tenure student test scores improved and drop out rates declined in the city.
She closed failing schools fired bad instructors supported school vouchers for low income families and opened charter school she also.
Negotiated a contract with the teachers union that includes among other things merit pay has become a model.
For urban school districts across the country Michelle Rhee joins me now from Washington welcome.
Thank you so you said when you resigned this week that for reform to continue the reformer had to leave.
With respect that seems a bit contradictory why did you feel you had to go.
Well the new presumptive mayor elect in Washington DC.
Vincent -- and I decided that the best thing to do.
But the city would be.
-- for me to step aside because.
We really want to make sure that the entire city now can embrace the reform efforts and certainly for -- Members of the community to have me continue.
To be associated with the reforms would would not allow them to do that I asked my deputy.
Chancellor to to step in and my place I asked my entire management team to.
To stay in place through the end of the school year and to be honest I mean those those folks -- the brains and the talent behind the reforms and so I feel like by doing this.
We would allow the reforms to continue on and and they could do it in a way where the entire city can get behind.
OK when you candidacy is a few months ago you had said that one of the secrets -- your success was the support you have from.
Mayor Adrian fancy that when you got into trouble he always backed you up.
Do you think that the new mayor is gonna back up your successor.
Well I think he has to his commitment is not to roll back the clock and to continue the reforms as aggressive as we've been.
Doing them over the last three and a half years in an artist to do that you're gonna have to give.
-- your unequivocal support my deputy has been working with me since day one.
She knows the what the political support looks like to get -- this work accomplished.
And I don't think she's gonna settle for anything -- okay so what's the single most important piece of advice -- gonna give your successor.
To keep these reforms moving.
You know I think -- it's the same advice that I would give to any other superintendent out there which is you -- -- to make sure.
And that you don't fall into the trap of of beginning to think about.
Adults and all of -- adults sort of feelings then and Eagles and that sort of thing it's easy to fall into that.
But at the end of the day you have to make all of your decisions based on what is in the best interests of the children even if it causes the adults a lot of consternation.
And that means I think from what I've heard you say in the past the teacher measurement is absolutely crucial that's what you built -- -- the into the the new teachers contract in Washington but that's the thing that the teachers unions have tended to resist most ferociously.
Do you think those are now locked in those kinds of changes in DC and can't really be rolled back at least for the terms of this current contract.
At least for the terms of the current contract that we negotiated.
Those those things are pretty safe.
And you're absolutely right I mean I think one of the biggest problems.
And in -- than -- public education system today is that we that we hesitate to differentiate.
And I think that's the biggest mistakes that we're making because to be quite frank there are that there are thousands and thousands of great.
Teachers here in Washington DC who are doing heroic things for -- for children every day but we also have some ineffective.
Teachers and we have to be able to differentiate between our highest performance and we need to recognize and reward those folks but then we need to also read.
But be able to identify the lowest performing teachers and that and either professionally developed them -- quickly move them out of the system.
Right well I was looking at the Baltimore teachers in the school system this week they rejected a contract with some of the same elements.
That had been in -- worst Washington new Washington DC contract.
How you overcome.
That resistance from rank and file teachers and their unions that somehow rating is going to is going to work against them.
-- I think that the key and we learned this lesson here in DC is that you've got to be communicating with your most effective teachers and you have to be telling them.
Why it's so important.
To begin to differentiate and I'll tell you let you know when they're there is no there's no one.
Who wants to see an ineffective teacher leave the system more than an effective teacher because effective teachers and they tell me this all the time.
They they are the recipients of of the kids from the ineffective teacher next door not doing their job for an entire year and it puts them at a disadvantage.
You know it doesn't allow.
Us to recognize and reward them and compensate them accordingly.
If everyone's getting paid the same you know just just according to the coming in or do you have.
The most effective teachers.
Are not compelled an inspired by that kind of assistance and you have to really identify those people and and and -- -- to communicate to them effectively.
What you're trying to do and why it's important for that differentiation happens.
Okay who battled the teachers' unions all for pretty much the whole tenure during her time there.
Have they made any progress do you think in supporting reformers at the same old group of of opponents.
Well I mean I think it's important to differentiate between teacher's classroom teachers and the teachers union.
Because the teachers union leadership you know I think they they have a vested interest in in maintaining the status quo.
But what we saw specifically with our our contract vote.
Here in DC where the you know the teachers union leadership was saying well we're not gonna get a pass that rank and file.
But at the end of the day the rank and file past this 80% to 20%.
It's really about knowing that that -- teachers in the classrooms.
They actually are not afraid of accountability they just want a fair and transparent process they want to make sure that they're gonna be treated.
As professionals and as long as those things are in place they actually don't have a problem being held accountable it's the teachers union leadership.
The sending a different -- -- we're gonna follow was what happens in DC after you're gone but is there another job in your future in teaching.
Well you know -- definitely gonna stay in education and and an education reform okay.
All right we -- -- all right thank you so much for being here.
Thank you when we come back with just over two weeks -- until the mid term elections are reporters are hitting the campaign trail which liberal -- are facing tough.
Reelection fights are.
Democrats losing their once tight grip on the northeast.
Which campaign themes are working and which aren't.
We'll have reports from the field.
With Election Day now just over two weeks away Wall Street Journal writers have been hitting the campaign trail covering the big races as well as some sleepers and -- out the -- likely to drive voters to the polls come November.
Here with their reports from the field Wall Street Journal Washington columnist Kim -- -- Editorial board member -- Kaminsky.
And opinion journal dot com editor James Toronto so -- you've been in Florida the panhandle I gather and as well as in Virginia -- Looking at a couple of the blue dog Democrats those so called them moderate or conservative Democrats what are you finding.
-- I was down and I in the second congressional congressional district this is where Allen Boyd a blue dog Democrats running for reelection.
I was in an area of accounting of them in Dixie county which is full of conservative Democrats guys who have voted for mr.
Boyd because he's a blue -- but also tend to vote for Republicans at a federal level and the presidential race.
These guys are furious mr.
Boyd voted for health care he voted for stimulus he voted for cap and trade.
You could not find -- boy to sign anywhere you looked and this is -- county that gave -- 67%.
Above last time.
All right so that's you mention a trifecta this is so some people are calling it the killer trifecta this stimulus vote for health care.
And for cap and trade those the Big Three Republicans are using.
Those of the Big Three and they really get to the heart of the anger among these conservative democratic voters who believed the blue dogs on they said they want of fiscal responsibility and that really seems to blow -- hole and it.
What is boy doing to fight back.
-- he's mostly he's trying to localize the race he likes to talk about the things -- important and that is that he's been document education about veterans' benefits.
But that's just not -- those -- about.
His big problem now are people who want to get him out of office because they are angry with them and this is helping a great deal -- Republican candidate is given them a lot of openings but this is about boys and anger at him so pork is is the main defence but it's not as good a defense -- -- often is -- elections.
No in fact you know is best defense would have -- to say I voted against something these are a lot of priority hard I don't think cart is doing.
Though if you're if you're on record as voting and having voted for them all right Maggie you're in even and Pennsylvania.
The Philadelphia suburbs.
Long -- last two election cycle every said there'd been gone for Republicans it moved just firmly into the democratic camp and a lot of those seats they did lose didn't -- rabbit collar counties of Philadelphia is it different this year.
Absolutely I mean that's two years -- thought that these were.
Moving firmly blue because the independent voters and moderate Republicans have turned against Republicans over social issues and the war.
And the war of course of course but this -- -- social issues don't even register anywhere in the polls.
It is jobs more than the majority say they care about jobs then far down his health care.
Stem cell research abortion rights.
Not there are Democrats trying to around some of those cultural issues oh absolutely they're they're trying to answer I was in the eighth this district where Patrick Murphy the incumbent.
Two term incumbent is facing off against Mike Fitzpatrick a former congressman that's in Bucks County that's in Bucks County sort of north of Philadelphia and he's been trying to push back saying that even though Mike Fitzpatrick sounds reasonable he is tied to Christine.
Christine O'Donnell who's in -- in the Philly media market that's right to Michelle Bachmann right -- these are still this Gary Republicans have passed.
He is not getting much traction on that argument that the for him it's very personal for for -- because he's not trying to run on the issues because he can't really defend his 100% Obama Democrat voting record.
In this I ironic guilt by association you know you're the one of those crazy Tea Party people absolutely that's really the main way back because they can't they're not running a health care they're even trying to defend health care about it and trying to -- the stimulus while okay James -- here's another thing we've seen this year than that the endangered.
Long time democratic incumbent to bear and you went up and covered.
Looked at the Barney Frank race in Massachusetts of all places.
And it's been Barney Frank actually has a competitive.
Race yes that's right now nobody thinks that Barney Frank is likely to lose the pole -- side -- Made news have dug him up by 10% over his challenger -- -- that's an Italian and yet isn't had a close races I think since 1982.
And tonight and it can be a lot as a serious guy he's a marine he's worked in the private sector -- Harvard graduate side very impressive guy.
I -- -- he's raised a lot of money's got national attention and Barney Frank is very much on the defensive he brought Bill Clinton into the district to campaign forum.
Which you would not thank -- Bill Clinton arrived there are plenty of more competitive races where you would think he would go.
I was with -- be -- when Barney Frank's first radio ad of the campaign and round and it was all about it was supposed to be touting frank for his role in the so called financial reform bill.
And die instead -- and updating an attack on mobile apps for not so I supported you are kind of laughed and said -- -- increasing my name recognition so as Barney do and I'm told life that I -- on the Boston Globe he's even doing a little bit quasi.
Mea culpa on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in his role there it's a very strange explanation is saying that he resisted reform of Fannie and Freddie because he thought the republicans' motives were bad for wanting to reform that they wanted to.
Did he kill affordable housing.
He also by the way it has -- -- has -- followed his opponent.
In -- he wants to repeal a provision of Obama -- this is the provision the 1099 provision allowable massively increase the paperwork burden on.
Small businesses let's talk man I want to ask you about the race in Pennsylvania for senate Joseph stack the Democrat who beat Arlen Specter in the primaries and Pat -- the Republican to he's been leading but Democrats have been saying that's that's -- catching up on some of these class war themes blaming Wall Street and so on.
Up running against the rich.
Any traction there.
Well I was and had dinner the other night with suspect spokesman for democratic donors and he claimed that in his internal polls.
He's up by 3%.
No other poll shows and anywhere near -- 5%.
-- -- the fact of the matter is Pat -- sounds very reasonable to a lot of Pennsylvania voters today he's addressing the issues they care about and the issues that -- some of them off to him.
Are not part of this race all right thanks when we come back the democrats' assault.
On corporate America they're attacking that chamber of commerce and other groups that oppose them.
In an attempt to stop businesses from participating.
In politics this year it's worked before.
Will it work again.
-- -- I'm -- and rock guys.
And we'll -- Democrats stepped up their attack on corporate political donors this week accusing the chamber of commerce as well as independent groups advised by Republican strategist Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie.
Abusing foreign contributions to influence the election.
President Obama himself led the charge on Monday at a fund raiser in Philadelphia.
It could be oil industry could be the insurance industry.
Could even -- -- don't corporations you don't know could they don't have to disclose.
That's not a threat to Democrats federal -- to our democracy.
And vice president Joseph Biden got in the act the following day telling democratic donors quote we don't know if they're coming from foreign sources we have a pretty good idea.
Where a lot of it's coming from very conservative millionaires I challenge Karl Rove to tell me.
That this money isn't coming from billionaires and millionaires insurance companies oil companies major executives.
And the Democratic National Committee -- it all up with this ad.
Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie they're bush cronies of the US chamber of commerce they're shields for big business.
And they're stealing our democracy -- spending millions from secret donors to elect Republicans to do their -- in congress.
It appears they even taken secret foreign money to influence our elections it's incredible.
Republicans benefiting from secret foreign money tell the bush crowd and the chamber of commerce stop stealing our democracy.
The Democratic National Committee is responsible for the content of this advertising.
We're back with -- Russell and also joining the panel Wall Street Journal columnist and deputy editor Dan -- anger.
And editorial board member Dougherty repent so.
A very subtle message there -- I hit hard to -- The the act what that was but that.
Why are they doing this what are they hope to get from day to.
-- this is about intimidating companies and to not spending money over the next couple -- weeks.
Back in January -- Supreme Court -- company's new first amendment rights to get involved in elections.
The Democrats tried to overthrow those rights of legislation that's all they would have shut up companies but not their own union supporters.
They failed that there was another out on the attack trying to to intimidate these guys and to not not spending the money that they are.
And -- without evidence of any foreign source for political donations here -- they admit.
The what David after the White House said we don't know we don't have any evidence but you the chamber you need to -- the last that somehow you don't.
Yes fairness this is the dividing line this is what.
You mean by crossing the line everything else they have done a split up this marvelous revelatory moment that you could say.
You have to give us proof that you're not guilty of what we're accusing them this president who has come from Harvard Law School.
And who is due process being part of his DNS is impressive yeah out of it.
And -- even imagine what would have happened.
If Republican had said anything like this they would have had meetings led by move on dot dog at the mall.
President Obama would have gone -- to speak and golden cadences.
About this violation.
Of all of -- best selves as Americans.
And you know.
What he has done in this moment is proof that begins with the attacks on the backs beginning with the attacks on individual people in the media.
Beginning little this it's led up to this moment -- everybody in the media -- says.
This really is the most bitterly divisive president -- a president who came to power.
-- but then I wanna ask about this point about disclosure because the Democrats say we don't really wanna stop these donations were not against that you can do that -- -- -- should disclose who they are who are these people.
So the voters can make up their own mind what your response to that.
Well my response to.
That is that that's kind of expression of bad faith the basis for that disclosure thing was senator Schumer is disclose that right the disclose act was not simply about saying.
Who your donors are it was a little more complicated than that first ball it did not apply to unions incredible right secondly if you -- more than 50000 dollars in federal contract you were not allowed to participate.
It had six different disclosure statements that had to go into your ads now beyond that once the disclosure is made.
Which is already asked the Justice Department to engage in a criminal investigation of the chamber of commerce meaning you can go to prison right right.
The companies -- disclosing would expose themselves to criminal liability from lawsuits by groups like this so it's not simply the idea that we all -- to lay our cards on the table not the least.
I can -- having any impact on the business communities -- dampening donations at all.
Well let me and it isn't just opening yourself up to criminal liability is to be attacked this is what disclosure you're talking that there -- -- issue of target companies.
Which gave some money to a Republican primary candidate is right now running for governor of Minnesota -- -- They were out there advertising they want to talk about taxes and spending which -- companies.
Once they knew about this contribution they turn this into a question of gay rights issues because mr.
-- as a critical of gay marriage.
And and urged a boycott of target stores and this is what happens when this disclosure happens in this -- -- Democrats want transparency.
Is this gonna work briefly Dorsey.
No it is not -- -- work and just keep this in mind that this is the president and the administration that has made this open to the world to embrace all foreign growth.
We announced seeing fine as evil and the fairness.
Okay -- thank you we have to take one more break when we come back.
Hits and misses of the week.
Time now for hits and mrs.
Kim first year.
I hit our governor Joseph mansion running for the West Virginia senate seat finally a Democrat with a Smart strategy for winning.
I'll take on Washington and this administration get the federal government off our backs and out of our moms and -- cut federal spending.
And -- repeal the bad parts of Obama -- Nice -- EPA and Nadal taking dead aim at the cap and trade bill.
Cause it's bad for West Virginia.
Right ahead in the year Dorsey.
Yes well -- this is a hit to Christopher Kennedy son of the late Robert F Kennedy who led the way to block an honor to.
Sued the endorser of surrounds her on murder of his father because.
-- between him and is dedicated.
Part of his book to the memory of this great man and that was the end of his benefit to become a member of it professor emeritus it's not over yet the faculty is now supporting him.
-- -- Paul a big hits a little.
Some Iraq ink of Irwin Pennsylvania the company that made the drill bit of smashed down to those Myers I -- -- -- a half mile and here.
-- And only 74 employees so I'd say.
Big hand to a little company that made -- all.
-- fantastic all right thanks that's it for this week's edition of the journal.
Editorial report thanks to my panel.
And to all of you for watching.
I'm -- ago we hope to see all of you right here next week.
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