With the world's eyes (and media spotlight) soon to transition from Beijing to Denver for the Democratic National Convention (Aug. 25-28), it only makes sense that the District's media-conscious mayor will be making a beeline for the mile-high city. Mayor Fenty and Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee are set to appear at an education symposium Aug. 24, the day before the convention officially kicks off. They'll be appearing as part of the effort by New York City Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein and the Rev. Al Sharpton to gain commitments from the presidential candidates to do more to close the achievement gap among black and Hispanic students.
Fenty and Rhee already appeared with Klein and Sharpton in Memphis in April, as D.C. Wire told you. Klein is something of a mentor to Rhee, who worked closely with him during her time at the New Teacher Project, and it was partly on his recommendation that Fenty offered her the schools job last year. By appearing with Klein, Fenty and Rhee position themselves as part of a group of reform-minded, mold-breakers and can reap some national shine, even if the D.C. takeover is still very much a work in progress.
After the Denver appearance, Fenty and Rhee will hustle back on a red eye to make it home for the opening day of D.C. public schools on Aug. 25. Fenty is planning to tour a handful of schools that received renovations and repairs. The mayor will then return to Denver on Aug. 26 to head up the D.C. Delegation to the convention.
That's a lot of frequent flier miles for a mayor who has been out of town a lot more this year than last; along with the Beijing and Memphis trips, Fenty went to a half dozen states to campaign for Barack Obama and has been to New York a couple times for work and vacation. Former Mayor Anthony Williams might be looking on proudly.