Beth Schmierer and Kristin Ehrgood, District residents who started an online petition that DC Wire told you about yesterday, are slated to testify before the D.C. Council this morning at the budget hearing for the school system.
Ehrgood was challenged yesterday in D.C. Wire's comments about whether she had any connections to Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee. We emailed Ehrgood, who told D.C. Wire the following about her background and her thinking behind the petition:
"I joined Teach For America in 1992, the same year as the Chancellor (although I did not teach in Baltimore as the TFA information says. I was in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and then Trenton, New Jersey). [The chancellor] and I have never worked together in the same organization, although I have known of her work which is why I was thrilled when she was appointed to the position of Chancellor. I have known her to be a champion of high quality education for all students, even when it means making decisions that are not popular.
Ehrgood said no one on Rhee's staff, or Rhee herself knew that the group and petition was being formed.
"The people who are behind DC School Reform Now only want decisions to be made based on what is best for children. We fully recognize that this means difficult choices and strong political will from the Chancellor, mayor, and City Council; however these choices must be made now. We cannot afford to put the needs of adults ahead of our children any longer."
At least two dozen witnesses will weigh in on school funding priorities at the council hearing, according to an early witness list. D.C. Wire will keep you posted.