Fenty Looks to Miami's Crew

By David Nakamura and Nikita Stewart
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, January 25, 2007

As Mayor Adrian M. Fenty testified before the D.C. Council about the details of his school governance restructuring proposal last week, he referred repeatedly to Miami schools chief Rudolph F. "Rudy" Crew.

It's no secret Fenty (D) has long been an admirer of Crew's, who had been the District's top choice for school superintendent in 2004 before pulling out to take the Miami job.

Fenty visited Crew in Miami on Memorial Day weekend, asking Crew why he didn't take the D.C. job and seeking his advice for his school improvement platform. Crew, who reportedly turned down the D.C. job in part because he did not like the city's multi-headed school governance system, told Fenty that no superintendent could succeed until the D.C. Board of Education was sidelined.

Although Fenty did not propose a mayoral takeover of D.C. schools during the campaign, he admits now to quietly formulating his plan during the Miami trip and a similar one to New York, where he met with Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (R) and schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein.

Fenty says Crew has moved much more quickly to enact reforms than D.C. Superintendent Clifford B. Janey. Although Crew operates under a traditional school board, Fenty said the board and mayor in Miami are so weak that Crew essentially has consolidated all authority and is able to do what he wants. Fenty called Crew again last month and arranged for D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray (D) to visit him.

At last week's hearing, council member Carol Schwartz (R-At Large), who opposes Fenty's school plan, demanded to know whether the mayor intends to replace Janey with Crew.

"Are we going through all this because you do not want the superintendent anymore?" Schwartz asked. "Is it going to be Rudy Crew? Are we going to recruit Rudy Crew?"

Fenty declined to address Janey's future, saying he will not make any decisions until he wins control.

"I don't manage like that," Fenty said. "That would be like taking the city council for granted. I will not make that decision until you give me the power to do so."

Where Was Linda Cropp?

Dignitaries galore showed up for the Jan. 3 swearing-in of Fenty and Gray, including outgoing mayor Anthony A. Williams (D), Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) and Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.).

The noticeable absence: Linda W. Cropp (D), the outgoing council chairman. Those looking for the 15-year council veteran among the sea of more than 1,000 people at the Washington Convention Center had no luck.

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