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Post Election Decisions: Gray, Rhee And The Union

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By Kavitha Cardoza

The new Democratic nominee for D.C. mayor, Vincent Gray, says he plans to move "full speed ahead" on school reform. But thus far that hasn't included the answer to the question on most voters' minds: will he keep Chancellor Michelle Rhee or not?

Gray says he won't be ''turning back any clocks'' on the city's education progress. He says he called Rhee this morning and didn't reach her, but reiterated that no personnel decisions will be made until after the general election.

They have sparred during education hearings and Rhee has been outspoken in her support of Gray's opponent, Mayor Adrian Fenty, even campaigning for him. Gray recieved support from the American Federation of Teachers, the parent organization of the local teachers union which endorsed him. Gray was asked whether NOT keeping Rhee would be seen as him being beholden to special interests.

"I have said and I will say it again, and I've said it to everybody. And that is the children and the outcomes for our children are the most important factor for me," Gray says.

But isn't that what everyone--Gray, Rhee and the union--says?

"I think I've given you the best answer I can at this stage and that is I want to do what's best for the children of this city," Gray says.

Gray says he wants parity between D.C.'s traditional public schools and charter schools. He says his education plan spans from birth to age 24: enhancing early childhood programs and higher education.

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