We ran a feature last year on the Oyster School, an English/Spanish bilingual elementary school in Woodley Park that has long been regarded as one of the few bright spots in the District’s struggling public school system. On Friday, the Post reported that Oyster-Adams (the school merged with Adams Elementary this year) principal Marta Guzman became the latest casualty of DCPS Chancellor Michelle Rhee’s tenure when her contract was not renewed.
The Oyster ouster is full of delicious details — Rhee’s daughters are both Oyster students, she attended a November dinner party convened by angry parents who wanted to complain about Guzman, and my parents (who live around the corner from Oyster) report that protesters gathered outside the school on Friday morning. Those parents and others form the pro-firing camp, citing the now-ex-principal’s “lack of organization, reluctance to delegate and sometimes-brusque style.”
Others allege that “Guzman was toppled by a cadre of dissatisfied and largely affluent Anglo parents with the ear of a woman who was both a fellow parent and the chancellor.”
The Editorial Board has backed Rhee’s attempts to reform the school system by cutting down on unnecessary administrative jobs and bringing new blood into the system with firings and buyouts, but I’m not sure I can get behind this particular firing. Oyster is one of the District’s most successful schools, and the dinner party situation is pretty shady.
Then again, maybe Guzman would have driven a stellar school into the ground if Rhee hadn’t taken action; I don’t know enough about the “intra-school politics” (as one parent calls them) to know for sure. One thing is for certain, though: no one is safe from the Rhee reign.
-Anna Bank, Editor-in-Chief