I’m always excited when I see a Black Woman winning. The same was true when I learned that Dr. Amanda Alexander had been appointed as Interim School Chancellor. Was my choice Elizabeth Davis of the Washington Teacher’s Union? Yes, but Messy Muriel went for a simple title change for a staff person who was already in the office. She is not going to risk making much noise during her re-election bid.


Messy Muriel choosing what's best for DCPS students.

  I had the occasion of meeting Dr. Alexander in the Kramer Middle School hallway. At the Budget Engagement Forum, the Mayor introduced her and she seemed reluctant to say much to the audience. She was also severely underdressed for an attempt at a good first impression. She looked like Wednesday’s Child, the foster children highlighted Wednesday’s on NBC4 in hopes of finding them home.


 It was as though the East of the River constituents weren’t "important enough” for her to throw on some decent khakis and a ballerina flat, at very least.  When we spoke, I congratulated her on her position and asked where she was from. She gave me a blank stare, super-side eye combo then rolled her eyes for good measure. All of this with a very bothered, huffy “from New Jersey, why?”

I Did Not Send For You, Sis!

 I was caught off guard by her defensiveness but I stay ready. I responded; “I asked because I wanted to be wrong.” When she asked for clarity, I explained that I wanted to believe that maybe Messy Muriel would not be doing business as usual.  I know our DCPS issues could be better handled by someone who is actually from Washington, D.C., has taught in D.C. (without needing loan forgiveness) and is more familiar with our issues and culture.” Since she asked and I had time (in more ways than one) I also added: “I have grown tired of gentrifiers coming into our city with no idea what our needs are or how to help and present an unwillingness to listen to the people who actually know.” #directquote

  She scoffed at my comments in order to insinuate that no one from D.C. is capable of doing much of anything. She snidely asked if I was “born here.” I looked her in her eyes and explained that I was an 8th generation Native from the very Ward she was standing in. Her face fell accordingly. I went on to name Rhee, Henderson and Wilson were all gentrifiers who have deeply damaged the National credibility of DCPS for personal gain and rolled out/resigned when it got real.” After she picked up her face, she had to go. That was the best decision she has made as Interim Chancellor thus far. A wise proverb says “do not come for me unless I send for you.” Clearly, the Dr. is familiar with philosophy.

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The Cool (read Rich, White) Kid’s Living Room

  Days later, I received screenshots confirming that Dr. Alexander had hosted an exclusive,  living room chat with more affluent, white families in Ward 6. Needless to say, several parents were concerned regarding the lack of transparency.

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 One concerned parent responded, “Why the secret meetings? Many parents in Ward 6 were not even invited. Will there be meetings EoTR? Invite only? Are we now holding private home gatherings... as many do while campaigning? This is starting off on the wrong track; interim or not. These are the problems in our school systems — equity across the board. As active parents, we are supposed to trust this? Blatant disrespect.” This parent is not the only parent who shared these sentiments. It was a trigger to see yet another from Team Bowser prioritizing white, gentry over the residents who really need her responsiveness the most. After the fuss began to mount, Sharona Robinson an employee with DCPS shared that “Living room chats are scheduled to happen in each Ward. The one in Ward 8 hasn’t been scheduled. If anyone is interested in hosting one at their home, please email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..” I appreciate Sharona for her responsiveness. However, it revealed that once again Ward 8 was not a priority. It also proved that someone like her (if not her) needs to be running things.


Sharona Robinson, DCPS Community Action Team Coordinator (Wards 7 & 8)

Hear Ye, Hear Ye, The Interim Chancellor Is Coming!

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*queue announcement for Chancellor’s Monthly Community Forums*  

 I don’t know who was in the DCPS Central Office meeting when they decided that an 8:45 a.m. forum would engage families. As someone who works with families, I can tell you this is an intentional tactic for exclusion. I am not getting up that early for free and I’m sure my neighbors aren’t either. Further, many parents are en route to work and/or school at that time. Surprise...everyone in Ward 8 isn’t unemployed and unmotivated!


A (Not So) Warm Welcome

 The second forum was held at 6:00 p.m. because clearly it’s possible to get off work at 5:00 p.m., travel across the City and arrive at H.D. Woodson by that time. I arrived early to find the best place to share resources for the families in attendance. I was very happy to see Sharona Bean at the front door greeting attendees. When my colleague and I entered we sat close to the exit. Two DCPS staff did not like that and very rudely asking that we move. When we asked for clarity about why they were trying to force us to relocate and explained we needed to sit in these spots for a specific reason they continued to force the issue. The staff claimed they were still putting materials on the tables and we were in their way. We explained we would not touch their materials and would remain where we originally sat. They didn’t like that. In fact, they looked at me like this...


 After that awkward exchange, my staff and I went on to distribute our outreach materials. We were taken aback when instructed by the same staff members that sharing our materials at a DCPS event was prohibited. This was not my first rodeo. I knew that there was no issue with this and had never been the 800,000 times I’d done outreach at a DCPS event previously. I also knew their pay grade did not make them eligible to have the final say. After going up the chain of command, I informed the help what I had confirmed. Their supervisor had no issue with the brochures. We proceeded to pass them out on the table.  One member of the Terrible Two apologized, she said “I’m sorry I’m not trying to be pushy. I’m just a Black Girl trying not to get fired.” I completely understood because I have been that Black Girl. I questioned why being rude AF was the standard for keeping your job, but I still understood from a special place.


  However, her coworker Raquel Ortiz (Community Action Team Coordinator for Ward 1&4) wasn’t as nice. She decided that she would move our brochures one by one after we placed them. When I addressed her she continued her anti-black attempts to micromanage where the brochures were placed on the table. I had to go as far as having the Deputy Director of her department explain that I had been permitted to place them on the table exactly where they were. Raquel a.k.a "The Help" was very displeased when instructed to leave our promotional materials as we had placed them. But Whiteness had given her an instruction and she followed without further incident. #checkmate

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  This unnecessary drama had occurred in our first 15 minutes at the event. It was one of many instances where government staff felt emboldened to disrespect residents based on the fact that they were East of the River. We aren’t given the same courtesy as our Ward 3 neighbors because we seemingly don’t deserve it. Raquel Ortiz wasn’t the first to do this and she would not be the last. After all of this, I was bothered and knew exactly what to expect. A look at the agenda showed a heavy influence on college. I went to Howard University. I know college is important. However, my logical brain went...Newsflash, the DCPS graduation requirements were changed in the middle of the year! In some DCPS high schools, only 19% of Seniors are scheduled to graduate on time. That means they won’t make it to college on time and this conversation is not the right one...DUH! Why are we putting the cart before the horse, I wondered? But I listened and took notes. As the presentation continued I was brought upright by comments that came directly from the prize horse’s mouth. Our new Interim Chancellor was sarcastic, microaggressive, vague, lacked understanding of DC Government functions and a regard for the concerns of the parents, students and community members before her.

I’m Not Your Councilmember, Stupid!

 At one point, her response to a member of the Ward 7 Education Council was “I am your Chancellor, I am not your City Council Representative.” A Woodson Freshman had a question about the attendance policy. As a Freshman, she was unclear about how it was implemented and what the regulations were. Chancellor Alexander cut her off from speaking to give her an insulting speech about encouraging her peers to come to school. She was not asking about her peers, she was trying to gain an understanding for herself. Dr. Alexander never answered the student’s question or allowed her to finish. Because obviously students should be seen and not heard; even if their futures are on the line.


Your Interim Chancellor addressing the Woodson Freshman's question.

 The Interim Chancellor’s comments on attendance were very tone deaf and insensitive. She went on a rant about how we all had a responsibility to get students in school.  Her rant did not include the trauma and extenuating circumstances that may lead to a student missing school. In most cases, these students are the head of the household. They are responsible for younger siblings, witnessing or experiencing domestic violence or being pushed out of school by the "Amanda Alexanders" sent to teach them. I had grown tired of this woman ’s excuses and extra attitude. I raised my hand and offered three action items:

  1. An accountability report that gives the exact number of DCPS leadership who is born in Washington, D.C. not Maryland or Virginia. As well as the number who have graduated from DCPS schools. Why? Because DCPS issues could be better handled by leadership who is actually from Washington, D.C., has taught in D.C. (without needing loan forgiveness) and is more familiar with our issues and culture.
  2. Within the accountability report highlight the nonprofit organizations given space and funding within DCPS schools. Include a resource matrix that outlines what they are supposed to be providing the students in their programs. WHY? Because these organizations play a vital role in student success. It is impossible for a student not to complete homework in an afterschool program that is paid to tutor students. WHY ELSE? Because organizations should not get a pass for ignoring that participants are chronically absent.  Why? Because a national organization can’t understand or competently address very specific local problems.
  3. An extension of the 2018 My School DC lottery process given that so many have skirted the system and tainted the possibility for a fair selection process. As well as creating My School DC Information Center for every school to ensure parents have support in the selection process. Why? Because Antwan Wilson, Deputy Mayor Courtney Snowden, and so many others didn’t have to use the lottery. P.S. Why wasn’t Snowden forced to resign for doing the same “indefensible” thing Wilson did? #questionsthatneedanswers

  Dr. Alexander tried to cut me off but Black Jesus was moving on my behalf. When she did get a chance to interrupt I was told my statements “were a lie” and none of what I asked could be done. Interim Chancellor Alexander instructed me to send families who didn’t get a chance to do the lottery to talk to her directly about the “Chancellor’s discretionary selection process.” Before I could get further information we moved to the next comment. Because...people will always use the time to silence the truth when they have no truth to offer in return.

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  But let’s examine the Chancellor's proposal. Did you know there was a “Chancellor’s discretionary selection process?” I did not. Even if you knew, why would anyone be asked to go through that instead of a process that is accessible to all of the students within DCPS? Why, because “fair” is not a D.C. Value when you are Team Messy Muriel. All they know is special favors.

When The Chancellor Goes Low

 Ms. Tina Fletcher (a former High School teacher) closed the night with a poignant statement. She challenged the DC Fast Facts infographic we had received earlier in the evening. It was the usual lies with pictures and Ms. Fletcher was not fooled. In her comments, she highlighted,  “that the document paints DCPS as a beacon of hope for education. You would look at this and think everything was fine within DCPS. But I know that is not true and we have to tell the truth to fix anything.” Ms. Fletcher referenced how these numbers as presented intentionally masked and misrepresented the everyday realities of our school system.

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The DCPA Fast Facts infographic Ms. Tina Fletcher was challenging.

  Ms. Fletcher talked about the lack of adequate courses offered in schools East of the River. This comment was very timely given that Woodson was bragged on as a standard for East of the River schools the entire meeting. Ms. Fletcher shared how misleading it was to showcase Woodson (the exception to Ward 7's average school climate) when in actuality West of the River Schools have 4 times the course options than schools East of the River. Ms. Fletcher agreed that the community must help when she was also interrupted.

 She debunked the myths of lacking community support that the Interim Chancellor attempted to assert. Ms. Fletcher shared how interested, qualifies residents like herself are intentionally kept out of any support efforts. In fact, she’s attempted to help her local schools and been told her assistance wasn’t needed. She was told to check back in the Fall.” Her comments at the forum weren’t complaints, she made a call to action. Ms. Fletcher urged Dr. Alexander to “reject business as usual and be honest about this state of emergency for our students.” In my opinion, Ms. Fletcher was the Michelle Obama of the meeting. She was clear, calculated and calm as she tried to get the answers we were all seeking.


Putting the "I' in Interim

  At this moment, Dr. Alexander put the capital “I” in Interim. Her response to Ms. Fletcher’s compelling plea was that “we had no more time.” Dr. Alexander went on to further insult the crowd with her assurance that she is in Ward 7 and 8 a lot. Because being in a location while doing nothing is how you solve problems, right? In fact, she felt we should know her water aerobics class is “all the way over here.” Your Interim Chancellor explained how inconvenient it was to drive from where she lives and/or works to the class and how heartbroken she was that it has been canceled for the last 2 weeks for low attendance. Black gentrifiers be like….your poverty is an inconvenience to my physical fitness.


Me looking at Dr. Alexander after her water aerobics rant. 

 You could have slapped me and called me Susan. It hadn’t occurred to this lady that she was in Ward 7 where the luxury to spend money on Water Aerobics did not exist. So she’ll never be able to get why students struggle as a result of their trauma. Additionally, we did not come for a promo for her recreational activities. Everyone there came for answers and all who spoke made that clear. As the Vice President of the Ward 7 Education Council stated, “We came here for commitments and action. We can’t do anything with a come and talk to you later.” With that said, I left clear that “The Machine Messy Muriel Built” will crush us all if we let it including her latest minion turned Interim Chancellor. Dr. Alexander thinks she’s better than us and unapologetically shows it. She is tone deaf, culturally incompetent, and lacks active listening skills. Yes, she needs a stylist. But doesn’t her boss act and look the same way? Isn’t Dr. Alexander more the symptom than the sickness? Dr. Alexander is another Black girl trying not to get fired. But that doesn’t mean creating quality, equitable education in this city is a part of her job. She is here for the salary, by any means necessary.

 There are more forums scheduled in the coming months. The Chancellor's Monthly Community Forum schedule can be found here. Please come out and be heard or silenced accordingly. I can only hope that this “Interim” period won’t last long. I know better because I know D.C. government. Messy Muriel will allow Dr. Alexander to build her resume on our student's backs. She will likely remain in this position through re-election because our Mayor’s only priority is re-election, not ensuring students have a quality education. Most students can not vote and Messy Muriel knows that. When Dr. Alexander is done playing in our sandbox she will go on to model, or write a book about how much she has helped the hood (while leaving out how much shit she talked in the process). We can have monthly forums, interim chancellors, and misleading marketing but "in the interim" our student’s have nothing they can use to survive the world outside of their school's walls. Until we elect a NEW Mayor, who appoints a NEW Chancellor who is clear about this all of us are failing.