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Forget Meg and Jerry. One Change Agent May Be Headed to Sacramento

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Forget Meg and Jerry. One Change Agent May Be Headed to Sacramento

NBCWashington.com

Michelle Rhee

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Let the speculation, baseless and otherwise, begin.

Michelle Rhee, the take-no-prisoners manager who ran the schools in Washington DC to much acclaim and controversy, has resigned. What's the California angle? Well, she's engaged to Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson. As you may have heard, there will be a new governor next year. Could Rhee have a role in a new administration?

Maybe. The odds go up if the next governor is Meg Whitman, whose education policies would seem to fall more in line with Rhee's than Jerry Brown's (which are closer to those of the teachers' unions Rhee has battled). One problem: the secretary of education job in California is relatively powerless. Superintendent of public instruction carries more power -- but it's an elected position.

Would Rhee work as some sort of key advisor or fixer for Whitman, sent into difficult situations to push and raise hell? The school leader may be too impolitic a creature to succeed in Sacramento's political environemnt. But Whitman may not much care. Her stated strategies for the budget and other members is to show toughness and fight the unions and the legislature on many fronts. So Rhee may be a natural choice.

It's not too soon to ask this question. Yes, the election is still three weeks away. But you can safely bet that each campaign has -- very quietly -- assigned people to prepare for the transition. This is a responsible course, since the period between the election and the inauguration -- two months -- isn't enough time to carry off a successful transition in a state as complciated as California.

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