Let’s get one thing straight from the outset: D.C. School Chancellor Michelle Rhee fired herself.

No surprise that Rhee’s resignation was announced two weeks ago at a press conference staged by outgoing D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty and presumptive mayor and current D.C. Council Chairman Vincent Gray. “One City,” Mr. Gray’s campaign cry, may take a giant leap forward for reconciliation now that one of the District’s most divisive figures will exit.

No one more than the caricature of Wonder Woman with a broom is responsible for her debatable tenure and her disruptive departure than the overrated Rhee herself.

When you publicly state that you cannot work for anyone except your current boss to purposely raise fear in the masses, then what do you expect when the masses give him the boot?

That Rhee interjected herself as a political lightning rod in the Democratic mayoral primary last month between Fenty and Gray was not only dirty politics, it was also a serious disservice to the school children she claims to put above all else. All else, it appears, except herself as she sought to save her job and raise her profile for personal gain on the backs of “poor and marginalized children” and veteran Black teachers she replaced with novices like herself.

Listen beyond the tough talk. When the media hype subsides and substantive analysis is conducted, Rhee will fall short. Test scores, for one, are sporadic and only one measure of success. Many of the reforms she touts were the brainchild of her predecessor Superintendent Clifford Janey, whom she gives no credit. Improved school facilities were the purview of another agency head, Alan Lew. School observers and educators are raising serious questions about the formula Rhee used to arrive at a higher graduation rate. As for more parents opting to place their children in D.C. public schools for the first time in 39 years, that trend may have more to do with economics than education.

Let’s get another thing straight: One person does not a reform make. Even great leaders, who did more than collect hyped headlines, needed a cadre of faithful followers who bought into their missions. You cannot forge successful reform or manifest any major social movement through intimidation, false accusations and questionable sanctions; you must negotiate a respectful and trustworthy partnership.

Leigh Dingerson is an education policy consultant, a community organizer and the mother of two D.C. public school students who recently wrote “Proving Ground: School Rheeform in Washington, D.C.” for Rethinking Schools. She told the Institute for Public Accuracy, “There is nothing remarkably visionary going on in Washington.

The model for school reform that’s being implemented here is popping up all over the country, heavily promoted by the same network of conservative think tanks and philanthropists … that has been driving the school reform debate for the past decade. It is a reform based on the corporate practices of Wall Street, not on education research and theory.”

Further, Ms. Dingerson adds that Kaya Henderson, Rhee’s interim replacement, must “quickly signal to parents and teachers in the District that she wants to work WITH them to develop the most effective approaches to our schools. Strong teachers need to be supported and empowered. Students need additional supports to be able to focus on learning. The damage to teacher morale in DCPS is going to take some time to overcome. Ms. Henderson needs to signal that she understands that, and will include the city’s best teachers in the process.”

Elizabeth Davis, a popular and leading candidate for president of the Washington Teachers Union in the upcoming election, has said that simply firing teachers and union busting, Rhee’s crowning claim to fame, does not constitute education reform.

“As an educator, my question is about the children has purported to serve for the past three years. How have they faired?” Ms. Davis asks. “I’ve grown tired and bored with the attention being paid to any one person, be they chancellor or mayor, who claims to be able to reform our schools single-handedly.”

Davis said there are those, like Rhee, who are “building resumes” and “capitalizing on a national anti-public education campaign to dismantle public education and replace it with a corporate ‘for profit’ model to siphon as much as $600 plus billion dollars of public education funds that’s up for grabs.”

Ms. Davis, and her running mate, noted educator Emily Washington, intend to show that while Rhee and others bash teachers as the sole roadblock to education reform, they will “address these issues with holistic, research-based findings that often serve as barriers to the academic success of poor children.”

Referring to the film about America’s abysmal public schools, Waiting for Superman, which prominently features Rhee, Davis said, “We don’t need to wait for superman, superwoman or any other iconic, media creations to reform the public schools of the District of Columbia. We simply need school and city leaders who are willing to engage the voices of all education stakeholders in a genuine, authentic conversation about what it will take to fix our schools and improve academic achievement.”

Let’s get the most important thing straight: African Americans must revert to our roots by raising the stature of academic achievement and must make education our number one priority again. We are responsible for educating our children, no one else, especially not some fly-by-night Wonder Woman seeking stardom.

Adrienne T. Washington is a D.C.-based political commentator and journalism professor.