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(Washington Post) — School opens today in the District. For the next three weeks, Americans who care about the future of urban schools will watch the city closely.

If Mayor Adrian M. Fenty loses the Democratic primary, Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee — the most divisive D.C. educator in my 39 years at The Washington Post — will probably leave. If Fenty wins, she probably stays. Whether that is good or bad depends on your point of view.

While my wife and I were taking our toddler grandson to see his favorite fountains in California, early returns from what I call the Rhee primary were pouring in. Elementary students in regular public schools lost between four and five points in reading and math proficiency after two years of gains. Regular public secondary school students continued to improve.

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