Washington, D.C., has been under the total control of corporate reformers since 2007, when Michelle Rhee was named chancellor by then-Mayor Adrien Fenty. When Fenty lost his bid for re-election, in large part because of Rhee, Rhee stepped down to found StudentsFirst, which then led a campaign for privatization of public schools through charters and vouchers and for judging teachers by test scores (since discredited).

Kaya Henderson, Rhee’s deputy, stepped in to take her place. She was kinder and gentler. She has announced that she will step down in October 2017.

Valerie Strauss reviews the pluses and minuses of her tenure here.

Strauss writes:

What is that legacy? She certainly made some progress in improving the system, but was it enough for the time and money spent? What was her impact on academic improvement, student and educator assessment, teacher and principal recruitment and retention, and the overall teaching and learning culture? What does the system that she leaves look like — and is that what the city’s residents want?….

It’s true that student test scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress — sometimes called “the nation’s report card” — are higher than when she became chancellor and made the biggest jump of any participating urban school district. Scores published in 2015 found that fourth-grade scores had moved from the bottom of large urban districts in 2007 to the middle (though eighth-grade scores were still near the bottom.)

High school graduation rates moved up during her tenure, from 53 percent in 2001 to 64 percent in 2015, with significant gains for African American males. And student enrollment increased over four consecutive years after decades of decline — from 45,191 in 2011 to 48,439 in 2015.

Special-education services have improved somewhat, as has the identification of students who need them, in large part under pressure from the courts. And Henderson implemented the Common Core State Standards — for better or worse, depending on your view — without the contentious battle that occurred in other parts of the country.

Yet there’s another side to those metrics.

It is also true that in May 2015, U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth ruled that the school system was still providing inadequate services to young children with special needs and that the “District’s lack of effective Child Find and transition poli­cies is particularly troubling in light of the intense scrutiny and seemingly constant admonishment it has received over the last decade.”

A 2015 report by the National Research Council, the research arm of the National Academies of Scienced, Engineering and Medicine, painted a troubling picture of the school system. It said that the District’s poor and minority students are still far less likely than their peers to have a quality teacher in their classrooms, perform at grade level and graduate from high school in four years. The achievement gaps between black students and white students as well as between children from low-income families and ones from middle- and higher-income families are huge — and years of corporate reform didn’t stop them from widening.

As Strauss shows, there has also been high teacher turnover, which is not good for students.

D.C. has the biggest achievement gaps of any urban district tested by the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

That may be because the whites who attend D.C. schools come from professional families. But whatever the reason, D.C. has not brought black and poor children to parity with white and middle class children.

Is it time to admit–ten years after the corporate reformers took complete control of the D.C. schools—that their claims are up in smoke? They have achieved incremental progress, which is well and good, but the seismic, revolutionary changes that were promised have not materialized.