Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Who will speak truth on D.C. schools?

Washington DC spends so much money -- in the $16,000-$17,000 range per student per year, roughly DOUBLE the national average -- and gets so little for it -- the statistics are truly horrifying (among the worst of any city in the nation) -- that it's hard to see how voucherizing the whole damn thing could make things any worse -- and I'll bet it would quickly make things A LOT better!

So in the hope somebody will stand up with courage to risk speaking frankly and forcefully, here are three actions to consider:

First, the city should take over the school system, then give principals the authority to hire and fire teachers and to manage school-based budgets. When the education unions resist passively or actively, announce that there will be no negotiations for new contracts when those currently in force end, and that all positions will be declared vacant. The education unions’ stranglehold on the educational welfare of the District’s children must end.

Second, guarantee every District parent a voucher equal to the current per-pupil expenditure and make it redeemable at the certified school of the parent’s choice.


Who will speak truth on D.C. schools?

Editorial, The Washington DC Examiner Newspaper, The Examiner

Jul 17, 2006


WASHINGTON - A steady parade of candidates for the District of Columbia City Council was marched through The Examiner’s office recently, and more are coming. Listening to the candidates’ presentations has been frustrating.

While the blame must fall heavily upon the mayor and members of the current City Council and School Board, it is disappointing that hardly any of the candidates go beyond the usual political rhetoric to offer radically different approaches to the District’s most pressing and long-standing problem: the shameful failure of the District of Columbia Public Schools. Year after year, no other public school system in America spends so much and yet produces so little for its graduates.

The paucity of courageous, fresh thinking on this issue among council candidates is especially depressing because it’s been clear for years that the usual D.C. approach -- spend more money on the latest public education fads, hire more bureaucrats and kow-tow to the special interests -- not only hasn’t worked but has cheated generation after generation of the District’s children of even minimally acceptable educations...

 Subscribe in a reader