Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Washington Post 3-part series

If you have the time, this three-part series in the Washington Post recently is worth reading (see below; posted at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/metro/interactives/dcschools).  Part 1 documents the depravity and horror of Washington DC's school system; Part 2 traces how it got to where it is and why so many reform efforts have failed (with a number of quotes from DFER chairman Kevin Chavous, who used to be head of the education committee of the DC City Council), and Part 3 highlights the gains Philadelphia made under Paul Vallas for a model of what DC might be able to achieve.
June 16, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist


Successes at a Big-City System
Focus, Funding Help Turn Around Nation's 8th-Largest School District

By V. Dion Haynes
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, June 12, 2007; A01

PHILADELPHIA -- Darren Romero could see this was no ordinary parent-teacher meeting.

Romero had left his construction job early, having been summoned to M. Hall Stanton Elementary School with a call that his first-grade son, Darren Jr., had fallen behind in reading and math. Now, a large screen flashed video footage of Darren coloring with markers when he should have been working on a money-counting exercise. The teacher pointed to a chart showing Darren's reading level, far below where he should be at this point in the school year.


Worn Down by Waves of Change
Bureaucracy, Politics Beat Back Succession of Superintendents and Plans

By April Witt
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, June 11, 2007; A01

When a board appointed by Congress seized control of the D.C. public schools in 1996, its members were eager to give the school system a clean break from its troubled past. They fired Superintendent Franklin L. Smith, replaced him with a war hero, retired Army Lt. Gen. Julius W. Becton Jr., and urged Becton not to bother debriefing Smith.



Can D.C. Schools Be Fixed?
After decades of reforms, three out of four students fall below math standards. More money is spent running the schools than on teaching. And urgent repair jobs take more than a year . . .

By Dan Keating and V. Dion Haynes
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, June 10, 2007; A01

Kelly Miller Middle School opened its doors in a struggling Northeast Washington neighborhood in 2004, a $35 million showcase for the District's public schools, every classroom equipped with a whiteboard and computers. A particular source of pride was a media production room, where students could broadcast announcements and produce programs to be viewed on TVs wired in each classroom.

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