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A New Day for Faltering DCPS
A TRULY NEW DAY FOR DC'S FALTERING PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM?
Or Another Misguided Kick to the Same Old Can Down the Same Old Street?

summary

This new chapter is intended as a "primer" for those interested in a summary of NARPAC's past ten years of analysis concerning urban education. It lays out our "articles of faith" that underlie our suggestions for change. We are deeply concerned that the new Fenty team will waste the advantages inherent in his "school takeover plan" if it doesn't think "outside the (schools) box". We provide hot links to the many other chapters on this site dealing with these issues, and suggest that DC's root problem is not a schools problem, but an urban education problem for much of the city's "human infrastructure", suffering from DCPS's cumulative past failures. We offer our "bulletized" answers to ten key questions, and provide sample charts from other relevant chapters. We conclude with some specific recommendations, and offer references to the 20-odd NARPAC editorials dealing with this key issue.

NARPAC's articles of faith re education

Unlike most concerned Washingtonians with a stake in the future of the public school system in our nation's capital, NARPAC has been enthusiastic about the initial steps being taken by Mayor Fenty, arrogant, secretive, undemocratic, and inexperienced as they may seem to some. Continuing to listen to "experts", "stake-holders", "activists", and "populists" pressing their own boxes of special interests is a waste of time. It is high time to develop a tin ear to conventional wisdom. Salvaging this hopelessly broken system will not be accomplished by any all-inclusive committee of well-meaning do-gooders. They have after all, been involved and ineffectual for the past 30 years. That said, we believe that the beginning of wisdom is to know what the system's limitations are, and where the major changes must be effectuated. Here are our "articles of faith" after 10years of probing why DC's national image re schooling is so bad:

Schools can control much of the professionalism of their teachers

Schools cannot control much of the receptivity of their kids to learning

DC student performance is not that far from the norm for its extreme racial/cultural/poverty ranking

Day schools cannot offset the biases instilled by counter-cultural community/home environment

Teachers, on average, cannot expunge negative parental/community influences

Fathers and male teachers are not insignificant in kids' development, particularly boys

Kids lacking parental/community discipline will have difficulty accepting educational regimen

Facility conditions only marginally shape kids' performance beyond some modest 'comfort-level'

School size has little impact on "regular" kids' capacity to learn; big impact on 'overhead' costs

School systems can benefit from objective analysis of their own costs and performance

Special ed costs can reach 5 times the $ costs for "regular" kids, and cause substantial disruptions

Racial/cultural factors influence the prevalence and severity of kids' special ed needs

DC Elementary/Middle Schools educate kids, and should inspire them to succeed in life

DC High Schools educate parents: those who fail/drop-out regenerate the cycle of urban poverty

Schools must accept that their faulty drop-out products will taint their communities for 50+ years

DC's education reputation is better measured by its massive failures, not its few successes

Kicking the Right Can?

It is by no means clear yet whether the Fenty approach to "fixing" DC's schools will be a remarkable failure or a remarkable success. Some of the highest initial risks of this new unconventional approach are to: a) hire young top-level people with limited experience at best and pay them exorbitant salaries; and then b) hire sets of consultants and past colleagues (who would appear to have no more applicable experience) to "define the real problems", paying them handsomely, and give them three or four months to define the problems and their revolutionary solutions. Even DC's CFO is getting into the act by hiring yet another consulting firm to tell him what's wrong with the way the DCPS runs their accounting systems. This is surprising to NARPAC since the CFO has been responsible to keeping DCPS's books for several years. Others have also noted than none of the contracts or hired assistants have been subject to any competitive sourcing. Much more serious from NARPAC's point of view, is that there is no indication that the consultants are being encouraged to look "outside the box". Consultants specializing in accounting and management techniques are unlikely the scratch the surface of the first-order problems infecting American urban schools, of which DC is a particularly extreme, but not outrageous, example.

NARPAC has spent a good portion of its analytical (not accounting) efforts over the last ten years looking at the school system "from the outside in" and not "from the inside out". We have depended heavily on comparisons with similar urban systems elsewhere, and the particular urban demographics of households that send their kids to public schools. We have posted analyses on various aspects of this subject for years. They have gotten very little attention, possibly because they do not fit the idiosyncratic biases of the many local activists groups, and probably because they address the impolitic, socially insensitive, first-order root causes of poorly performing kids: i.e., poorly performing parents, or more generically, Low Performing Households (LPH).

In short:

Proposed solutions that pretend that counterproductive parental/community/society influences can be routinely overcome by part-time, day-time, school-time enthusiasm, are simply doomed to fail except in unusual, anecdotal cases involving exceptional kids and exceptional teachers. Proposed systemic solutions that ignore that the root source of failure amongst today's kids is the failure of their parents in the same school system only a decade or two earlier, will do nothing to keep the urban cycle of poverty from repeating itself. These fresh young consultants should understand that this school system has produced more than 170,000 illiterate adults over the past fifty years or so, many still living here and generating some of the nation's worst social welfare and/or quality of life statistics.

Hence it is important to understand that from the broader perspective, "from the outside in", the main issue for national disdain is not how few kids make it to the top of the national class, if you will, but how many leak out of the bottom of the class to perpetuate a lifetime of urban blight. The national disgrace is not too much mediocrity, it is too much utter failure.

return to the top of the pageNARPAC's answers to ten relevant questions:

Here are NARPAC's answers to ten basic questions that these consultants should be addressing, and the details can be found on our web site:

1. Why do so many DC kids (almost 50%) drop out of school? Because:

o teen-age pregnancy (now declining somewhat) is prevalent among LPH girls;

o teen-age crime takes many teen-aged LPH boys off the streets at young ages;

o doing well in school is considered to be disloyal in the 'hood';

o too many LPH parents are virtually unable/unwilling to discipline their kids;

o too many LPH parents did the same thing so few years ago;

o there are no significant subsequent welfare penalties for dropouts, illiteracy;

o there are no residual obligations, penalties, or malpractice threats to DCPS for their failures;

o there appears to be remarkably little impact from the relevant faith communities;

(sample)


This was one of the first charts in which NARPAC made the direct, and almost-color blind, linkage between poverty and educational achievement. It is included in a chapter called Education, Poverty and Ignorance.ĘSince it is clear from most testing data that black kids score significantly below white kids, and that black kids' families are poorer than white families, there is a tendency to correlate poor school performance with poverty. But in fact, poverty is caused by lack of householder education, and so is the poor school performance of their kids.

2. Why are DC kids' tests scores so abysmally low? Because:

o there is such a high proportion of LPH kids in the DC system, even for urban school systems. In fact, DC scores are only modestly below what would be expected based on analytical trend lines. o scores worsen faster for LPH kids as their majority rises and degrades the school environment;

o a somewhat higher-than-urban-normal cohort of special ed kids is included in DC's averages;

o generally, their parent(s)/grandparent(s)' scores and educational attainment were just as bad;

o the extremely high proportion of missing-dads takes an additional toll on school boys;

o teacher/parent/union/special ed kid constraints defy creation of a disciplined environment for efficient teaching, effective learning;

o mixed-gender classes, and mostly female teachers further compromise classroom discipline;

o DC's school environment may attract, but cannot keep, the exceptional teachers needed;

(sample)


When NARPAC looked critically at the DCPS "Strategic Plan" developed in 2002, it became clear that the goals of that plan were unrealistic. The top set of bars on the chart above shows the NAEP 8th Grade reading scores of ten large urban districts (a proper basis for comparison). Below them are projected goals for DCPS between '03 and '09, which appear reasonable when compared to the scores above. However, if one parses out the performance of the black kids alone in those 10 cities, then the plan goals quickly become totally unrealistic for an 85% black DCPS system. The setting of unreasonable comparisons makes realistic progress almost impossible.

3. Why are DC schools in such miserable physical conditions? Because:

o the current school system was designed and sized for twice as many kids, almost a century ago;

o it is wasteful to maintain double the school buildings typical of average urban enrollment;

o "preventative maintenance" is not second nature to the past/current school management culture;

o it is not clear how much damage is caused by kids' own counter-cultural predilections;

o centralized bureaucracy over an ingrained in-house maintenance work force yields low output;

o over-emphasis on ethereal academic solutions lowers priority on practical infrastructure;

o (there may be too much emphasis on the physical environment, too little on controlling the "learning environment". Shining schools may make shining parents, but not, per se, shining kids);

(sample)


NARPAC has addressed the problem of surplus school facilities for years. The chart above comes from our 2006 chapter on Downsizing DCPS Facilities . It shows the long-term trend line in declining DC public school attendance, and realistic projections through 2010. There is no reason to keep 80-year-old facilities for unlikely eventualities beyond then. We conclude that by 2010, DCPS will have almost exactly twice as much floor space as it has any use for. Pressures from local community groups who think they "own" their decrepit local schools are counterproductive to their needs for better education for their kids.

. 4. Why are DC per-student costs so disproportionately high? Because:

o DC's special ed kid population is higher than average; their farmed-out, extensively-bused, environment is far more costly;

o LPH parents tend to have more than their share of special ed kids, with above-average severity;

o there appears to be no cooperation whatsoever between DC and its richer, smarter, surrounding jurisdictions on this growing, universal American school problem;

o DC's very liberal "out-sourcing" to private suburban special ed schools may actually attract more residents with disadvantaged kids, seeking ;

o many of the charter employees of the DCPS are part of the "instant black middle class" created by de-segregation from people lacking basic middle class values, savvy, skills and motivations, through no fault of their own;

o in terms of kids per teacher, and kids per school, DC is 20% and 40% (respectively) less efficient that the Great City Schools average, 10% and 20% below the nine "blackest" districts;

(sample)


There has been an extraordinary reluctance within DC officialdom to compare DCPS parameters to those of any other relevant public school group. In this particular sample from NARPAC's analysis of the 2006 DCPS Master Education Plan , DCPS parameters are compared to those of the fifty US states. Although DC pays somewhat better than the average, its reading scores and graduation rates are far lower, and the size of its elementary, secondary, and high schools are way below the national norms of kids per school.

5. Why have recent DCPS administrations failed to make dents in the problem? Because:

o neither school officials nor parents will admit teachers do not control their kids ability to learn;

o they have little or no authority or capability to "fix" the damaged "inputs" from the community;

o they are surrounded by local activists groups looking in the wrong places for short-term solutions for "fixing" failing kids, or not surprisingly, just "fixing" their own kids' school;

o Until recently, DCPS has been generally isolated from city functions charged with ameliorating or eliminating community short-comings (crime, decay, ill-health, drugs, counter-cultures, illiteracy, etc.). Greater emphasis is warranted;

o excessive cumulative damage defies remedy by committee-based compromise solutions;

(sample)

This set of charts to the left are from NARPAC's chapter on Parental Demographics . There are clearly some major differences likely to reflect in the early upbringing of their offspring. As an extreme example, black moms are likely to have their peak birthing years a full ten years before Asian moms do. And this was reflected in the 2001 Census statistics of kids born by mother's age. For blacks and Hispanics, most of their kids are born before they would have finished college, if they had gone.

6. Why is meaningful long-range progress so unlikely to occur? Because:

o school officials are trying to fix within the school system the root problems stemming from outside the school system;

o roughly 50% of the "output" of the DCPS school system are kids woefully unprepared to become almost immediate parents;

o LPH kids are not only less likely to have two parents, the parents they do have are likely to be almost a decade younger, with more social problems of all kinds;

o Declining DC school enrollment is closely related to declining teen-age pregnancy 5-6 years earlier. The school proportion of LPH kids is, if anything, rising, as enrollment dwindles, o charter schools, characterized by their kids' more ambitious parent(s), are skimming off the kids with higher potential and further disadvantaging the remainder;

o DC High Schools should recognize they are primarily teaching soon-to-be parents, not soon-to- be-college kids. The core curriculum should reflect this shift to premature adulthood (See #8). o the school system is not obliged to "recall" its faulty "products" for rework. With their lower income and mobility potential, they become a disproportionate share of DC's life-long residents, o DC's welfare support system is geared to sustaining, not fixing, these drop-outs; in a lifetime, they will never generate revenues for the city commensurate with their drain on public resources;

(sample)

In 2005, NARPAC tried to shock the world by suggesting that there should be a major DC program for Recalling Student Dropouts just as there would be if they had put defective products in the hands of "consumers". This simplistic sketch of a "boarding school" for teen-age dropout moms with small kids is intended to show that it could well be accommodated on current high school campuses, probably where surface parking lots are now. The schools would provide essential housekeeping and teaching services. It was further proposed that "affordable quarters" could be provided for DC government workers who would earn their keep by mentoring the needy kids part time.

7. Is Chancellor Rhee likely to be successful? No, because of her:

o cultural background is completely opposite to DC's re working, learning, succeeding;

o stated intent is to work within current DCPS limits (i.e., no ventures "outside the box");

o fixation on the power of high quality teachers to make kids learn, despite their home lifestyle;

o seeming disregard for inability to keep new high quality recruits in a toxic environment;

o zeal for self-sacrificing, self-improving 24/7 hard work, utterly foreign to the local culture;

o apparent blindness to "normal" workers' cumulative distaste for "the 4:00AM e-mail";

o rather gratuitous approach to 'oh yes, I'll fix special ed and high school dysfunction too';

o preposterously high wages and benefits which seriously tarnish any aura of selfless dedication;

o apparent willingness to quote "selectively" from pseudo-technical analyses;

(sample)


NARPAC has an annoying habit of checking out the reports referenced to support any partisan's advocacy. Chancellor Rhee's credentials rest in part in her success with a teacher- recruiting service called "The New Teacher Project". Her web site features her two major "reports", and each of these reports references a learned article by a Stanford academic who performed regression analyses on various school data available in the early 1990's. Mrs. Rhee correctly notes that of the variables within the school's control, teacher quality is a major contributor to better grades. She does not, however, note that outside the school's control, demography and poverty play an equally large (negative) role. The influence of parental education is not explored. But equally noteworthy, are the report's conclusions that there is little or no impact from per-pupil spending, teacher salaries, pupil/teacher ratios, or class sizes. One wonders if the Chancellor will respect those results as well. It also suggests that she will try to "fix" the school problems from within the school system. NARPAC does not believe that is practical.

8. Are there valid arguments for a separately-managed DC public high school system? Yes:

o concentrated groups of LPH kids tend toward premature counter-cultural adulthood;

o keeping the schoolhouse environment from mimicking the street environment is crucial;

o DC is one of only nine "Great City Schools" where black enrollment exceeds 80%;

o a major effort to "re-capture" premature drop-outs, life-long illiteracy must be part of the task;

o staying in school to age of 18, reporting and controlling truancy are simply not enforced;

o the system should encourage vastly different outcomes: from college to military service;

o the teacher/mentor/coach profile must change from loving nun to tough drill sergeant;

o the17 high schools worth $550M on 186 acres are half-empty, overage, almost beyond repair;

o property re-distribution, facilities redesign and redevelopment are major citywide issues;

o some live-in facilities may be warranted for a) teen-moms with infants; b) male ex- offenders;

(sample)


NARPAC has repeatedly tried to show the variation in kids' test scores with their own demographics. This chart set takes 10 prominent urban school districts and lines up their NAEP scores in the customary fashion. It is copied from our recent analysis of " Family Potential". As a general rule, one might expect the purple "caps" would indicate those kids likely to become professionals.; the green "shirts" will join the middle class; those with yellow "pants" will get blue collar jobs, and those with red "boots" could well be stuck in poverty for life. The upper left chart set indicates that whites and Asians do better in math than Hispanics or blacks. The upper right chart shows that there is in general a strong advantage to additional parental education. The bottom set shows that blacks are consistently at the bottom of the pile in math and reading. The notion that the public school system has no residual responsibility to the vast number of kids in red "boots" boggles NARPAC's mind.

9. Is there a need for a Deputy Mayor's Office for Education? Yes, because:

o there are very different management demands within DCPS: classroom vs school house;

o DC's education problems are much broader than the shrinking public school system;

o many other DC agencies must be involved in resolving broader education, resource problems;

o independent judgments are required on budgets, accounting, goal analysis, and internal audit;

o DC's higher education, adult education, special education, unique high schools, need advocates;

o extensive opportunities for regional coordination must be pursued to the fullest;

o to be successful, it must be led by a person of substantial stature in inter-agency dealings;

(sample)


This chart, also from NARPAC's analysis of "Family Potential" looks again at those NAEP scores for 10 key urban districts to see just how far off the mark, DC's black kids are. The left hand set again breaks out the major racial groups for 4th Grade math, showing the disadvantage of the Hispanics and blacks. The right hand chart shows just how far behind DC's black kids are from the average of the other cities. In math, DC kids fall well behind the average for 4th and 8th graders, but all scores are low enough to jeopardize adult self-sufficiency.

10. Is the new Fenty team starting out in the right direction? No, because:

o it seems 100% devoted to "fixing" the same old school problem; not addressing the city's grossly outdated school infrastructure or its broader constituents' education failures. (sample)


This last chart from NARPAC's recent study of DC Adult Illiteracy looks at whether it is reasonable to conclude from a generalized nationwide survey that over 170,000 of DC's 469,000 adults are "functionally illiterate". If one digs back into the underlying "Reder Report", it becomes clear that the assumption that predicted scores match observed scores is not necessarily valid, particularly at the higher end of the illiteracy spectrum. We reluctantly conclude that if this method is in fact valid, then DC's illiteracy problem is probably worse than projected by the experts. It seems sheer folly to ignore the magnitude of the crippling impact this has on the long-term human infrastructure of our nation's capital.

return to the top of the pageSpecific Recommendations

o Develop in-house a professional quantitative comparison of where DC public schools rank scholastically, administratively, and financially relative to other similar American school systems;

o Make credible comparisons of DCPS expectations to other primarily (75%+) black systems;

o Set progressive quantitative goals to become "above average" in relevant characteristics;

o Plan to cut the number of school properties by 30-50%;

o Sell off the surplus property to pay for a modernized residual infrastructure;

o Improve school staffing and management to realistic, not idealistic, professional levels;

o Look to out-source certain ossified central administration jobs;

o Expand capacity to provide one-stop services for disadvantaged parents, unwanted pregnancies;

o Take advantage of contemporary means to avoid unwanted pregnancies;

o Develop board of advisors from other (more successful) school systems in this metro area;

o Look for opportunities for "exchange programs" with other regional school systems;

o Seek more male teachers, staff in all grades;

o Change the focus of most high schools to include training to be responsible parents;

o Begin a massive program to "recycle" recent drop-outs into self-sufficient adults;

o Explore regional cooperation in leveling the special ed playing field;

o Develop in-house accounting, audit and IG functions, lower dependence on consultants;

o Try turning one or more high schools into military academies (like Forestville in PG County);

o Swap access to affordable housing for more volunteer mentoring assistance .


return to the top of the pageRelevant NARPAC Chapters:

Here are some of the relevant chapters on this web site, listed in reverse chronological order:

(2007) Impact of "Family Potential" on Schools
(2007) DC Adult Illiteracy
(2006) DCPS '06 Master Plan
(2006) Downsizing DCPS Facilities
(2005) Recalling Student Dropouts
(2004) Parental Demographics
(2004) DCPS Facilities Modernization
(2004) A Fresh Look at Local/National Birth Rates
(2002) Education, Poverty, and Ignorance
(2002) 40 Major City School Districts
(2002) School System Reports
(2002) Increasing Metro Area School Diversity
(2002) Trends in Families in Poverty
(2002) Trends in Unwed Mothers
(2002) Regional Comparisons: Metro Area Kids
(2001) Early Public Education Items
(2001) Black/White Earning Power
(2000) State of the Union for American Kids
(2000) "Kids Count" Report 2000
(2000) Disparity Between Rich and Poor
(1999) Impact of Income Mix


Relevant NARPAC editorials

For those interested in how NARPAC's editorial positions have evolved, here are twenty that have addressed some aspects of this fundamental national capital problem over the past 10 years:

(09/07) WHY IGNORE THE KEY TERMS WHEN TRYING TO EDUCATE POOR KIDS? America Is Missing the Boat Nationally and Locally NARPAC wonders why neither the Federal Government in their No Child Left Behind Program, nor DC in its highly publicized new promises to "fix" its public school system have gotten around to acknowledging the vital role of parents in their kids' educational success. There will always be kids left behind as long as their parent(s) are left behind.

(05/07} THE ASTOUNDING EXTENT OF NATIONAL CAPITAL ILLITERACY NARPAC explores the details of the recent DC State Education Agency consultants' report on the national capital city's appalling adult illiteracy. It concludes that the methodologies used actually underestimate the problem, but that the trifling solutions proposed bear no relationship to the basic sources of this globally embarrassing issue.

(02/07}YOUNG MINDS AND OLD TOILETS: Beware the "Fix Me" Handwriting on the Schoolhouse Walls It points out that while it may be possible to fix faulty school plumbing by improving accountability within the school system, improving the test scores of DC's many underprivileged students will require changing the depressing culture in which they incubate. Given their current limited "family potential" (developed by NARPAC), their test scores are not far from the trend line for urban school districts.

(11/06} TRANSITION TIME IN THE NATION'S CAPITAL: New Leaders, Same Old Followers in Same Old Boxes NARPAC laments the fact that the leadership transition currently underway in DC seems more focused on "fuzzy buzz-words" and business-as-usual with the same cast of local activists than on the major underlying and unresolved issues that continue to plague the nation's capital.

(4/06}IS DCPS READY TO PLAY 4-D MUSICAL CHAIRS?, Extraordinary Circumstances Will Warrant Extraordinary Measures It addresses the increasing likelihood that DCPS will soon undertake a serious effort to 'downsize' its overly large, overly old, collection of poorly maintained schools. Unfortunately, the effort is starting so late that 'extraordinary measures' may well be needed to manage reducing the inventory by nearly one-half...without destroying the other half, that is.

(09/05} EMBARRASSING HORRORS AT HOME TRUMP TERROR FROM AFAR It suggests that the most important impact of Hurricane Katrina is not how poorly higher authorities reacted, but how badly the impacted communities reacted. It reinforces NARPAC's stands that a) large clusters of the very poor and disadvantaged should be "de-concentrated", and b) far more emphasis must be placed on trying again to educate those who dropped out and remain for life unable to fend for themselves, but distrustful of those on whom they depend.

(07/05} AN OPEN LETTER TO THE CHAIRMAN OF THE SENATE APPROPRIATIONS SUBCOMMITTEE It points out that Congressional oversight should focus less on how DC spends its own budget and more on what the federal government should be doing to assure that our national capital city lives up to American and global expectations.

(06/05} DC STRATEGIC PLANNING: PROFESSIONAL BLUEPRINTS OR COMMUNITY FANTASIES?. It ventilates NARPAC's concerns that currently circulating long-range plans for two of DC's crucial problems, education and transportation, bear little relation to reality or the need for serious and focused local leadership

(08/04} ONLY CONGRESS CAN MAKE DC A FIRST-CLASS NATIONAL CAPITAL CITY: An Open Letter to The DC Subcommittee Leaders, Senate Appropriations Committee It strongly urges Congress to take up its only undeniable responsibility to the District: to assure the city's unique world-wide stature by exerting a prime role in planning and underwriting its future and providing the requisite capital investment resources.

(03/04} DON'T DISCOURAGE DC'S KIDS BY SETTING THE BARS TOO HIGH: DCPS Can't Solve Our Nation's Fundamental Adult Education Gap AloneIt cautions against setting academic goals unrealistically high, failing to recognize other equally, if not more serious, problems impacting on the school system, and trying to solve problems that still elude the whole country.

(01/04} FUNCTIONING BRAIN CELLS IN DC....The Art of Shooting from the Hip at the Wrong Target It questions DC's emphasis on the possible lack of population growth, rather than focusing on the evident trends towards a sustainable socioeconomic balance, even at a lower population level.

(12/03} IN DC, THE CORE CITY, ALL ROADS LEAD TO HOME Failure to Develop the City's Human Capital It points out the overriding need to invest more in the city's squandered human capital: its too-young parents and drop-outs that eventually generate DC's embarrassing poverty-driven statistics on education, health, and crime.

(11/03} WELCOME TO THE NATIONAL CAPITAL CITY, MR. BOBB, BUT BEWARE! DC Should Be A Unique Symbol of American Prowess, Not a Below-Average City It urges DC's new City Administrator to adopt a broad view of DC's unique obligations to its country and its metro area before deciding how to frame and address the big issues he must face.

10/03}PUBLIC EDUCATION AND POLITICAL EXPEDIENCY IN DC Yet Another Example of Inadequate Municipal Leadership It provides three broad reasons why the mayor should not take over DC's public school system, essentially because he has not taken care of his current responsibilities concerning the educational environment, city finances and senior staffing problems

(11/02}GETTING THE PLAYERS READY FOR ACT II--This Not the Time for Re-Runs It urges DC's leaders to build on their current successes and expand their horizons nationally, regionally, and locally.

(09/02}FOCUSING ON THE WORST THAT MIGHT BE-- AND IGNORING THE BAD THAT'S HERE. It decries the urge for regional cooperation against unlikely foreign enemies, while neglecting regional cooperation to cure the problems of concentrated poverty in the national capital metro area.

(07/02}MIXING 21ST CENTURY RELIGION AND POLITICS: Crossing the Lines, Globally and Locally . It suggests that DC's black ministry should spend more time helping young women avoid pregnancy and poverty, and less time panning the mayor for doing his job.

(03/02}SCHOOLS DON'T PRODUCE DUMB KIDS, DUMB PARENTS DO
suggests that poor test scores and school performance should be directly linked to parental education which is the primary determinant in household income and poverty.

(9/01}VERY GOOD NEWS FOR THE DCPS CLASS OF 2010 --But What about the Class of 1990?
deals with the need to provide a second chance for DCPS drop-outs as a key part of "breaking the cycle" of school system failure;

(2/00} BALANCING IDEOLOGY AND REALITY--The Finest of the Democratic Arts problems with DC schools require a particularly fine school board: 'value added' by the schools is limited--school performance scores and largely neighborhood performance scores.

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This page was updated on Sept 15, 2007


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