D.C. Schools – I, for one, welcome our new Korean-American overlord!

June 12, 2007

Big story today on Mayor Fenty firing current school superintendent Clifford Janey and replacing him with Michelle Rhee, head of a New York nonprofit group that recruits and trains teachers for urban areas.

I think that Washington-area residents are well-versed in the problems plaguing the D.C. school system, but I think this paragraph bears repeating:

The D.C. school system is among the worst-performing in the nation. Although D.C. public schools are third in per-pupil spending among the nation’s 100 largest districts, students rank at or near the bottom in reading and math among 11 major urban school districts.

Basically, the D.C. school system has horrible facilities, and has done a terrible job recruiting decent teachers. As a result, people like me (young, married, going to have children someday, who like living in the city) are reluctant to make long-term plans to live in the city. Instead, young, upwardly mobile parents tend to flee for the suberbs or send their children to private schools in the district.

The city has used its recent fiscal successes (funded mainly by rising property tax inflows) to begin a $2.3 billion modernization program, and has a $1 billion annual budget for schools. Hasn’t this got to be enough money to create a decent school system? Perhaps by the time we’re ready to have kids, schooling them in the District will be a viable option.


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