Reinoso Says Funding for School Study Intact
The Fenty Administration says that it has, in fact, not cut funding for an independent evaluation of public school reform. When we inquired about this on Monday, mayoral spokeswoman Mafara Hobson referred us to city administrator Neil Albert's testimony that day before the D.C. Council, which said nothing about the evaluation.
At the same time, Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray's office had pointed us to the mayor's revised version of the Budget Support Act, in which the following provision was marked deleted: "The Office of the Chief Financial Officer shall transfer by October 5, 2009, an amount of $325,000 in local funds through an intra-District transfer from DCPS to the Office of the District of Columbia Auditor to contract with NRC to conduct the initial evaluation required by this section."
But deputy mayor for education Victor Reinoso said today that the funding wasn't cut and that the $325,000 -- the District's 20 percent contribution to the cost of the study to be conducted by the NRC (National Research Council)--is sitting in the auditor's budget.
Moreover, Reinoso said that the administration is completely on board with the project, which was set up by Gray after the council failed to act on Fenty's recommendation of two education scholars to study the reform efforts of Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee --Frederick Hess of the American Enterprise Institute and Kenneth Wong of Brown University. The 2007 legislation placing the mayor in charge of schools requires Fenty to produce an outside study, but Gray said he had questions about putting the study solely in the hands of Hess and Wong. Hess has written favorably about Rhee, while Wong is an established proponent of mayoral control of school systems.
Reinoso, Rhee, Gray and acting state superintendent Kerri Briggs are all scheduled to attend a planning meeting Monday at the NRC, which operates under the auspices of the National Academies.
"We intend to fully cooperate," said Reinoso, adding that he did not expect the mayor's office to be sending other names to the council.
As it turns out, Wong is listed as a participant in Monday's discussion at the NRC. This time, however, he's one of a panel of six scholars. The others are Carmen Arroyo of Health and Education Research Associates; Robert Boruch, the University of Pennsylvania; Leslie Fenwick, Howard University; Jeff Henig, Columbia University, and Ernest House, University of Colorado.
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