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A new blog, a new day

A gun scare and evacuation at Spingarn High School is not exactly the note on which I wanted to get started here. Then again, we don't always get to pick our notes. More often they pick us

My hope, of course, is that this space will become a window onto the entire landscape of news about District of Columbia public and public charter schools.That means everything from latest china broken by Chancellor Michelle Rhee to a view of the system through the eyes of a middle schooler in Anacostia.

This should be a place where everyone with a stake in the future of the city's schools--parents, teachers, administrators, students and policymakers--get their stories told.

I've moved from my traditional spot on D.C. Wire because you've convinced me, with your robust and growing readership, that the story of school reform in the District deserves a place of its own.

So let's begin.

By Washington Post editors  |  January 11, 2010; 5:37 PM ET
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I am pleased to see that you will be devoting more of your time to the topic of education. You seem to be a journalist who is doing some real investigative work. I'm hoping you will be the Woodward or Bernstein of education in DC as I believe this is a story that that needs to be uncovered. If certain individuals are allowed to fool the public with smoke and mirror test scores, this could be extremely damaging to our public school system and to the children who attend them. DC is being watched by the entire country so it's crucial that the truth be revealed.

Your best bet might be to contact recently retired teachers to find out what is really going on in DC schools. Watch Learning Matters with John Merrow, especially the podcast that describes TFA. Also, see the blog entitled "Filthy Teaching." And remember, a good journalist can be of great benefit to society. Good luck!

Posted by: Linda/RetiredTeacher | January 11, 2010 8:33 PM | Report abuse

I am so glad to see this new space to discuss what's going on in our schools. I too would suggest looking at "Filthy Teaching" it's a great look at what's truly happening in a school that is often singled out as a success story in the District. As a parent, I have found that much of what is printed about DCPS bears little resemblance to what my children experience each day when they head off to school. I'm looking forward to real coverage of the system. Best of luck!

Posted by: Title1SoccerMom | January 11, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse

I'm bookmarking your blog and look forward to reading it>
I hope you don't follow the Robert Samuelson view of comments:
he doesn't read them because he has a job.

Posted by: edlharris | January 11, 2010 11:12 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately, the teacher behind the "Filthy Teaching" blog resigned this week.

Posted by: kelly5612 | January 12, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

From her goodbye:
"Another big reason for leaving is, sadly, I don't think the school as a whole really gives a damn about what the students really need. Our prime (and seemingly only) mission is to raise test scores. We (i.e. the schools' attitude as a whole, not individual staff members) do not care about our students' emotional or social needs.

When we did a training on helping students develop their relationships with others and a sense of identity among the school and community, I actually heard an administrator say that we were to use what knew about students social/emotional needs in order to "leverage it against them in order to raise test scores."

I assume that she meant we should get to know our students on a personal level and help them get to know their classmates because that helps students feel more comfortable so that they can learn more effectively, which is all fine and dandy, but this particular administrator's words clearly illustrate what I consider to be an unhealthy perspective concerning our school's reason for being: We're not primarily here to help students grow; we're here because higher test scores look good downtown, to parents, and to the media.

I think one of my students put it best when he said, "This school doesn't really care about us, it only cares about our tests."

We're so caught up in trying to raise test scores that we have virtually no discipline system."

Posted by: edlharris | January 12, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

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