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Obama and D.C. Schools: Addendum

Here are a couple of other voices on the subject that didn't make it into the paper or the blogs. They certainly won't be the last word on this, but they're worth noting.

Rep. Brian Baird (D-Wash.), who is retiring after six terms and moving back home, said his family will miss Brent Elementary, where his sons attend kindergarten.

"We are thrilled with the experience we've had with D.C. public schools. We're realizing that the public schools in Washington state are not likely to be as good," Baird told my colleague Kevin Sieff. Spoken like a man who's not running for re-election.

"My neighborhood school is a good school, but there are many struggling schools, too," said Council member Phil Mendelson (D-At Large) whose daughter attends John Eaton Elementary School (where presumptive Council Chairman-elect Kwame R. Brown also is a parent).

"Choosing a school for your children is a very personal decision," Mendelson said. "But I will say that the school system is no worse now than it was in 1977," when Amy Carter attended Stevens Elementary.

Follow D.C. Schools Insider every day at schools. And for admissions advice, college news and links to campus papers, please check out our new Higher Education page at Bookmark it!

By Bill Turque  | September 28, 2010; 11:30 AM ET
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Maybe one of these guys ought to be president instead of Obama.

Posted by: educationlover54 | September 28, 2010 8:01 PM | Report abuse

Nice to hear.

Posted by: celestun100 | September 29, 2010 12:55 AM | Report abuse

Let's face it: it is possible to receive a great education in DC public schools, but having "connections" helps. For those locked out of "out-of-boundary" options in more affluent neighborhoods, the opportunities are still slimmer. The challenge here is to transport the high teacher quality and parent involvement and oversight in Ward 3 schools to all our schools. For my take on teaching, I again ask your readers to visit my blog at

Posted by: dcproud1 | September 29, 2010 6:39 AM | Report abuse

I would like to hear more about these schools-- are they really better than other DCPS schools? what is it that makes them so good? Can it be replicated at other DCPS schools? thanks for any insight!

Posted by: sacramentogirl | September 29, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Ward 3 isn't the only area with good schools. However, one thing that makes them standout is the economic factor. Parents in those neighborhoods are more affluent which means they are also better educated than many other DC residents. This translates into better prepared students (in some cases, better behavior) and also greater parental involvement, even if it is only financial support that is provided. Its not simply the teachers, its the school community (parents, students and faculty) that makes them great.

As for other schools, there are many other areas that are good--but need more parental involvement to be great. Because DC allows out-of-boundary placements (for good reason) many great parents flock to the same schools, like Eaton and Brent.

My husband and I are in Ward 5 and chose to focus our energy on our neighborhood. Our son has been enrolled in the Montessori program at Thurgood Marshall Elementary School. So far, it has been GREAT! His classroom teacher and her aide are outstanding. (His teacher received one of the highest ratings on DC's new IMPACT evaluations) We love the music teacher. The principal is very open to parents' ideas and involvement. This year, we have been able to acquire a foreign language teacher (French) and the pool reopened, so starting in the Spring the students should begin taking lessons during their PE classes. People have to spend time investigating schools on their own...

Posted by: 39aka94 | September 29, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

39aka94, according to DCPS records, Brent is not in ward 3, it is in ward 6-- southeast DC.

I'm so happy to hear that Marshall Elementary is doing so well for you family-- I really wish we would hear more of these good stories about DCPS neighborhood schools! encore!

Posted by: sacramentogirl | September 29, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

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