Brown keeps education oversight, hires Board of Education member
D.C. Council Chairman-elect Kwame R. Brown has made his first organizational move, announcing that he will retain oversight of the city's public schools in the next term rather than hand the responsibility to a committee run by one of his colleagues.
Until 2007, the council oversight of education generally fell to a standing committee, but that year Chairman Vincent C. Gray, with newly elected Mayor Adrian M. Fenty chomping at the bit to disband the school board and take direct control of the schools, chose to keep the issue under his direct purview. In the following years, Gray used sometimes marathon hearings to question the course of education reform under Fenty, Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee and Deputy Mayor for Education Victor Reinoso.
There was some thought that Brown, who currently heads the council's economic development committee and is a stalwart advocate of job-creation efforts, would want to keep his current portfolio and hand education to a colleague. But Brown said in brief comments this morning that his decision "sends a message" that education reform is a priority of the D.C. Council, adding that he plans to put special focus on improving the state of the city's middle schools.
Asked why he chose to keep the education portfolio, Brown said he was struck while in the grocery store. "I was in line; I had both of my kids with me. I saw a grandma or great-grandma reading something on an Apple Jacks box and the kids couldn't read a word. ... I realized it was an obligation to keep education reform moving forward."
"This is the right thing to do," he added.
Lisa Raymond, who represents Ward 6 on the State Board of Education, will be Brown's top adviser on education issues. She did not seek reelection in the fall, and has been considered a contender for a Cabinet post under Gray, whom she supported during his mayoral campaign.
| December 21, 2010; 11:12 AM ET
Categories: Kwame Brown, The District, Vincent Gray
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