Fenty Holds Press Conference for High School Journalist
By Ashley McBride
Adrian Fenty reached out to Washington area high school journalists, including the editor of The McKinley Wire, by conducting a press conference at The Washington Post to address student concerns. The mayor answered a wide range of questions about taking over the school system, gun control, and teen curfew laws.
Since Adrian Fenty began serving as mayor in D.C., he has encountered controversy on many different levels. Fenty, who served on the DC Council before being elected, has developed a plan to takeover D.C. Public Schools. Some people support his plan, simply because he cannot do a worse job than what is being done already. Others have even gone so far as to protest the takeover in front of his house.
The school takeover policy, if approved, would change the school governance by making the current Board of Education an Advisory Board. Fenty would have ultimate authority over DCPS, create an independent agency in charge of a $2.3 billion capital construction budget, and designate an ombudsman to look into complaints from parents/guardians. This takeover would also designate a school construction authority, which would be run by a chief executive appointed by Fenty. The school construction authority would also be in charge of hurrying up the schools' renovation effort.
Fenty, who voted against a similar plan purposed by former Mayor Anthony Williams in 2004, has changed his mind on bettering the schools. "I am convinced that changing the school governance is the way to better our schools," said Fenty. "It's the system that is in place, not the person who is running the system that will cause change. The system is too diluted and we don't feel that any progress is being made."
Recently, the 30 year-old gun ban law was lifted in D.C., which has angered several citizens and public officials. One of those angered was Fenty, who plans to appeal the law by April 9th. "I do not support the ban being lifted," said Fenty.
Fenty has also faced so criticism concerning the D.C. teen curfew. When he served on the D.C. Council, he was the only one who voted against putting a stricter curfew law into place during the City Wide Crime Emergency last summer. "I don't find them to be useful," said Fenty. "About 90% to 95% of people arrested for violating the curfew were never arrested for anything before. Now they have this blemish on their record because they were out late."
Adrian Fenty, 36, has been fascinated with politics since he was in high school. "I got into politics because I wanted to help people and I like the way laws are made," he said. Fenty earned his B.A. in Economics and English at Berlin College and he later went to Howard University School of Law.
Fortunately, everything the current Mayor is involved in does not attract controversy. He is leading a march for D.C. Voting Rights on April 16. Everyone who wishes to participate should convene at Freedom Plaza around noon.
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