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D.C. School Closings: The Hearings

Somewhere out there, some people don't like the idea of closing 23 D.C. public schools. But they didn't show up in any great numbers for tonight's 23 simultaneous hearings--the big finale in a weeks-long process of vetting Chancellor Michelle Rhee's proposed list of schools to be shuttered.

To be sure, some schools on the list have their defenders, and some of them brought their vehement and even compelling cases to the attention of a huge battalion of schools administrators who supervised hearings all around the city Thursday evening. But at most of the hearings, hardly anyone bothered to come out--and weather was no factor. By the time the hearings started, the weak winter event had turned into a light drizzle.

(10 PM UPDATE: School system spokesman Mafara Hobson reports that a total of 411 people attended the 23 hearings, an average of fewer than 20 people per school closing. In fact, the turnout was far less balanced than that, with a few dozen folks showing up at some schools and hardly anyone at others.)

At Garnet-Patterson Middle School in what some would consider Shaw and others would say is Columbia Heights--this matters because the two communities have been reduced to dueling over which gets to keep its middle school--the school officials and elected politicians outnumbered the community activists who signed up to speak on behalf of saving Shaw Middle School. If there were any actual Shaw parents or students on hand, I couldn't find them and they didn't speak in the first 80 minutes of the hearing.

The hearings, hailed by Rhee and Mayor Adrian Fenty as proof of their flexibility and openness to public opinion and denounced by council member Marion Barry and a small band of opponents for being part of a "divide and conquer" strategy, demonstrated that whatever opposition there is to the closings is very much limited to people who want to save their neighborhood schools. Not a single speaker at the three schools I visited objected to the idea that a good many schools ought to be closed. Just not theirs.

At Garnet-Patterson, the hearing was held in the school's depressing, dim auditorium, where a man named Archie Childs walked in, sat down and leaned back, only to collapse into the aisle behind him, victim of one of the dozens of broken seats in the room. Metal supports protrude from broken and twisted seat bottoms, floor boards are missing, the sound system was virtually useless, and in the front of the room, a single sign sought to inspire D.C. students with this message:

"Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.--Winston Churchill"

I kid you not. That's what passes for educational inspiration in one of the D.C. schools that's not on the closings list.

They cannot close these places fast enough.

Which ones they close is another question, and Rhee hinted earlier in the week that there will be changes in the final list, in part because of the effective protests mounted by parents at a few of the schools officially listed as doomed.

Clearly, the system's inept efforts to zone kids into schools not in their own neighborhood has left many people wishing they could use schools where they actually live. Supporters of Shaw, for example, repeatedly noted that it is unfair to say that their school must close for underenrollment when many local students have been assigned to attend Francis Junior High, clear across town in the West End. And then there's the violence issue:

"Have you thought about the turf issues that exist between these two communities?" asked Marvin Coote, executive director of New Community for Children, warning that bad blood between teens in Shaw and Columbia Heights makes combining Shaw Middle with Garnet-Patterson Middle a dangerous idea.

Rhee said this week that she will take such concerns into account, working with police and community groups to smooth tensions and neighborhood beefs, but that she will not refrain from shutting down buildings because of turf battles.

"I hope this process is not perfunctory," said Ibrahim Mumin, a longtime Shaw activist and member of the Shaw Middle School Hall of Fame whose adult children attended Shaw Middle back when it was a junior high school. "I have to believe that this is still an open issue."

The scene at Garnet- Patterson, even though the room was 90 percent empty, was much more lively than at many of the other hearings. At Cleveland and Truesdell elementary schools, for example, so few people showed up that the hearings ended and the buildings were closed up in well under an hour.

Rhee hasn't said when she'll announce the final closings list, but it's likely to be in the next few weeks, as the process for parents to select and enroll in out of boundary schools begins in late February.

Lots more on all this Friday at noon in a special edition of Potomac Confidential, the chat right here on the big site. Please join me.

By Marc Fisher |  January 17, 2008; 8:38 PM ET
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Please email us to report offensive comments.

It's amusing to read about Barry's complaint.
What was he doing when he was mayor?
His efforts on behalf of the schools can be summed up by Edwin Starr: "Absolutely nothin'!"

Posted by: Ed | January 17, 2008 9:24 PM

Everyone was down at the the Wilson building at the real "hearing".... guess you missed it.

Posted by: LongTimeRez | January 17, 2008 9:24 PM

Am I missing something, DC schools are ranked at the bottom nationally, enrollment is declining rapidly, you can't find a DC public school listed in any major competitive event, whether it is writing, debate, sports, none. Now that someone is brave enough to do what should have been done a long time ago, everyones crying. If you look at successful schools in any jurisdiction, you will find parents that are actively involved in PTA, volunteer networks, fund raisers etc. to support their school. Can DC say that? Everyone before Rhee and Fenty did nothing, parents included. Now they want him to get there permission to do whats right.

Wake up, he doesn't need your permission, he needs your support. We all know they are right.

Will someone please tell Barry to go do what he does best and leave the real hard work to those that know what they are doing.

Posted by: xxx1 | January 17, 2008 9:45 PM

That is so sad about Winnie's quote being a slogan of one of the remaining schools. (Actually, that made me laugh out loud, but still sad nonetheless.)

I no longer have any children in this system (they mostly went to private schools in the District), so I am not active on this issue. However, I do live in Ward 5, very close to Bunker Hill Elementary. There are five schools closing in this vicinity, including Bunker Hill. I can't imagine all those kids being absorbed into other schools. On its face, it just doesn't seem right.

That is all I have to say about this.

Posted by: johng1 | January 17, 2008 9:58 PM

I spoke too soon :)

I meant to add that Bunker Hill is the largest and somewhat centrally located relative the other four schools slated for closing in this area of Ward 5.

Also, the argument regarding "bad blood" had me chuckling. That is such a lame excuse for not closing a school, and brings to mind images of the gang/police meetings staged in "Hill Street Blues!"

Posted by: johng1 | January 17, 2008 10:07 PM

Rhee was COMPLETELY right to hold so many concurrent meetings. I do not believe she meant to "divide and conquor," but if that had been her intent, it would have been totally justified. Had she held one meeting, people would have screamed her down, and not one productive word would have been said. I'm 100% certain. Just look what happens at council meetings.

P.S. Keeping these underenrolled schools open is not even a financially viable option. We have no choice but to close them.

Posted by: dcteacherchic | January 17, 2008 10:14 PM

Fenty and Rhee could have at least informed parents and city leaders BEFORE going forward with the school closings plan. As leaders, they should have shared their vision with District communities -- even if they threw the input in the trash after the community meetings. I agree, some schools do need to be closed or reconditioned. However, this is not about enrollment in some District Wards; its gentrification. Fenty is not Mayor Carcetti from HBO's The Wire and he certainly is not Bloomberg, as Bloomberg has enough money to buy New York. I forgave Fenty for the plagiarized school plan and for hiring a teacher with no experience as a superintendent, but this is ridiculous.

Posted by: Rashid | January 17, 2008 10:20 PM

Marc: You failed to mention the People's Meeting at the Wilson Building. That's where the opposition gathered, in protest of the sham hearings. (Hearings? How can Rhee and Fenty be at 23 places at once to do any "hearing"? Why would someone want to talk to a low-level bureaucrat who has nothing to do with the school closing decisions?)

There's still been no critical media coverage of the Fenty/Rhee claims that this will save $23.7 million. Turns out this was a miscalculation. It's closer to $4 million in savings, when you factor in the expected $9 million (1,000) lost to charter schools as a result of the closings. That's the expectation of the administration's contractors.

$4 million. That translates to $33,000 at each of 120 schools. Wow.

This isn't about saving money or improving DCPS. It's all about moving public school children OUT of buildings, so developers and private charter schools can move IN.

Posted by: Marc Borbely | January 17, 2008 10:33 PM

There was water gushing into Parkview auditorium during the hearing this evening. This Formerly Known as Beautiful Old Building is in desperate need of renovation.

Posted by: Mary Lou | January 17, 2008 10:57 PM

Can we get Harriette Walters of the DC Tax Office Scam to donate some money to the DCPS building fund?

Posted by: Jim | January 17, 2008 11:16 PM

However, this is not about enrollment in some District Wards; its gentrification.

And we all agree that gentrification is a wonderful thing that's revitalizing this beautiful city!

Posted by: DCer | January 17, 2008 11:20 PM

CREATING vs CLOSING --- It's time to pause, think and consider at least one TRULY student-focused idea beyond closing schools, and selling TAXPAYER-OWNED property to PRIVATE developers.

KEY QUESTION: Where will the families we want to attract to D.C. send their kids?

Let's redevelop D.C. public and charter schools into non-tuition citizen and teacher controlled Public Academies standardized by 10-student class sizes. The academy concept is designed to enhance greater attention to individual student needs and academically empower all children, particularly our special education achievers, with a stronger, empowering and challenging educational program. At a basic level, we believe our plan fosters a truly student-focused District educational system where children are accomplishing basic reading and introductory mathematics by age 3, not grade 3 --- with an infrastructure where college attendance or post-high school professional occupation training is a standard accomplishment. Citizen-parent oversight and control is a key element throughout.

In the Excellent Schools Plan (ESP), the standard elementary to high school curriculum includes comprehensive English, general sciences, technology, practical to advanced mathematics, environmental studies, critical analysis, strategic thinking, conflict resolution, performing arts, fine arts, American cultural history, world cultural history, social science, government studies, entrepreneurship, and personal finance. Additionally, courses will include writing, public speaking, interpersonal communication, literature, language arts (Spanish, Hausa, Swahili, Yoruba, Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, Aramaic, Cherokee, French, Italian, Russian, Latin, Greek, German, and Portuguese), pre-college studies, life management, team dynamics, citizen activism, physical fitness, martial arts, and health education. Included in ESP are diverse training courses and paid apprenticeship programs for senior academy students (computer repair, software and Internet programming, electrical and electronics repair, plumbing, carpentry, automobile repair, healthcare services, and small business development), complemented by rigorous academic studies, and extended full week neighborhood-based student services.

The ESP initiative is designed to systemically provide guaranteed full funding, upgrades and accountable operation in all aspects of the Public Academies to effectively educate pre-kindergarten (age 2) children to high school students. Estimated systemic funding for ESP will be conservatively at least 11% less than the current overall spending for the entire DCPS system. In an example, as a support tool for teachers and students and on-time delivery of up-to-date curriculum materials, students are assigned highly durable wireless notebook computers. These rugged lightweight units will be pre-loaded with secure curriculum software appropriate to each grade level and specific teacher lesson plans or course materials --- plus additional CD and DVD formatted educational resources. The computers' wireless capability will be encoded to only have access to a school-based Internet transmission, the ISIS system (Information Systems Infrastructure for Schools), and formatted CD, DVD and MP3 educational content. As our children are already electronically engaged, we must embrace this interest and ability by using familiar tools and hands-on teacher instruction that enhance their education. These tools will increase fiscal responsibility and accountability regarding expensive annual textbook procurements, storage, waste and on-time delivery.

Within 5 years we have the power to effectively empower all of our children by initiating the development and standardization of a Public Academy education system with the Preschool Academy (ages 2-3), Primary Academy (kindergarten to 4th grade; ages 4-8), Junior Academy (5th to 8th grade; ages 9-12) and Senior Academy (9th to 12th grade; ages 13-16) students. The program combines highly motivated and experienced teachers with state-of-the-art educational resources. Each class of 10 students has one teacher, amounting to a maximum 500 students per school composed of 100 students per grade. Companies can be given tax incentives and afterschool support to facilitate smaller onsite Preschool Academies and Primary Academies --- as well as increase the productivity and peace of mind of their working parents. In the senior academy years, 16 year old graduates will go into pre-college and/or private and public sector apprenticeship programs.

Admittedly, the ESP Public Academy concept is bold and outside the box. Yet, it is a very doable, practical, fully accountable, fiscally responsible and educationally effective plan.

More details on the ESP Concept are at:

Dennis Moore
Chairperson, District of Columbia Independents for Citizen Control

Posted by: Dennis Moore | January 18, 2008 12:05 AM

Has anyone been in a DCPS lately? Most of our schools are in deplorable conditions. Bereft of proper technological capabilities, and full of mold and mice, many of our schools are in desperate need of closure and renovation. There comes a time when we as parents and community leaders have to think about what's best for our children. The fact of the matter is that many of our schools don't have what they need to function properly: school psychologist, social worker, business manager, paraprofessionals, music teacher, P.E. teacher, custodial staff, or extra-curricular activities- not to mention the sad state of special education in the District.

Some time ago I went to my alma mater, Calvin Coolidge Senior High School. It was an emotional return for me, I hadn't been there in almost 15 years. To my surprise the school look exactly the same. The only difference was that the giant gaping hole on the third floor was filled with plaster. The auditorium ceiling was pealing and huge paint chips were everywhere. The irony of this situation is that I was there for a DC Youth Orchestra performance. Do we really want our children attending schools in conditions like this one?

The same can be said in reference to the Elementary schools within ward 4. Full of bugs and other vermin, our children attend schools that are in many cases unsafe and unhealthy. Not to mention the severe lack of leadership in some schools that cultivate an unsafe and often toxic social environment where teacher morale is nil. This is not to say that teaching and learning is not taking place. I believe it is, my son is a beneficiary of some of the great teaching taking place within the District. By the way, what is going to happen to those great teachers, when his school closes? Get ready MD and VA.

That being said, there are many questions that I feel need to be answered in an open forum. First and foremost, why were some districts hit harder than others? What is going to happen to the schools that are closed? Will the space be sold? If the District does experience growth- as evidenced in all of the construction district wide- won't those school be needed eventually?

Additionally, with all of this construction taking place within the District, are we holding the builders accountable? Can they help us as well? If a builder is granted permits to build multiple apartment complexes near a train station, should that builder be required to help renovate a school at no cost? Or will we continue to allow these large corporations to come into our communities, raise our taxes, over saturate the housing market, and get rich while the children of that same district attend less that sufficient schools? I guess this is an election question Clay Davis from "The Wire" can answer.

My last point is this, I think Mayor Fente and the Chancellor should be commended for their efforts to fix our school system. Last year, Dr. Clifford Janey proposed similar closures on a prolonged timeline and he was demonized. Some even said, his plan was too conservative. As a matter of fact his proposed closures affected schools West of the park. This year we are interestingly closing schools East of the park and Mayor Fente, a native washingtonian, is demonized. Do we really want our schools fixed? Either we are going to stop pontificating platitudes of injustice at the hands of an evil Mayor, or we are going to be courageous and embrace change. I pray we choose the later.

Posted by: Native Washingtonian | January 18, 2008 3:36 AM

Turf issues? We're supposed to keep a school open because of turf issues? God help us.

Posted by: csdiego | January 18, 2008 5:56 AM

DCPS schools go without guidance counselors, librarians, asst. principals, art & music instructors, reading & math specialists because of the money that is siphoned off by extremely small schools. No urban jurisdiction has as many small, underenrolled schools. Despite the fact that enrollment averages around 100-150 in some of these buildings designed for 500, they still need security staff, a principal, heating, cooling, maintenance, and basic staff. It is basic economics -- they cost too much for the number of children they serve, and the other schools that are OVERenrolled are paying dearly for it. Enough is enough. Fenty and Rhee are doing when Marion Barry & Co. should have done long ago -- but were too busy handing out jobs to care a whit about children's education.

Posted by: DCPS parent | January 18, 2008 6:44 AM

All that many of the protesters care about is that THEIR school isn't closed. It's just another version of NIMBYism (Not In By Backyard) - it happens with landfills, power plants, school closings, etc. All but the most obtuse recognize that these things are necessities, but heaven forbid they impact MY life. It's understandable that individuals look out for their own self interest, but NIMBY protests can't be permitted to drive overall policy decisions - SOMETHING has to be done, and I'm just glad someone finally has the courage/committment to do it.

Posted by: CH Dad | January 18, 2008 8:52 AM

eff turf battles. if we're supposed to keep schools in their current state because some puffed up middle school brats would get it fights, then we should just shut the whole thing down now and bring on mad max. outfit everyone with guns and let god sort it out. we can't achieve anything in this city if we allow current weaknesses be our limitations for the future. blow up the schools and start over.

Posted by: IMGoph | January 18, 2008 9:38 AM

I testified last night and the children where I live have to take the bus to Francis Jr. High which is 22 blocks away instead of walk 4 blocks to Shaw. How many other residents in Shaw are experiencing these crazy school boundary deals. Also there is much more happening at Shaw then school. They have a band that has competed and/our performed around the U.S. Shaw also has a lot of community services that are offered from with in the school. We want the school renovated and a school/community center similar to the THEARC created.

Then there are the gangs. In the Shaw/Ledroit Park Neighborhood alone there are the 5 N O crew, KDP, LW and the Park (Ledroit Park), this does not include the other gangs that war with the gangs which include 1512 and the gangs in Columbia Heights. Closing Shaw will put all of these gangs in one school. Much of the gunfire in Shaw is coming from one or more of these gangs warring. These are not puffed up middle school brats. These are real gangs with members 10+ that have real guns. There has been 9 shootings on 7th street and the surrounding areas since New Years. A young man was just shot and wounded on 1/9. I just got caught in gang gunfire last week. There will be more resources put on trying to keep these gangs at bay and these gangs will create a dangerous learning environment.

DC government is spending $19000 per student in DCPS" this is straight from the mouth of Council Member Jack Evans. We spend more than any state in the US. Why are we spending more and getting less. Why do our children have to suffer because of DCPS misappropriation and management.

Fenty and Rhee are doing what they have to do but 23 simultaneous meetings in 23 locations across the city is an insult to anyone's intelligence. That fact that they want to close Shaw which is 6 acres of land which includes a field and school and send those students to Garnett which does not have a field, and where a man sat down in the auditorium last night and almost seriously hurt himself because the chair broke is crazy.

When looking at enrollment people need to look at more than just the big pictures. Analysis needs to be done to see why schools are under-enrolled. How many children in DC have to take the bus to an in boundary school that is not in there neighborhood let alone there Ward. If the enrollment of schools like Cardozo or Francis Jr. were looked at. Where are those students coming from and why aren't all DC students in-boundary schools the schools that are walking distance from there homes. Which leads to the question are some residents being put in schools so that some schools meet enrollment requirements and others do not?

We agree that schools need to be consolidated or closed but Shaw is not one of the them. Shaw is historical to this community and we are ready to fight tooth and nail to keep it. There are a lot of issues that play into the enrollment at schools and we want the proper analysis done.

Posted by: Shaw Jr. Supporter | January 18, 2008 10:30 AM

All of you who are being callous, cold and dismissive of "turf issues" -- you are being remarkably insensitive to the massive social crisis in this city and the way that violence is an inevitable outcome of that. A few years ago, something like 14-15 school age children were killed in the course of the school year. These deaths may have been a result of seemingly petty BS, but they are reflective of a profound lack of respect, alienation and severe competition over paltry resources found in our cities poorest neighborhoods. In the school where I teach, there are groups of kids from two neighborhoods who really cannot function together in one building. You can spit at them to 'get over it,' but its more complicated than that, and they won't listen to you. We actually need constructive solutions - thriving neighborhood schools, jobs, decent housing, health services and so on. Your contempt is useless and you should keep it to yourself.

Posted by: DCPS teacher | January 18, 2008 10:44 AM

I spent all of my time in college working in Shaw Junior High School. Yes, the school has issues and even though students from all over the city travel to attend Shaw (how many other neighborhood schools is that true of?), gentrification has taken its toll on enrollment. I absolutely agree with the 10:30am poster. Shaw is a historical school with deep roots in the community and a continuing band program that sends students on to success at Ellington and other schools.

Maybe parents would be less upset about changes made to schools in disrepair with declining enrollment if those suggested changes included improving or renovating the schools instead of just shuttering them.

Posted by: Shaw Supporter2 | January 18, 2008 10:45 AM

One small question, why at Shaw JHS, which they are planning to close, was there a new paint job and new carpeting put in just this fall? Could it be the facility with it's underground parking, proximity to downtown and location within a growing condo (read:gentrified) community has other purposes? I encourage folks to read the RRR plan on the DCPS website. There are carefully crafted statements about every school. Buried in one paragraph is a statement regarding sharing the schools with other agencies or entities. Hmmm....looks like the pro-Charter/anti-public school Mayor is moments away from giving them gifts of cheap buildings. How long before developers get to purchase properties with the promise 'support' of students without any real plan or accountability? Some of the schools, though admittedly in deplorable disrepair, are in curously desirable locations for development.

The bottom line. We are watching the systematic selling off and selling out of public education in the District of Columbia. It doesn't matter what parents, educators or leaders in the system have to say. It's a done deal.

Posted by: 4TheKids | January 18, 2008 11:13 AM

These deaths may have been a result of seemingly petty BS, but they are reflective of a profound lack of respect, alienation and severe competition over paltry resources found in our cities poorest neighborhoods. In the school where I teach, there are groups of kids from two neighborhoods who really cannot function together in one building.

As a resident east of the park, I will say that you, as a teacher, are enabling this problem by not stopping it. I suggest you wake your stundets up to REAL issues in the world such as Northern Ireland or the Israel/Palestine issues and those kids need to learn that their petty BS is PETTY BS that isn't tolerated outside of their miserable, weak-willed, myopic mindset and them that think wrongly. We DC residents east of the park have zero respect for children caught up in phony turf issues because that is the only sensible reaction to them- give such ignorance and foolishness zero respect and give the kids caught up in that craziness and stupidity zero respect. I care absolutely nothing about those children when they do wrong and neither should you! They need to wake up and shape up and too many adults ask nothing of them or of themselves. I'm not talking about not cutting kids slack when they're growing up, every boy gets in one or two fistfights, but not every boy cares what block the other one is from. In fact, no smart kids do. I am shocked at your ignorance printing what you just wrote. Those kids are no different than the Klan and you think they need understanding? They need RE-EDUCATION.

They need to be told to shut up and wake up and if they don't, the jails will beat it out of them.

that is the only sensible solution to kids who won't grow up and obsess over child-like "turf issues."

Posted by: Anonymous | January 18, 2008 11:20 AM

There were plenty of people at Park View last night Marc.

Posted by: David Pauk | January 18, 2008 12:50 PM

I can't believe the attitude of the person trivializing the "turf" issues that exist within DCPS. I have dealt with it firsthand and trust me, it's not as black and white as you would paint it. There are schools with neighborhood beefs that are decades old with good children caught in the middle (ala Israel/Palestine and Northern Ireland).

I question what your level of "understanding" is when it comes to these issues. Maybe you're too busy calling the mayor about trash collection/stoplights etc. to be bothered with the violence that is occurring in the city with some of the very kids you downgrade.

Do you have kids? Do they attend DCPS? Where? East of the Park? WTF is that? Try East of the River and then come back with you sanctimonious attitude.

On a side note: If you don't care about their issues to make a crusade to stop it other than running your mouth, wait until one of these "miserable, weak-willed, myopic mindsetted" kids runs up on you one evening and pays you a direct visit.

It takes a village to raise a child. Not just certain sections. You, my friend are the village idiot.

Posted by: Common Sense | January 18, 2008 3:44 PM

On a side note: If you don't care about their issues to make a crusade to stop it other than running your mouth, wait until one of these "miserable, weak-willed, myopic mindsetted" kids runs up on you one evening and pays you a direct visit.


They have and I have the scars to show for it.

You don't have a clue, do you?

We are their victims.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 18, 2008 4:53 PM

Our number one priority should be the students. The lack of education which they are receiving at many of our public schools is sad. Finally there is a plan, finally someone cares. I can't even tell you how many different plans have floated in and out of the system. Let us support those who wish to raise the level of our children's education. One of the first steps should be closing the schools that are in such terrible condition (I know, I have been sent to many of them for school- wide training sessions). We are sending our students out into the world with a terrible disadvantage. Compared to students coming from other school districts, and even private schools, our children are lacking. Has anyone considered how our children compare to their competition? We are setting them up for failure. I would hope that a longer commute would be worth a better education. I encourage everyone to give Fenty and Rhee some support. They are in fact willing to listen. They are trying to make a change. Someone needs to do it, it is already too late.

Posted by: DCPS Teacher-Native Washingtonian | January 19, 2008 9:22 AM

He wants development and density in your neighborhood, in mine, everywhere but along his tranquil tree-lined street. And damnit, he wants those public schools closed! Now, his kids go to private school, but so what. (Talk about NIMBY) He hates alternative media - he calls WPFW "political blather." When I read that on his chat Thursday, lots clicked into place.

People who advocate for public institutions are nasty "activist" types. That word is the new "liberal," at least on the pages of the WP.

Sometimes I cannot help noticing that it looks like now that most white people are done with public schools, none of us really cares very much about preserving them, and those of us who do are raked over the coals.

Meantime, developers are rubbing their hands together and salivating at the massive amount of square footage that's about to come online. Meaning, our wonderful government's about to give it away to them at a fraction of the value, leading to more lower income folks being pushed way out of the city they were born and raised in.

But I guess I'm just not thinking of the kids, right?

Posted by: Asphalt | January 19, 2008 5:53 PM

As a new mother, district homeowner, and and employee of the public education system, I am for school closings. However, 23 schools is a lot all at once.

Many people fail to realize that each school has a very different school culture, and that not all of the 23 schools are horrible places. Several "under enrolled" schools on the list are not under performing schools.

When the programs that work are eliminated to "re-invent the wheel", this will push more middle and low income families toward charter schools.

Few people want to have their children be the guinea pigs for the public school consolidation. Even more want their elementary and middle school aged children to be able walk to school.

As a new mother and homeowner, my daughter was going to go to Park View, which is across the street from my house. The class sizes are small (less than 15 students in a room) and they have good programs. Now that my option may be are to send my soon to be 5 year old 11 blocks away to a crowded Bruce-Monroe, or two blocks away to the new EL Haynes Public Charter School, (which will have a Pre-K - 8 program and limited enrollment).

I will be looking into the charter school.

Think of mergers in the business world. It takes time for the environment to absorb all the players, and to produce effective results.

Posted by: Anna | January 20, 2008 9:02 AM

Sometimes I cannot help noticing that it looks like now that most white people are done with public schools, none of us really cares very much about preserving them, and those of us who do are raked over the coals.


I've heard and seen exactly the opposite. Whites and Asians are demanding change for their own kids in public schools. It's still racially loaded, but look at any kindergarten and see what Gen Yer has a 5 yr old walking from their Penn Quarter condo...

Posted by: Anonymous | January 20, 2008 7:08 PM

I've heard and seen exactly the opposite. Whites and Asians are demanding change for their own kids in public schools. It's still racially loaded, but look at any kindergarten and see what Gen Yer has a 5 yr old walking from their Penn Quarter condo...
I am not sure what this post-er means with this comment. What I do know is that there are AT LEAST 8 former public schools that have been converted (sold at a huge loss by the government) to luxury condos. Watch for more of the same.

Posted by: What do you mean? | January 20, 2008 9:54 PM

I am not sure what this post-er means with this comment.

A previous poster suggested that white people were "done" with public schools in DC and not interested in education. I found, at my PTA meetings, that if there is any racially-heated argument- and to put all the cards on the table, there have been several racially-heated arguments- that the stereotype is not that white parents have given up on the schools, we're more or less accused of being busy-bodies who micromanage our children's education and butt into school business. That is the angry stereotype I've heard. Sometimes it feels like every single white parent in the school shows up for the PTA meetings and that warps the dynamic between the whole school and the PTA. Because this is a tightrope walk of anger and distrust, I don't want to suggest anything further.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 21, 2008 11:27 AM

What I do know is that there are AT LEAST 8 former public schools that have been converted (sold at a huge loss by the government) to luxury condos. Watch for more of the same.


Instead of watching for that conspiracy, I will watch the skies for UFOs.

Posted by: Anonymous | January 21, 2008 11:28 AM

I don't agree with shutting down the schools. Are you people even thinking about the kids? I'm a high school student and I know personaly that if you close down local schools then there are a couple of problems. 1. Where do you think that the people from a school that was shut down going to go. There going to go to schools that are probably jam-packed and TOO crowded. 2. If you move to a school with a rival gang then what do YOU think would happen to the STUDENT. How can anyone function while you are risking your life just going to school. I don't think the goverment cares

Posted by: School kid | January 24, 2008 6:09 PM

well i think that you all should keep garnett patterson open and close shaw because there are more students at shaw tha participate in neigboor hood gangs and the teachers and staff at garnett dont tollerate that.another thing cardozo should be another school on the closing list the teacherss are not tesching thee school is dirty and there are more than enough beef going on there.

Posted by: robert | January 27, 2008 7:27 PM

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