- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 25, 2000

Carol Schwartz education council D.C.

The executive and legislative branches of D.C. government are in the middle of perhaps the most important issue of this year: governance of public education. The District's elected leaders, you see, must decide on who shall be responsible for schools an elected school board or an appointed one. To date, the majority of the 13 members on the council believes the school board should remain an elected body, but that the mayor should appoint the superintendent. The vote, taken last week, was 7-5. Why not 8-5? Or 7-6? One member, Carol Schwartz, did not attend the session.

Mrs. Schwartz was out of town during last week's vote. She also was absent Jan. 14, when the council's Education Committee voted the school governance legislation out of committee 3-1. An at-large member and a Republican, Mrs. Schwartz is a veteran council member who is up for re-election this year. Important, too, is the fact that she is a former member of the D.C. Board of Education (1974-82) and chairman of the Public Works Committee, both services that are drawing criticism from all quarters. With Mrs. Schwartz noticeably absent, some of her supporters are asking, "Where's Carol?"

She was in Florida, city hall sources say, when trash collections were forsaken for snow plows, and she was not in Washington for last week's vote on school governance. While some of her council colleagues believe she will continue to support the issue of an elected school board, it is hoped Mrs. Schwartz will be back from the Sunshine State before Feb. 1, when the council is scheduled to take up the school governance issue again.

You know, it would have been nice to have Mrs. Schwartz's leadership and educational sensibilities for all the public to see, and it would have been nice to see her on Capitol Hill, where Congress is threatening to intervene. Who knows? Maybe Congress would have been less interested than it now is.

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