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“Next school year marks a distinct change in [the superintendent office’s] approach to helping our schools with their improvement strategies. We are implementing new mentoring initiatives, creating school support teams, and working hand in hand with community organizations to get a higher level of parent involvement.”

Now, Ms. Mahaley gets some slack since she’s been in the job barely eight months, but things look dim because her rhetoric is more of the same-old, same-old.

The math and reading embarrassments follow costly inducements for teachers, including bonuses up to $25,000, and spending on similar but failed techniques.

Money, or the lack thereof, isn’t the problem if kids who live in Ward 5, 7 and 8 attend a school in Wards 1, 2 and 3 can rise up to and above academic expectations.

King was a leader because he stepped away from the status quo.

Will Mr. Gray step up or fall in line and mark time? Update: D.C. Council member David Catania seems to be following the go-it-alone path.

Asked to react to the fact that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention excluded the District’s frighteningly high HIV rates from its first multiyear HIV study, he said: “Though the District is excluded from this specific CDC study, we are fortunate to have world-class data of our own in the District’s annual epidemiological report on HIV/AIDS. Our data has lead (sic) our response to the epidemic and is helping to save lives.”


Deborah Simmons can be reached at