SIMMONS: D.C. Council’s David Catania is no reformer when it comes to education

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Personal character flaw, perhaps?

If those tidbits from a liberal outlet leave you lowering the red flags, conservatives and Rhee-lovers take note.

Mr. Catania wants to reinstate a school ombudsman office — under the guise of re-engaging parents and students in school policy. Now, at first blush you might fist-bump someone, but beware. An ombudsman would lead to a disengaged elected school board, a disengaged mayoral administration and a disengaged D.C. Council.

Indeed, the czar would become macro- and micromanager of the already fractured public schooling system.

Parents, school officials and civic groups already have pointed out — and are decrying — Mr. Catania’s educational package for other reasons, as well.

Mr. Catania also is proposing to increase funding to high-poverty students, arguing, as the federal government has for generations, that they need larger handouts if they are ever going to get a leg up.

Well, Ms. Rhee made a similar argument, got oodles of money and students are still falling into the breeches — of education, of race, of employment, of crime, of health and of family values.

Mr. Catania is a wizard with no Oz.

Having parachuted into city hall as a Republican, Mr. Catania spurned the party after national leaders supported a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.

An independent since, he often acts more like a prosecutor than a thoughtful lawmaker in search of solutions — much like Ms. Rhee, who at least had a vested interest in the health, education and welfare of D.C. children.

Fortunately, another at-large independent lawmaker, David Grosso, is a member of the education panel, and committee member Tommy Wells of Ward 6, albeit a Democrat, is vested as a mayoral candidate.

Muriel Bowser of Ward 4 and Jack Evans of Ward 2, two other Democrats running for mayor, need to step forward, pull back the curtain and show parents the naked truth.

The council hearings on Monday and Tuesday morning prove to be perfectly timed.

Deborah Simmons can be reached at

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About the Author
Deborah Simmons

Deborah Simmons

Award-winning opinion writer Deborah Simmons is a senior correspondent who reports on City Hall and writes about education, culture, sports and family-related topics. Mrs. Simmons has worked at several newspapers, and since joining The Washington Times in 1985, has served as editorial-page editor and features editor and on the metro desk. She has taught copy editing at the University of ...

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