- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 29, 2006

As the exhaustive mayoral debates proved this summer, this election year is a pivotal one for D.C. Unfortunately, we’re concerned that voters might think the heavy lifting is over because the Democratic primary generally decides the victors in the November general election. Indeed, we are disappointed that Mayor Tony Williams, D.C. Council Chairman Linda Cropp and School Board President Peggy Cooper Cafritz are not working harder to urge voters to the polls. After all, not only will voters elect a new mayor and chairman, but several seats on the Board of Education are also on the ballot.

The most important school board seat is the presidency, held for six years by Peggy Cooper Cafritz, who is not seeking re-election. The several viable candidates for the seat, which is nonpartisan, are former City Administrator Robert Bobb, Board Vice President Carolyn Graham and Timothy Jenkins, a former president of the University of the District of Columbia. Both Mr. Jenkins and Mrs. Graham hold an impressive curriculum vitae. Mrs. Graham, a minister and expert in human services, served as a deputy mayor under Mr. Williams before he appointed her to the school board in 2004. But, as Mrs. Graham said in recent days, a federal investigation into her role in a charter school probe “casts a shadow on my entire campaign” and her credibility. Mr. Jenkins’ credentials reach from Yale Law School and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee to a law practice and visiting professorship, as well as consultancies at the United Nations and elsewhere.

But the school system has become a perplexing state of affairs, and it will continue along the same path unless someone with a vision and know-how leads it in the opposite direction. So, sometimes, as we pointed out in an Aug. 14, 2003, editorial, it becomes necessary to “Look beyond their resumes.” The editorial encouraged the mayor to select Mr. Bobb as city administrator because he is an “effective and tested manager,” a “quick study” and someone who “knows big-city politics.” As the manager of this city since then, Mr. Bobb has over and over again proven himself as a tested leader and instructive listener. He gets things done.

As the city moves forward on critical political fronts, this is no time to forsake our teachers and children. Go to the polls on Nov. 8. The Washington Times endorses Robert Bobb for president of the Board of Education.

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