- The Washington Times - Friday, November 7, 2008



Mayor Adrian M. Fenty’s early filing of paperwork for his re-election campaign in 2010 and the economic crisis our nation and city is facing may offer the Fenty administration and the community at large an opportunity to assess and evaluate the successes or failures of the school-reform initiative of the past two years. It offers the mayor — without losing face — the opening to justify his $1.4-plus billion proposed school budget and to explain the sustainability and long-term benefits of his transformative school plans.

It will also give him the opportunity to explain how much of our income taxes allocated for D.C. Public Schools will impact our limited city funds, as well as the effectiveness, role and expense of the newly established posts of ombudsman and deputy mayor for education. Above all, it may offer the mayor and D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee another chance to reach out to the school community, which has been alienated and marginalized from much of the school debate.

There is good cause to re-examine the Fenty administration’s costly school strategies and expenditures. Maryland, Virginia and 21 states nationwide have slashed their school budgets. The District of Columbia has yet to experience the same steep economic hardships of home foreclosures and the predictable decline in property taxes. Nevertheless, the economic crisis will impact our city’s ability to meet our costly financial commitment to the Fenty-Rhee school-reform initiative.

With the looming economic crisis and the mayor’s bid for re-election, our city has a warranted opportunity to re-evaluate our schools’ progress; the current costly education-administrative structure; their role and how well-aligned these agencies are with their organizational purpose and objective.



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