- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 1, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The District’s latest version of a five-year strategic education plan is in hand, and like its earlier version, it lists objectives and markers on a measuring stick to determine how well schools and students stack up.

However, “Day Dreaming” is an apropos title for “A Capital Commitment: Strategic Plan 2017-2022.”

More than a couple of the dubious goals include 100 percent of students in kindergarten through second grade will be reading at or above grade level, 85 percent of students will graduate high school within four years, and 100 percent of students will feel loved, challenged and prepared.

This is a major plank in Mayor Muriel Bowser’s 2018 campaign for re-election.



Other food for thought: Can you imagine a mayoral candidate attempting to explain L-O-V-E on the campaign trail?

Or trying to explain why her five-year plan excludes students who attend charter schools?

Or how politicians, unions and anti-choice advocates who oppose testing are going to buy in to a plan that essentially calls for testing kindergarteners, first-graders and second-graders on their literacy skills?

Who’s going to explain to little LeBron’s mom that her 7-year-old son reads like a first-grader?

But wait, there’s more.

The mission is to “ensure that every school guarantees students reach their full potential through rigorous and joyful learning experiences provided in a nurturing environment.” But when the fact that only children attending D.C. Public Schools (DCPS) is factored in, this Mission Statement becomes Mission Impossible.

Why? Because DCPS also is responsible for children attending in-house special education programs — as well as out-of-state special education programs and a number of juvenile delinquents — and English as a second-language programs.

The strategic priorities also highlight recruiting, developing and retaining a corps of empowered staff.

And empowerment is measured how? Oh, that’s right.

The plan is to “Infuse our values into all that we do.”

Well, schools are for teaching and learning — not “infusing” pie-in-the-sky cultural and social values that have left DCPS youths unable to be gainfully employed, academically ready for the military or knowledgeable about the difference between a janitor, a custodian and a sanitation engineer. The hundreds of millions of public dollars that pour out from government coffers prove those points and more.

The cornerstone to America’s way of life is education. People in other parts of the world crave as much. First- and second-generation Americans expect as much. American slaves died for as much.

Ironically, the touchy-feely L-O-V-E part of the myopic strategic plan meshes quite nicely with yet another: At the start of the school year, DCPS rolled out a plan for all second-graders to learn how to ride a bicycle.

Hmm. Didn’t that job used to be in the hands of moms and dads, grammies and pop-pops?

But, oh, that’s right, public schools are surely but slowly trying to replace moms and pops and grammies and pop-pops.

Seems the biggest part of the problem is that as long as politicians and government bureaucrats daydream of ways to replace parents, they don’t have to work at teaching and learning.

Seems Miss Bowser wants parents to realize that their children were neither loved nor challenged nor prepared until after her second term has expired.

Ain’t that a blip? Or not.

Deborah Simmons can be contacted at dsimmons@washingtontimes.com.

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