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Deborah Simmons

Deborah Simmons was a senior correspondent who reported on City Hall and wrote about education, culture, sports and family-related topics.

Articles by Deborah Simmons

Britney Corbett oversees a ninth-grade math at Washington Leadership Academy in Northeast D.C. The Washington Teachers' Union, which represents public school teachers in the nation's capital and is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, has voiced support for charter school unions. (The Washington Times/File)

D.C. public schools can be a big gamble

D.C. Public Schools officials are about to kick off what's become an annual lottery ritual for traditional public schools. Published December 2, 2021

In this March 22, 2021, file photo, Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser testifies before the House Oversight and Reform Committee. (Carlos Barria/Pool via AP) ** FILE **

Hit, run, get McGruff the Crime Dog, but blame climate change

Muriel Bowser is running for D.C. mayor again so she can either best so-called Mayor for Life Marion Barry. Or hang onto her seat long enough to wipe homelessness off the city's to-do list. Or usher in statehood and become the city's first bona fide U.S. senator. Published November 30, 2021

This undated file photo provided by the U.S. Attorneys Office for Utah and introduced as evidence at a trial shows fentanyl-laced fake oxycodone pills collected during an investigation.  (U.S. Attorneys Office for Utah via AP, File)

The opioid crisis is real, and so are the people selling and using opioids

A couple of dudes who live in Northeast D.C. were arrested last week and indicted this week on felony charges of distribution of fentanyl, heroin and cocaine, and possession of fake OxyContin pills. They had tens of thousands of dollars in cash, as well. On Monday, they are expected to face a judge. Published November 19, 2021

Los Angeles Unified School District food service workers from left, Tomoko Cho, Aldrin Agrabantes, April Thomas, and Marisel Dominguez, pre-package hundreds of free school lunches in plastic bags on Thursday, July 15, 2021, at the Liechty Middle School in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes) ** FILE **

Can the federal government feed most of the kids most of the time?

Something's got to give. School districts across the country are trying to do something they never were equipped or prepared to do, and that's to be prepared to feed most students nutritious meals before school, during school and after school. Published November 16, 2021

In this March 30, 2021, photo, young unaccompanied migrants, from ages 3 to 9, watch television inside a playpen at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility, the main detention center for unaccompanied children in the Rio Grande Valley, in Donna, Texas. On Monday, June 21, 2021, more than a dozen immigrant children described difficult conditions, feelings of isolation and a desperation to get out of emergency facilities set up by the Biden administration to cope with a rise in the arrival of minors on the southwest border. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills, Pool) ** FILE **

Presidents and Congress don’t do reparations

President Biden and other folk are pushing for illegal immigrant families to receive reparations for being separated from their relatives in the U.S. Published November 12, 2021

Virginia Gov.-elect, Glenn Youngkin, second from right, speaks to the media as Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, second from left, Suzanne Youngkin, right, and Pam Northam look on after a transition meeting in Richmond, Va., Thursday, Nov. 4, 2021.

Virginia’s infrastructure fight — Round 2

Democrats and Republicans in Congress approved President Biden's infrastructure proposal for the states after Virginians voted last week for new management -- a Republican one -- and they'll be taking office in early January. Published November 9, 2021

In this file photo, Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser, testifies at the House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing, on D.C. statehood, Monday, March 22, 2021, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Caroline Brehman/Pool via CQ Roll Call) **FILE**

Democrats play musical chairs

Muriel Bowser wants her supporters to know she still isn't scared of the Big Boys. Published November 4, 2021

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser is shown with students from the D.C. Bilingual Public Charter School in this 2017 file photo. (Julia Brouillette/The Washington Times) **FILE**

Cut to the chase inside D.C. schools

Every now and again, I peek inside D.C. Public Schools classrooms to see what teachers are up to. After all, as teaching goes, so goes learning. Published October 28, 2021

In this March 20, 2020, file photos, a man smokes inside a tent on skid row in Los Angeles. The 9th U.S. Court of Appeals on Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021, overturned a federal judge’s sweeping order that required the city and county of Los Angeles to quickly find shelter for all homeless people living on downtown’s Skid Row.  (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File) **FILE**

Time ticks by fast when battling homelessness

D.C. officials are facing several deadlines -- all of their own making -- and it doesn't matter whether they're wearing digital time pieces, showing off a Piaget or checking the clock on their government-issued laptop. Published October 21, 2021

In this April 23, 2021, photo, a train arrives at Metro Center station in Washington.  Washington’s regional Metro system abruptly pulled more than half its fleet of trains from service early Monday morning over a lingering problem with the wheels and axles that caused a dramatic derailing last week. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) **FILE**

Metrorail safety is not an option

Metro leadership can't afford to pretend it doesn't have a problem. The trains have spoken and the federal experts have spoken. Published October 18, 2021

In this Feb. 13, 2018, file photo, two dockless LimeBike's share the sidewalk with others from Washington, D.C.'s docked share program called Capital Bikeshare in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) ** FILE **

D.C. cyclists are the darlings of traffic safety

Getting motorists to slow down is a challenge that D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has willingly accepted as a legacy without much nudging from the bicycle lobby. Published October 14, 2021

In this March 22, 2021 file photo, Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser testifies before a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on the District of Columbia statehood bill.  (Carlos Barria/Pool via AP) **FILE**

Parents want virtual learning options: Give it to them

Whether Mayor Bowser knows it's or not, it's high time she and the D.C. Council recognize an inconvenient truth: Parents are increasingly hitching their children's educational wagons to homeschooling and virtual learning. Published September 30, 2021