Thursday, April 15, 2010

WMATA service cuts could affect DCPS students

By: Jake Schindler

According to Washington Post education columnist Bill Turque, several student-only bus routes that serve DCPS turned up on a list of possible WMATA service cuts. On Friday, he wrote about the issue on his D.C. Schools Insider blog:

“D.C. public schools do not have yellow school buses that take students to regular school programs, but WMATA serves some schools with special bus lines that are for students only. On the list of possible route cuts are the buses that serve Watkins Elementary and Peabody Elementary; Deal Middle and Sousa Middle; Anacostia High, Eastern High, McKinley High, Spingarn High and Wilson High; and Duke Ellington School of the Arts.”

Encouraging Dreams of Higher Education in D.C. Public Schools

By: Hannah Klusendorf

Below is an opinion I wrote for The Hoya for the April 13th edition. The link is, but I posted the article just in case. In the article, I presented how severe the education gap is in D.C. and how Georgetown students specifically can/should rally around D.C. issues like education reform. As I wrote, a Georgetown degree will mean nothing if we do not use the knowledge it represents to serve the community as a whole. Hope you like it!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Upcoming Field Trip to the National Museum of American History

By: Kelly McAllester

When you tutor for D.C. Reads you often have unexpected revelations. Some of these revelations, such as when you discover a book your tutee truly loves to read, make every struggle up to that point worth it. Some, however, make you wish you could do something more than just help children learn to read a couple hours a week.

This was the case when I discovered last semester that many of the kids I was tutoring had never visited the National Mall, or been to a single Smithsonian Institution museum. Think back to your own third and fourth grade memories. How many field trips had you been on by the time you left elementary school? I personally remember visiting the state capital, an old mine, and a historic colonial village in the fourth grade alone. It isn’t right that the kids we tutor haven’t been exposed to some of the best museums in the country which are not only located in the same city where they live, but are also free!

Chancellor's Forum Recap

By: Matt Buccelli

Last Wednesday night, I went with several other tutors and coordinators to one of DCPS chancellor Michelle Rhee's monthly community forums. This one took place at Kimball Elementary School in Ward 7, and the was centered around the district’s attempts to develop an action plan for improving DCPS high schools.

After an introduction by Chancellor Rhee, one of her deputies detailed how and why DC is moving forward with its plan to improve secondary schools. Rhee’s deputy said that DCPS is currently engaged in a three-phase plan for secondary school transformation --- after coming to agreement on expectations for high school students and tactics for moving forward, the school district will examine student performance and best practices from other urban school districts, and then create a final plan for meeting its expectations. In other words, DCPS’ “Vision for DCPS Secondary Schools,” as the forum was billed, is in its infancy.

DC Students Show Reading Gains

By: Matt Buccelli

Amidst a bevy of disappointing new federal reading data, modest gains in DC reading scores stand out as a bright spot.

A report from the National Assessment on Educational Progress (NAEP), which the federal government uses to monitor reading proficiency in the states, shows that while reading scores in 49 of 50 states have stalled while the No Child Left Behind law has been in effect, DC schools have made steady gains in reading since 2003. The DC NAEP scores remain below the national average, but DC joined Kentucky, which was the only state to achieve significant gains, as the only public school systems to improve steadily in reading since the enactment of No Child Left Behind.

To read the rest of the article, go to

Fall 2009 DC Teacher Firings

By: Katie Seymour

Out of all the controversial actions Michelle Rhee has taken during her career as Chancellor of DC Public Schools, her fall 2009 layoffs of several hundred teachers have inspired the strongest reactions in the public yet.

Warnings about upcoming layoffs began circulating publicly in September, when Chancellor Rhee announced that she would have to fire an unspecified number of teachers as part of an effort to address a $40 million deficit in the DCPS budget. On October 2, 2009, the Chancellor followed through by firing 229 classroom teachers, as well as over a hundred more school employees, prompting an immediate backlash from groups of students, teachers’ unions, and the DC City Council. Ever since, supporters and detractors have debated whether Chancellor Rhee’s actions were a legitimate move to save the public school budget while doing the least damage possible or a political ploy to replace older, higher-paid teachers who have resisted her reforms with newer, lower-paid recruits.