DC Council: We Expect You to Ask the Chancellor

Education Town Hall Participants Want to Know

Citizens want Councilmembers to demand answers from the Chancellor, when she shares her “final consolidation” plan with the DC Council on Jan. 17. Below are some questions taxpayers — participants in the Education Town Hall on We Act Radio — are asking.

The Education Town Hall hopes to provide citizens with answers requested on their behalf by their representatives. We look forward to hearing how Councilmembers addressed citizen concerns.

In studio guests on Jan. 17, 2013 were Julianne Robertson, education activist, and Iris Toyer, education advocate and former member of the DC School Board. Listen to the full show.

Sarah Shapiro, Ward 2 taxpayer with no children in DCPS:

Although some parents seek out-of-boundary enrollment for a variety of reasons, it still seems to me that fewer neighborhood schools will be a disincentive for parents to enroll their children in DCPS schools, and instead select private, parochial, or charter schools either near their homes or at similar distances to the assigned public schools. What am I missing in the Chancellor’s understanding?

Pedro Rubio, Ward 4 taxpayer, uncle of Brightwood Elementary students:

I live with my sister whose a mom of two, she is an active member of the schools PTA. My nephew Andres is 5 years old and is at a stage of his life where learning is essential. His kindergarten class has 29 kids and its hard for him to receive attention from his teacher . The closing of surrounding  schools will add more students to his class. It’s been proven that small class sizes provides a better learning environment. What are you doing about the class sizes now and what will you do about it after the school closings?

Erich Martel, Retired DCPS high school teacher, Ward 3:

Please question the Chancellor on the nature and extent of the contract with [the Illinois Facilities Fund (IFF)], including costs and if funded by a private organization, all of the details need to be aired. It does not engender confidence to know that individuals specializing in hedge fund manipulations and corporate takeovers are providing advice to DCPS on matters ranging from funding analysis to instructional strategies.

Elissa Silverman, Ward 6 resident, staff of DCFPI on hiatus while campaigning for Council:

I would like the Chancellor to respond to the DCFPI study released recently. Is closing schools going to save money? How much?

Dorothy Marschak, Founder and President at CHIME (Community Help In Music Education):

…Propose that, since these schools serve as neighborhood centers, keep them open and add adult education… we’ve been promised community schools, but we don’t see that yet…. So much more is possible! So, I want to see the Council ask the Chancellor about any financial advantages to consolidations, and justification for upsetting young children’s lives and meshing middle and high schools without planning….

“Frederick,” DCPS parent who blogs at “Truth from the Trenches”:

There are many parents who are attracted to charter schools precisely because of their small size. They feel that not only is it safer, but that their children will be in a school where they will get more individualized attention. Since all of the schools on the proposed closure list have a large percentage of high needs students, doesn’t it make sense that these schools remain small learning environments that can offer class sizes of 12 to 15 students? This would not only attract families, it would dramatically improve the teachers’ ability to effectively address the needs of all students.

Kate Kairys, of DC Action for Children,:

“How can we make sure children growing up in every part of the city have the opportunities they need to succeed?” (See “One Street but Two Different Worlds,” about the city’s divide on 16th Street NW.)

Additional questions, from The Education Town Hall guest blog:

  • Why is the District considering closures before necessary, long-overdue boundary planning?
  • Why closures without any plan to address deep racial isolation in DCPS schools?
  • Why closures without specific financial and educational outcomes projected?
  • Where is the vision for our children and our neighborhoods?

The Education Town Hall looks forward to hearing answers to these questions. Please let us know that citizens were heard, and the Chancellor asked to respond.

“The Education Town Hall” on Facebook
The Education Town Hall airs Thursdays at 11 a.m. on We Act Radio

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