The Education Town Hall with Thomas Byrd:

John Settles (in studio), education advocate and one-time candidate for the At-Large seat on the DC Council;

Trayon White (in studio), Ward 8 Representative to DC’s State Board of Education;

Terry Lynch (remote), parent of a School Without Walls grad and a current student, active in the PTA and LSAT;

Eboni-Rose Thompson (remote), president of the Ward 7 Education Council;

Virginia Spatz (remote), feature reporter of Education Town Hall.

Host: Thomas Byrd.

Discussion began with Mr. Lynch outlining community opposition to proposed expansion of School Without Walls SHS. Students, parents and teachers oppose the plan as detrimental to the school’s cohesiveness, noting that community members proposed alternative ways of making School Without Walls available to more students. Mr. Lynch described the proposal as an example of poor planning and failure to engage stakeholders that has informed DCPS’ current Consolidation/Expansion proposals.

Mr. Lynch, Mr. Settles, Mr. White, and Ms. Thompson discussed the more general need for evaluation of how DCPS is faring under mayoral control, including the need for better data and for fleshing out any data with stakeholder discussions before drawing conclusions. Mr. White suggested that the budget surplus should allow DCPS to hold off on consolidations until better panning was undertaken. Mr. Settles said the boundary and long-standing equity issues must be considered before any closings are undertaken. Participants also discussed issues in leadership, including comments on Council Member Catania’s new role as chair of the Education Committee.

The show also reflected on the 2/27 education forum hosted by the Women’s Democratic National Club. The Education Town Hall recorded the forum. Check back for more on information the informative and lively event.

Full recording of the Education Town Hall, February 28, 2013

Feature report, with related background