Seema Sadanandan of ACLU-National Capital Area joined the Education Town Hall on August 1 to discuss her work on addressing the School-to-Prison Pipeline. A recent report shows, for example, that 35% of DCPS middle schoolers are suspended. More suspensions than students in some schools!

Too often, it seems that students in traditional and charter public schools in DC are not receiving the education or additional supports they need to thrive, the ACLU-NCA is finding. Moreover, Sadanandan says: In the absence of widespread behavioral supports — counseling and other options — teachers may have little choice but to employ drastic measures, including suspension.

ACLU-NCA works with DC Lawyers for Youth and others to advocate for student rights and improve public understanding of these issues.

Gia Lee, a parent and teacher from New York, also joined the Education Town Hall on August 1. She spoke from her experience as a special education teacher with students in the criminal justice system as well as 13 years as a classroom teacher in New York public schools.

Listen to the full discussion. See related news from the August 1 edition. See below for the school libraries story.


ACLU-NCA will be part of a related discussion tonight at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 400 I Street SW, 7 – 9 p.m. See Washington Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights’ report on racial disparities in arrests and prison terms.

Unfunded School Libraries

Peter MacPherson is a long-time school activist with a concern for school libraries. He joined the Education Town Hall (near the top of the hour) for an update on DC public school libraries.

“So far, we have only seen a paper victory with regard to school libraries,” he argues, noting that librarians have not been hired and books not purchased. Brand new school libraries — at McKinley Tech Middle School, at Dunbar, and other new facilities — will greet students this fall devoid of books. The missing personnel and media resources are in some of the neediest neighborhood schools, MacPherson added. He said the Chancellor appears to favor classroom libraries, with many copies of a small number of books.

The Education Town Hall encourages citizens to contact the Mayor and the DC Public Schools Chancellor. Here’s a Link to recommended action, from Peter MacPherson.

The Education Town Hall is broadcast Thursdays at 11 a.m. (Eastern) on We Act Radio.

Listen on-line at We Act Radio or, in the Dc Metro area, on the AM dial: WPWC 1480 AM

Full recordings are archived for later discussion and sharing.

Join the (live) conversation, 11 a.m. to noon, by calling 202-889-9797.
Post comments here anytime.

Listen and DO SOMETHING!