What the District of Columbia most lacks — as a city and in terms of education in particular — is vision, says DC mayoral candidate Andy Shallal. Too many students and parents are disengaged from the government and the schools, and for good reason, he argues.
“Kids are not prepared for life when they graduate from school,” according to Shallal. Talking about jobs will not be successful, unless we talk about literacy and life skills. Shallal proposes a life skills academy, beginning in 5th grade, to help students learn emotional literacy and other essentials often overlooked in our schools. For too long, schools have been too focused on the test. See also “Education Proposals Among First Specifics.”
Listen to the full discussion on January 9 edition of the Education Town Hall.
January 9 Education Town Hall
Shallal favors a moratorium on additional charters and on school closings. He believes mayoral control must be re-evaluated.
Asked about DC Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson, Shallal says: “I’m concerned when an educator gives up on a whole segment…saying ‘we don’t do middle schools.’ But I don’t want to demonize any one person.”
Don’t Ignore the Elephant
Following the on-air discussion, Shallal shared further thoughts, stressing that the city and its schools are suffering due to our failure to engage the sensitive, but essential, topic of race. At his restaurants, he added, all employees go through a 3-hour program on hospitality and race.
“We don’t teach them about waiting tables first,” Shallal explained. In this town, as soon as people interact, race is involved, he said. So, it’s important to face this head on. The city’s failure to do that in an honest and straightforward way means that people are constantly ignoring the elephant in the room, talking past one another and accomplishing nothing.
The Education Town Hall airs Thursdays at 11 a.m. Eastern on We Act Radio, 1480 AM in the DC area. Shows are archived here for listening and reference at your convenience.