Everyone running for office in DC “gets the talking points down about the achievement gap,” says Charles Allen, candidate for Ward 6 member of the DC City Council. “But real solutions are something else.”
Allen joined the Education Town Hall on March 13 to discuss his vision for education and related issues in DC. Listen to the full discussion.
First priority, according to Allen, is working with the results of the funding “Adequacy Study” to be sure that students needing the most help are identified and the weighted formula is used to ensure that needed supports follow those students.
Another key priority, Allen says, is working with the community to lengthen the day in ways that support students: maybe extra arts or sciences, maybe remedial work. “We have a segregated system right now,” he adds, often with two different tracks in one public school building: a fee-based program with “all the bells and whistles any parent would want,” and another, “bare-bones after care” service.
Flexing the Muscles that You Have
Allen spoke about the need to evaluate mayoral control of DC public schools (since 2007). One obvious challenge created by mayoral control, he adds, is the current “triangle of leadership” — the DCPS Chancellor, the mayor and deputy for education, and the Office of the State Superintendent of Education and the State Board — which permits constant finger-pointing.
“My job is not to be the chancellor,” the Council candidate states. “My job is to be a Council member….Let me give you an example of how that works.” Last year, 40 students enrolled in both Stuart-Hobson [a Ward 6 DCPS middle school] and Basis charter school. Nothing required DCPS and DC Public Charter Schools to communicate, so this information was not shared. Stuart-Hobson lost 40 students on opening day, and the associated budget “loss was felt in every program and classroom.”
In response, the Council decided to mandate a joint enrollment system for charters and traditional public schools. In the end, a voluntary system was launched instead. But that, says Allen, was a good example of the Council “flexing the muscles that they had… they heard from parents and the community and took the action they could.”
Charles Allen has worked in Ward 6 neighborhoods – helping bring about school reforms, working with small businesses, and improving our community. His years of public service to Ward 6 means he knows and understands neighborhood issues like no one else.
Allen, his wife and daughter, along with their dog, live in Northeast.
The Education Town Hall airs weekly at 11 a.m. eastern on We Act Radio, broadcasting from Historic Anacostia in Washington DC.
Listen at 11 a.m. via TuneIn from anywhere in the world — or on WPWC, 1480 AM in the DC area — or listen later via our archives.