Who will you pick for DC Council at-large on April 23?

We asked...

DC's education system has improved in recent years for many kids, but many schools remain inadequate to our children's needs. If you could design a better school system for DC, what would it look like? Would we have more teacher evaluations or fewer? More charter schools, fewer, or different ones? More or fewer kids going to local schools? How else would your school system differ from the one we have today?

Perry Redd responded...

It is clear that "improvement" is subjective and with rose-colored glasses, we make our cases on progress in the DCPS system. We, as a consensus, removed the Rhee/Fenty model of governance of our schools, only to be slammed again by the current Chancellor, Kaya Henderson. Once again, parents and community were ignored.in particular, the lower-income community of DC residents.regarding the recent decision to close 15 schools. I wholly disagree with this mode of operation.

I believe that personal connection, fiscal responsibility and engaging dialogue are all pertinent components in the drive toward progress, and eventually success. I believe the lack of pride in our public assets shown by our school system administration demonstrates a reflection of a corporate-driven philosophy of schools management. I am not of this mind.

I would act and support more attention to the communitive decision-makingmodel and using our creative and ingenuitive genius among us to downsize existing public schools (if necessary) to maintain the hegemony of our communities and maintain our public assets. To go from a traditional three-floor school to a one-floor school, is not an impossible option. Charters schools could conceivably share campus space with existing DCPS facilities. These are just a few of the working options I would employ if elected.

Understanding that the prospect of "choice" createsan air of satisfaction for parents, but that alone does not guarantee success. The fact that choice is often predicated on income, perpetuates the existing gap in the provision of resources allotted to our children. Many charter schools have a culture (and sometimes even a written contract) that provides parents opportunities to influence school management and to become more involved with the processes of school governance and functioning.This is notthe case with public schools, therefore we operate in an inherently unconstitutional environment. A charter school's autonomy regarding personnel (union/wage requirements), public-private (corporate sponsorship) and most of all, academic requirements speak to gross inequality. In light of the Supreme Court's Brown v. Board decision of 1954, separate can never be equal.

To further address the question posed, I am sadden by the continued emphasis on teacher testing to garner competency, as opposed to testingteacher effectivenessin reaching our children's potential. Standardized testing never revealed the full potential of any student, but the retention of prescribed information. I am against using Ayn Rand-type protocols to excise DCPS teachers. The tactic is a favorite of the Heritage Foundation, but ill serves the welfare of our children. Teachers are more than information drones, they are human caretakers of our children's growth and development. They have been degraded by our past two chancellors and must be treated with respect. My position is that the vaguely-proscribed evaluation model must be reformed.

I am unequivocally for a moratorium on any further charter school expansion. I am for "pride in our public assets," especially, our public schools. I am for investment in the existing school curricula, programming, facilities and children, which will breed success and a healthier, more unified DC.


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