DC VOICE Testimony at FY 2012 Budget Oversight Hearing


Today, Erika Landberg, Program Director and Jeff Smith, Executive Director will be providing testimony before the D.C. City Council on the proposed 2013 budget for D.C. Schools. This testimony will be centered around the implementation of the DC VOICE Community Schools Bill and the following six questions regarding next year’s budget. Below please find links to the full testimonies.

Jeff Smith's Testimony

Erika Landberg's Testimony

DC VOICE Town Hall Radio Show with DC At-Large Candidates


DC VOICE Education Town Hall Radio Show with College Bound, Inc


DC VOICE Education Town Hall Radio Show 3/8/12


DC VOICE Education Town Hall Radio Show 3/1/12


Victory!!! Almost...


Community Schools are closer now than ever before!!! You can read about it here: Bill passes. After waiting so long we now have seen action. But, one issue remains. Where will the money come from? There are talks of budget cuts, so how will this money be allocated. Will more money be taken from classrooms? Or will the surplus be spent?

Separate and Unequal


Bill Turque at the Post recently wrote an article about a charter school that was slated for closure, but then officials changed their mind at the last minute and the school is to remain open. The reasoning, we are told, is that the charter school, Community Academy, operates 6 campuses, and that it wouldn't be fair to revoke the charter just because one campus has an abysmal testing record where only "25 percent of third graders were proficient or advanced in reading on the 2011 DC CAS. Rand [the particular campus] scored only 19.5 percent on the charter board’s new performance management system, just inside the 20 percent threshold that can trigger closure proceedings." You can follow this link to read more: Charter left open

One question: why?

We can apply this same logic to DCPS and say that public schools are one cohesive unit, so why are individual "failing" schools being closed? We still have high performing ones around.

So why do charters get special treatment?

In fact, if the city government accepts the IFF report's (flawed) recommendations, then 38 more schools will be closed. Here is the breakdown by ward:

Ward 1
Bruce Monroe @ Parkview Elementary School
Cardozo High School

Ward 4
Macfarland Middle
Raymond Educational Campus
Brightwood Educational Campus
Roosevelt High School

Ward 5
Noyes Educational Campus
Burroughs Educational Campus
Browne Educational Campus
Spingarn High School
Wheatley Ed. Campus

Ward 7
Plummer Elementary
Beers Elementary
Randle Highlands Elementary School
Aiton Elementary School
Drew Elementary School
Kelly Miller Middle School
Woodson High School
CW Harris Elementary School
Davis Elementary School
Nalle Elementary School

Ward 8
Orr Elementary School
Ballou High School
Hart Middle School
Hendley Elementary School
King Elementary School
Leckie Elementary School
Anacostia High School
Kramer Middle School
Garfield Elementary School
Stanton Elementary School
Johnson Middle School
Malcolm X Elementary School
Ferebee-Hope Elementary School
Terrell/McGogney Elementary School,
Patterson Elementary School
Simon Elementary

Notice there are none in Wards 2 or 3. Take a guess how many are in improvised neighborhoods or serve minority students? That's right, ALL OF THEM!!! And another thing, IFF has ties to the charter school movement and besides recommending that these schools be shut down, IFF also recommended that perhaps they be turned over to charter management.

Can anyone say conflict of interest?

Has charter management worked at Roosevelt, Dunbar, or Anacostia? In fact, Roosevelt and Anacostia are recommended for closure!

Another thing is Chancellor Henderson's recent request to grant charters. Is this linked to the results of the IFF study?

Are charter's really that much better? Or is there something else in the works, which is why even a failing charter school gets special treatment?

What is this world coming to?


What is this world coming to? DCPS chancellor, Kayla Henderson recently respond to allegations of cheating by claiming that it was the media's fault for blowing things out of proportion, and that many people believe that minority children couldn't achieve such high test scores.

Now, besides some saying that Henderson is playing the "race card," there are obvious other problems with her logic.

(1) Why is she so concerned about the media actually doing their job?

(2) Who is it who says that minority children can't preform?

(3) Why isn't she addressing the allegations of a cheating scandal? (She would of course say that the media has blown everything out of proportion and in essence created the scandal.)

(4) Does she honestly believe that there is no possibility of a scandal?

(5) Lastly, why is she playing games by using the students as a defense, when the real question is the rate of right-to-wrong erasures, which is a result of the all-or-nothing atmosphere of the high stakes testing. Teachers want to keep their jobs. The DC-CAS determines their jobs (to a very large degree). You do the math. Why isn't she addressing this?

Last week, at a conference for teaching integrity (oh the irony!), Henderson announced that we need  new standards to determine what cheating actually is.


Just because there are a lot of erasures doesn't mean that cheating is going on. We all know that. The problem is that there were A LOT of instances of that happening, in specific classrooms, and the right answers just happened to appear magically.

And know we need new standards! As if we didn't have enough already! What will these new "standards" mean for teachers? For students? Will they hold people like Henderson accountable?

Why do we even need standards? Since when is cheating not cheating? If it doesn't meet the standard of cheating?

Perhaps, this can be explained by the drive towards standardization that we are seeing in schools all across the US, of which Henderson is a huge proponent of. Now, cheating standards may or may not come, but her sentiment is based of the (false) notion that standards somehow equal success. Though, this is not true. Once size does not fit all, and by standardizing everything individual student achievement and innovation is quenched. But, does Henderson really care?

In reality, she is too busy playing games with our students, as she defends her neck. And you know who the real losers are? The kids who are being left behind. Isn't that a shame?

What is this world coming to when we spend more time debating kids education rather than acutally educating them.


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