The Board of the National League of Women Voters met
in February to set the legislative priorities for the new 108' Congress.
They also discussed League action on the international situation
relating to Iraq. The Board adopted three tiers of legislative
priorities for 2003:
Top Priority and Core Issue -
Election Reform, Campaign Finance Reform;
As Needed -
Reproductive Choice, Clean Air, Oil Drilling in the Arctic, Title IX;
of issues where a building effort is expected - CEDAW, D.C. Voting. Rights and
Issues, Health Care, and Global and Global Warming.
When we recently hosted the D.C. Team Democracy
meeting, Sean Tenner of DC Democracy Fund proposed moving the 2004 DC
Presidential primary earlier in the year as a way to draw attention to
D.C.'s third class status. Tim Cooper of Democracy First suggested
making DC's primary the first in the nation. The attendees were
receptive of this action and agreed to support them. We have testified
at the City Council in support of this concept based on our support for
full voting representation. (See below for a report on the Public
Hearing and text of the testimony.)
official call to National Council 2003 of LWVUS has been received. It
will be held June 7-9, 2003 at the Marriott Metro Center Hotel,
Washington, DC. Please consider being a Bed & Breakfast Hostess for
out of state attendees.
don't forget to mark your calendar for our 83rd Annual Meeting to be
held Thursday evening, April 24th. — E. Patricia Hallman, President
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Tues., Mar. 25th 6:30
pm (See below)
Wed.. Mar. 26th 6:45
pm (See below)
Held at Sumner School, 1201 17th St., NW
Street parking available. Farragut North Metro
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NEW MEMBERS: We
welcome new members: Edith Valrie Amerchih, Sharon Baskerville, David
Catania, Vanessa Dixon, Brenda L. Emanuel and Finiana S. Joseph.
We gratefully. thank and acknowledge contributions from our members:
Nelson Rimensnyder & Lisa M. Nickerson, Kathryn Ray, Anne Meredith
We are sad to report Mary Drob, formerly an active member of the
International Relations Committee of our DC League, died in Ann Arbor
Michigan on February 3. She was 87. While in
Washington, she was also active in the Women's National Democratic Club
and did volunteer work for libraries. Mary moved from Washington to Ann
Arbor in 2000 to
be near her family. We also send our condolences to the family and
friends of Ingleside resident Helen Wolcott who recently passed away.
condolences are sent to member Paula McKann on the recent death of her
sister and to member Constance P. Tate on the recent death of her
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with others, DC Vote is supporting the DC City Council legislation to
move the Presidential primary to January 10, 2004, the first in the
nation. DC Vote also continues to work with Council members to add
temporarily "Taxation without Representation" to our flag.
Both actions are to increase awareness throughout the United States in
February 25 D.C.
Council members Jack Evans and Adrian Fenty announced that along with
the 11 other Council members they will be introducing the "Commuter
Tax Act of 2003." One of the 10 core
messages which are listed in support of the legislation is that we have
this unique prohibition only "Because D.C. has no
representation" in Congress.
March 4 Delegate
Eleanor Holmes Norton will hold a Voting Rights Town Meeting. It will
discuss the best strategy for the next two years. Call 225-8050 for time and place.
April 15 DC
Vote will sponsor an event at Freedom Plaza to emphasize on Federal
Income Tax Day that D.C. citizens pay the second highest in the nation
per capital federal personal income tax but do not have a vote in
Congress. Circle the date. — Kathy
Schmidt (237-5550), DC Vote Liaison
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almost all February Unit Meetings were canceled or postponed due to the
snow. We are hoping for Spring-like weather in March to discuss
information gathered from the Education portion of the Jan. 25t Health and
Education Forum entitled "Leave No Child Behind." Some Units
may also discuss "DC's Healthcare Safety Net" which was
scheduled for February. We encourage members to look at the meeting
schedule below and attend the Unit Meeting most convenient for them.
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Tuesday, March 18 at
Southwest Unit at
the home of Anna Marsh, 1253 Delaware Ave., SW 554-7719
Tuesday, March 18 at
Northwest Day Unit
at IONA Senior Services, 4125 Albemarle St., NW
Co-chairs June Bashkin 337-0949 & Barbara Kemp 362-4529
Tuesday; March 18 at
Wednesday, March 19
at 9:45 arn
In-Town Evening Unit
at the Irish Channel Restaurant/Pub, 500 H St., NW in Chinatown.
(Gallery Pl/Chinatown Metro stop).
We will reserve tables for the meeting. Members can choose to eat or
not. Call Sheila Willet by 3 pm on the 18th at 347-3020 if you plan to
Upper 16th Street Unit at
the home of Kathy Schmidt 237-5550, 3601 Connecticut Ave., NW, #418
Thursday, March 20 at
Chevy Chase/Ingleside Unit in
the Lounge at 3050 Military Rd., NW
Co-chairs: Ruth Allen 362-8953, Leslie Dunbar 364-6457, Joan Wilson
Thursday, March 20 at
The Evening Unit at
the home of Geri Albers 362-2605, 4000 Massachusetts Ave., NW # 510
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LEAGUE TO HOST RECEPTION FOR NEW CITIZENS
ON APRIL 8
All League Members
Are Urged To Attend
8, the DC League will be hosting a reception for new citizens following
the monthly naturalization ceremony. We hope as many League members as
possible will attend the ceremony in Courtroom 20 on the 6th floor of
the U.S. District Courthouse at 3rd and Constitution Ave. NW.
have never attended a naturalization ceremony, you're in for a very
impressive experience. Plan to arrive at Courtroom 20 by 9:45 a.m. For
more information call Judy Smith. — Elinor
Hart (387-2966) & Judy Smith (882-3021) Voter Services Co-chairs
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League Committee on Affordable Housing will host a forum on Rent
Stabilization on Wednesday
evening, March 26th 6:45 pm 9:00 pm at Sumner School, 1201 17th Street,
NW. One of the questions to be addressed is: "Can changes in
the city's rent stabilization program help preserve affordable
of experts will discuss all sides of rent stabilization. The panelist
include: Raenelle Zapata, Rent Administrator, DC Housing Regulation
Administration; long time rent control advocate Ken Rothchild, and a
member of the Apartment and Office Building Assoc. of Metropolitan
Washington. This forum is free and open to the public. Street parking is
available after 6:30 pm. The nearest Metro stop is Farragut North.
Contact the League office at 3473020 for more information. Sharron
Hines, Affordable Housing Committee Chair
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MEMBERS CALLED TO ACTION
TRUST FUND CAMPAIGN
The fact that the city is in a financial bind puts
funding for the Housing Production Trust Fund (HPTF) at risk! The League
is involved in a campaign to ensure HPTF funding along with Manna, the
Washington Regional Network for Livable Communities, the Coalition for
Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development as well as other
organizations and individuals. This campaign includes participating in
small delegations to talk to individual Councilmembers, a Lobby Day, and
a post card campaign. League members armed with the Talking
Points gathered on Feb. 25 at the District Building with about 100
others to lobby for the HPTF. The next step is to send a post card
to City Councilmembers. Contact Elinor Hart 387-2966 for more
Send a post card to your Ward Councilmember, Council
Chairman Linda Cropp, or one of the other four At-Large Councilmembers.
(Address: The Council of the District of Columbia, 1350 Pennsylvania
Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20004.) Use the DC Voter Insert entitled "Council of the District of
Columbia" to choose the name to write on the addressee side of the
post card. Text of post card:
D.C. Council Member:
Please vote for full funding of the Housing Production Trust Fund; It
Vote to END our City's affordable housing crisis.
- I support full
funding for the Housing Production Trust Fund because it ....
- Targets D.C.'s
limited resources on residents with the most desperate housing
- Creates new housing
opportunities for renters and Section 8 holders.
- Devotes resources to
fixing up buildings for neighborhood residents.
- Dedicates revenue to
ensuring housing development for D.C.'s low-income residents.
- Avoids displacement
of current residents.
Washington, DC ______ Ward _____
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The Healthcare Committee
organized a forum entitled D.C. Healthcare
Safety Net, held from 10-12 a.m. at The Paul Vance Learning Annex,
the Logan School on Saturday, January 25. Vanessa Dixon served as
moderator of a panel of three: D.C. Councilmember David A. Catania,
Executive Director of D.C. Primary Care Association Sharon Baskerville,
and Deputy Director of the Health Care Safety Net Administration Brenda
Emmanuel. Information about the status of healthcare in D.C. was
presented and discussed. Those who attended learned that some 200,000
D.C. residents are uninsured, thus medically vulnerable; that emergency
room problems are nationwide; and that the District is not using federal
Medicaid support to its full extent, because it lacks an integrated
system for recording and processing information about Medicaid use.
The subject will be
discussed at March unit meetings, along with that of the afternoon part
of the Forum, the "No Child Left Behind Legislation." For more
complete information about both forums, see the
insert in this Voter (below).
The next Health Care
Committee meeting will be held Tuesday, March 25 at 1 pm in the DC
League office. — Natalie Howard (882-8762), Chair
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The LWVUS Board met in
DC at the end of January and
adopted legislative priorities for the new Congress.
In the lead were the League's core issues, Election Reform and Campaign
Finance Reform, followed by certain LWV positions now under threat,
i.e., reproductive rights, clean air, oil drilling in the Arctic, and
Title IX. DC Voting Rights is in the third category of precedence,
together with CEDAW (the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of
Discrimination Against Women), Health Care, and Global Warming. We
learned from the Task Force planning the restudy of our position on
Election of the President (adopted at Convention 2002) that it has been
renamed Presidential Selection, thereby allowing us to look at the whole
primary/nomination process as well as review the League's present
position, which would abolish the Electoral College. Look for an article
on the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) in the Jan-Feb issue of the National
Voter, and information on the Presidential Selection update in the
May-June issue. The Board also addressed the question of Iraq,
reaffirming President Kay Maxwell's September statement
(see your November DC Voter) and encouraging local Leagues to educate
their citizens about the importance of working through the UN.
— Sheila Keeny
(966-1692), 3rd VP
for National Program
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Tuesday, Feb. 25th Councilmembers Fenty (D-Ward 4) and Evans (D-Ward 2)
introduced the "Commuter Tax Act of 2003" at a press
conference held at the John A. Wilson Building. The "Commuter Tax
Act of 2003" would amend Chapter 18 of Title 47 of the District of
Columbia Official Code to impose a tax on salaries and wages earned in
the District of Columbia by nonresident individuals. The tax would be
distributed in the following format: If the taxable income is not over
$10,000, the tax is .5% of the taxable income; over $10,000 but not over
$40,000, the tax is 1% of the taxable income; and over $40,000, then
the tax is 2% of the taxable income.
Universal principle of taxation is that the primary
right to tax income belongs to the jurisdiction that the income is
earned. Two-thirds of all income earned in the District of Columbia is
earned by non-residents and 57 percent of all real property located in
the District (by land area) is made nontaxable by reason of federal
ownership. Since the District can tax only one-third of the income
earned here, the citizens of the District of Columbia are taxed at
higher rates than other jurisdictions. The burden on our citizens' income tax rates in
range from 6 percent
to 9.3 percent while the rates in Virginia are from 2
percent to 5.7 percent. Maryland rates are from 3.2
percent to 7.76 percent. These higher District tax
rates are borne by District residents and as a result,
many individual taxpayers have left the District,
further shrinking its tax base. This bill would not cost
the commuter anything because they would receive
full credit on their own state's tax returns.
Commuters are provided the protection of the District's Police
Department, Safety from the Fire
Department, and cleanliness from the Department of
Public Works. "What is not fair is to get a service and
not pay your fair share for it," stated Fenty and
E. Pat Hallman
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The next board
meeting of the LWV National Capital
Chapter will be held Friday, March 7 at 10 am at 1730 M
LWVNCA Annual Convention will be Sat., May 10,
2003. Naumann Award Committee awaits nominations.
Two LWVNCA monthly Board meeting dates have
been rescheduled from April 4 to April 11 and June 6 to
June 13. — Andrea Morris Gruhl, NCA News &
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March 25 at 6:30 pm The
International Relations Committee will welcome a speaker from Lockheed
Martin, Mr. Lee Hein, Program Director, Justice-IPT, at its March 25th
meeting. Mr. Hein will discuss his division's work for the new Dept. of
Homeland Security, including border control, biometrics (fingerprinting
and other physical identifying characteristics), and data input on
foreigners entering and leaving the country. Lockheed's Justice-IPT
provides communications and information technology connectivity for the
Dept. of Justice, including US marshals, the FBI and the Bureau of
join us at Sumner School (1201 17th St., NW, Farragut North Metro) from
6:30-8 pm for this fascinating topic. A question and answer session will
follow. For further information, please contact Susan Rao at 636-1688.
articulate and well-informed members of the In Town Great Decisions
group met on February 12 to discuss Multilateralism vs. Unilateralism.
The group will meet again on Wednesday, March 12, to discuss The Uneasy
Helen Metz leading the discussion, and
again on Wednesday, March 26, to discuss The U.S. and
Nigeria, with Jill Cochran as discussion leader.
The group meets the second and fourth Wednesdays
of the month from noon to 2 at the LWVUS office, 1730
M St. NW, 10th floor. New participants
and guests are welcome. Call Sheila Keeny, Great Decisions
Coordinator, for information at 966-1692.
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a joint press conference on February 10, 2003, DC Congresswoman Eleanor
Holmes Norton (D-DC) and Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA) announced that they are
introducing a bill to bring "functional budget autonomy" to
the District. The bill would allow the city's budget to become law on
time at the start of the fiscal year, regardless of the status of other
appropriations. Norton said: "The most significant feature of the
bill is the elimination of the requirement that the DC budget be enacted
by Congress. Instead, the budget could come to Congress for a layover
period of thirty calendar
days so long as the District submits its budget by September 1. Thus,
our bill would guarantee that the DC budget would always go into effect
at the start of
the fiscal year on October 1."
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Report on the
Public Hearing of the Committee on Government Operations of the DC
Council on February 19, 2003
issue discussed at this Council Public Hearing is a bill that would
reschedule the DC presidential primary, advancing the date from mid-May
to mid-January, making the DC primary the first in the nation. The bill
was presented by Councilmember Jack Evans. The two persons who conceived
the idea, Tim Cooper of Democracy Now and Sean Tenner of DC Fund for
Democracy, testified first. Several issues relating to the proposal were
discussed. Over 30 people testified in a series of 10 panels throughout
strongest impetus for this bill is to focus national attention on the
lack of voting rights in the District. The example given was of Iowa,
which was able to put the issue of ethanol on a national basis by being
one of the. first to have a presidential choice, in this case a caucus.
Ray Browne, (Shadow U.S. Representative) and Tony Norman, (Ward 1)
Democratic Party added that, besides our voting rights, we would also
have the opportunity of raising issues relating to urban settings early
on in the campaign. Several panelists and Councilmember Evans agreed
that the candidates would come for the primary if for no other reason
than to prevent someone else from winning.
process for accomplishing the change is, first, for the
Council to pass the bill, which then would go to the Mayor for
approval. From the Mayor's office, it would have to go to Congress for
approval. The panelist and members who discussed this issue felt that it
is a "win-win" situation. If Congress approves, we get an early
date. If Congress does not approve, they all see a national outcry
against a Congress which will not allow the will of the citizens to
prevail in such a basic issue. This outcome too would focus national
attention on our lack of full voting rights. Jimmy Bell, an attorney,
emphasized that the issue is "about the money".
potential difficulty is the politics of the issue, which takes several
forms. There are two states which pride themselves in being the first in
the nation: New Hampshire and Iowa. It seems there has been some contact
with New Hampshire, and they have no objection. The Republican Party,
however, has as a national bylaw a statement that no primary shall take
place before February 3. The Chairman of the Republican Party testified
and, when pressed said, "if the date is changed to before February
3, there will be no Republican primary." (She clearly supported an earlier date, just not one before February 3.)
However, Councilmember Evans made the point that it is the prerogative
of the Council to set the date of the primary.
a similar rule in the Democratic bylaws concerning the election of
delegates to the national convention. The proposed solution was to elect
the delegates after the primary, presumably in the time frame of the
bylaws. Nevertheless, the local Democratic Party did not support this
bill. Without the support of the parties, it is possible that the DC
delegates would not be seated at their conventions.
provided a dramatic moment. Republican Party Chairman Betsy Warren
Werronen, was giving her testimony when Councilmember Carol Schwartz
(Republican) entered. She was recognized, and after giving support to
Ms. Werronen in general, Ms. Schwartz continued at length that she
"enjoys going to the convention as a delegate, but she would gladly
sacrifice that position as a small price to pay for the opportunity to
bring the issue of voting rights to a broader national
understanding." She said in strong terms, as did others, to both
parties testifying, "Where have you been?" and indicated that
the parties should have been working all this time for voting rights for
President E. Patricia Hallman testified on one of the panels.
In response to Councilmember Orange's question, "Does the LWV have
a position on moving the primary election to be first in the
country?" Ms. Hallman stated not at this time and we are consulting
with our members, as well as the state Leagues & National LWV to
secure a strong commitment from the League. Councilmember Evans referred
to a historic example of League activism - before DC had the right to
vote even for President, the League sponsored a primary election as an
exercise in democracy. He asked if the League would be willing to
perform such a service again, if the worst-case scenario prevailed. Ms.
Hallman said she would consult and follow up on the matter. The other
panelists, representing various voting rights organizations, supported
the bill, each emphasizing a different aspect. The two shadow senators
were there. The president and founder of Latino Voters Association
Hector Rodriguez testified in favor, as did Heidi Kotzlan, a Republican
voting rights activist. — Cecile Jones,
Testimony given by E. Patricia Hallman before the
Committee on Government Operations' Public Hearing Feb. 19, 2003 on
legislation: "Presidential Primary Election Act of 2003, Bill
15-81. To amend Title 1 of the D. C. Official Code to change the dates for
holding elections in order to allow the District of Columbia to hold the
first Presidential primary election every four years."
Good Morning, I am E.
Patricia Hallman, President of the D. C. League of Women Voters. The
League supports the District of Columbia holding the first Presidential
primary of 2004. We feel that this historical occasion will give the
District the opportunity to shine a national spotlight on the shameful
fact that D.C. Citizens have no voting representation in the U. S.
Congress. Our thanks to the sponsors of this creative legislation and
for the opportunity to testify.
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following testimony of the League's Education Committee was presented by
Gladys Weaver on Feb. 13th to Mayor Anthony Williams' Public Hearing on
the Education Budget funding for Fiscal Year (FY) 2004. More than 74
individuals and one or two organizations were grouped into panels of 4
to speak before the hearing that lasted past 11:00 pm.
The proposed budget for FY2004 is $847.9 million, an
increase of $107.4 million over two years. Thirty percent of the
requested increase is for teacher contract pay increase of 9%. The
school building repairs and asbestos abatement is an increase of 23%.
Instruction and management improvements) is a 19% increase. Other
mandatory increases of $31.1 million include union contracts, automatic
step increases, inflation and legal mandates. — Barbara Luchs, Constance Tate, Gladys Weaver Education Committee
Text of Testimony
I am Gladys Weaver of the DC League of Women
Voters Education Committee. The League is vitally concemed with all
aspects of D. C. Community Life. Our Education Committee, a standing
Committee, is conversant with the educational concerns and regularly attends meetings
and hearings held by the School Board and the D.
C. Council Education Committee.
In recent years,
our study of the D.C. schools has included curriculum items, teacher
professional development, charter schools and vouchers.. In a meeting
with the D. C. League of Women Voters, Mary Levy, formerly of the D.C.
Schools and presently with Parents United, presented a publication in
which she clearly states the need for increase in Principal and Teacher
salaries. We heartily endorse this view. Her recommendations, approved
in concept by the Mayor and City Council, were not given the requested
funds; but rather, the funds were downsized for these items.
LWV Education Committee is disturbed that annual salaries for beginning
teachers lags $9, $9,000/year and those of experienced teachers lag
$13,000-14,000 per year behind teachers' salaries in nearby suburban
districts. We believe that teacher and principal salaries should receive
top priority in any school budget. If downsizing becomes necessary in
budget preparation, deductions should not come from teachers' salaries
nor staff development.
legislation in the National movement, "Leave No Child Behind,"
requires every school district to develop. a plan for the professional
development of its teachers and the upgrading of the curriculum.
D.C. Schools are unable to fully comply with this requirement due to
lack of appropriated funds. The plan will include D.C.-developed
standards for all subjects. Mathematics and reading standards must be
developed immediately, and standards in science by
2005. Testing procedures for students will be included with public
reporting of results. The School District will be expected to make
adequate progress toward stated goals and be held accountable.
of this can occur without the FUNDING necessary to develop the plan. The
Committee strongly recommends immediate release of funds for the
implementation of the D. C. professional development plan.
analysis of budget recommendations and per student spending figures are
other areas that need immediate attention. It is the recommendation of
the Committee that budget items related to education be given full
consideration. Thank you.
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HIGHLIGHTS OF FEB. 5
LWVDC Board and Ed
Items covered in separate articles in this newsletter are not reported here.
Annual Meeting Plans: Elaine
Melmed confirmed arrangements for the Annual Meeting and dinner to be
held at Gallaudet University on April 24. The cost for the dinner will
be $30. Susan Rao will coordinate other
the meeting. It was agreed to invite Representative Tom Davis of the House
District Committee to be speaker on that occasion.
Rider on DC Appropriations Bill: Gladys
Weaver noted that the DC appropriations bill has been passed, this year
with a rider providing for school vouchers for D.C. students, in spite
of the fact that local D.C. government officials oppose vouchers:
Bag Dialogues: Anna
Marsh said that although attendance at the dialogue on genome research
was light, the participants were excited by the quality of the
discussion. — Frances
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LWVDC President Joy Simonson, now President of the Clearinghouse on
Women's Issues, invites League members to attend the March 25 meeting of
the Clearinghouse when the discussion will focus on Women in the United
Nations. The speakers will be Dawn Calabia, Deputy Director, UN
Information Centre, and Leila Milani, Co-Chair of the CEDAW working
group (see National Program). The meeting will be held from noon to 1:30
pm at One Dupont Circle, 8th Floor; no reservations required. Bring brown bag if you choose. ID
is required to enter the building.
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||5 10:00 am Mtg. LWVDC
||7 10:00 am LWV NCA Brd.
||10 12 noon Unit
||11 10:00 am Voter
Registration of New Citizens
Mar DC Voter Deadline
|12 10:00 am Education
||18 Unit Meetings
9:45 am Southwest
12:45 am Northwest Day
6:30 pm InTown
|19 Unit Meeting
9:45 am Upper 16th Street
|20 Unit Meetings
9:45 am Chevy Chase/Ingleside
7:30 pm Evening
|21 Mar DC Voter mailed
||25 1:00 pm, Healthcare
6:30 pm Homeland Security
|26 6:45 pm Rent
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REPORT OF THE HEALTH
& EDUCATION FORUM HELD JAN. 25, 2003
Paul Vance Learning Annex, The Logan School
PART I - HEALTH
10 am - 12 noon: D.C. Healthcare Safety Net
A panel of three: D.C. Councilmember David A. Catania,
Sharon Baskerville, Executive Director of D.C. Primary Care Association,
and Brenda Emanuel, Deputy Director of the Health Care Safety Net
Administration, presented information about the status of healthcare in
D.C. Vanessa Dixon served as moderator, and she followed the
presentation of each panelist by summarizing it. Those who attended
(approximately 50 people) learned that 200,000 D.C. residents are
uninsured, that emergency room problems are nationwide, and that the
District is not using federal Medicaid support to its full extent
because no integrated system now exists.
Ms. Brenda L. Emanuel presented a summary and First
Year Overview of the Health Care Safety Net Administration (HCSNA),
defining goals and identifying progress toward the goals, reflected in a
booklet with statistical graphs and pie charts showing data. The purpose
of the HCSNA is to "provide the oversight needed to ensure that
DC's uninsured residents are provided full access to healthcare that is
of high quality and is cost effective, through the DC Healthcare
Alliance." As the first year ended, its coverage had expanded to
include 37,614 people. Its goals are to improve the health outcomes of
District residents, to decrease inappropriate use of ER and inpatient
care, to increase primary and preventive care, and increase the use of
the "medical home" model (that is, the concept that each
patient should have a medical home through which continuity of care can
be provided). Next week a financial report of the 18 months during which
the program has existed will be released.
The Alliance was formed after D.C. General Hospital
was closed, as a public/private healthcare provider for for those
uninsured citizens who earn less than 200% of the poverty level.
Services are delivered through an array of clinics in various parts of
the city. There are six network hospitals, 44 clinics, and some 820
primary care providers and specialists. The Alliance pharmacy program
began in July 2001, and the DC Department of Health was granted a
contract with the Department of Defense that enables purchase of
pharmaceuticals for all Alliance patients at reduced rates. There has
been a steady increase in pharmacy service utilization. Previously, 60%
of ER users were there for non-emergency care, for example, because they
had run out of medication. As the utilization of the pharmacy service
increases, the use of ERs should decline.
Sharon Baskerville of DC Primary Care Association (PCA)
agreed that DC coverage for the uninsured is very good. She said that
almost all children eligible because their families earn less than 200%
of the federal poverty level are enrolled in the program. She played a
major role in founding the nonprofit clinic consortium overseen by the
PCA. She said the District is not using federal Medicaid support to its
full potential, because no integrated system now exists, and she noted
that Medicaid is 1/4 of the city's budget. Nursing homes and hospitals
account for the largest part of medical expenses, and we have the
highest use of ER in the country. As to the question of CareFirst (its
proposed sale to a for-profit company, WeIIPoint, from California),
Sharon thought this sale would increase the number of uninsured in DC by
11,000. She believes it is tragic NOT to have a public health care
system. People are dying for lack of primary care.
Councilmember. David Catania believes DC General was
worth saving, because it covered everyone. He suggests that DC should
sever its contract with Greater Southeast Hospital and develop a
Community Healthcare system. He mentioned the overloading of ERs in
other hospitals, often leading to blackouts in emergency service, as a
result of the closing of DC General. A hospital is needed in that part
of the city. Importantly, we need a national system.
With regard to the CareFirst proposal, Catania sponsored
legislation by the Council to require cash and eliminate bonuses for
executives, but that has not caused WeIIPoint to discontinue its efforts
Now he will look for an amendment to give the Council
the authority to override a decision by the Insurance Commissioner that
would agree to the sale. He believes WelIPoint, like Greater Southeast,
is unreliable. Catania is concerned about pharmaceutical costs. He would
propose a purchasing agent, a not-for-profit pharmacy benefit manager (PBM),
similar to the Canadian system, which produces a 70% saving in the cost
of pharmaceuticals. These savings could be used to fund a purchase plan
for seniors, and Catania would open up the PBM so that employers and
others could benefit. In addition, Catania emphasized the following
Medicaid reform should be a goal. A national search is underway for a
Medicaid Czar, who will be able to pull together the various strands so
that we can use all the federal $ to which we are entitled.
Homeland Security is reported to be building hospitals with underground
parts. Why not persuade them to build one on the site of DC General?
In response to the question how many of the 37,624
people enrolled in the Alliance are duplicates, Ms. Emanuel said that
this list is unduplicated - it has been screened to eliminate
Q.Where do the homeless fit in?
A. The Alliance has no sliding scale, that is, there is no charge for
services. The Unity Clinics offer sliding scale fees.
Q.Where does the data re emergency room blackouts
Dr. Michael Richardson, a guest, was invited to comment, and he
said the de-contamination unit is still working at DC General. He said,
"What we want is better outcomes. DC General did not work. Don't go
A.The data comes from the Fire & Emergency Service. Unless there is
a bed at the ER available for the patient, the ambulance can't go back
in service - the patient must stay on the FEMS bed.
PART II - EDUCATION
1 - 3 pm: "No Child Left Behind" legislation
Constance Tate of the D.C. League opened the
afternoon session of the forum, stating that the book produced by Marian
Wright Edelman and the Children's Defense Fund, "The State of
Children" provided background for the Act. Raul Gonzalez of the
National Council of La Raza, a civil rights organization, and James
Ruff, a consultant to the D.C. Public Schools, gave presentations
describing the legislation and the potential impact of its provisions.
Mr. Gonzalez, a former teacher in Brooklyn , said
many think tanks were involved in developing the NCLB Act. Some think
tanks want more state flexibility, while others want to emphasize
closing achievement gaps; as a compromise, the Act provides for a
process called "devolution" - each state will come up with its
In many ways, he said the NCLB Act of 2001 is not too
different from the 1994 legislation, when the movement toward lots of
testing was initiated. With regard to the usual warning that a test
should not be used as the sole measure of student achievement or school
system accountability, he said "yeah, don't use guns to shoot
people." Thus, people need to keep an eye on accountability as
schools work toward the requirement that all sub-groups must make
academic progress and the Act provides specifically for the role of the
community, for example with fundamental questions for parents to ask.
Measuring the academic performance of English language learners (ELL)
accurately may be particularly difficult. The Act provides that ELL
students must be tested, to the extent practicable, in the language and
form most likely to yield accurate results, and that they must be tested
each year for English-language acquisition.
Presentation by James Ruff of the D.C. Public Schools
How public and public charter schools are complying,
anticipate complying, or are having difficulties with provisions of the
- The first and foremost difficulty is that the District of Columbia
Public Schools does not have access to its Fiscal 2003 budget which
is the money we are supposed to spend in the school year that began
last September. DC and DCPS are operating on a Continuing Resolution
until the President signs the DC Appropriations bill. Even then, if
past practice is any guide, DCPS will be delayed another four. to
six weeks in getting full access to its appropriations.
Now you might ask what does the fact that we are
operating under a Continuing Resolution have to do with the No Child
Left Behind Act, Public Charter Schools, compliance, the federal program
plan, accountability, assessment activities, or achievement gaps?
The short answer is that the grants are included in
the DCPS budget that is approved by Congress. This means that the new
parts of the No Child Left Behind Act cannot be spent until the grants
are re-appropriated by Congress and signed by the President. This means
that not one single dollar of new money that was given to the 50 States,
the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico under the NCLB is available for
use as I stand before you today. The District of Columbia Public Schools
is forced to implement NCLB without the resources that are available to
every State. DCPS and the States received their 2003 grant awards in
July of 2002. Almost every State had immediate access to all of the
grant funds that were provided. DCPS was forced to spend out its 2002
grant money until September 30, 2002. And you know a funny thing
happened to that money on September 30---IT DISAPPEARED. And it didn't
reappear until late December after the city finished its fiscal year
We've learned to bend to this pressure and to do what
is necessary to keep the school system running as smoothly as possible;
but it is doubly difficult to act like a State Education Agency when the
most precious tool of all is eaten up doing patchwork and playing catch
up. That most precious tool is of course TIME. DCPS starts last when it
doesn't have the required grant money to do the basic implementation
steps required by Federal law and funded in the other states.
Now let me bring you up to date on some of the NCLB-related
strands of activity that we have been working since last January when
the President signed NCLB into law.
- First came the State application for No Child Left Behind. That
was due on June 12, 2002. The preparation of the application (not
the State Plan) was begun in April after studying the law, attending
conferences and consulting with the US Department of Education,
several other states, the Council of Chief State School Officers and
the Council of Great City Schools.
DCPS called together representatives of the Charter
schools and DCPS SEA and SEA to complete the application. I call it an
application, not a plan, because it was a content-free roadmap or
schedule of the things that DC needed to do for the ensuing five years
to bring the NCLB requirements to life in the District of Columbia.
After securing the consent of the Mayor with the assistance of the State
Education Office in the Executive branch, we submitted the application
on time and received approval in early July. Our grant awards came
The next big hurdle we had to overcome was the Choice
- ID schools based on spring test scores which arrived at the end of
June and needed analysis.
Devise the transfer pattern and announce to the
public. August 10 Washington Post headline said "D.C. GIVING
10,000 THE CHANCE TO SWITCH SCHOOLS. Fifteen low performing sites to
Send Students to Stronger Ones"
August 19 deadline to register. Over 500 inquiries,
250 transferred. Paying transportation for over 12s and busing the
under 12s. Keep in mind we didn't have use of our grant funds as
required by law: so we had to improvise ways to pay for this.
We have had some minor glitches in getting the
Metro card to the students on time; but on the whole the Choice
program was implemented without a hitch.
Going forward, I expect many more schools to be
identified for improvement and fewer and fewer schools to be eligible
to receive transferring students under the choice program.
- The timetable for this activity is very tight. Every State must
get its spring test scores and LEAs must immediately begin to
identify low performing schools. They need to be notified and have
an opportunity to appeal that designation. Once the appeal is past
the LEA must identify the receiving schools for would-be transfers
and then announce to the public the program. In future years, the
requirement to look at the whole school and each subgroup (English
Language Learners, Special Education, racial and ethnic groups, and
economically disadvantaged - poor- students) may slow the process
and create difficulties for school districts. Regardless, LEAs need
to notify parents directly and give them a choice to transfer their
children before the next school year begins. There is another choice
program in NCLB. The unsafe school choice program.
- DCPS is consulting with charter schools and with other states to
define an unsafe school.
Schools identified as unsafe will give their
students an opportunity to transfer to safe schools
Federal deadline for completing this work is late
The Board of Education will pass on this definition
and the administrative practices supporting it.
One current hot issue is Supplemental Services,
which are supported by money under Title I for students in schools
that have been identified for school improvement. As mandated by No
Child Left Behind, D.C. has provided for 200 children from
low-performing schools to transfer to others. The low performing
schools are to receive supplemental services - Saturday, after school,
and summer academic help for students - which are to be provided by
for-profit educational firms.
The Next Big Issue is Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP)-Part
of our Application in June was to commit to developing a new measure
of AYP. This process began, as always, with consultation with other
states and the national entities USED, the Council of Chief State
School Officers (CCSSO), Technical Assistance Centers, and others.
Next, since you asked, I'd like to address the report card that
you are all expecting to see.
- We formed a group consisting of 30 or so people who are
representatives of different agencies and levels of expertise. The
membership includes public charter schools leaders, the two
chartering authorities, advocacy groups, and CCSSO.
- We have had the USED representatives to visit to to help us sort
out some of the sticky issues regarding AYP
We are going to have additional USED
representatives come to help us sort out some of the sticky issues
regarding the accountabilities and oversight of the Public Charter
We will be looking at the assessment being used,
the cut scores that define proficient and not proficient, the other
measures that will be used, including the graduation rate, which must
be used for high schools, and possibly the attendance rate for other
Our deadline for this activity is January 31. At
that time we must submit to USED the implementation plan portion of
our State Plan that addresses the requirements of Adequate Yearly
Progress and the overall Accountability System for all schools in the
state, yes, including charters.
First, we don't have the money to do it yet. Refer to
my first comment. There is grant money to improve our accountability
system that we can't access.
Meanwhile, DCPS has designed the complete new Report
Card at the SEA level, which will include each school on a new APDS
system (Automated Pupil Data System). The design has been sent to the
Superintendent for review and it has been cleared for submission to the
Board of Education for approval. (Joel Klein Chancellor of the New York
City public schools threw out the report card for NYC because it was too
complicated. A new one was designed and is entering use.) Ours is
complicated and may need simplifying. The goal is to have it approved so
that we can try it out this year after the money is approved.
This is one of the biggest challenges educators face
across the country and if there is one good thing about the NCLB act, it
is that it will finally penalize schools for ignoring the issue of