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Mayor Adrian Fenty
Education initiative press release
January 4, 2007




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District of Columbia Government
Mayor Adrian M. Fenty

Media Advisory

January 4, 2007  MEDIA CONTACT: Mafara Hobson

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty Announces Education Initiative

Today, District of Columbia Mayor Adrian M. Fenty unveiled his plan to provide the city’s children with hope and opportunity through an education reform initiative. The plan would ensure rational, streamlined education policy by making the mayor accountable and responsible for managing DC Public Schools. Implementation of the plan rests on City Council approval.

 “We have a crisis on our hands. Over the past two decades, study after study has spelled out the same problems and made nearly the same recommendations. My proposal changes one critical piece of the puzzle—increased accountability and action. I am asking today for that responsibility to be placed squarely on my shoulders,” said Mayor Adrian M. Fenty.

The following objectives were identified by Fenty as his Administration’s top priorities to address critical challenges facing the District in the area of education. These recommendations were developed based on input from District residents as well as local and national experts:

  • Ensure that all children start school ready to learn
  • Improve transparency of and accountability for public education performance to ensure equal access to excellent public education
  • Centralize State Education Agency functions
  • Support the implementation of the research-based education reforms included in the Master Education Plan (MEP)
  • Create an interagency, outcome-driven strategy for delivery of youth-related services in support of education
  • Improve data systems in support of coordinated service delivery and increased transparency of program performance
  • Increase responsiveness of public schools to constituent concerns and engage the community in support of public education
  • Increase retention of quality principals and teachers
  • Ensure that all public school students have access to appropriate facilities
  • Improve access to and quality of Special Education services
  • Improve access to and quality of Out-of-School-Time (OST) programs
  • Ensure the continued success of District-based institutions of higher education
  • Ensure school, university, employer, and community alignment in support of seamless transition from the education environment to the workforce
  • Ensure a diversity of effective lifelong learning alternatives in the District of Columbia

Fenty also provided copies of the executive summary of a study conducted by The Parthenon Group, a strategic advisory firm who has studied education issues in other jurisdictions. The study made a compelling case for a change in structural accountability. Key advantages of Mayoral control described in the report include accelerated pace of reform, direct accountability for management and increased stability in leadership.

In addition to increasing state-level functions and school board responsibilities, interagency collaboration and increased charter school accountability, the bill would create a Department of Education, which, for the first time, would provide Cabinet-level facilitation, coordination and direction for pre-kindergarten through post-secondary education initiatives in the District under the leadership of the Deputy Mayor for Education. In addition, the legislation achieves the following:

  • Aggressive approach-It reflects the urgency expressed by District residents and other city leaders. 
  • Comprehensive plan-Like never before in the District, this legislation puts collaboration among child-serving agencies at the forefront.  Improving educational outcomes is linked directly with improving the public safety, health, and well-being of our young people.  This legislation and education plan recognizes that and integrates that concept into a comprehensive approach.
  • Responsive to citizens-The creation of an Office of Ombudsman for Public Education reflects the priority that this administration will give to responding to the concerns of residents.  The Office of the Ombudsman for Public Education will function as a new mechanism for communication and response. 
  • Emphasizes accountability-With this legislation, the Mayor will be held accountable for the performance of our schools. 
  • Based on sound policy-This legislation reflects careful review of best practices and research of policies across the country.  And we're finally putting state education functions where they belong -- with the District as a state.

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